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Vassi Koutsaftis
Vassi Koutsaftis
Vassi Koutsaftis

Vassi Koutsaftis

Country: Greece
Birth: 1952

Vassi Koutsaftis has explored the globe for over 30 years, specializing in travel photography – of the extreme kind, especially in the mountainous regions of Himalayan, the Karakoram, Hindu Kush and other very remote areas of Asia. Born in 1952 in Athens, Greece and crossed the world’s oceans working on cruise ships and freighters. That was just the beginning for he continued to examine our planet traveling to remote areas on his own, then from the air, when he went on to study aeronautics and became a pilot in the U.S. He leads treks and exploratory tours in Afghanistan, Mongolia, Tibet, Nepal, Pakistan, Iran, Bhutan, Burma, Turkey and India, and he contributes essential research to unusual and remote itineraries for Geographic Expeditions one of the best and most respected expedition companies in the US. Vassi’s photographs have been published in a number of magazines including Geo (European edition), Photografos, USA Today, Asia Week, National Geographic Traveler, and Marin Magazine. He serves as Conde Nast’s Tibet expert and is well known for his compelling images of the Dalai Lama. His photographic and travel expertise has been instrumental in scouting for films including productions by CBS, PDI and Dreamworks and a number of independent filmmakers. Vassi’s work is included in the collections of U.C. Berkeley’s Blum Center, Steve Wynn Casinos, Stanford University’s Center for Buddhist Studies. Vassi has exhibited his work widely in a number of galleries in the United States and Overseas including The Hellenic American Union in Athens, Greece and enjoys giving presentations of his photographs while sharing stories of extensive travels around the world.
 

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More Great Photographers To Discover

Lee Jeffries
United Kingdom
Lee Jeffries lives in Manchester in the United Kingdom. Close to the professional football circle, this artist starts to photograph sporting events. A chance meeting with a young homeless girl in the streets of London changes his artistic approach forever. Lee Jeffries recalls that, initially, he had stolen a photo from this young homeless girl huddled in a sleeping bag. The photographer knew that the young girl had noticed him but his first reaction was to leave. He says that something made him stay and go and discuss with the homeless girl. His perception of the homeless completely changes. They become the subject of his art. The models in his photographs are homeless people that he has met in Europe and in the United States: «Situations arose, and I made an effort to learn to get to know each of the subjects before asking their permission to do their portrait.» From then onwards, his photographs portray his convictions and his compassion to the world. "If you will forgive my indulgence, This work is most definitely NOT photojournalism. Nor is it intended as portraiture. It's religious or spiritual iconography. It's powerful stuff. Jeffries gave these people something more than personal dignity. He gave them a light in their eyes that depicts transcendence, a glimmer of light at the gates of Eden, so to speak. The clarity in their eyes is awesome to behold as if God is somewhere in there. He has made these people into more than poor old broken homeless people lazily waiting for a handout from some urbane and thoughtful corporate agent. He infused them with light, not darkness. Even the blind guy has light pouring from his sightless eyes. I think Jeffries intended his art to honor these people, not pity them. He honors those people by giving their likenesses a greater meaning. He gives them a religious spiritual significance. He imbues them with the iconic soul of humanity. I think that's what he was trying to do, at least to some degree thereof." Source: www.yellowkorner.com Lee Jeffries leads a double life – as a full-time accountant near Manchester, and in his free time as an impassioned photographer of the homeless all over the world. A self-taught photographer who started out taking pictures of stock in a bike shop, his epiphany came in April 2008 when, on the eve of running the London Marathon, he snatched a long-lens image of a homeless girl huddling in a doorway, and felt compelled to apologize to her when she called him out for it. Their resulting conversation changed not only his approach to photography; it changed his life. Since that day Lee has been on a mission to raise awareness of – and funds for – the homeless. His work features street people from the UK, Europe, and the US whom he gets to know by living rough with them, the relationship between them enabling him to capture a searing intimacy and authenticity in his portraits. He has published two critically acclaimed fund-raising books, Lost Angels and Homeless, worked with the Salvation Army on a major campaign, and donated the half-dozen cameras he's won in prestigious imaging competitions to charity. He estimates he's given thousands of pounds of his own money to help those he photographs. All this, and he's still 'an amateur'. Source: Nikon In-Frame Read our Exclusive Interview with Lee Jeffries
Monica Testa
Italy
1967
Shortly after my art studies, I started working as a fashion designer for a large company, which allowed me to deepen my knowledge and work in the world of graphics and style. It was a challenging and rewarding job, thanks to which I had the opportunity to travel a lot around the world, meeting people from various ethnic backgrounds, enriching myself enormously from a cultural and personal point of view. I had always been passionate about photography and to such an extent that I could no longer do without it. After taking several courses and studying the greatest photographers in history, I decided to enrol at the Italian Institute of Photography in Milan: a constructive experience that made me grow a lot, both on a technical and creative level. I truly enjoy observing people and also studying their psychological side. That's why I especially love working on portraits and telling the stories of those I meet, always keeping a careful and respectful eye, tiptoeing into situations that I find interesting. I delve into them, I make them my own. I use photography to express how I feel, how I see, how I perceive and absorb the flow of life around me. I transform my thoughts and my feelings into images, thus aiming to become a same part of the image I portray. The River Text from "Monica’s Diary (Benin 2019):" Today we reached a small village flooded by the abundant rains of recent days. The tribe that lives there is accustomed to this situation and in effect they live in real palafittes suspended on the water; and so we reached the village in the only way possible ... by canoe. We brought t-shirts for the children, eggs for snacks and, more importantly, mosquito nets which, given the area they live in, particularly humid and infested with mosquitoes, are essential. The landscape was spectacular and my eyes saw incredible realities... all so far from our daily life! The school was small and very crowded, obviously they had been warned of our arrival and especially the children were waiting for us with trepidation. Compared to other villages we had visited the previous days, the people who live here are quite aggressive. They were a little agitated, they all talked loudly, they pushed us constantly. The adults looked at us with curiosity and the children with shyness: it was noticeable that they were not used to seeing people of a different color in their village. For this we were escorted by the local police, in case the situation deteriorated. But everything went well and another day passed ... lived as if it were a whole life. Face to Face Form zero to one hundred This is an ambitious project, started in 2017 and not yet finished. The idea would be to photograph portraits of people of different ages, sex and ethnicity, who in some way fascinated me and consequently I asked them to pose for me. I would like to get to a hundred photos, a different one for each age from zero to one hundred years.
Vik Muniz
Brazil
1961
Vik Muniz is a Brazilian artist and photographer. Initially a sculptor, Muniz grew interested in the photographic representations of his work, eventually focusing completely on photography. Primarily working with unconventional materials such as tomato sauce, diamonds, magazine clippings, chocolate syrup, dust, dirt, etc., Muniz creates works of art, referencing old master's paintings and celebrity portraits, among other things, and then photographs them. His work has been met with both commercial success and critical acclaim and has been exhibited worldwide. He is currently represented by Galeria Nara Roesler based in New York and Brazil. In 2010, Muniz was featured in the documentary film Waste Land. Directed by Lucy Walker, the film highlights Muniz's work on one of the world's largest garbage dumps, Jardim Gramacho, on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. The film was nominated to the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 83rd Academy Awards. Vik Muniz was born in 1961 in São Paulo, Brazil, as the only child of Maria Celeste, a telephone operator, and Vincente Muniz, a restaurant waiter. Muniz’s grandmother, Ana Rocha, taught him how to read at an early age. In his memoir, Muniz recalled struggling with writing in school which is why he turned to visuals to communicate his thoughts. At the age of 14, his math teacher recommended him to enter an art contest. He won and was awarded a partial scholarship to an art studio. At the age of 18, Muniz got his first job working in the advertising industry in Brazil, redesigning billboards for higher readability. While on the way to his first black-tie gala, Muniz witnessed and attempted to break up a street fight, where he was accidentally shot in the leg by one of the brawlers. He was paid by the shooter to not press charges and used the money to travel to Chicago in 1983. In Chicago, Muniz worked at a local supermarket cleaning the parking lot while he attended night school to study English. In the English class, he learned Polish, Italian, Spanish, and Korean without any improvements to his English vocabulary. Later, Muniz attended culinary and carpentry classes where he learned most of his English. Muniz took his first trip to New York in 1984. There, he visited the Museum of Modern Art and met a woman who changed his thoughts on Jackson Pollock’s paintings. This also influenced Muniz to move to New York just two months after his first visit. Muniz's friend lent him a studio where he started his career as a sculptor. He was 28 when he had his first solo exhibit in 1989. Inspired by works of Man Ray and Max Ernst, Muniz executes simple imagery intricately. Marshall McLuhan’s Understanding Media encouraged Muniz to explore perception in the media through abstraction and manipulating the components of the image. He cites the mosaics in a church in Ravenna as one of his influences and is also a self-proclaimed student of Buster Keaton. He decided to become an artist after seeing the works of the Postmodernists Cindy Sherman and Jeff Koons. Muniz, like both of these artists, reworks popular imagery in his work. Muniz says that he does not believe in originals, but rather believes in individuality. Muniz works to re-purpose themes and showcase them in a different light for the viewer. Muniz is best known for recreating famous imagery from art history and pop culture with unexpected, everyday objects, and photographing them. For example, Muniz's Action Photo, After Hans Namuth (From Pictures of Chocolate), a Cibachrome print, is a Bosco Chocolate Syrup recreation of one of Hans Namuth's photographs of Jackson Pollock in his studio. The monumental series Pictures of Cars (after Ruscha) is his social commentary of the car culture of Los Angeles utilizing Ed Ruscha's 60's Pop masterpieces rendered from car ephemera. Muniz often works on a large scale and then he destroys the originals of his work and only the photo of his work remains. Muniz has spoken of wanting to make "color pictures that talked about color and also talked about the practical simplification of such impossible concepts." He also has an interest in making pictures that "reveal their process and material structure," and describes himself as having been "a willing bystander in the middle of the shootout between structuralist and post-structuralist critique." Muniz says that when he takes photographs, he intuitively searches for "a vantage point that would make the picture identical to the ones in my head before I’d made the works," so that his photographs match those mental images. He sees photography as having "freed painting from its responsibility to depict the world as fact." In Muniz's earthworks series, Pictures of Earthworks, show a strong resemblance to the 1970s Earthworks movement. However, unlike the Earthworks movement, that were influenced by ancient cultures, Muniz's series shows distinct human impact on nature. In addition to sculpting, Muniz experiments with drawing and photography, which is seen in the series Sugar Children, featured in the Museum of Modern Art's New Photography 13 show, alongside Rineke Dijikstra, An-My Le, and Kunié Sugiura, in 1997. In Sugar Children, Muniz photographed the families that worked on sugar plantations on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts. Beginning with Polaroids of several of the children of plantation workers, Muniz "drew" the images by sprinkling sugar on black paper and rephotographed these compositions. This series was met with criticism, where scholars have pointed out that he photographs of subjects continuing to live in poverty and yet can make upwards of 5 figures on these works at auction. After his Pictures in Garbage series, Muniz donated the profits, close to $50,000, from the Marat (Sebastiao) to the workers collective after it was auctioned in the UK. He also tries to make art more accessible through the use of common materials, because of his belief that the art world should not be just for the elite. Muniz stated in the documentary Waste Land, "I'm at this point in my career where I'm trying to step away from the realm of fine arts because I think it's a very exclusive, very restrictive place to be. What I want to be able to do is to change the lives of people with the same materials they deal with every day."Source: Wikipedia Originally trained as a sculptor, Muniz’s work began to take on its mature form with The Best of LIFE; he drew from memory pictures of Life magazine photographs included in the coffee table book The Best of Life after losing the book in a move. He then photographed his drawings and kept only the photographs, thereby establishing his signature working style. Muniz subsequently applied this methodology to works in the art history canon, reproducing Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa as well as iconic photographs of Marlon Brando and Marilyn Monroe using chocolate syrup and replicating a Donald Judd sculpture by using dust taken from the Whitney Museum’s halls and galleries. To make the series Pictures of Garbage, Muniz spent two years working with garbage pickers at Jardim Gramacho, an open-air dump site near Rio. He photographed several of the pickers as subjects of classical portraits, with the background details supplied by the garbage they scavenged. This effort was captured in the documentary Waste Land, which was nominated for an Academy Award. Muniz’s photographs are in many collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Museum of Modern Art; the Tate Gallery; and the Victoria and Albert Museum.Source: International Center of Photography
Kenneth Josephson
United States
1932
Kenneth Josephson is an American photographer, born on July 1, 1932 in Detroit, Michigan. He completed his elementary education in Detroit. In 1953 after being sent in Germany by the United States Army he was trained in photolithography and aerial reconnaissance photography. In 1957 he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Rochester Institute of Technology, located in New York. There he studied under Minor White. In 1960 he earned a master's degree from the Institute of Design of the Illinois Institute of Technology. While studying there he was influenced by Aaron Siskind and Harry Callahan. After earning his master's degree in 1960 Kenneth Josephson worked at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago from 1960 to 1997, when he retired. In 1963 he co-founded the Society for Photographic Education with thirty other notable photographers. His works in the 1960s and 1970s which were focused on conceptual photography placed him at the forefront of conceptual photography. In 1972 he was awarded with the Guggenheim Fellowship grant by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. In 1975 and in 1979 he was awarded with the NEA grant by the National Endowment for the Arts agency. Many of his collections are found in museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, the National Museum of American Art and The Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris. In 1977 and 1983 many of his works became part of exhibitions in Austria, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, and France.Source: Wikipedia Kenneth Josephson is recognized as one of the pioneers of conceptual photography. He has explored the concepts of photographic truth and illusion throughout his career, producing a varied oeuvre that utilizes a range of techniques from collage and construction to multiple exposures and single negative photographs. Focusing on what it means to make a picture, Josephson’s work playfully highlights the illusive nature of photography. New York State (1970) is one of Josephson’s most well known photographs, and one of a much larger series incorporating pictures within pictures. We see the artist’s arm, stretching over a body of water, and just above the horizon line he holds a picture of a ship. Positioning this ship so that it appears proportionally equal to a full-sized ship in the distance, the photograph is deliberately composed to draw attention to its artifice. Source: Yancey Richardson In 1963 he became a founding member of the Society for Photographic Education, and in 1964 his work was included in John Szarkowski’s exhibition, “The Photographer’s Eye,” which traveled internationally to forty venues from 1964 to 1972. Josephson received his first museum retrospective in 1999–2000 at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Whitney Museum. His work is featured in numerous collections around the world and his monographs include: Kenneth Josephson Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, 1983; Kenneth Josephson: A Retrospective The Art Institute of Chicago, 1999; Kenneth Josephson: The First Fifty Years Stephen Daiter Gallery, 2008; Kenneth Josephson: Matthew 2054 Press and Stephen Daiter Gallery, 2012; Kenneth Josephson: Selected Photographs Only Photography, 2013; and The Light of Coincidence: The Photographs of Kenneth Josephson University of Texas Press, 2016.Source: Gitterman Gallery
Eadweard Muybridge
United Kingdom
1830 | † 1904
Eadweard James Muybridge was an English photographer important for his pioneering work in photographic studies of motion and in motion-picture projection. He adopted the name Eadweard Muybridge, believing it to be the original Anglo-Saxon form of his name. He immigrated to the United States as a young man but remained obscure until 1868, when his large photographs of Yosemite Valley, California, made him world famous. Muybridge is known for his pioneering work on animal locomotion in 1877 and 1878, which used multiple cameras to capture motion in stop-action photographs, and his zoopraxiscope, a device for projecting motion pictures that pre-dated the flexible perforated film strip used in cinematography. In his earlier years in San Francisco, Muybridge had become known for his landscape photography, particularly of the Yosemite Valley. He also photographed the Tlingit people in Alaska, and was commissioned by the United States Army to photograph the Modoc War in 1873. In 1874 he shot and killed Major Harry Larkyns, his wife's lover, and was acquitted in a jury trial on the grounds of justifiable homicide.[2] He travelled for more than a year in Central America on a photographic expedition in 1875. In the 1880s, Muybridge entered a very productive period at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, producing over 100,000 images of animals and humans in motion, capturing what the human eye could not distinguish as separate movements. He spent much of his later years giving public lectures and demonstrations of his photography and early motion picture sequences. He also edited and published compilations of his work, which greatly influenced visual artists and the developing fields of scientific and industrial photography. Source: Wikipedia
Valerio Nicolosi
Valerio Nicolosi, filmmaker and photojournalist based and born in Rome in 1984, has always had a passion for photography and video. In 2008 he graduated with highest honours from the 'Experimental Television Center' in Rome. He is always looking for the "human factor" on his photos. He made few reportages from the Syrian-Lebanon border about the crises of refugees and the humanitarian corridors. He made Italian and european network and investigative journalism programs for which he has made many reportages on the issue of immigrants and in particular in the "Jungle of Calais". He also covered the terrorist attacks both in Paris and Brussels. During the months of October and November 2016 he followed the US elections making a series of reportages together with the journalist Giovanna Pancheri, broadcast by SkyTg24. Most of the reportages were about human condition on suburbs of America. Making the documentary "Death Before Lampedusa" for the German national TV, ARD, he followed the operation "Mare Nostrum" on board the Italian military vessels deployed in the recovery of boats coming from Africa. He has made numerous music videos with Italian and Palestinian singer/songwriters and has published three books of short stories and photography, "Bar(n)Out", "Be Filmmaker in Gaza" "(R)Esistenze". He spent more than 20 days on board the "Proactiva Open Arms" boat, a Spanish NGO whose main mission is to rescue refugees from the sea that arrive in Europe fleeing wars, persecution or poverty. On that 3 weeks they rescued 86 refugees. He is just come back from the Gaza Strip where he taught filmmaking and did some reportages about fishermen and daily life. He also works as an occasional lecturer with the 'Audio-visual Journalism Tribune' at La Sapienza University and the Palestinian Al-Aqsa and Deir El-Balah, both located in the Gaza Strip. He collaboreted with the international press agency Reuters and currently he collaborates with Associated Press. Discover Valerio Nicolosi's Interview
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AAP Magazine #22: Streets
AAP Magazine #22: Streets
Solo Exhibition December 2021

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Call for Entries
Solo Exhibition December 2021
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