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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
 

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Odette England
Australia
1975
Odette England is an Australia/British artist who uses photography, performance, writing, and the archive to explore relationships between autobiography, gender, place, and vernacular photography. England is currently Visiting Artist-in-Residence at Amherst College in Massachusetts. She is also a resident artist of the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts Studio Program in New York. Her work has shown in more than 90 solo, two-person, and group exhibitions worldwide. Notable venues include the George Eastman Museum, Museum of Contemporary Photography Chicago, New Mexico Museum of Art, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, RISD Museum, Center for Photography at Woodstock, Colorado Photographic Arts Center, Philadelphia Photo Arts Center, Photographic Resource Center Boston, MacDonald Stewart Art Center Ontario, Perth Center for Photography in Australia, State Library of South Australia, HOST Gallery London, and the Durham Art Museum & Gallery in England. England has regularly received funding through competitive grants and fellowships. These include the CENTER $5,000 Project Launch Award (2012); two grants - $4,865 and $2,315 - from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (2018-2019); the Anonymous Was a Woman $1,500 Grant (2020); Color Lab $2,000 Dean's Council Research Fellowship (2020); and the Center for Fine Art Photography Director's Award (2015), among others. She has received fellowships to attend residencies in Australia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Spain, and the United States including the invitation-only Robert Rauschenberg Foundation residency working with Guggenheim Fellow, Jennifer Garza-Cuen. England's first edited volume Keeper of the Hearth was published by Schilt Publishing in March 2020, with a foreword by Charlotte Cotton. The book is part of England's Winter Garden Photograph project which includes an exhibition at the Houston Center for Photography opening September 2020. England's photographs are held in public collections including the Brooklyn Art Library, the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, George Eastman Museum, Hungarian Multicultural Center, Museum of Contemporary Photography, New Mexico Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Robert Rauschenberg Residency, and Texas A&M University. Award-related exhibitions include the 2015 Australian Photobook of the Year; Magenta Foundation Flash Forward Emerging Photographers awards (UK winner, twice); HotShoe Magazine Photofusion Photography Award (1st prize); Director's Choice Award at the Medium Festival of Photography's ‘Size Matters' exhibition (1st prize); Px3 Prix De La Photographie competition (1st prize, People's Choice Award); and the Photo Review Photography Competition. Her work has been published in contemporary art journals, magazines, and newspapers including American Photo, Photograph, The Brooklyn Rail, The Photo Review, Photo District News, Hotshoe International, British Journal of Photography, Australian Art Monthly, Musee, GUP, SPOT, JRNL, The Guardian (United Kingdom) and Der Standaard (Belgium). England has given artist talks and critiques at Harvard University, Princeton University, Stanford University, Brown University, the School of Visual Arts in New York, Amherst College, the Penumbra Foundation, Kenyon College, Syracuse University, Lesley College of Art & Design, University of Melbourne, and the Art Gallery of South Australia, among others. She received a four-year fully-funded Research Training Program Scholarship to complete her PhD at the Australian National University in 2018. She also has an MFA in Photography with Honors from the Rhode Island School of Design and an MA in Communication, Culture and Language from the University of South Australia. England is a permanent US resident and lives and works in Providence, Rhode Island and New York City. Her work is represented in the US (east coast only) by Klompching Gallery.
Georgi Zelma
Russia
1906 | † 1984
Georgi Zelma was born in Tashkent in 1906. The family moved to Moscow in 1921 and Zelma eventually found work at the Proletkino film studios. Later he joined the Russfoto Agency and from 1924 to 1927 was their correspondent in Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Central Asia. A large number of his photographs appeared in Pravda. Zelma served in the Red Army (1927-29) before working briefly in Tashkent. In 1930 Zelma joined Souizfoto Agency and his assignments included taking photographs of collective farms and military exercises. His pictures often appeared in the propaganda magazine, USSR in Construction. During the Second World War Zelma worked for Izvestia and took photographs in Moldova, Odessa and the Ukraine. He also covered the battle of Stalingrad. After the war Zelma worked for the magazine Ogonek and the Novosti Press Agency. Georgi Zelma died in 1984. Source: Spartacus Educational Born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, in 1906, Georgii Anatolevich Zelma moved to Moscow with his family in 1921, where he began taking pictures with an old 9 x 12 Kodak camera. His first experiences as a photographer took place at the Proletkino film studios and during theater repetitions for the magazine Teatr. He soon joined the Russfoto agency. From 1924 to 1927, he returned to his homeland as a correspondent for Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Central Asia in order to document Islamic culture being reformed by Soviet socialist reconstruction. This work was published in Pravda Vostoka. In 1927, Zelma was enlisted in the ranks of the Red Army, serving in Moscow. After the demobilization in 1929, he returned to Tashkent and worked briefly for the Uzbek cinema chronicles. In Moscow, he entered the team of Soiuzfoto and received a Leica. Through the 1930s, he was sent on assignment to the mines and factories in the Donbass region, to Collective Farms in Tula province and to the Soviet Military maneuvers in the Black Sea region. He worked with Roman Karmen on the stories The USSR from the Air and Ten Years of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Iakutia, which were published in the propaganda magazine “USSR in Construction”. For this magazine he also collaborated with Max Alpert and Aleksandr Rodchenko. During World War II, he was a correspondent for Isvestiia stationed at the front-line campaigns in Moldova, Odessa, and Ukraine. His most memorable photographs are of the Battle of Stalingrad, where he spent the severe winter of 1942-43. After the war, Zelma worked for the magazine Ogonek and from 1962 for the Novosti press agency. He died in 1984. Source: Lumiere Gallery
John Kenny
United Kingdom
In 2006 I developed my style of portrait photography within traditional communities, heavily influenced by the dramatic pictures of chiaroscuro artists. Chiaroscuro is an Italian term which literally means light-dark. Back then, at the very start of my Africa journey, I was buzzing with energy having met people of real magnetism just days into my trip. I was excited by extraordinary people and fascinating cultures and wondered how I could possibly communicate and express these feelings of excitement to friends and family back home.The solution, I imagined, would involve abstracting the remarkable from the not so remarkable: put simply, I felt that the vibrant and intense individuals that I had met in traditional communities would best show their magnetism on camera when they were removed from the (often) dull and dusty backgrounds of their immediate environment. After a few days I started to imagine each of these people in front of me emerging from the nothingness of darkness, with no distractions, hoping that this would provide a real feeling of proximity between the viewer and the person in the picture. I made a conscious decision at that time to leave a more documentary style of environmental portraiture to others. Practicing this new technique in remote African villages in 2006 I had nothing but sunshine and a hut available as a great ‘open studio': so I used these parameters and started experimenting (I've never really liked flash anyway). So it's simply the illumination of natural sunlight, and sun on dry earth, that reaches into the darkness of huts and lights up these remarkable people. Sun and dry earth are the only ingredients required for the lighting in my prints. And of course, you also need to find exceptional people!Falling in love with photography, and the origins of this series:I first fell in love with photography around 2003. I had not been fortunate enough to receive an art or photography education, but I knew back then, when I picked up my first SLR camera, that I had found the perfect way to express myself. Every time I had the camera in my hand I was looking to improve, needing to know what everything and anything looked like once it had been through the photographic process. It was a bit like a mad pursuit of alchemy - throwing everything into the mix to see if any magic came out of the other side. The process of photographic learning is very rarely a simple one, but to me it remains beautiful: discoveries, experimentation and seeing for the first time how a camera distorts and enhances the world.In Africa I seem to have made it my goal to travel through some of the remotest areas of the continent where the reaches of urbanisation and 21st century living are barely detectable. Looking back, this wasn’t my intention when I first arrived there in 2006, but somehow I keep returning to Africa to photograph because I'm fascinated to encounter societies that are able to survive in some of the most arid, isolated and difficult environments that people have settled in. If you haven’t visited these places then the reality of living is not nearly as romantic or idealised as one might imagine. Life takes place against a backdrop of very uncertain resources and enormous hardships, but traditions and hospitality towards outsiders remain intact.I specifically chose to photograph the individuals that you see in these galleries because I had a very real sense of wonder when I met them. Each one of these people had something that attracted me, sometimes a piercing intensity, or an uncommon beauty, that I felt compelled to try and capture. It’s true that I photograph for myself, first and foremost, but a close second is my desire to show others this magnetism that draws one into the eyes of these fascinating people.I have usually travelled alone or with a guide on these journeys, along the way walking and hopping onto overloaded vehicles of every kind to head to remote settlements. Often the destination is a transient, weekly market where hundreds of vibrant, colourful people assemble somewhat incongruously against a dull, dusty backdrop for a few hours. Later in the day they will all melt away with their animals and traded possessions, until the location is again a patch of bone-dry ground with almost nothing to separate it from the rest of the featureless land that typifies much of the African Sahel. It is fascinating to observe this process play out in almost exactly the same way across countless African countries, many of which are separated by hundreds or thousands of miles across this huge continent’s surface.My favourite tools are sharp prime lenses and cameras that let you capture the tiniest pieces of detail: whilst these details may be insignificant alone, when aggregated I feel they help paint the picture of the environment and how each person adapts to theirs.My favourite series of work remains the Northern Kenya series which involved 6 weeks of intense travelling with my guide, Mo, across remote areas without a vehicle and often without any semblance of an idea how to get to the next tiny settlement. The trip was full of unique encounters in locations that seemed to be famous, to me at least, as places where no transport seemed to be heading. On one particular occasion we came across a lone Moran (warrior) emerge into the dawn light, miles from anywhere. He seemed like a mirage: a vibrant vision in pink cloth and bright colourful jewellery, and more acutely so when set against the hazy yellow monotone of land that he emerged from. Even for Northern Kenya, I thought he seemed to be in a remote, featureless location: devoid of any water, and within an hour it would again be blistering hot. Despite these uncomfortable realities - which clearly weighed more heavily on my mind than his - the warrior seemed confident of his bearings and stopped for a moment to exchange pleasantries with Mo and I. A couple of minutes later, after sharing cigarette with my guide, he purposefully set off walking again, to God knows where. This place that looked barren and foreboding, to me at least, was clearly his home.
Alesya Osadchaya
Russia Federation
1990
Alesya Osadchaya was born in October of 1990 in Moscow, Russia. She studied veterinary medicine at the Moscow Veterinary Academy. Currently, he also works as a teacher in the field of veterinary entrepreneurship. The fascination with photography came from childhood. Dad taught her to handle the camera, later she got carried away with photography seriously and began to earn money by taking pictures - portrait and reportage. After graduation, the institute began to travel and take pictures of more scenery and travel reports. Travel and photography are closely related. Alesya rarely uses the services of travel agencies and travels alone. Always takes a camera with her. Through photographs, she shows the fragility of man compared to the forces of nature. Statement: No wonder they say that the most cool photos are obtained at a time when the elements are raging. Nature opens on the new side. In bad weather, few people can force themselves to leave the warm bed and go to meet the unknown. At this time, and people who are on the street once pretend to wear "masks". They are busy with more important things - how not to get wet, do not mess up your hair, save your property, and even the safety of your life, after all. But these are not all. However strange it may sound, I am inspired by the vagaries of nature: storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, storms. As a child, I reviewed a bunch of BBC films (and not only) about similar natural phenomena. Probably, therefore, at such moments in the head immediately the plots for photographs are born - a good look. But even in the quietest weather one can find "moments of strength". With my capture I want to show the greatness of nature, its beauty, strength and scale in comparison with fragility and human life.
Oriol Torra Segon
He was born in Manresa (Spain) in 1981. He studied photography at Catalan Institute of Photographic Studies (IEFC). He participated in several documentary workshops taught by Antoine d’Agata (Magnum Photos), Franco Pagetti (VII), Jose Manuel Navia (Agence Vu) or Arianna Rinaldo, among others. Since 2011 he is a freelance photographer. His photography focuses in human frailty and vulnerability. His photographic project Young Patriots has been has received the EXPOSURE AWARD 2014 of See Me (New York, United States), has been one of the photographic projects selected as Descubrimientos PhotoEspaña 2014 (Madrid, Spain), was exhitibted at the Emerging Photography PA-TA-TA Granada Festival (Granada, Spain) and will be exhibited at DOCfield 2014 Festival (Barcelona, Spain), La Kursala de la UCA gallery (Cádiz, Spain) , Backlight Festival (Findland) and Encontros da Imagem Festival (Braga, Portugal). Young Patriots was also published in CNN and Cicero Magazine (Germany). Currently he works on commercial assignments and he is also a contributor of the Echo Photo Agency.About Young Patriots: “Young patriots documents the daily life in a military summer camp for children and teenagers focusing on the fragility of the atendees, in transition between from the childhood to the adulthood”The military summer camp in Mogyoród, Hungary, is a private project which each year sees the arrival of hundreds of children and teenagers between 10 and 15 years old. Some came attracted by the fascination of the military way of life, a militarism which is omnipresent in Hungarian society thanks to its imperial past and the memories of both the Nazi and the Communist periods. Others are brought here by their parents (mostly Hungarian nationalists) so as to introduce them to the unforgiving adult world where emotions are rarely permitted and life must be faced with rectitude and discipline.For a week they will live in tents, will receive military training from experienced soldiers who are still active, will acquire notions regarding Order and the Homeland, will endure long nights on guard duty without sleep, will learn how to use old out of service AK-47s built in Czechoslovakia (with blanks) and will even simulate being under teargas attacks.It will be a week of screamed orders during which intense physical exercise, educational behaviorism and precooked food will prevail; a place where any vulnerabilities and all questioning of military methods are simply overlooked, silenced and inwardly repressed.The young soldiers who had previously already felt the call of the Homeland will live the week’s activities impregnates wit epic airs. On the other hand, the skeptical protagonists, increasingly desensitized, more obedient, more docile, will have been transformed into disciplined young patriots of the great Hungary which one day will go back to being what it once was.All the images of this project were taken in Mogyoród, Hungary in the first week of July, 2013.
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