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Julie Blackmon
Julie Blackmon
Julie Blackmon

Julie Blackmon

Country: United States
Birth: 1966

Born in Springfield, Missouri, Julie Blackmon studied art education and photography at Missouri State University. She has received several national awards for her photographs, including commendation in the 2004 Santa Fe Center of Photography Project Competition, a merit award from the Society of Contemporary Photography, 2005 B& W Magazine Merit Award for Single Image Contest, 2006 1st Place for Domestic Vacations from the Santa Fe Center of Photograph Project Competition, 2006 Critical Mass Book Award Winner for Domestic Vacations, and recognized as American Photo’s Emerging Photographer of 2008. Her photographs are included in the permanent collections of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Toledo Museum of Art, Portland Art Museum, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, among numerous others.

About Domestic Vacations:The Dutch proverb “a Jan Steen household” originated in the 17th century and is used today to refer to a home in disarray, full of rowdy children and boisterous family gatherings. The paintings of Steen, along with those of other Dutch and Flemish genre painters, helped inspire this body of work. I am the oldest of nine children and now the mother of three. As Steen’s personal narratives of family life depicted nearly 400 yrs. ago, the conflation of art and life is an area I have explored in photographing the everyday life of my family and the lives of my sisters and their families at home. These images are both fictional and auto-biographical, and reflect not only our lives today and as children growing up in a large family, but also move beyond the documentary to explore the fantastic elements of our everyday lives, both imagined and real. The stress, the chaos, and the need to simultaneously escape and connect are issue that I investigate in this body of work. We live in a culture where we are both “child centered” and “self-obsessed.” The struggle between living in the moment versus escaping to another reality is intense since these two opposites strive to dominate. Caught in the swirl of soccer practices, play dates, work, and trying to find our way in our “make-over” culture, we must still create the space to find ourselves. The expectations of family life have never been more at odds with each other. These issues, as well as the relationship between the domestic landscape of the past and present, are issues I have explored in these photographs. I believe there are moments that can be found throughout any given day that bring sanctuary. It is in finding these moments amidst the stress of the everyday that my life as a mother parallels my work as an artist, and where the dynamics of family life throughout time seem remarkably unchanged. As an artist and as a mother, I believe life’s most poignant moments come from the ability to fuse fantasy and reality: to see the mythic amidst the chaos.
 

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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
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
Oliver Stegmann
Switzerland
1970
I was born in 1970 in Basel, Switzerland. Since my late teen years, photography has become a key medium for me to express myself. Professionally, however, I took a different path, studying economics and now working in a management position. I'm married and a father of two lovely daughters. On many trips to different continents, I have continuously worked on improving my skills as a photographer and on developing my own visual language. I participated in various workshops of well-known photographers such as Mary Ellen Mark, Anders Petersen or Ernesto Bazan. Until 2007 I photographed exclusively with black-and-white film and made all prints in my own darkroom. In 2005, I started scanning the negatives, editing them in Photoshop and creating fine art prints. Two years later, I started to use also digital cameras. My long-term project on circuses behind the scenes is planned to be published as a photo book in 2021. My other on-going personal project is to document the childhood years of my children. Statement I love music, but I have never played an instrument. So the camera has become the "instrument" for my creative work: I compose images instead of songs. I prefer black and white photography because leaving out the colors, the way we usually see the world, directs the viewer's eye to the essence of the image. I have always had a passion for observing people. Their emotions, facial expressions, interactions, activities and personal moments inspire me. Photographing people is a way to communicate with them, to capture perhaps just a fraction of their lives. A powerful photograph becomes a true gift of the moment when it manages to capture some sort of mystery or magic. My photos are meant to transport the viewer into a world less known to them, perhaps reminding them of experiences long past or leading them mentally into a possible future. With my photos I do not want to tell everything, but deliberately suggest unanswerable behind what is shown.
Stephen Wicks
United States
Stephen Wicks' attraction to photography began during his childhood. He says he was inspired by the photo essays in LIFE Magazine. Each week when a new issue arrived it seemed like the world beyond his home was in his hands and he had feelings for and wanted to meet the people who appeared in the pictures and visit the places he saw on the pages in the magazine. Wicks has always had a deep interest in all forms of communication. He says his attraction to the visual world and belief in the power of images triggered his imagination, cultivated his intuition, awakened within him a natural curiosity and an instinct to questioning everything. These qualities have been the inspiration for Wicks to follow parallel careers as an imagemaker and visual educator. As an artist Stephen Wicks has been using photography, videography, monologues and soundscapes to tell stories about the things he see's, questions and values. His motivation has been to create picture stories, in print and now also on the screen, to share with others what he has experienced, discovered and captured. During his early career Wicks created traditional B&W photo essays with up close and personal photographs made, often while living with his subjects over a long period of time, and returning many years later to see and capture changes in their lives. More recently, Wicks has been making digital color photographs of landscapes, places and objects found in spaces shared by the natural landscape and built environment. Although these photographs are void of people, he believes a human trace is visible in each picture and, with this in mind, he see's his Nature/Culture images as social landscapes. It is precisely the absence of people along with a sense of their presence, as seen in the marks and artifacts left in the environment, he now finds most fascinating. Stephen Wicks is currently developing two presentation/performance/storytelling projects: PICTURE STORIES: a series of live presentations based on thematic video vignettes, photographs and monologues about American people, places, experiences and events; including a dialogue with the audience (in development / launch: September 2019) BEING THERE: his YouTube Channel - a video magazine about American Culture - including picture stories, video journals and commentary on education, art, communication, politics, economy, media (in development / launch: October 2019)
Manuel Álvarez Bravo
Mexico
1902 | † 2002
Manuel Álvarez Bravo, One of the founders of modern photography, is considered the main representative of Latin American photography in the 20th century. His work extends from the late 1920s to the 1990s. Álvarez Bravo was born in downtown Mexico City on February 4, 1902. He left school at the age of twelve in order to begin making a contribution to his family’s finances after his father's death. He worked at a textile factory for a time, and later at the National General Treasury. Both his grandfather (a painter) and his father were amateur photographers. His early discovery of the camera awakened in him an interest that he would continue to cultivate throughout his life. As a self-taught photographer, he would explore many different techniques, as well as graphic art. Influenced by his study of painting at the Academy of San Carlos, he embraced pictorialism at first. Then, with the discovery of cubism and all the possibilities offered by abstraction, he began to explore modern aesthetics. He had his initiation into documentary photography in 1930: when she was deported from Mexico, Tina Modotti left him her job at the magazine Mexican Folkways. He also worked for the muralists Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros. Álvarez Bravo is an emblematic figure from the period following the Mexican Revolution—often called the Mexican Renaissance. It was a time of a creative fertility, owing to the happy—though not always tranquil—marriage between a desire for modernization and the search for an identity with Mexican roots, in which archaeology, history and ethnology played an important role, parallel to the arts. Álvarez Bravo embodied both tendencies in the field of visual arts. Between 1943 and 1959, he worked in the film industry doing still shots, which inspired him to realize some of his own experiments with cinema. While he was alive, he held over 150 individual exhibitions and participated in over 200 collective exhibitions. According to several critics, the work of this "poet of the lens" expresses the essence of Mexico. However, the humanist regard reflected in his work, the aesthetic, literary and musical references it contains, likewise endow with a truly universal dimension. He died on October 19, 2002, at the age of one hundred.Source: www.manuelalvarezbravo.org
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