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Alison Wright
Alison Wright
Alison Wright

Alison Wright

Country: United States
Birth: 1961 | Death: 2022

Alison Wright, an award-winning documentary photographer and author, has travelled to 150 countries photographing indigenous cultures and people while covering issues concerning the human condition. She is a recipient of the Dorothea Lange Award in Documentary Photography, a two-time winner of the Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Award, and an Explorers Club Fellow. She was recently named a National Geographic Traveler of the Year as someone who travels "with a sense of passion and purpose."

Alison has published ten books. Her upcoming book, Grit and Grace: Women at Work documents the empowerment of women working in global communities (Schiffer 2021). Her work has been published in numerous magazines including National Geographic, National Geographic Traveler, National Geographic Adventure, Outside, Islands and Smithsonian.

Alison's life was nearly cut short during a devastating bus accident on a remote jungle road in Laos. Her best-selling memoir, Learning to Breathe; One Woman's Journey of Spirit and Survival, chronicles her inspirational story of survival, the years of rehabilitation and her ongoing determination to recover and continue traveling the world as an intrepid visual storyteller. This experience while working in post disaster/conflict areas inspired her to establish a foundation called Faces of Hope (facesofhope.org); a non-profit that globally supports women and children's rights by creating visual awareness and donating directly to grass-roots organizations that help sustain them through education and healthcare.

About Human Tribe
"The emotive beauty and grace of the human face, in all its diversity, will never cease to inspire me but it's the enduring spirit of our collective tribe of humanity that will always certainly amaze me. One of the many things I have learned during my years of global travel as a documentary photographer is that no matter how unique we may look in appearance, from the exotic to the mundane, we basically have the same universal desires and concerns. Our needs are actually quite simple: to love and be loved; to have a useful place in our society with some meaningful and fulfilling occupation in our life; work that will hopefully provide us with enough money in our pocket to get by; food on the table; education, health and safety for ourselves, our family and our children. The freedom to be oneself is a right that creates the exquisiteness of our human race.

These portraits are an unguarded moment in the lives of a few of the people I have photographed from our remarkable human tapestry. Some are celebrating significant events, while others are living out ordinary days. Others are merely struggling to survive. Many are from countries whose lives are in flux or change due to war, natural disaster or the inevitable rapid progression of modernity. I feel drawn to those who live close to the land, documenting communities that may not last even another generation. Most are surprised that I actually wanted to stop and photograph someone who is considered in their culture to be such an ordinary looking person.

From tribes in Africa, to nomads in Asia, survivors of post conflict and disaster, families and individuals around the world have graciously opened up their homes and hearts to me. Surprisingly, I have discovered that it is often the ones who have the least who share the most. I find compassion in what can seem to be a world of chaos. The planet, at times, can seem so vast, with the numbers almost too large for us to comprehend. But when you capture the look in someone's eyes, an intimate stare, a knowing glance, his or her situation becomes a shared experience, a more personal connection. Their eyes seem to radiate a dignity, a claim for a right to be seen, no matter what their circumstances. These eyes are what initially draws us in and connects us together.

These photos are a celebration of the universal human spirit within us all. It is what bonds us as humankind, a continued thread, as together we continue this journey on the pilgrimage of life. "
 

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John Coplans
United Kingdom
1920 | † 2003
John Rivers Coplans was a British artist, art writer, curator, and museum director. His father was Joseph Moses Coplans, a medical doctor and a man of many scientific and artistic talents. His father left England for Johannesburg while John was an infant. At the age of two, John was brought to his father in South Africa; from 1924-1927 the family was in flux between London and South Africa, settling in a seaside Cape Town suburb until 1930. Despite the instability of his early home life, Coplans developed an enormous admiration for his father, who took him to galleries at weekends and instilled within him a love for exploration, experimentation, and a fascination with the world. In 1937, John Coplans returned to England from South Africa. When eighteen, he was commissioned into the Royal Air Force as an Acting Pilot Officer. Due to his hearing being affected by a rugby match, two years later, he volunteered for the army. His childhood experience living in Africa led to his appointment to the King’s African Rifles in East Africa. He was active as a platoon commander (primarily in Ethiopia) until 1943, after which his unit was deployed to Burma. In 1945 Coplans returned to civilian life and decided to become an artist. After being demobilised, Coplans settled in London, rooming at the Abbey Art Centre; he wanted to become an artist. The British government was giving grants to veterans of the war, and he received one such grant to study art. He tried both Goldsmiths and Chelsea College of the Arts, but found that art school did not suit him. He painted part-time for clients including Cecil Beaton, Basil Deardon whilst running his business John Rivers Limited which specialised in interior decorating. In the mid-1950s, Coplans began attending lectures by Lawrence Alloway at the Institute of Contemporary Arts. Here he was introduced to the budding Pop Art movement, which he would become deeply involved in as both critic and curator. His experience viewing exhibitions such as the Hard-Edged Painting exhibition (ICA, 1959) and New American Painting (The Tate, 1959) helped to solidify his growing passion for not just Pop Art, but American art as well. During this period he struggled as a young artist to find his artistic voice, and developed an abstract painting practice which reflected trends of tachism and Abstract Expressionism pioneered by Americans Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning. Coplans would later refer to this early painting work as "derivative"; these paintings were shown in exhibitions at the Royal Society of British Artists (1950) and later at the New Vision Center. In 1960, Coplans sold all of his belongings and moved to the United States, initially settling in San Francisco and taking a position at UC Berkeley as a visiting assistant design professor. Here he met gallerist Phil Leider, the future editor of ArtForum. Leider connected Coplans to John Irwin, who wanted to start a magazine. Coplans convinced Irwin that the West Coast needed an art publication: one that gave voice to art that was important, but had not yet received critical attention. He further suggested that it should be published in square format so that both vertical and horizontal images would be viewed equally, thus giving birth to ArtForum's iconic shape—and to the successful foundation of ArtForum itself. Coplans was a regular writer for the magazine. His perspective on art writing was anti-elitist, using popular appeal and excitement over new work to “stimulate debate and awareness” especially for West Coast artists. Finding himself conflicted between his painting and writing careers, he chose the latter and devoted the next twenty years of his life to the magazine, as well as curatorial pursuits and a career as a museum director. It was not until 1981, at the age of 62, that he returned to his career as an artist.Source: Wikipedia John Coplans had a career in reverse. He was 60 by the time he established himself as a photographer, having already had a long and active life as a curator, editor, writer, artist and decorator. A pioneer of selfportraiture, he took large format black-and-white close-ups of his bare body that sent ripples of shock, recognition and frequent praise through the international art world. A major element in the fascination was an obsession with one of our few remaining taboos: the process of ageing and physical decrepitude. And with the anonymity of identity: in Coplans' words, "To remove all references to my current identity, I leave out my head." The blow-ups of sagging flesh, creased folds, odd protuberances and body hair of an old man become the documentary tale of the decline of Everyman. After a brief spell teaching at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1962 Coplans co-founded Artforum magazine and, for the next two decades, his career was to be as artistically various as it was financially precarious. Artforum was intended to combat the anti-intellectualism Coplans felt he had encountered at Berkeley, and the notion that there was nothing to be said about art, since you either made it or looked at it. His whole background was in stimulating debate and awareness, at a popular rather than an elite level. Inevitably, as he later explained, "The thing was how to get the eastern establishment to read about west coast art". Within five years, the magazine was relocated to Manhattan, with Coplans acting as west coast editor. As a museum curator, he enjoyed similarly shifting fortunes. His first project was a pop art exhibition at the Oakland art museum, and, in 1963, he became director of the university gallery at Irvine, organising an important show by Frank Stella. From 1967 to 1971, he transferred to the Pasadena art museum. Alongside established artists like Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol and Donald Judd, he gave Robert Irwin, Richard Serra and James Turrell their first shows. In 1971, Coplans moved to New York to became editor of Artforum, and, in 1975, published his own version of events leading to the bankruptcy and takeover of the Pasadena art museum, “Diary Of A Disaster.” During his seven years at the helm, Artforum increasingly jettisoned the militant formalism with which it had been identified, and became a platform for the catholicity of Coplans' artistic tastes, including19th-century photography and contemporary European abstract art. In 1978, the publisher gave Coplans the choice of buying the magazine or quitting. Not being in a position to do the former, he became director of the Akron art museum in Ohio, where, again, he combined curatorial work with launching a new magazine, appropriately named Dialogue. He also published books on photographers, ranging from Weegee to Brancusi, and started his own photographic experiments. By 1980, Coplans was back in New York, and the following year had his first solo show at the Daniel Wolf Gallery. At last, he had found not only the medium but also the subject of his artistic expression. He called his works auto-portraits, and, created by means of a live-feedback video camera with an automatic shutter, they honed in on the physical landscapes of the body with all the sculptural focus - but without the distortions of the lens - of Bill Brandt's Perspective Of Nudes (1961). This was to become Coplans' constant subject matter. In 1986, he had his first show of self-portraits at the Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York. Sandra Phillips, the long-time photography curator at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, immediately saw the importance of the work. His first major museum exhibition followed at SF MoMA in 1988, and the exhibition traveled on to the Museum of Modern Art in New York that same year. The work was rapidly acquired and shown by the The J. Paul Getty Museum, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Whitney Museum of Art; in 1997 (the same year he remarried), a major retrospective was staged MoMA PS1 Contemporary Art Centre in Queens. He published books of the work, principally the anonymous-sounding A Body, Body Parts and A Self-Portrait, and finally Provocations, which includes his photo-essays and criticism. Coplans has a daughter, Barbara, and a son, Joseph; he has two granddaughters. He was married four times. His fourth wife, photographer Amanda Means, is the Trustee for the John Coplans Trust in Beacon, New York. John Coplans was born June 20, 1920 in London and died on August 21, 2003 in New York.Source: The John Coplans Trust
Martine Franck
Belgium
1938 | † 2012
Franck was born in Antwerp to the Belgian banker Louis Franck and his British wife, Evelyn. After her birth the family moved almost immediately to London. A year later, her father joined the British army, and the rest of the family were evacuated to the United States, spending the remainder of the Second World War on Long Island and in Arizona. Franck's father was an amateur art collector who often took his daughter to galleries and museums. Franck was in boarding school from the age of six onwards, and her mother sent her a postcard every day, frequently of paintings. Ms. Franck, attended Heathfield School, an all-girls boarding school close to Ascot in England, and studied the history of art from the age of 14. "I had a wonderful teacher who really galvanized me," she says. "In those days she took us on outings to London, which was the big excitement of the year for me." Franck studied art history at the University of Madrid and at the Ecole du Louvre in Paris. After struggling through her thesis (on French sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska and the influence of cubism on sculpture), she said she realized she had no particular talent for writing, and turned to photography instead. In 1963, Franck's photography career started following trips to the Far East, having taken pictures with her cousin’s Leica camera. Returning to France in 1964, now possessing a camera of her own, Franck became an assistant to photographers Eliot Elisofon and Gjon Mili at Time-Life. By 1969 she was a busy freelance photographer for magazines such as Vogue, Life and Sports Illustrated, and the official photographer of the Théâtre du Soleil (a position she held for 48 years). From 1970 to 1971 she worked in Paris at the Agence Vu photo agency, and in 1972 she co-founded the Viva agency. In 1980, Franck joined the Magnum Photos cooperative agency as a "nominee", and in 1983 she became a full member. She was one of a very small number of women to be accepted into the agency. In 1983, she completed a project for the now-defunct French Ministry of Women's Rights and in 1985 she began collaborating with the non-profit International Federation of Little Brothers of the Poor. In 1993, she first traveled to the Irish island of Tory where she documented the tiny Gaelic community living there. She also traveled to Tibet and Nepal, and with the help of Marilyn Silverstone photographed the education system of the Tibetan Tulkus monks. In 2003 and 2004 she returned to Paris to document the work of theater director Robert Wilson who was staging La Fontaine's fables at the Comédie Française. Nine books of Franck's photographs have been published, and in 2005 Franck was made a chevalier of the French Légion d'Honneur. Franck continued working even after she was diagnosed with bone cancer in 2010. Her last exhibition was in October 2011 at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie. The exhibit consisted of 62 portraits of artists "coming from somewhere else" collected from 1965 through 2010. This same year, there were collections of portraits shown at New York's Howard Greenberg Gallery and at the Claude Bernard Gallery, Paris. Franck was well known for her documentary-style photographs of important cultural figures such as the painter Marc Chagall, philosopher Michel Foucault and poet Seamus Heaney, and of remote or marginalized communities such as Tibetan Buddhist monks, elderly French people, and isolated Gaelic speakers. Michael Pritchard, the Director-General of the Royal Photographic Society, observed: "Martine was able to work with her subjects and bring out their emotions and record their expressions on film, helping the viewer understand what she had seen in person. Her images were always empathetic with her subject." In 1976, Frank took one of her most iconic photos of bathers beside a pool in Le Brusc, Provence. By her account, she saw them from a distance and rushed to photograph the moment, all the while changing the roll of film in her camera. She quickly closed the lens just at the right moment, when happened to be most intense. She cited as influences the portraits of British photographer Julia Margaret Cameron, the work of American photojournalist Dorothea Lange and American documentary photographer Margaret Bourke-White. In 2010, she told The New York Times that photography "suits my curiosity about people and human situations." She worked outside the studio, using a 35 mm Leica camera, and preferring black and white film. The British Royal Photographic Society has described her work as "firmly rooted in the tradition of French humanist documentary photography." Source: Wikipedia Born in Belgium, Martine Franck (1938-2012) grew up in the United States and in England. She studied art history at the University of Madrid and at the École du Louvre in Paris. In 1963, she went to China, taking her cousin's Leica camera with her, and discovered the joys of documenting other cultures. Returning home via Hong Kong, Cambodia, India, Afghanistan and Turkey, and bought her first camera while on the trip. Returning to France, she worked as a photographic assistant at Time-Life where she developed her own technique. In 1966, Franck met Henri Cartier-Bresson, whose photographs epitomized Magnum's tradition of humanitarian photography. Franck was adamant that she would neither bask in his reflection nor disappear in his shadow and she joined the Vu agency in 1970. Her first solo exhibition was planned for the ICA in London that year; when she saw that the invitations were embossed with the information that her husband would be present at the launch, she cancelled the show. With Vu's demise, Franck co-founded the Viva agency in 1972. It also collapsed and it was not until 1980 that Franck joined Magnum, becoming a full member in 1983. She was one of the few women to be accepted into the agency and served as vice-president from 1998 to 2000. Eschewing the war/human tragedy reportage that characterized Magnum's reputation, Franck continued her projects on marginal or isolated lives throughout the rest of her life. Source: Howard Greenberg Gallery
Klavdij Sluban
France
1963
Klavdij SLUBAN, winner of the European Publishers Award for Photography 2009, of the Leica Prize (2004) and of the Niépce Prize (2000), main French prize in photography, Klavdij Sluban is a French photographer of Slovenian origin born in Paris in 1963. He develops a rigorous and coherent body of work, nourished by literature, never inspired by immediate and sensational current affairs, making him one of the most interesting photographers of his generation. The Balkans, the Black Sea, the Baltic Sea, the Caribbean, Central America, Russia, China and the Antarctic (first artistic mission in the Kerguelen islands) can be read as many successive steps of an in-depth study of a patient proximity to the encountered real. His images have been shown in such leading institutions as the Metropolitan Museum of Photography of Tokyo, the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris, the Rencontres d’Arles, the Museum of Photography in Helsinki, the Fine Arts Museum in Canton, the Musée Beaubourg, the Museum of Texas Tech University… His many books include East to East (published simultaneously by Actes Sud, Dewi Lewis, Petliti, Braus, Apeiron & Lunwerg with a text by Erri de Luca), Entre Parenthèses, (Photo Poche, Actes Sud), Transverses, (Maison Européenne de la Photographie) and Balkans -Transit, with a text by François Maspero (Seuil). Since 1995, Sluban has been photographing teenagers in jails. In each prison he organizes workshops with the young offenders to share his passion. First originated in France, in the prison of Fleury-Mérogis with support of Henri Cartier-Bresson during 7 years, as well as Marc Riboud and William Klein punctually. This commitment was pursued in the disciplinary camps of Eastern Europe –Serbia, Slovenia, Ukraine, Georgia, Moldavia, Latvia – and in the disciplinary centres of Moscow and St Petersburg as well as in Ireland. From 2007 to 2012, Sluban has been working in Central America with imprisoned youngsters belonging to maras (gangs) in Guatemala and Salvador. In 2015, he started photogrphing imprisoned teeangers in Brazil. In 2013, the musée Niépce showed a retrospective of K.Sluban’s work, After Darkness, 1995-2012. In 2015/16, he was awarded the Villa Kujoyama Residence in Kyoto, Japan. K.Sluban is member of national and international jurys, such as prix Niépce, prix de la Jeune Photographie de Niort, prix Leica, All About Photo…
George Mayer
Photographer, designer, artist. member of the Union of Russian Art Photographers. George was born in Nizhny Tagil, Russia in 1985. In 2004 he graduated from the Ural College of Arts and Crafts with honors where he majored in environmental design. Up to 2007 he worked as an interior designer. He participated and became a prize winner of Russian national contests of architecture and design. His works were published in professional books and periodicals for architects and designers by such publishing houses as Tatlin and UniverPress. Since 2008 he has been taking part in well-known international photo contests such as Photography Masters Cup (USA), The Spider Awards (USA), National Portrait Gallery Awards (UK), Maestro Photo Contest (Russia). In 2011 George Mayer won the Russian photo contest Young Photographers of Russia. The contest projects were exhibited in Kazan, Moscow, at the international art festival in Marsciano (Italy) and were published in professional editions. In 2011 George was the winner of the photo contest The Spider Awards (USA) where he won Photographer of the Year, Outstanding Achievements in Black-and-White Photography. In 2011 George Mayer arranged his first personal exhibition in FotoliaLAB Gallery (Berlin, Germany). In 2012 he was a finalist of the contest Young Photographers of Russia after which he was admitted to the Union of Russian Art Photographers. In the same year he was nominated for the award in the photo contest Sony World Photography Awards, the exhibition was held in Somerset House (London, UK). In 2015 he participated in the project Perfumer organized by the art center Perinnye Ryady in St. Petersburg (Russia). With his project Shadows he won Photographer of the Year at International Photography Awards. The award ceremony took place in Carnegie Hall (New York, USA). George was nominated for the first prize of IPA and Lucie Awards statuette. In 2017 George won one of the most prestigious world photography contests Sony World Photography Awards where the project Light. Shadows. Perfect woman took the first prize among the professionals in nomination Portraiture. After winning the project Light. Shadows. Perfect woman was published in numerous specialized European editions about photography. The SONY company gave a grant for the project Libido & Mortido the portraits from this project were exhibited in Somerset House, London. Along with art photography George Mayer works in commercial and fashion photography. Since 2009 he has been collaborating with internationally recognized modeling agencies and stylists. Thanks to this his works are regularly published in Russian and foreign fashion magazines. Among the companies that have bought photos by George Mayer are Adobe, Atlantic Records, Alfa Romeo, Lalique and others. His photographs can be seen on covers of dozens of music CDs by such popular foreign singers as Chris Brown, Buller for my Valentine, Operator. And also one can see photos by George on books by acknowledged Russian and foreign writers and playwrights. Among them are the Nobel Prize winner in literature Mario Vargas Llosa and the famous French writer Bernard Werber. Some photos were also bought by Netflix for the film Bright (2017) starring Will Smith and some photos were bought by the MGM Television for the cult-favourite series Fargo. AAP Magazine Shadows
Norman Seeff
South Africa
1939
Ex-medical doctor, Norman Seeff, emigrated from South Africa to the United States in 1968 to pursue a new career as a photographer, designer and filmmaker. After three-years in New York capturing stunning images of Robert Mapplethorpe, Patti Smith, Andy Warhol, Richard Bernstein, Johnny Winter, James Taylor and The Band, he relocated to Los Angeles as Art Director at United Artists Records. Two years later he established his own studio and focused on photographing and documenting artists and innovators in the act of creation in the context of his sessions. Seeff has worked with hundreds of renowned artists and innovators including Ray Charles, The Rolling Stones, Miles Davis, Ike & Tina Turner, Michael Jackson, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Martin Scorsese, John Huston, Billy Wilder, Sir Francis Crick, Steve Jobs, Will.i.am, Alicia Keys and many others; including Nobel Laureates, space scientists and engineers. The authenticity of his images reflects his skills as a communicator and his ability to create an environment for artists and innovators conducive to the revelation of how they function creatively. This has enabled him to capture the very essence of his subjects. Utilizing his vast archive of images and over 1000 hours of film and video documenting his sessions, Seeff’s work is currently focused on the exploration of the inner dynamics of creativity as it applies to personal and collective creative excellence.Source: Morrison Hotel Gallery South African photographer, Norman Seeff is known for his outstanding black and white photographs of celebrities such as Steve Jobs, Tina Turner, Joni Mitchell, Patti Smith, Andy Warhol, Miles Davis, and many more. His work focuses on the exploration of human creativity and the inner dynamics of the creative process. “My whole thing was, it’s not about photography- it’s about communication,” Seeff tells Rolling Stone. Norman Seeff was born in 1939 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Seeff qualified as a medical doctor in 1965 ad for three years he worked in emergency medicine at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, focusing on the management of traumatic shock. In 1968 Seeff took a turn in his career and immigrated to the United States to pursue his creative passions and artistic abilities. Shortly after Seeff arrived in New York City, his photographs of the life he encountered on the streets of Manhattan were discovered by graphic designer, Bob Cato. Cato was the former Vice President of Creative Services at Columbia Records. Cato became an important mentor to Seeff and gave him his first major photographic assignment producing images for The Band’s Stage Fright album. Seeff’s iconic image of the group was reproduced as a poster inserted in the album, which when unfolded, became a popular collectors’ item. Seeff relocated to Los Angeles at the end of 1971 to become the creative director of United Artists Records. His innovative approach to collaborative art-direction resulted in multiple Grammy Award nominations for graphic design. In 1973 Seeff opened an independent studio on the strip on Sunset Boulevard. His photographic sessions became legendary. For Seeff, the session became the art-form itself, transforming into a multi-disciplinary process of photography, filmmaking and creative communication. Seeff’s first solo exhibition was at the Morrison Hotel Gallery in New York and featured photos and videos from these sessions.Source: Jackson Fine Art
Gregory Spaid
United States
1946
Gregory Spaid (born, 1946) is an American artist who works in many modes and styles of photography, which are linked by a common thread of illuminating the commonplace. Whether it is the daily movement of pedestrians on the streets of New York City or the leaves that fall in his yard in rural Ohio, it is photography’s potential to transform our common experiences to reveal meaning and beauty that is the hallmark of his work. Spaid’s recent work includes a photography project that explores the importance trees play in our lives and for the health of the planet titled Reading Trees. His work on trees includes Cliché Verre photographs that incorporate actual leaves and other materials on negatives he makes by hand. For this project he traveled throughout the United States and has been awarded artist residencies at the Brush Creek Foundation in Wyoming, Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado, Congaree National Park in South Carolina and the Sonoran Arts Residency in Ajo, Arizona. During the Covid-19 pandemic, he focused on the natural world much closer to home, within footsteps of where he lives, to produce a series of videos to share with friends, titled The Machine in the Garden, that take a close look at nature for the beauty and inspiration still to be found there. Since 2009, Spaid has photographed the dance-like movement of people on the street of New York City for a series of abstract images titled Pedestrians. His photography on the changing landscape of rural America was included in a major group exhibition at The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles titled Where We Live. As well as the Getty Museum, his work is in other major collections including the Museum of Modern Art, the International Museum of Photography at the George Eastman House, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. He received a Fulbright Research Fellowship to Italy and is the recipient of eight grants from the Ohio Art Council. Spaid has published two monographs: Grace: Photograph of Rural America and On Nantucket. In 2010, the Getty Museum published his work in an historical survey titled The Tree in Photography. Spaid taught studio art at Kenyon College where he served for nine years in academic administration including six years as the college’s provost. About Leaf Cutting Series "Leaves occur in such abundance where I live in rural Ohio as to seem worthless, and yet each one is astoundingly complex and beautiful both in its form and function. I think of the leaves in this series as visual representations of wildness, while the alterations I make to them -- the cutting -- is a form of rational human intervention. These images from my leaf cutting series are camera-less photographs made from negatives I make by hand -- a process known by the French term Cliché Verre. Cliché Verre is one of the earliest uses of light-sensitive, photographic materials. In the mid-19th century, it was used by a few French landscape painters, including Corot, Delacroix, Millet and Rousseau, to reproduce drawings they made on glass plates. My process is a hybrid one and an experimental contemporary version of that early process. After making a negative by hand, I scan it, process it digitally, and then print it as an archival ink jet print. Because there is no right or wrong way to make Cliché Verre images, I invent my technique as I work and let chance and discovery shape my approach. The subject of this work is leaves that I collect, make translucent, cut in unique shapes, and then combine with other materials (including maple syrup, blueberry juice, glue, India ink) to make hand-made 'negatives.'” -- Gregory Spaid
Jens Juul
Denmark
My name is Jens Juul, and I'm a photographer. I'm trained as both photographer and portrait painter and have also done graphic design for years. I recently won the portraiture category in The Sony World Photography Awards with my series Six Degrees.About my way of working with photography: Strong impressions form the motive power of my work. Behind a strong impression always lies an interesting and often untold story. Of course the strong impressions can be seen on the news, where we daily watch pictures from global hot spots or places hit by sudden disasters. These pictures any photographer can chase in competition with other photographers with access to the same news channels. But apart from the spectacular and crisis hit places I actually believe that strong impressions can be found around all of us. My morning bike ride to take my children to school is often cause of great inspiration. The story is right on your doorstep. It is just a matter of seeing it and of really seeing the people who are part of the tapestry of your daily life, and then of finding your angle and the courage to step across the boundary between yourself and other people formed by each person¹s privacy sphere even to those strangers who may at times seem dangerous and intimidating. of Copenhagen.About Six Degrees of Copenhagen: My photo series Six Degrees of Copenhagen is a textbook example of breaking this boundary. The way I work is that I approach someone I don't know, be it on the street, in a supermarket or at a social event. I ask if I can portray them in their homes and then I pay them a visit. The visit usually lasts a couple of hours or however long it takes to break the ice and get just the right shot of the subject. I then ask them to pass the torch so to speak and recommend someone in their own network that I can portray in the same way. I got the idea from the theory of six degrees of separation - the notion that all people on Earth are connected in the sixth degree. There is nothing scientific about my work, though, and I'm not trying to show the extent of human networks. It is a way of working that magically enables me to travel through a city and meeting its inhabitants. I've come across all walks of life, old and young, and I have seen many different ways of life. If you meet people without prejudice and with a lot of curiosity it really is amazing how willing they are to share their experiences and the insights they've gained. In that way my work is a journey into the minds and lives of other people.About Inmates: A third project I am working on is a book project about being an inmate in a prison. The Inmate project takes its point of departure in a profound curiosity regarding the consequences of being punished with long-term imprisonment to someone's life. The project focuses on the life conditions of long-term inmates in Danish prisons. What do inmates think about their own lives, their relationships with people both inside and out of prison, and what kinds of hopes and expectations do they have about the future? The project will be using a combination of interviews, portraits and picture documentation of the everyday life in Danish prisons to tell the story of inmates. The aim is to publish a book with ten interviews and approximately 75 pictures. I'm looking into crowd funding possibilities, and am also considering making an electronic version that would keep production costs down and provide a possibility of layering information. Through the Danish Prison and Probation Service I have been granted access to the Danish prisons. In some prisons I have only been allowed to take pictures of architectural details. In other prisons I have been escorted around by prison employees, who have opened and locked doors for me, and walked me through the different parts of the prison. In yet other places I have been permitted to move around freely, and take all the pictures I wanted, as long as I got permission from the inmates first. In total I have been granted a much higher degree of access than I had ever dreamt of when I made the first phone call in order to get into prison. But why on Earth, one might ask, am I giving criminals that have harmed fellow human beings a chance to express themselves? And why would I offer them to have their portraits and pictures of their everyday life grace the pages of a book, and even do so in a book looking all luxurious with big pictures? The answer is simple, really: Because their voices to a large extent are missing in the public debate. There are black holes, so to speak, in the public's map when it comes to the realities and consequences of incarceration. What is it like? Really? In Denmark, imprisonment is largely seen as punishment, but with an agenda of offering possibilities for resocialization, and only severely hardened or mentally ill inmates have little prospect of ever getting out. However, reality is that resocialization is difficult, even in a social-liberal welfare state like Denmark. The question then is: if prison breeds more criminals, how does society benefit from locking people away? It is my ambition to start a public debate about the relationship between justice, punishment, revenge and resocialization that will hopefully engage both the public and the politicians. Each year, so many families live with the consequences of crime. Children of criminals and victims alike are growing up with the effects of crime and punishment. So we'd better make it count! And to return to the relationship to our personal networks and the use of them, my work inside the prison walls has shown me that much crime is committed by individuals whose networks have been insufficiently present. A lack of care and love early in life, but also a lack of engagement from the personal circle of acquaintances. Instead of stepping in when people are in trouble, we turn our heads away to avoid becoming a part of the problem. A lot of human misery could be avoided if only we dared to get involved and show some interest in the lives of our fellow human beings!Awards:2013 Winner of the Sony World Photography Awards 2013 in the portraiture category2013 Finalist in KL International Photoawards 2013 in the Portrait Category.2013 Selected for a Spotlight Award in the Black & White Portfolio Contest 20132013 4th place for the Su-ture 1st Edition by Gomma, 2013
Laura Pannack
United Kingdom
1985
Laura Pannack is a London-based, award-winning photographer. Renowned for her recognizable portraiture and social documentary artwork, she often seeks to explore the complex relationship between subject and photographer. Her work heavily focuses on the youth. She was educated at the University of Brighton, Central Saint Martins College of Art and LCP. Pannack's work has been extensively exhibited throughout the UK and abroad, including at The National Portrait Gallery, Somerset House, the Royal Festival Hall and the Houses of Parliament. Driven by research-led, self-initiated projects, Pannack seeks to fully understand the lives of those she captures on film in order to portray them as truthfully as possible. Perceiving “time, trust and understanding” to be the key elements to achieving this, many of her projects develop over several years, helping her achieve a genuine connection between herself and her sitter and allowing her to capture the intimacy, shared ideas and shared experiences of this relationship. Pannack chooses to shoot with analogue film on her personal projects. By using traditional methods of working from negatives, as well as shooting with Polaroid, she finds beauty in the mistakes that come from working with unpredictable material. Her artwork has received much acclaim and won numerous awards, among which are the John Kobal Award , Vic Odden prize,World Photo Press Awards and the HSBC Prix de la Photographie prize In addition to her own practice, Pannack lectures, critiques and teaches at universities, workshops and festivals around the world, and in 2015, judged the portrait category in World Photo Press Awards in Amsterdam. Pannack has also been widely published, both commercially and as a photographic artist, with work appearing in The British Journal of Photography, Hotshoe International, TIME, The Guardian Weekend, The Telegraph, The Sunday Times, Creative Review. Her monograph 'Against the dying of the light' was published by Acts de Suds in 2016 and YOUTH Vol 1 was released in 2018 by Polite company
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