All about photo: photo contests, photography exhibitions, galleries, schools, books and venues.
John Thomson
John Thomson
John Thomson

John Thomson

Country: Scotland
Birth: 1837 | Death: 1921

John Thomson, one of the great figures of nineteenth century photography, is known for the unusual and exotic nature of his chosen subject matter. Born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1837, Thomson took up photography as a profession in his early twenties. For ten years, from 1862, he traveled and explored the Far East, visiting Hong Kong, Singapore, Penang and the Malay Peninsula, Siam, Cambodia, Vietnam, Formosa and especially China. Utilizing a large wooden box-type camera capable of accommodating a glass plate of up to 12 x 16 inches, John Thomson photographed commoners and kings, attempting to capture the individual behind the veneer of social status. His photographic record of the Far East documented a complete panorama of the cultures and people of the Far East at a time when Westerners were a few and curious lot. John Thomson not only created a photographic history, but also wrote numerous articles and books on his travels and views of life in the Far East. There is no doubt that it was Thomson’s sympathetic approach to his subjects, and the dignity with which he embued them, as much as his great technical expertise, which enabled him to produce such an outstanding photographic documentary. It is this marriage between sensitivity, technical expertise and sheer professionalism, not to mention his voluminous literary output and descriptions of the scenes and people, which he photographed, that has earned Thomson the title of the ‘first of the great photo-journalists’. His work, which has only recently gained full recognition, represents one of the great photo-historical records in the history of documentary photography.
Source Westwood Gallery
 

Inspiring Portfolios

Call for Entries
Solo Exhibition September 2021
Win an Onine Solo Exhibition in September 2021
 
Stay up-to-date  with call for entries, deadlines and other news about exhibitions, galleries, publications, & special events.

More Great Photographers To Discover

Francis Haar
Hungary
1908 | † 1997
Francis Haar born as Haár Ferenc was a Hungarian socio-photographer. He studied interior architecture at Hungarian Royal National School of Arts and Crafts between 1924 and 1927. His master was Gyula Kaesz.He started working as an interior architect and poster designer in 1928, and taught himself photography. In 1930 he became acquainted with Munka-kör (Work Circle) led by socialist avant-garde poet and visual artist Lajos Kassák, who just returned from Vienna. Kassák pointed out that the photography is more than the painting and can access to such part of reality that cannot be accessed by painters. Kassák's motto was photography is the real child of our age not the painting. That was a life long inspiration to Francis. He became an active and leading member of the Munka Kör, his partners in socio-photography were among others Sándor Gönci, Árpád Szélpál and Lajos Lengyel, who later became renowned graphic artist and book designer. The first socio photo exhibition ever in Hungary was held in 1932, which brought the first success to Francis. His first photo studio was opened in Budapest in 1934. Some of his photos were exhibited at the Paris Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne in 1937, so Francis Haar decided to move to Paris where he established himself as a portrait photographer. However in 1939 he was invited by Hiroshi Kawazoe to Japan and the International Cultural Society of Japan (Kokusai Bunka Shinkokai) officially arranged his trip. With help of Japanese friends he opened and operated his photo studio in Tokyo between 1940 and 42. The Haar family was evacuated to Karuizawa in 1943 and they spent 3 years there. He became the photographer of Yank, the Army Weekly magazine of the U.S. occupation forces in Japan, and subsequently filmmaker with U.S. Public Health and Welfare Section (1946-48). Again his Tokyo photo studio was opened in 1946 and was in active business until 1956. His wife Irene opened the famous restaurant Irene's Hungaria in Ginza, downtown Tokyo, which was frequented by celebrities, intellectuals, army men and sports people from all over the world besides the Japanese. Accepting a challenge he moved and worked as photographer for the Container Corporation of America, Chicago from 1956 until 1959. He returned to Tokyo and operated his photo studio again for a year. 1960 brought a great decision and the Haars moved to Hawai'i and Francis started his photo studio there. He taught photography at the University of Hawai'i between 1965 and 1985. He became the production photographer for the Kennedy Theater, the University of Hawai'i Drama Department. Francis Haar died at the age of 89 in Honolulu.Source: Wikipedia
Antonio Aragón  Renuncio
I have always loved photography... and tell stories. Browse faces, roads, lights... and shadows. I have no idea what that can last a lifetime -boredom prevails in too many hearts- that can happen within it. But what I know for sure, is the wonderful and perfect division of a second in magical fractions of light and color. And that in my world, in my mind it would be more accurate, it´s an argument more than enough to even let life steal. One "one hundred twenty-fifth of a second" may be the closest thing to eternity... And there was light... And that happened in some distant land across the vast ocean... Antonio Aragón Renuncio Since the mid-90s always involved with photography: Founds and chairs "Nostromo" Photographers Association (Spain). Photography professor (+15 years) in several universities: UC (Spain), UAM, UCA and URACCAN (Nicaragua)... He organizes and directs the I Photography Festival of Santander. He writes about photography in different publications and publishes reportages in international media. He was Publisher in "Xplorer" Magazine (Nicaragua). He has been free-lance photographer for several International News Agencies. General Manager in Xtreme Photo WS (Burkina Faso, Africa). He organizes and directs the Solidarity Photography Days "Fotografía un Mundo Mejor" (Murcia, Spain)... In 2003 he founds, and since then he presides, the NGO OASIS (www.ongoasis.org) which develops every year medical projects in some of the most depressed areas of the Gulf of Guinea in Africa. More than 80 exhibitions and several awards: IPOTY, Xativa International Photo Awards, Siena International Photo Awards, Moscow International Foto Awards, Rivne Photo Arts Cup, Odessa/Batumi Photo Days, Tokyo International Foto Awards, Direct Look, Photography Grant, HIPA, Indian Photo Festival, Photo Nikon Pro, III Documentary Photography Days, POYLatam, Humanity Photo Awards UNESCO/CFPA, II Photojournalism Biennial, CFC Medal, GEA Photowords, REVELA, FIAP & CEF Medal, Latin-American Documentary Photo Award...
Erik Hijweege
The Netherlands
1963
Erik Hijweege (1963) is fascinated with the overwhelming power of nature. He started chasing big weather and tornadoes in 2006. During his first years of stormchasing Hijweege chose an alter ego for this body of work in the making. Kevin Erskine a farmer from Valentine Nebraska was born. This resulted for Erskine (a.k.a Hijweege) in his first international solo show in New York and the Supercell book. Sequel to Supercell are his Sublime Nature series focusing on the beauty of nature that is grand and dangerous. Following his 19th century inspired longing for remote places and distant shores he travels the world working on his long-term Uncharted and waterfalls projects. Capturing landscapes on tintype and using old copper lenses, he shows us the world as seen through the eyes of early explorers. The multiple threats of our natural surroundings triggered Hijweege to start a second line in his work focusing on endangered species. Based on the Red List of the IUCN he photographed 23 endangered animals preserved in ice. Being a fragile subject matter Hijweege used the 19th century wetplate collodion process to capture these frozen animals on ambrotype. His Endangered series was exhibited at the Dutch Natural History Museum in Rotterdam raising awareness for this important matter. The Endangered book was published in 2014. In succession of this series Hijweege is currently working on 'New Habitat'. This series is about relocating endangered species to safer grounds. New Habitat is exhibited in the Dutch Natural History Museum during the first three months of 2020.
Henri Cartier-Bresson
France
1908 | † 2004
Born in Chanteloup, Seine-et-Marne, Henri Cartier-Bresson developed a strong fascination with painting early on, and particularly with Surrealism. In 1932, after spending a year in the Ivory Coast, he discovered the Leica - his camera of choice thereafter - and began a life-long passion for photography. In 1933 he had his first exhibition at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York. He later made films with Jean Renoir. Taken prisoner of war in 1940, he escaped on his third attempt in 1943 and subsequently joined an underground organization to assist prisoners and escapees. In 1945 he photographed the liberation of Paris with a group of professional journalists and then filmed the documentary Le Retour (The Return). In 1947, with Robert Capa, George Rodger, David 'Chim' Seymour and William Vandivert, he founded Magnum Photos. After three years spent travelling in the East, in 1952 he returned to Europe, where he published his first book, Images à la Sauvette (published in English as The Decisive Moment). He explained his approach to photography in these terms, "For me the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity, the master of the instant which, in visual terms, questions and decides simultaneously. It is by economy of means that one arrives at simplicity of expression." From 1968 he began to curtail his photographic activities, preferring to concentrate on drawing and painting. In 2003, with his wife and daughter, he created the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson in Paris for the preservation of his work. Cartier-Bresson received an extraordinary number of prizes, awards and honorary doctorates. He died at his home in Provence on 3 August 2004, a few weeks short of his 96th birthday.Source: Magnum Photos His technique: Henri Cartier-Bresson almost exclusively used Leica 35 mm rangefinder cameras equipped with normal 50 mm lenses or occasionally a wide-angle for landscapes. He often wrapped black tape around the camera's chrome body to make it less conspicuous. With fast black and white films and sharp lenses, he was able to photograph almost by stealth to capture the events. No longer bound by a huge 4×5 press camera or an awkward medium format twin-lens reflex camera, miniature-format cameras gave Cartier-Bresson what he called "the velvet hand [and] the hawk's eye." He never photographed with flash, a practice he saw as "Impolite...like coming to a concert with a pistol in your hand." He believed in composing his photographs in the viewfinder, not in the darkroom. He showcased this belief by having nearly all his photographs printed only at full-frame and completely free of any cropping or other darkroom manipulation. Indeed, he emphasized that his prints were not cropped by insisting they include the first millimetre or so of the unexposed clear negative around the image area resulting, after printing, in a black border around the positive image. Henri Cartier-Bresson worked exclusively in black and white, other than a few unsuccessful attempts in color. He disliked developing or making his own prints and showed a considerable lack of interest in the process of photography in general, likening photography with the small camera to an "instant drawing". Technical aspects of photography were valid for him only where they allowed him to express what he saw: "Constant new discoveries in chemistry and optics are widening considerably our field of action. It is up to us to apply them to our technique, to improve ourselves, but there is a whole group of fetishes which have developed on the subject of technique. Technique is important only insofar as you must master it in order to communicate what you see... The camera for us is a tool, not a pretty mechanical toy. In the precise functioning of the mechanical object perhaps there is an unconscious compensation for the anxieties and uncertainties of daily endeavor. In any case, people think far too much about techniques and not enough about seeing." He started a tradition of testing new camera lenses by taking photographs of ducks in urban parks. He never published the images but referred to them as "my only superstition" as he considered it a 'baptism' of the lens. Henri Cartier-Bresson is regarded as one of the art world's most unassuming personalities. He disliked publicity and exhibited a ferocious shyness since his days in hiding from the Nazis during World War II. Although he took many famous portraits, his own face was little known to the world at large (which presumably had the advantage of allowing him to work on the street in peace). He dismissed others' applications of the term "art" to his photographs, which he thought were merely his gut reactions to moments in time that he had happened upon. "In photography, the smallest thing can be a great subject. The little human detail can become a leitmotiv."Source: Wikipedia Henri Cartier-Bresson has intuitively chronicled decisive moments of human life around the world with poetic documentary style. His photographs impart spontaneous instances with meaning, mystery, and humor in terms of precise visual organization, and his work, although tremendously difficult to imitate, has influenced many other photographers. His photographs may be summed up through a phrase of his own: "the decisive moment," the magical instant when the world falls into apparent order and meaning, and may be apprehended by a gifted photographer.Source: International Center of Photography
Vicky Martin
United Kingdom
Vicky Martin is an award winning fine art photographer based in the UK. Although she studied art and photography in the 1990s it was not until 2008 when she was awarded a prestigious Rhubarb Bursary that she was able to pursue photography full time. Since then Vicky has had her work published and exhibited nationally and internationally: from Europe to the USA in solo and group shows. Her work continues to garner many awards and nominations, including Winner of Single Image in the Professional Fine Art Category at the 2018 12th Julia Margaret Cameron Awards, Directors Choice Award in the Portrait Exhibition at Praxis Gallery, Winner of the Professional Fine Art Category in the 2016 Fine Art Photography Awards, nominations and honorable mentions in the Julia Margaret Cameron Awards, IPA ,TIFA, IPOTY, PX3 Color Red, Neutral Density Awards, CHROMATIC International Color Photography Awards, La Grande Photo Awards, International Color Awards, Siena International Photo Awards, Photography Grant Award, the Aesthetica Art Prize and 1st place winner AAP Magazine Colors. Throughout Vicky's practice she explores her fascination with identity and the emotions that are created by considered scenarios that are based in both fantasy and reality. Her work explores identity through staging and creating realities for characters who often display conflicting emotions with situations. Vicky seeks to encourage the viewer to ask questions of her work to which ultimately the answers depend on the viewer's own personal identity and perceptions. Discover Vicky Martin's Interview
Billy & Hells
Billy and Hells are two photographers: Anke Linz (Nürnberg, 1965) and Andreas Oettinger (Munich, 1963). They met in 1986, found a shared interest in photography and became partners in life and work. Inspired by the photographs of Irving Penn and Helmut Newton, Billy und Hells started to work in the field of fashion photography. They , accidentally came across a technique that would define their future works. By forgetting to take a black and white negative out of a Wühltisch developer, they developed a beautiful Baryt picture. This process is now known as a Lithprint. Later on they discovered that combining a black and white slidefrom a colour negative with a colour picture, a beautiful photograph emerged with fantastic effects. Because of this technique, the colours are reduced but give a intense effect. This technique reduces the colours but results simultaneously in an intensity, which they were unable to reach with regular photography.The results were unexpected but very satisfying. In 1999 they started working professionally for adverting campaigns and magazines. However, this branch of photography did not provide them for the artistic freedom they were looking for. In 2000 they settled in Berlin and started a studio there. This is also the year that they started to work with digital cameras, taking advantage of all the benefits these provide. Amongst others they exhibited in Tokyo and Berlin. One of their photographs, Nabil, was used in a fashion exhibition on the Ideal Man in the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague.Another work, Sophia, featured in the London National Portrait Gallery’s advertisement campaign for the exhibition of the Photographic Portrait Prize 2007. Source: Morren Galleries Billy & Hells’ photographs exist in a world of in-betweens. Their deceptively simple, straightforward portraits convey a certain complexity. The archetypal characters depicted in their photographs—mothers, soldiers, cowboys, nurses, and teachers— possess an underlying sense of mystery, hinting at the duality of the sitter as well as the fictional world they inhabit. Although Billy & Hells’ images call upon historical and art historical references, their portraits are not burdened by the stipulations of historical recreations. Instead, seamlessly blending past and present, reality and fantasy, their photographs become a nostalgic diary, purposefully left open for interpretation. The duo discovered what has become their signature visual style via a typical lab-accident story— by forgetting to take a black and white negative out of the developer, they inadvertently produced an intense image with colors that appear simultaneously rich and muted. Their portraits combine elaborate, hand-painted backgrounds and draw inspiration from countless samples of fabrics, color compositions, and clothing that generate the distinct mood for each portrait. In a recent special issue on Young German Photography, Deutsch magazine described the experience of viewing a Billy & Hells photograph as the following, “Inevitably, without warning, you enter a unique world of images. Each scene becomes a kind of pseudo-dwelling for the person contemplating it. The situations seem to be familiar, but you are never absolutely sure just what is happening in front of you, who the characters are, where to place the individual scenes. The commonplace is bristling with exceptions, the direction of narrative changes continually and leads you astray. Trivial things are combined with the bizarre. The mixture deriving from this casts a spell on us.” (Deutsch, “Young German Photography”, 2000 Published by Kruse Verlag, Hamburg)Billy & Hells were nominated in 2007 for The National Portrait Gallery’s Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait. The series “Blue Moon” was recently featured in the photographic quarterly Eyemazing. Their work has been exhibited and collected internationally. Anke Linz and Andreas Oettinger live and work in Berlin.Source: Fahey/Klein Gallery
Matthew Portch
United Kingdom
1970
I was born and raised in Bristol, England through the '70s and '80s in a typical suburb. As a child, television and movies were my favourite distraction, especially anything from the United States. The backdrop of the North American scenery felt like an exotic antidote to the humdrum of the English city suburbs and countryside. I was a keen illustrator spending hours pouring over the minutia of the subject matter. I wanted my drawings to feel as close to reality as possible. This work saw me enrolled in college at a young age where I studied Photography and Graphic Design. Drawing on my childhood memories, the visuals of the American landscape remained a major influence on my photography. I became inspired by North American photographers of the '60s and '70s who were prevalent in using large format film. This laborious system of capture enhanced these seemingly ordinary looking street scenes and vistas with fastidious detail. I discovered a more modern process in the form of a technical camera, digital back, and precision optics, then proceeded to cast my own journey. I like my pictures to be aesthetically simple, clean and graphic, which resonates with my background in design. I prefer the images to retain an air of perplexity, so keeping them free of people and any notable present-day object helps suspend them in a moment in time. As with most large format photography techniques, when I photograph a scene I capture everything across the frame in complete focus. This can lend a heightened sense of reality. Given each picture is deliberately simple and mundane – the detail of the capture is just as important as the subject matter and becomes a character of the image in itself. I use the full size of the sensor and prefer not to crop. Restricting myself to this discipline is almost a digital reverence to large format film. My creative vision is to capture a calm and melancholic disposition in the landscape and create a scene of discernible simplicity to evoke an emotional and response from within. About Lost America Lost America examines a quiet stillness in a forgotten landscape that is, in a sense: 'on-pause'. Backwater towns and rural corners are juxtaposed with the ambiguity of detached suburbia. Places appear frozen in time, their inhabitants absent or long since departed. Ardently stagnant in their appearance, the images aim to unlock a moment of reflective contemplation and instil a melancholic feeling of familiarity. One might not notice or acknowledge these spaces, especially when viewed within the vast stretch of America's panorama. Yet, when framed as a single vignette, the places can appear to echo a moment of mournful reverie. Or, for some, they might behold an alluringly sombre, everlasting impression.
Advertisement
AAP Magazine Travels
Solo Exhibition September
Focus Photo LA

Latest Interviews

Exlusive Interview with Tom Price Winner of All About Photo Awards 2021
Tom Price is the Photographer of the Year, winner of All About Photo Awards 2021 - The Mind's Eye. My co-jurors Keith Cullen, Denis Dailleux, Stefano De Luigi, Monica Denevan, Claudine Doury, Ann Jastrab, Stephan Vanfleteren, Hiroshi Watanabe, Alison Wright and myself were impressed by his work 'Porter' taken from a series of surreal portraits, featuring 'relocated' porters from Kolkata, as a reflection on the experience of migrant workers.
Interview: Jill Enfield by Jon Wollenhaupt
Alternative photography pioneer Jill Enfield comes from a long line of photographers dating back to 1875-the date when her ancestors opened up gift stores in Germany where they sold cameras and other technical equipment. In 1939, after fleeing Nazi Germany, her family opened the first camera store in Miami Beach, where as a child, Jill roamed the aisles. It is easy to imagine that she grew up always having a camera in her hands. With photography imprinted in her DNA, her career path seemed inevitable.
Exclusive Interview with Michael Nguyen
Michael Nguyen is a street and documentary photographer living near Munich, Germany. He is also the co-founder of Tagree Magazine. We asked him a few questions about his life and work.
Exclusive Interview with Jon Enoch
Jon Enoch is a London-based photographer who focuses on portrait and lifestyle photography for advertising and media publications, as well as large organisations. He has won numerous awards for his Vietnamese photography portrait series called cBikes of Hanoi', including the Smithsonian Grand Prize; the Lens Culture Portrait Award and the Portraits of Humanity Award in 2020. The images were also shortlisted for the Sony World Photography Award and they won the gold Prix de la Photographie Paris (Px3) award in 2019. The set of portrait images were featured on the BBC, the Guardian, the Telegraph and went viral on websites across the world.
Exclusive Interview with Oliver Stegmann
Olivera Stegmann is a Swiss photographer and also the winner of AAP Magazine #16 Shadows with his project 'Circus Noir'. We asked him a few questions about his life and work.
Exclusive Interview with Francesco Gioia
Francesco Gioia is an Italian photographer who lives in England. He is the winner of AAP Magazine 15 Streets with his project 'Wake Up in London'. We asked him a few questions about his life and work
Exclusive Interview with Paul Brouns
Paul Brouns is a Dutch photographer who found his voice by capturing architecture. The urban landscape is his ideal playground for apprehending rhythm, color and geometrical elements. He is the winner of AAP Magazine 14 "Colors" with his project 'Urban Tapestries'. We asked him a few questions about his life and work.
Exclusive Interview with Réhahn
Referred to as someone who "captures the souls of his models", (Wanderlust Travel Magazine, 2018) Réhahn is more than just a man behind a camera. Behind each click is a story. Whether the photograph shows a child with startling blue eyes, a woman pulling a needle through indigo fabric or a man walking alone down a brightly painted street, these are more than just images to Réhahn. They are the culmination of an experience. The stories of his subjects as well as his passion to learn more about their culture, diversity and changing traditions are what drives Réhahn's work.
Craig Varjabedian: Found Horizons
Craig Varjabedian's photographs of the American West illuminate his profound connection with the region and its people. His finely detailed images shine with an authenticity that reveals the ties between identity, place, and the act of perceiving. For Varjabedian, photography is a receptive process driven by openness to the revelation each subject offers, rather than by the desire to manipulate form or to catalog detail. He achieves this vision by capturing and suspending on film those decisive moments in which the elements and the spirit of a moment come together
Call for Entries
AAP Magazine #20: Travels
Publish your work in AAP Magazine and win $1,000 Cash Prizes