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Aleksander Rodchenko
1935, Mrazkowa, Remes
Aleksander Rodchenko
Aleksander Rodchenko

Aleksander Rodchenko

Country: Russia
Birth: 1891 | Death: 1956

Born in St Petersburg on November 23rd, 1891, Aleksander Rodtchenko was one of the most eclectic artists to emerge from the Russian Revolution. Sculptor, painter, photographer and graphic designer, he is the founder of the "Russian Constructivist" movement and was also very influential in Photography and Russian Design. In 1907, after his father's death, his family moved to Kazan. In 1910, he began studies at the Kazan Art School, where he met his future wife Varvara Stepanova. In 1914, he moved to Moscow where he pursued briefly his artistic studies at the Stroganov Institute. In 1915, using a compass and a ruler, he created his first geometric black and white drawings. In 1916, introduced to Tatline by architect Viktor Vesnine, Aleksander Rodtchenko will exhibit his drawings at the "The Store" exhibition alongside painters Lioubov Popova, Alexander Exter and Ivan Klioune. Alexander Rodtchenko's work was influenced by innovative Cubist and Futuristic artists.

In 1917, he applied his Futurism research on everyday life objects and designed lamps for the "Pittoresque Café", newspaper stands, buildings etc... It is at that time that he founded the left wing "Painter Syndicat". Following the Russian Revolution, as most avant-gardist Russian artists, he will become a member of several official schools (Proletkoult, Vkhoutemas), where he will become a teacher.

In 1919, he will present his "black on black" paintings to answer Malevitch's "White on White" series. It is also at that time that he started experimenting with collages and photomontages. In 1921, he took part in various exhibitions, one called "5x5=25", where he presented a Monochrome triptych. Each canvas presenting a primary color: Red, yellow and blue. At the end of the exhibition, he signed the "Productivist Manifest" to abandon easel painting to focus on everyday life objects. The same year, in March, the "Constructivist" movement was created within the Inkhouk Institute. Initiated by artists, critics and theoricians its aim was to conduct "concrete experiments in the real world".

From 1922 onwards he started producing graphic designs for movie, books and political billboards. In 1923, he started collaborating with various editors and till 1925, he illustrated the cover of Constructivist magazine LEF. Influenced by German Dadaist photomontages, Rodtchenko began experimenting with photographs in 1923. His first photomontage illustrated Mayakovsky's poem "About this". From 1924 onwards, his focus was on photography. He started experimenting on new compositions and techniques. His work emphasized the subject's position and movement in space combined with a diagonal framing. He also produced many portraits.

In 1925, he was responsible for the Soviet Pavilion at the "International Industrial and Modern Art fair" held in Paris. In 1933, he was commissioned by Russian magazine SSSR na Stroďké, to photograph the construction of the Baltic Sea Canal.From 1934 to 1939 Rodtchenko and Stepanova, produced several photo albums: "Fifteen years of Soviet Cinema, Soviet Aviation, Ten years of Ouzbekistan". During the second world war, as other artists, he fled Moscow and took refuge in the Perm region where he will produce patriotic billboards.
 

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More Great Photographers To Discover

Jerry Uelsmann
United States
1934
Jerry N. Uelsmann (born June 11, 1934) is an American photographer, and was the forerunner of photomontage in the 20th century in America. Uelsmann was born in Detroit, Michigan. While attending public schools, at the age of fourteen, there sparked an interest in photography. He believed that through photography he could exist outside of himself, to live in a world captured through the lens. Despite poor grades, he managed to land a few jobs, primarily photographs of models. Eventually Uelsmann went on to earn a BA from the Rochester Institute of Technology and M.S. and M.F.A. degrees from Indiana University. Soon after, he began teaching photography at the University of Florida in 1960. In 1967, Uelsmann had his first solo exhibit at The Museum of Modern Art which opened doors for his photography career. Uelsmann is a master printer, producing composite photographs with multiple negatives and extensive darkroom work. He uses up to a dozen enlargers at a time to produce his final images, and has a large archive of negatives that he has shot over the years. The negatives that Uelsmann uses are known to reappear within his work, acting as a focal point in one work, and background as another. Similar in technique to Rejlander, Uelsmann is a champion of the idea that the final image need not be tied to a single negative, but may be composed of many. During the mid-twentieth century, when photography was still being defined, Uelsmann didn't care about the boundaries given by the Photo Secessionists or other realists at the time, he simply wished to share with the viewer the images from his imagination and saw photomontage as the means by which to do so. Unlike Rejlander, though, he does not seek to create narratives, but rather "allegorical surrealist imagery of the unfathomable". Uelsmann is able to subsist on grants and teaching salary, rather than commercial work. Today, with the advent of digital cameras and Photoshop, photographers are able to create a work somewhat resembling Uelsmann's in less than a day, however, at the time Uelsmann was considered to have almost "magical skill" with his completely analog tools. At the time Uelsmann's work first came to popular attention, photos were still widely regarded as unfalsifiable documentary evidence of events. However, Uelsmann, along with Lucas Samaras, was considered an avant garde shatterer of this popular mindset and help to expand the artistic boundaries of photography. Despite his works' affinity with digital techniques, Uelsmann continues to use traditional equipment. “I am sympathetic to the current digital revolution and excited by the visual options created by the computer. However, I feel my creative process remains intrinsically linked to the alchemy of the darkroom.”[3] Today he is retired from teaching and currently lives in Gainesville, Florida with his third wife, Maggie Taylor.[4] Uelsmann has one son, Andrew, who is a graduate student at the University of Florida. But to this day, Uelsmann still produces photos, sometimes creating more than a hundred in a single year. Out of these images, he likes to sit back and select the ten he likes the most, which is not an easy process. (Source: en.wikipedia.org)
Diane Arbus
United States
1923 | † 1971
Diane Arbus (March 14, 1923 – July 26, 1971) was an American photographer and writer noted for black-and-white square photographs of "deviant and marginal people (dwarfs, giants, transgender people, nudists, circus performers) or of people whose normality seems ugly or surreal.". Arbus believed that a camera could be “a little bit cold, a little bit harsh” but its scrutiny revealed the truth; the difference between what people wanted others to see and what they really did see – the flaws. A friend said that Arbus said that she was "afraid... that she would be known simply as 'the photographer of freaks'"; however, that phrase has been used repeatedly to describe her. In 1972, a year after she committed suicide, Arbus became the first American photographer to have photographs displayed at the Venice Biennale. Millions of people viewed traveling exhibitions of her work in 1972–1979. Between 2003 and 2006, Arbus and her work were the subjects of another major traveling exhibition, Diane Arbus Revelations. In 2006, the motion picture Fur, starring Nicole Kidman as Arbus, presented a fictional version of her life story. Although some of Arbus's photographs have sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars at auction, Arbus's work has provoked controversy; for example, Norman Mailer was quoted in 1971 as saying "Giving a camera to Diane Arbus is like putting a live grenade in the hands of a child." Others have, however, pointed out that Mailer was dissatisfied with a picture of him holding his crotch taken by Arbus for the New York Times Book Review. Arbus was born as Diane Nemerov to David Nemerov and Gertrude Russek Nemerov. The Nemerovs were a Jewish couple who lived in New York City and owned Russek's, a famous Fifth Avenue department store. Because of her family's wealth, Arbus was insulated from the effects of the Great Depression while growing up in the 1930s. Arbus's father became a painter after retiring from Russek's; her younger sister would become a sculptor and designer; and her older brother, Howard Nemerov, would later become United States Poet Laureate, and the father of the Americanist art historian Alexander Nemerov. Diane Nemerov attended the Fieldston School for Ethical Culture, a prep school. In 1941, at the age of eighteen, she married her childhood sweetheart Allan Arbus. Their first daughter Doon (who would later become a writer), was born in 1945 and their second daughter Amy (who would later become a photographer), was born in 1954. Diane and Allan Arbus separated in 1958, and they were divorced in 1969. The Arbuses' interests in photography led them, in 1941, to visit the gallery of Alfred Stieglitz, and learn about the photographers Mathew Brady, Timothy O'Sullivan, Paul Strand, Bill Brandt, and Eugčne Atget. In the early 1940s, Diane's father employed them to take photographs for the department store's advertisements. Allan was a photographer for the U.S. Army Signal Corps in World War Two. In 1946, after the war, the Arbuses began a commercial photography business called "Diane & Allan Arbus," with Diane as art director and Allan as the photographer. They contributed to Glamour, Seventeen, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, and other magazines even though "they both hated the fashion world." Despite over 200 pages of their fashion editorial in Glamour, and over 80 pages in Vogue, the Arbuses' fashion photography has been described as of "middling quality." Edward Steichen's noted 1955 photographic exhibit, The Family of Man, did include a photograph by the Arbuses of a father and son reading a newspaper. In 1956, Diane Arbus quit the commercial photography business. Although earlier she had studied photography with Berenice Abbott, her studies with Lisette Model, beginning in 1956, led to Arbus's most well-known methods and style. She began photographing on assignment for magazines such as Esquire, Harper's Bazaar, and The Sunday Times Magazine in 1959. Around 1962, Arbus switched from a 35 mm Nikon camera which produced grainy rectangular images to a twin-lens reflex Rolleiflex camera which produced more detailed square images. In 1963, Arbus was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for a project on "American rites, manners, and customs"; the fellowship was renewed in 1966. In 1964, Arbus began using a twin-lens reflex Mamiya camera with flash in addition to the Rolleiflex. Her methods included establishing a strong personal relationship with her subjects and re-photographing some of them over many years. During the 1960s, she taught photography at the Parsons School of Design and the Cooper Union in New York City, and the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island. The first major exhibition of her photographs occurred at the Museum of Modern Art in a 1967 show called "New Documents," curated by John Szarkowski. The show also featured the work of Garry Winogrand and Lee Friedlander. Some of her artistic work was done on assignment. Although she continued to photograph on assignment (e.g., in 1968 she shot documentary photographs of poor sharecroppers in rural South Carolina for Esquire magazine), in general her magazine assignments decreased as her fame as an artist increased. Szarkowski hired Arbus in 1970 to research an exhibition on photojournalism called "From the Picture Press"; it included many photographs by Weegee whose work Arbus admired. Using softer light than in her previous photography, she took a series of photographs in her later years of people with intellectual disability showing a range of emotions. At first, Arbus considered these photographs to be "lyric and tender and pretty," but by June, 1971, she told Lisette Model that she hated them. Associating with other contemporary photographers such as Robert Frank and Saul Leiter, Arbus helped form what Jane Livingston has termed The New York School of photographers during the 1940s and 1950s. Among other photographers and artists she befriended during her career, she was close to photographer Richard Avedon; he was approximately the same age, his family had also run a Fifth Avenue department store, and many of his photographs were also characterized as detailed frontal poses. Another good friend was Marvin Israel, an artist, graphic designer, and art director whom Arbus met in 1959. Arbus experienced "depressive episodes" during her life similar to those experienced by her mother, and the episodes may have been made worse by symptoms of hepatitis. Arbus wrote in 1968, "I go up and down a lot," and her ex-husband noted that she had "violent changes of mood." On July 26, 1971, while living at Westbeth Artists Community in New York City, Arbus took her own life by ingesting barbiturates and slashing her wrists with a razor. Marvin Israel found her body in the bathtub two days later; she was 48 years old. Source: Wikipedia © Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division
William Castellana
United States
1968
William Castellana is an award-winning photographer whose images have been published internationally in periodicals such as Silvershotz (The International Journal of Contemporary Photography), Rangefinder, Creative Quarterly (The Journal of Art & Design), Newsweek, Time, New York, and others. His photographs reside in the permanent collections of over 40 museums in the US including the Hood Museum of Art, Museum of the City of New York, Museum of Modern Art Library, Yale University Library, New Britain Museum of American Art, Southeast Museum of Photography, and the Hunter Museum of American Art. About the Series Street photography, in terms of the "unposed," is a practice that serves the compelling need to distill the ebb and flow of visually complex interactions into static form - forever fixed and with meaning. It is this desire to understand more deeply the rhythms of humanity that takes me to the streets in search of clarity. In their simplest sense, the images in this series form a social document of a people and a place; namely, a sect of Hasidic Jews known as the Satmars. This sect of Hasidic Jews was founded in Satu Mare, Romania by Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum in the early 20th century. After WWII, Teitelbaum settled in Williamsburg, Brooklyn to lay the groundwork for a religious ideology that would launch one of the largest Hasidic movements in the world. Since Teitelbaum's death, the Satmar community has grown exponentially and continues to thrive economically and spiritually through closely observed traditions and social mechanisms. Between the fall of 2013 and 2014, I set out to photograph my neighbors in the one-half square mile area below Division Avenue, which demarcates the religious from the secular communities of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The photographs in this book are constrained to the "neighborhood view," since my outsider status made access to a more privileged look impossible. As an outsider, what I witnessed through my camera during that period was forever new and unique compared to my everyday routine and what the rest of the city's inhabitants were pulsing to. For me, street photography is about the preservation of time and place - a kind of poetry that distills both in equal measure.
Annette LeMay Burke
United States
1964
Annette LeMay Burke (b. 1964) is a photographic artist and Northern California native who lives in the heart of Silicon Valley. Numerous family road trips throughout California and the West honed her eye for observing the landscape. By eight years old, she had her own Instamatic camera and graduated to a Minolta X-700 as a teen. While earning a BA in Earth Science from the University of California at Berkeley, she took her first darkroom class. After a career in high-tech, and studying design, Annette has now merged her interests. Her artistic practice focuses on how we interact with the natural world and the landscapes constructed by the artifacts of technology. Annette's first book, Fauxliage (Daylight Books, Spring 2021), documents the proliferation of disguised cell phone towers in the American West and how new technologies are modifying our landscapes with idiosyncratic results. Her work has been exhibited at institutions such as Center for Photographic Arts, Colorado Photographic Arts Center, Griffin Museum of Photography, Texas Photographic Society, The Center for Fine Art Photography, and Photographic Center Northwest. In 2017, she was a finalist for Photolucida's Critical Mass. Fauxliage - Disguised Cell Phone Towers of the American West Fauxliage documents the proliferation of disguised cell phone towers in the American West. For me, the fake foliage of the trees draws more attention than camouflage. The often-farcical tower disguises belie the equipment's covert ability to collect all the phone calls and digital information passing through them, to be bought and sold by advertisers and stored by the NSA. From the very start, cell towers were considered eyesores. Plastic leaves were attached in an attempt to hide the visual pollution. Over time, the disguises have evolved from primitive palms and evergreens into more elaborate costumes. The towers now masquerade as flagpoles, crosses, water towers, and cacti. Over time, as our demand for five bars of connectivity has increased, the charade has remained. I was initially drawn to the towers' whimsical appearances. The more I photographed, the more disconcerted I felt that technology was clandestinely modifying our environment. I explore how this manufactured nature is imposing a contrived aesthetic in our neighborhoods. My photographs expose the towers' idiosyncratic disguises, highlight the variety of forms, and show how ubiquitous they are in our daily lives. Their appearance is now an inescapable part of the iconic western road trip and the eight states I visited for this project. As the fifth generation (5G) of cellular technology continues to roll out, the cell tower terrain will be changing. 5G utilizes smaller equipment that is easier to hide - think fat streetlight poles. Perhaps elaborately disguised 'fauxliage' towers will begin disappearing and be considered an anachronism of the early 21st century. The decorated towers could join drive-up photo kiosks, phone booths, news stands, and drive-in movie theaters as architectural relics of the past. More about Fauxliage
Urszula Tarasiewicz
Urszula Tarasiewicz, Photographer, organizer of events and photo exhibitions. Studied at the National Film School in Łódź, Poland. I produce pictures with a medium format Hasselblad, which for me retains a particular sort of magic. The quality, the way light works on film, always elevates my interest when I decide to shoot a particular subject. The 'truth in photography' is a continuous debate. But that idea has always fascinated me. I observe the space around me, searching for a contrast between people and their environments. At times I allow the subject to play different roles or use simple props to alter the mood in the picture. There are many stories you can choose from when you observe the picture. I like the viewer to question its authenticity. For me, it's the interpretation that creates the magic. - Urszula Tarasiewicz Her photographs are the effect of acute observation of her surroundings and the ability to notice intriguing details and phenomena which are sometimes absurd and marginal, sometimes sentimental reminiscences of the People's Republic of Poland and the birth of the capitalism in Poland Marcin Krasny The artist's eye focuses on the margins of reality, the kitsch and grotesque public space. Simple, plain and ascetic compositions, or quite the opposite - full of details, colorful - frames of Urszula Tarasiewicz's works depict the world as a place which is not as much absurd as it is pleasant and charming Anna Czaban - Art Historian Urszula Tarasiewicz /b. 1975/ studied Photography at the Leon Schiller National Higher School of Film, Television and Theatre in Łódź, Poland. The works from the series New Urban Legends which are on display at the andel's Hotel in Łódź /curator Lucyna Sosnowska/ have won the portrait category at the 2010 Curator's Contest of the Photo District News Magazine, the 2012 New Talent Award of the German edition of the FotoMagazine, as well as the contest of the Norwegian photography magazine Fotografii for a place at the 17#Debutantutstilling 2012 exhibition in Oslo. The New Urban Legends series has been exhibited in, among others, the Milk Gallery NYC (2010). Other photo series by Urszula Tarasiewicz have been shown internationally: in the US at the Critical Mass exhibition (2012), the series The Future Is So Bright created in Norway during the Artist in Residence program at the Halsnřy monastery was presented at a group exhibition in Norway in 2013 and in Warsaw in 2015 at the Ja to Ktoś Inny show /curator Klima Boheńska/, at the Krinzinger Galerie in Vienna during the group exhibition Call Me on Sunday (2014, curator Ursula Maria Probst), at the Jam Factory gallery in Oxford (2014), in Stuttgart at the Face to Face show (2014), at the Bunkier Sztuki gallery in Kraków during the show Kasa z Widokiem /curator Lidia Krawczyk. All about Ogrodowa/Garden Street Garden Street, A project documenting flats after evictions on Garden Street. 150 families left the building. It was the first residential complex for workers in 1880 in the new industrial city of Lodz. Izrael Poznański wealthy entrepreneur (1833-1900) is regarded as being one of the icons of Łódź. His monumental factory just across Ogrodowa street along with the labourers' tenement houses, is a true city within a city. In its best years, nearly 7000 people in total worked and lived here. The moment Poznański's empire fell after World War II was the beginning of the estate's and all of its inhabitants' long agony. Its fate was concluded with the decommissioning of the Poltex company in 1991. Famuły became a no man's land, its residents left to their own devices. The project 100 Tenement houses in Łódź, thanks to which a major renovation of the Poznański's factory housing estate started in 2014 was preceded by a long process of relocating all the residents. It was during this time I began to document the empty flats. The famuły rooms stun with their ruthlessness, their coldness, with the visibly absent inhabitants. The artist guides us around the world which is already gone, lost. Looking at Tarasiewicz's photos, we're confronted with desolate rooms, dilapidated walls out of which someone ripped off electrical wiring and where time imprinted the ghosts of furniture and lost artworks.
Erwin Blumenfeld
Germany/United States
1897 | † 1969
Born in Berlin in 1897 to Jewish parents, Blumenfeld began his career working as an apprentice dressmaker to Moses and Schlochauer in 1913. He opened his own company in Amsterdam in 1923, the 'Fox Leather Company', a leather goods store specialising in ladies handbags. After moving to new premises in 1932, Blumenfeld discovered a fully equipped dark room and began to photograph many of his -predominantly female- customers. The company went bankrupt in 1935, just as Blumenfeld's photographic career was beginning to take an upward turn. Following a move to Paris in 1936, Blumenfeld was commissioned to take the portraits of personalities including George Rouault and Henri Matisse and secured his first advertising work for Monsavon. Blumenfeld quickly captured the attention of photographer Cecil Beaton who helped him secure a contract with French Vogue. After World War II in 1941, Blumenfeld moved to New York where he was immediately put under contract by Harper's Bazaar and after three years, he began freelance work for American Vogue. Over the next fifteen years, Blumenfeld's work was featured on numerous Vogue covers and in a variety of publications including Seventeen, Glamour and House & Garden. During this period, he also worked a photographer for the Oval Room of the Dayton Department Store in Minneapolis and produced advertising campaign for cosmetics clients such as Helena Rubinstein, Elizabeth Arden and L'Oreal. In the late 50s, he also began to create motion pictures, hoping to use them commercially and began work on his biography and his book 'My One Hundred Best Photos' which, despite being a renowned fashion photographer, only included four of his fashion images. Following Blumenfeld's death in 1969, numerous books on his work have been published, namely 'The Naked and the Veiled' by his son, Yorick Blumenfeld, and his photographs have been exhibited at international galleries including the Pompidou Gallery in Paris, The Barbican in London and The Hague Museum of Photography in the Netherlands. In the 1960s, he worked on his autobiography which found no publisher because it was considered to be too ironic towards society, and was published only after his death.Source: Wikipedia Erwin Blumenfeld is considered to be one of the early pioneers of fashion photography alongside George Hoyningen-Heune, Cecil Beaton, and Horst P. Horst. It was not only his employment of experimental techniques in the darkroom, Dada and Surrealist influences, and groundbreaking street work, but Blumenfeld’s unique and masterful combination of elegance and eroticism that transformed fashion into high art and paved the way for Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Herb Ritts, and other photographers who enjoyed such prominence and recognition in the history of art. In addition to holding the record for the most covers of Vogue, Blumenfeld’s works were abundantly reproduced within the pages of Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Life and Vogue during the 1930s, '40s and '50s. Many of the images from these shoots will be featured in this exhibition and have since become icons of the history of fashion photography. Some have never been seen before. But all of the prints showcase not only Blumenfeld’s innovation as a photographer of fashion but also his spectacular skill as a printmaker. In his retrospective examination of Blumenfeld’s work, William Ewing writes, “His highly original and visionary work was a seamless blend of the negative and positive: taking the picture in the studio and making it in the darkroom.” In the studio, Blumenfeld often employed mirrors, glass, and backgrounds reproduced from paintings, images of cathedrals, or mosaics of magazine covers. He often used veils, which could distort or elongate the figure, confident that a woman partially concealed was more erotically charged that one seen fully nude. He also believed the printing of the image was as every bit as important as the process of capturing it, and like Man Ray, he was tirelessly inventive in the darkroom, deploying a variety of optical and chemical tricks, including multiple exposures, solarization and bleaching.Source: Edwynn Houk Gallery
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