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Robb Johnson
Robb Johnson
Robb Johnson

Robb Johnson

Country: United States

Robb Johnson creates haunting and mysterious black and white photographs reminiscent of the chiaroscuro style of the old Italian masters. The unusual atmospheric conditions he finds by photographing in the dark of night imbue his photographs with mystery. He sets a stage where the actors seem to have just stepped off or have yet to arrive for some unknown drama. Johnson’s photographs evoke a world where the viewer is free to explore with his or her own emotions and awareness – a drama unbeknownst but to them. Robb was a scholarship student at Art Center College of Design and earned a BFA in Photography. He worked in advertising photography for over 20 years, specializing in creating visual environments for national hotels with his wife Dale. He decided to turn his visual focus inward and pursue his art for himself. His work has been featured in B&W Magazine, Spotlight and B&W Single Image for 2006, 2007 and 2008 and his book, Robb Johnson Photographs was published by The French Press in 2008.
 

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Dora Maar
France
1907 | † 1997
Henriette Theodora Markovitch (22 November 1907 – 16 July 1997), known as Dora Maar, was a French photographer, painter, and poet. A love partner of Pablo Picasso, Dora Maar was depicted in a number of Picasso's paintings, including his Portrait of Dora Maar and Dora Maar au Chat. She was the only daughter of Josip Marković (aka Joseph Markovitch) (1874–1969), a Croatian architect who studied in Zagreb, Vienna, and then Paris where he settled in 1896, and of his spouse, Catholic-raised Louise-Julie Voisin (1877–1942), originally from Cognac. In 1910, the family left for Buenos Aires where the father obtained several commissions including for the embassy of Austria-Hungary. His achievements earned him the honor of being decorated by Emperor Francis Joseph I, even though he was "the only architect who did not make a fortune in Buenos Aires", but in 1926, the family returned to Paris. Dora Maar, a pseudonym she chose, took courses at the Central Union of Decorative Arts and the School of Photography. She also enrolled at the École des Beaux-Arts and the Académie Julian which had the advantage of offering the same instruction to women as to men. Dora Maar frequented André Lhote's workshop where she met Henri Cartier-Bresson. While studying at the École des Beaux-Arts, Maar met fellow female surrealist Jacqueline Lamba. About her, Maar said, "I was closely linked with Jacqueline. She asked me, 'where are those famous surrealists?' and I told her about cafe de la Place Blanche." Jacqueline then began to frequent the cafe where she would eventually meet André Breton, whom she would later marry. When the workshop ceased its activities, Dora Maar left Paris, alone, for Barcelona and then London, where she photographed the effects of the economic depression following the Wall Street Crash of 1929 in the United States. On her return, and with the help of her father, she opened another workshop at 29 rue d'Astorg in the 8th arrondissement of Paris. In 1935 she was introduced to Pablo Picasso and she became his companion and his muse. She took pictures in his studio at the Grands Augustins and tracked the latter stages of his epic work, Guernica. She later acted as a model for his piece titled Monument à Apollinaire, a tribute to the late poet Guillaume Apollinaire. Maar's earliest surviving photographs were taken in the early 1920s with a Rolleiflex camera while on a cargo ship going to the Cape Verde Islands. At the beginning of 1930, she set up a photography studio on rue Campagne-Première with Pierre Kefer, photographer, and decorator for Jean Epstein's 1928 film, The Fall of the House of Usher. In the studio, Maar and Kefer worked together mostly on commercial photography for advertisements and fashion magazines. Her father assisted with her finances in this period of her life as she was establishing herself while trying to earn a living. The studio displayed fashion, advertising and nudes, and it became very successful. She met the photographer Brassaï with whom she shared the darkroom in the studio. Brassai once said that she had "bright eyes and an attentive gaze, a disturbing stare at times". During this time working in advertising and fashion photography, the influence of Surrealism could be seen in her work through her heavy use of mirrors and contrasting shadows. She felt that art should represent the content of reality through links with intuitions or ideas, rather than visually reproduce the natural. Dora Maar also met Louis-Victor Emmanuel Sougez, a photographer working for advertising, archeology and artistic director of the newspaper L'Illustration, whom she considered a mentor. In 1932, she had an affair with the filmmaker Louis Chavance. Dora Maar frequented the "October group", formed around Jacques Prévert and Max Morise after their break from surrealism. Maar had her first publication in the magazine Art et Métiers Graphiques in 1932 and her first solo exhibition was held at the Galerie Vanderberg in Paris. It is the gelatin silver works of the surrealist period that remain the most sought after by admirers: Portrait of Ubu (1936), 29 rue d'Astorg, black and white, collages, photomontages or superimpositions. The photograph represents the central character in a popular series of plays by Alfred Jarry called Ubu Roi. The work was first shown at the Exposition Surréaliste d'objets at the Galerie Charles Ratton in Paris and at the International Surrealist Exhibition in London in 1936. She also participated in Participates in Fantastic Art, Dada, Surrealism, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York the same year. Surrealist concepts and interests often aligned with the ideas of the political left of the time and so Maar became very politically active at this point in her life. After the fascist demonstrations of 6 February 1934, in Paris along with René Lefeuvre, Jacques Soustelle, supported by Simone Weil and Georges Bataille, she signed the tract "Appeal to the Struggle" written at the initiative of André Breton. Much of her work is highly influenced by leftist politics of the time, often depicting those who had been thrown into poverty by the Depression. She was part of an ultra-leftist association called "Masses", where she first met Georges Bataille, an anti-fascist organization called the Union of Intellectuals Against Fascism, and a radical collective of left-wing actors and writers called October. She also was involved in many Surrealist groups and often participated in demonstrations, convocations, and cafe conversations. She signed many manifestos, including one titled "When Surrealists were Right" in August 1935 which concerned the Congress of Paris, which had been held in March of that year. In 1935 she took a photo of fashion illustrator and designer Christian Berard that was described by writer and critic Michael Kimmelman as "wry and mischievous with only his head perceived above the fountain as if he were John the Baptist on a silver platter". In the 1980s she made a number of photograms. Maar spent her last years in her apartment in Rue de Savoie, in the Left Bank of Paris. She died on 16 July 1997, at 89 years old. She was buried in the Bois-Tardieu cemetery in Clamart. Her experiments with photograms and dark-room photography were only found posthumously.Source: Wikipedia
Attila Ataner
Canada/Turkey
I am of Turkish ancestry, but born in Svishtov, Bulgaria, a small town on the Danube river. During the 1980s, my parents and I lived in Triploi, Libya, where I attended an international school for the children of expats. There, I was introduced to photography by one of my all-time best, and favourite teachers. I have been an avid amateur photographer ever since. I currently live in Toronto, Canada, with my wife and two young children. I am formerly a practicing lawyer, however I recently returned to school to pursue a PhD degree in philosophy, with my focus being on environmental philosophy and legal and political theory. My current passion for photography, and the series of photos I have been working on more recently, is partly informed by my scholarly work on environmental issues. For instance, my series titled "Landscapes of Modernity" is an attempt to translate some of my philosophical ideas into a visual/photographic format. Landscapes of Modernity This series of phots is, in part, an attempt to translate some of my academic work on environmental philosophy into visual/photographic format, an effort to express my ideas through art rather than scholarship alone. My overall project aims to reflect on the contemporary experience of dwelling in extensively built-up, "artificial" spaces. Our ancestors lived in spaces pervaded by natural landscapes, by mountains, valleys, by open skies, and the like. They were surrounded by spontaneous, self-generating, self-sustaining (i.e., so-called "natural") entities. Conversely, consequent to modernity, our visual landscapes are now largely colonized by massive, cuboid, monolithic structures; and by constricted, disrupted or otherwise occluded skies. Above all, we have surrounded ourselves with a seemingly endless array of almost exclusively human-made constructs. This is the central contrast between modernity and the modes of dwelling of our ancestors. ... And here, in this modern moment, we find astounding beauty mixed with a certain apprehension, oppressiveness and brutality - for instance, as is exemplified by the staggering scale of the seemingly omnipresent and ever-expanding character of the structures that now envelop and enframe our lives. I hope my photos manage to capture this duality in the contemporary urban landscape.
Charles Muir Lovell
United States
1952
Born in Chicago, Charles Muir Lovell lives and works in New Orleans. He holds an MFA in photography from Central Washington University and a BS in photography from East Texas State University. He began photographing as a young man traveling throughout Europe and South America. He continued his photography practice during his over 20 years as a museum director and curator, a career that took him from the Pacific Northwest to the Southwest and Deep South, everywhere finding distinctive cultures and photography subjects. Lovell has long been passionate about photographing people within their cultures. Upon moving to New Orleans in 2008, he began documenting the city's second line parades, social aid and pleasure clubs, and brass bands, capturing and preserving for posterity a unique and vibrant part of Louisiana's rich cultural heritage. An earlier series based on religious processions in Mexico, El Favor de los Santos, was a Rockefeller Foundation–supported international traveling exhibition and resulted in a book published in 1999 by the University of New Mexico Press, Art and Faith in Mexico. Lovell's photographs have been exhibited nationally and internationally, are found in several permanent collections, including the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Historic New Orleans Collection, and can be seen at www.charleslovell.com and on Instagram @charleslovellart. He received the 2020 Michael P. Smith Documentary Photographer of the Year Award from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. Lovell has also developed a series of photographs called Language of the Streets he began while an artist-in-residence at the Emily Harvey Foundation in Venice, Italy, in 2006–2007. He returned to Venice for a second residency in 2015 and was scheduled to return in 2021 until coronavirus shut everything down. He has continued this series in Naples, Paris, Mexico City, New York and New Orleans. Statement "As a young man, I traveled through Europe and Latin America with my Nikon, living as one of the family with friends in the countries I visited. My travels hugely influenced my work, opening my eyes to how other people lived. As a visual artist, I gravitated toward photographing people within their cultures, trying to capture on film something true about their lives. College and grad school took me to small-town Texas (Commerce) and Washington (Ellensburg), and a long museum career took me to the Pacific Northwest (Tacoma), Southwest (Yuma, Ariz.; Las Cruces and Taos, N.M.) and Deep South (Greenville and Greensboro, N.C., and New Orleans); everywhere I found distinctive cultures and compelling photography subjects. While living in New Mexico, I traveled in Mexico photographing Holy Week religious processions, foreshadowing my current and most significant photographic project: documenting and preserving New Orleans' unique second line parade culture. Upon moving to New Orleans, I became fascinated by the pageantry and celebratory nature of the city's African American cultural tradition of second line parades. I was captivated by their visual richness, their ritual and history, and how they express a vibrant cultural and artistic heritage, intensely alive yet intimately connected to the past. The massive amount of industry that the social aid and pleasure clubs invest in creating their magnificent costumes, decorations, baskets, umbrellas and banners-truly a labor of love-blew me away. Documenting these visually stunning parades quickly became a passion-and a commitment. For more than 10 years, I've followed the weekly parades, taking tens of thousands of color photographs. I've formed friendly relationships with members of the social aid and pleasure clubs that stage the parades, allowing me behind-the-scenes access, resulting in distinctive photographs. My color photographs vividly capture the paraders and brass bands in their elaborate custom-designed, hand-sewn costumes, and the dancing parade followers, revealing the festive mood of these sacred moments of cultural celebration, and preserving them for posterity. I take great care to portray these spirited-and spiritual-ceremonial moments honestly, sensitively and respectfully. In the 20th century other American photographers-notably Ralston Crawford, Lee Friedlander and Michael P. Smith - also documented this cultural tradition, but in black and white. My use of color lets me capture not just the atmosphere of the parades but also their incredible vividness. Formerly I used traditional photographic techniques, but now I embrace new digital methods, bringing to the subject a fresh approach for the 21st century. Taken as a whole, my photographs capture the rich cultural history of second-line parades, a significant artistic and ceremonial tradition deeply rooted in New Orleans' African American culture and unparalleled elsewhere in the United States. I hope that my photographs will increase awareness of the importance of preserving second-line parade culture and contribute to the understanding of Louisiana and its culture, which has sometimes suffered from scholarly neglect and seemingly insurmountable cultural and economic challenges. Another photographic series I have pursued over the years is Language of the Streets, which began taking shape in 2007 during an artist residency at the Emily Harvey Foundation in Venice, Italy. After working in large-format silver gelatin and color photography for over 20 years, I began exploring digital photography using a small-format digital camera. Upon my return to New Mexico, I learned digital printing and exhibited my Venice work at a solo exhibition at the Taos Center for the Arts in 2008. My residency in Venice was extremely influential in the work I began doing after moving to New Orleans in 2008. I began using a medium-format digital camera to make higher-resolution color photographs. Since 2009, I have fully transitioned to a digital practice. I make my own prints on an Epson inkjet printer and work with professional printers on larger works. From the experience of taking street photographs in Venice, I continued my series Language of the Streets in New Orleans, as well as in Naples, the Amalfi Coast, Paris, Mexico City and New York City. In 2015, I was invited back to the Emily Harvey Foundation, where I designed and presented an accordion artist's book, or leporello, featuring the Venice series of photos. Off the Street: New Orleans and Venice, part of the Language of the Streets series, investigates similarities and differences between the two cities, which share a striking mixture of high and low, old and new, closeness to and dependence upon water, a vital tourism sector, a proliferation of graffiti and outdoor art alongside unparalleled historic architecture. My street photographs from the two cities explore back streets not seen by tourists frequenting commercial settings like the French Quarter or Plaza San Marco. I strive to capture the texture of the cities' largely unseen back streets. Both cities also have world-renowned contemporary art competitions: the Venice Biennale and the triennial Prospect New Orleans. Works from my Venice series were exhibited alongside photographs from Mexico City in 2016 at the Contemporary Art Center, New Orleans, in Experiments in Anarchitecture, curated by Andrea Andersson, and in 2017, works from the Venice series were included in Project 387, curated by Berty Skuber at the Archivio Emily Harvey in Venice. " -- Charles Muir Lovell
Seydou Keïta
Mali
1921 | † 2001
The great African portraitist Seydou Keïta lived in Bamako, Mali from 1921 to 2001. A self-taught photographer, he opened a studio in 1948 and specialized in portraiture. Seydou Keïta soon photographed all of Bamako and his portraits gained a reputation for excellence throughout West Africa. His numerous clients were drawn by the quality of his photos and his great sense of aesthetics. Many were young men, dressed in European style clothing. Some customers brought in items they wanted to be photographed with but Keïta also had a choice of European clothing and accessories - watches, pens, radios, scooter, etc. - which he put at their disposal in his studio. The women came in flowing robes often covering their legs and their throats, only beginning to wear Western outfits in the late 60s. Seydou Keïta worked primarily with daylight and for economic reasons took only a single shot for each picture. Seydou Keïta was discovered in the West in the 1990s. His first solo exhibition took place in 1994 in Paris at the Fondation Cartier. This was followed by many others in various museums, galleries and foundations worldwide. He is now universally recognized as the father of African photography and considered one of the greatest photographers of the 20th century. "It’s easy to take a photo, but what really made a difference was that I always knew how to find the right position, and I never was wrong. Their head slightly turned, a serious face, the position of the hands... I was capable of making someone look really good. The "photos were always very good. That’s why I always say that it’s a real art." Seydou Keïta, Bamako, 1995/1996 © André Magnin From en.wikipedia.orgSeydou Keïta was born in 1921 in Bamako, although the exact date is unknown. He was the oldest in a family of five children. His father Bâ Tièkòró and his uncle Tièmòkò were furniture makers. Keïta developed an interest in photography when his uncle gave him a Kodak Brownie with a film with eight shots in 1935, after returning from a trip to Senegal. In the beginning Keïta worked as both a carpenter and photographer, taking first portraits of his family and friends, later of people in the neighborhood. He learned photography and how to develop from Pierre Garnier, a French photographic supply store owner, and from Mountaga Traoré, his mentor. In 1948 he set up his first studio in the family house in Bamako-Koura behind the main prison.From www.gallery51.comConsidered to be one the important precursors of African photography, Seydou Keïta was born in Bamako (Mali) in 1920. Like many of his contemporaries, nothing particularly predestined him to become a photographer. His uncles bring back a camera from a trip to Senegal, and the young Seydou is fascinated. He starts photographing his relatives and discovers a deep passion for this art. Although he makes furniture for a living, he spends much time with Pierre Garnier who has his own studio. There, Seydou Keïta learns the secrets of the trade and soon realises that there was an enormous demand for individual pictures. This drives him to open his own studio in 1948. Up until then, whites had had a lot of trouble convincing local population to have their pictures taken, because they were so afraid to lose their identity. With Keïta it's different: he is one of them and permits them to choose their own picture that will be left for the close family. From then on, we see the opposite effect: people queue up to have their pictures taken. This is to become the great specialty of the malinese artist. Slowly he develops his own style, in which one finds accents of Mountaga Kouyaté's work, an intellectual that fought a bitter personal battle for the independence of Soedan. To look their best, that is the sole desire of people in front of Keïta's lens. Keïta even gives them costumes, accessories and furniture to further enhance their appearance.Men, women and children, all look perfectly elegant. If we look beyond the aesthetics of the black-and-white pictures, Seydou shows us a portrait of Malinese society in full transition. Finally Seydou is to become the country's official photographer, and will stop working in 1977. Nevertheless, it will be many years before his work is noted at the famous "Festival of African Photography". Source: www.seydoukeitaphotographer.com
Steven Stanley Manolakis
United States
1995
Steven Stanley Manolakis is an aerial photographer based in Sydney. His images of Australian landscapes photographed from above provide a unique view of what lies surrounding us. Since he began shooting in 2018, Steven has earned more than 50 international photography awards and has been published in numerous magazines, including All About Photo, Australian Photography, and The Eye of Photography. Most notably, he was selected as a finalist in the 2020 Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year, awarded eight Honorable Mentions in The International Photography Awards, and has received two Best of Best distinctions in the Creative Communication Awards two years in a row. Steven's work is admired for his uncanny ability to draw out distinct geographical features while flying over vast natural landscapes, creating images with a strong compositional emphasis on subtlety, symmetry, meaning, and minimalism. Statement "As an aerial photographer, I hire out fixed-wing airplanes and helicopters to capture remote landscapes from above. I prefer working with a medium format camera from aircraft to ensure the highest possible image quality. This allows me to print and frame my artwork in large dimensions. The images I take have been described as fine art abstract paintings. Sometimes they can appear textured by brush strokes and coloured with paint. Not all artists are capable of creating art that transcends mediums, and I feel fortunate to have the ability to do so. My work is inspired by a beautiful girl I met and fell in love with. Although we are not together, she remains someone special to me, and my photos attempt to capture the feelings I have of her. As I fly above a vast landscape, I attempt to find and draw out distinct natural features—things that remind me of her beauty, personality, and the impact she's had on me." -- Steven Stanley Manolakis
Harry Callahan
United States
1912 | † 1999
Harry Callahan (Harry Morey Callahan) (October 22, 1912 – March 15, 1999) was an American photographer and educator. He taught at both the Institute of Design in Chicago and the Rhode Island School of Design. Callahan's first solo exhibition was at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1951. He had a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1976/1977. Callahan was a recipient of the Edward MacDowell Medal and the National Medal of Arts. Along with the painter Richard Diebenkorn, he represented the United States in the Venice Biennale in 1978. Harry Callahan was born in Detroit, Michigan. He worked at Chrysler when he was a young man then left the company to study engineering at Michigan State University. He dropped out, returned to Chrysler and joined its camera club. Callahan began teaching himself photography in 1938. He formed a friendship with Todd Webb who was also to become a photographer. A talk given by Ansel Adams in 1941 inspired him to take his work seriously. In 1941, Callahan and Webb visited Rocky Mountain State Park but didn't return with any photographs. In 1946 he was invited to teach photography at the Institute of Design in Chicago by László Moholy-Nagy. He moved to Rhode Island in 1961 to establish a photography program at the Rhode Island School of Design, eventually inviting his close friend and fellow artist Aaron Siskind to join him, teaching there until his retirement in 1977. Callahan met his future wife, Eleanor Knapp, on a blind date in 1933. At that time she was a secretary at Chrysler Motors in Detroit and he was a clerk. They married three years later. In 1950 their daughter Barbara was born. Callahan died in Atlanta in 1999. His wife Eleanor died on February 28, 2012 in a hospice in Atlanta at the age of 95. Callahan left almost no written records—no diaries, letters, scrapbooks or teaching notes. His technical photographic method was to go out almost every morning, walk through the city he lived in and take numerous pictures. He then spent almost every afternoon making proof prints of that day's best negatives. Yet, for all his photographic activity, Callahan, at his own estimation, produced no more than half a dozen final images a year. He photographed his wife and daughter and the streets, scenes and buildings of cities where he lived, showing a strong sense of line and form, and light and darkness. Even prior to birth, his daughter showed up in photographs of Eleanor's pregnancy. From 1948 to 1953 Eleanor, and sometimes Barbara, were shown out in the landscape as a tiny counterpoint to large expanses of park, skyline or water. He also worked with multiple exposures. Callahan's work was a deeply personal response to his own life. He encouraged his students to turn their cameras on their own lives, leading by example. Callahan photographed his wife over a period of fifteen years, as his prime subject. Eleanor was essential to his art from 1947 to 1960. He photographed her everywhere—at home, in the city streets, in the landscape; alone, with their daughter, in black and white and in color, nude and clothed, distant and close. He tried several technical experiments—double and triple exposure, blurs, large and small format film. Callahan was one of the few innovators of modern American photography noted as much for his work in color as for his work in black and white. In 1955 Edward Steichen included his work in The Family of Man, MoMA's popular international touring exhibition. In 1956, he received the Graham Foundation Award, which allowed him to spend a year in France with his family from 1957 to 1958. He settled in Aix-en-Provence, where he took many photographs. In 1994, he selected 130 original prints with the help of the gallery owner Peter MacGill, and brought them together under the name of French Archives, to offer them to the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris. Some of these images were taken in Aix-en-Provence and in the South of France, and are the subject of a temporary exhibition at the Granet Museum in Aix-en-Provence in 2019. Callahan left behind 100,000 negatives and over 10,000 proof prints. The Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona maintains his photographic archives. In 2013, Vancouver Art Gallery received a gift of almost 600 Callahan photographs from the Larry and Cookie Rossy Family Foundation.Source: Wikipedia Harry Callahan has won many awards for his photography, including a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1972 and the Photographer and Educator Award from the Society for Photographic Education in 1976, and he was designated Honored Photographer of the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie in Arles, France in 1977, and received ICP's Master of Photography Infinity Award in 1991. Among the major exhibitions of his work were Photographs of Harry Callahan and Robert Frank (1962), one of the last shows curated by Edward Steichen at the Museum of Modern Art, and retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art (1976) and at the National Gallery in Washington, DC (1996). Callahan was widely respected in the photography community for his open mind and experimental attitude, qualities reinforced by his association with Moholy-Nagy and the principles of Bauhaus design. He produced work in both formalist and more documentary modes and worked in both black-and-white and color. He used a 35-millimeter and an 8x10 camera and worked with multiple exposures as well as straight images. Such versatility contributed to his success as a teacher, his students ranging widely in style--among them Ray K. Metzker, Emmet Gowin, Kenneth Josephson, and Bill Burke.Source: International Center of Photography
Rania Matar
Lebanon/United States
Rania Matar was born and raised in Lebanon and moved to the U.S. in 1984. As a Lebanese-born American woman and mother, her cross-cultural experience and personal narrative inform her photography. Matar's work has been widely published and exhibited in museums worldwide, including the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Carnegie Museum of Art, National Museum of Women in the Arts, and more. A mid-career retrospective of her work was recently on view at the Cleveland Museum of Art, and at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, in a solo exhibition: In Her Image: Photographs by Rania Matar She has received several grants and awards including a 2018 Guggenheim Fellowship, 2017 Mellon Foundation artist-in-residency grant at the Gund Gallery at Kenyon College, 2011 Legacy Award at the Griffin Museum of Photography, 2011 and 2007 Massachusetts Cultural Council artist fellowships. In 2008 she was a finalist for the Foster Award at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, with an accompanying solo exhibition. Her work is in the permanent collections of several museums, institutions and private collections worldwide. So far, she has published the following books: L'Enfant-Femme, 2016; A Girl and Her Room, 2012; Ordinary Lives, 2009, and more recently, SHE, 2021. She is currently an associate professor of photography at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. About SHE "As a Lebanese-born American woman and mother, my background and cross-cultural experiences inform my art. I have dedicated my work to exploring issues of personal and collective identity through photographs of female adolescence and womanhood - both in the United States where I live and the Middle East where I am from - in an effort to focus on notions of identity and individuality, within the context of the underlying universality of these experiences. In my continuous exploration of what it is like to be a girl and a woman today, in a world that poses endless questions on girls and women of all backgrounds, I am focusing in this project on young women in their late teens/early twenties. They are the ages of my daughters - they are leaving the cocoon of home, entering adulthood and facing a new reality they are often not prepared for, a humbling reality most often harder than they expected and less glamorous than what is portrayed on social media. Whereas in A Girl and Her Room, I photographed young women in relationship to the curated and controlled environment of their bedrooms, I am photographing them here in the larger environment they find themselves in after they leave home, the more global backdrop that now constitutes their lives in transitions. I want to portray the raw beauty of their age, their individuality, their physicality, their mystery, and the organic relationship they create with their environment, being in the lush landscapes of rural Ohio, or the textured backdrops of Beirut. I want to photograph them, the way I, a woman and a mother, see them: beautiful, alive. I want to create a personal narrative with them. The process is about collaboration and empowerment, and the photo session always evolves organically as the women become active participants in the image-making process. My work addresses the states of 'Becoming' - the beauty and the vulnerability of growing up - in the context of the visceral relationships to our physical environment and universal humanity. By collaborating with women in the United States and in the Middle East - and while still looking to reveal the individuality of each young woman - I focus on our essence, our physicality and the commonalities that make us human, ultimately highlighting how female subjectivity develops in parallel forms across cultural lines." Find out more about Becoming
William Eggleston
United States
1939
William Eggleston was born in Memphis, Tennessee and raised in Sumner, Mississippi. His father was an engineer and his mother was the daughter of a prominent local judge. As a boy, Eggleston was introverted; he enjoyed playing the piano, drawing, and working with electronics. From an early age, he was also drawn to visual media, and reportedly enjoyed buying postcards and cutting out pictures from magazines. At the age of 15, Eggleston was sent to the Webb School, a boarding establishment. Eggleston later recalled few fond memories of the school, telling a reporter, "It had a kind of Spartan routine to 'build character'. I never knew what that was supposed to mean. It was so callous and dumb. It was the kind of place where it was considered effeminate to like music and painting." Eggleston was unusual among his peers in eschewing the traditional Southern male pursuits of hunting and sports, in favor of artistic pursuits and observation of the world. Nevertheless, Eggleston noted that he never felt like an outsider. "I never had the feeling that I didn't fit in," he told a reporter, "But probably I didn't." Eggleston attended Vanderbilt University for a year, Delta State College for a semester, and the University of Mississippi for about five years, but did not complete any degree. Nonetheless, his interest in photography took root when a friend at Vanderbilt gave Eggleston a Leica camera. He was introduced to abstract expressionism at Ole Miss by visiting painter Tom Young. Eggleston's early photographic efforts were inspired by the work of Swiss-born photographer Robert Frank, and by French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson's book, The Decisive Moment. Eggleston later recalled that the book was "the first serious book I found, from many awful books...I didn't understand it a bit, and then it sank in, and I realized, my God, this is a great one." First photographing in black-and-white, Eggleston began experimenting with color in 1965 and 1966 after being introduced to the medium by William Christenberry. Color transparency film became his dominant medium in the later 1960s. Eggleston's development as a photographer seems to have taken place in relative isolation from other artists. In an interview, John Szarkowski describes his first encounter with the young Eggleston in 1969 as being "absolutely out of the blue". After reviewing Eggleston's work (which he recalled as a suitcase full of "drugstore" color prints) Szarkowski prevailed upon the Photography Committee of MoMA to buy one of Eggleston's photographs. In 1970, Eggleston's friend William Christenberry introduced him to Walter Hopps, director of Washington, D.C.'s Corcoran Gallery. Hopps later reported being "stunned" by Eggleston's work: "I had never seen anything like it." Eggleston taught at Harvard in 1973 and 1974, and it was during these years that he discovered dye-transfer printing; he was examining the price list of a photographic lab in Chicago when he read about the process. As Eggleston later recalled: "It advertised 'from the cheapest to the ultimate print.' The ultimate print was a dye-transfer. I went straight up there to look and everything I saw was commercial work like pictures of cigarette packs or perfume bottles but the colour saturation and the quality of the ink was overwhelming. I couldn't wait to see what a plain Eggleston picture would look like with the same process. Every photograph I subsequently printed with the process seemed fantastic and each one seemed better than the previous one." The dye-transfer process resulted in some of Eggleston's most striking and famous work, such as his 1973 photograph entitled The Red Ceiling, of which Eggleston said, "The Red Ceiling is so powerful, that in fact I've never seen it reproduced on the page to my satisfaction. When you look at the dye it is like red blood that's wet on the wall.... A little red is usually enough, but to work with an entire red surface was a challenge." At Harvard, Eggleston prepared his first portfolio, entitled 14 Pictures (1974). Eggleston's work was exhibited at MoMA in 1976. Although this was over three decades after MoMa had mounted a solo exhibition of color photographs by Eliot Porter, and a decade after MoMA had exhibited color photographs by Ernst Haas, the tale that the Eggleston exhibition was MoMA's first exhibition of color photography is frequently repeated, and the 1976 show is regarded as a watershed moment in the history of photography, by marking "the acceptance of colour photography by the highest validating institution" (in the words of Mark Holborn). Around the time of his 1976 MoMA exhibition, Eggleston was introduced to Viva, the Andy Warhol "superstar", with whom he began a long relationship. During this period Eggleston became familiar with Andy Warhol's circle, a connection that may have helped foster Eggleston's idea of the "democratic camera", Mark Holborn suggests. Also in the 1970s Eggleston experimented with video, producing several hours of roughly edited footage Eggleston calls Stranded in Canton. Writer Richard Woodward, who has viewed the footage, likens it to a "demented home movie", mixing tender shots of his children at home with shots of drunken parties, public urination and a man biting off a chicken's head before a cheering crowd in New Orleans. Woodward suggests that the film is reflective of Eggleston's "fearless naturalism—a belief that by looking patiently at what others ignore or look away from, interesting things can be seen." Eggleston's published books and portfolios include Los Alamos (completed in 1974, but published much later), William Eggleston's Guide (the catalog of the 1976 MoMa exhibit), the massive Election Eve (1977; a portfolio of photographs taken around Plains, Georgia, the rural seat of Jimmy Carter before the 1976 presidential election), The Morals of Vision (1978), Flowers (1978), Wedgwood Blue (1979), Seven (1979), Troubled Waters (1980), The Louisiana Project (1980), William Eggleston's Graceland (1984; a series of commissioned photographs of Elvis Presley's Graceland, depicting the singer's home as an airless, windowless tomb in custom-made bad taste), The Democratic Forest (1989), Faulkner's Mississippi (1990), and Ancient and Modern(1992). Some of his early series have not been shown until the late 2000s. The Nightclub Portraits (1973), a series of large black-and-white portraits in bars and clubs around Memphis was, for the most part, not shown until 2005. Lost and Found, part of Eggleston's Los Alamos series, is a body of photographs that have remained unseen for decades because until 2008 no one knew that they belonged to Walter Hopps; the works from this series chronicle road trips the artist took with Hopps, leaving from Memphis and traveling as far as the West Coast. Eggleston's Election Eve photographs were not editioned until 2011. Eggleston also worked with filmmakers, photographing the set of John Huston's film Annie (1982) and documenting the making of David Byrne's film True Stories (1986). In 2017 an album of Eggleston's music was released, Musik. It comprises 13 "experimental electronic soundscapes", "often dramatic improvisations on compositions by Bach (his hero) and Haendel as well as his singular takes on a Gilbert and Sullivan tune and the jazz standard On the Street Where You Live." Musik was made entirely on a 1980s Korg synthesiser, and recorded to floppy disks. The 2017 compilation Musik was produced by Tom Lunt, and released on Secretly Canadian. In 2018, Áine O'Dwyer performed the music on a pipe organ at the Big Ears music festival in Knoxville. Source: Wikipedia William Eggleston assumes a neutral gaze and creates his art from commonplace subjects: a farmer's muddy Ford truck, a red ceiling in a friend's house, the contents of his own refrigerator. In his work, Eggleston photographs "democratically"--literally photographing the world around him. His large-format prints monumentalize everyday subjects, everything is equally important; every detail deserves attention. A native Southerner raised on a cotton plantation in the Mississippi Delta, Eggleston has created a singular portrait of his native South since the late 1960s. After discovering photography in the early 1960s, he abandoned a traditional education and instead learned from photographically illustrated books by Walker Evans, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Robert Frank. Although he began his career making black-and-white images, he soon abandoned them to experiment with color technology to record experiences in more sensual and accurate terms at a time when color photography was largely confined to commercial advertising. In 1976 with the support of John Szarkowski, the influential photography historian, critic, and curator, Eggleston mounted "Color Photographs" a now famous exhibition of his work at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. William Eggleston's Guide , in which Szarkowski called Eggleston's photographs "perfect," accompanied this groundbreaking one-person show that established his reputation as a pioneer of color photography. His subjects were mundane, everyday, often trivial, so that the real subject was seen to be color itself. These images helped establish Eggleston as one of the first non-commercial photographers working in color and inspired a new generation of photographers, as well as filmmakers. Eggleston has published his work extensively. He continues to live and work in Memphis, and travels considerably for photographic projects. Source: The Getty Museum
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