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Marcin Owczarek
Marcin Owczarek
Marcin Owczarek

Marcin Owczarek

Country: Poland
Birth: 1985

My art has always been focusing on condition of our globe and the condition of man. My antiutopian, critical photography is based on the anthropological research. I focus on exploring and interpreting the impact of: new technologies, bio-science, unconscious, fears, morals, social situations, behaviors, habits, rituals, biological changes, the use of animals, depression in urban envi...ronments, destruction of the soil, overpopulation, deforestation, universal famine and - over human life. As a result, I create the image of the 21 century and the image of our current society. In this way, by commenting behaviour of human individuals I want to indicate that: Man is imperfect. Man is a savage, greedy rebel of Nature, living between the insanity and lunacy, away from his true nature. Man live in the play cage because he was captured by Illusions of this world: welfare tyranny, desire of possessing material things, consumption, jealousy, hate...what all in all led him to the broken relationship with the globe and other human beings. As a result I stress the present process of dehumanization, mechanization and standardization of human race, false norms and illusional values that was given for the truth to the society by religion, governments,laws,propaganda, false mirror of the television...etc. In my opinion, nowadays it is essential to articulate this kind of behavior, because the way which the present world run, might guide the human species: firstly- into a total slavery, then to new nuclear era, and finally to the total extinction...There is number of potential scenarios, but one of them is definitely Total Extinction... I admire the way of dadaism as well as surrealism. My spirit flies with counterculture and the idea of transgression. I regard my critical collages as the prediction of human degradation, and as a consequence - 'Apocalypse'....... Many wise people said that before but I will repeat: we are responsible for this world and for other human beings, and in our hands is decision: Do we want to live in coexistence or do want to reproduce another monsters to this world who will fight against each other in another nuclear war... What are the crucial implications of this? - The world's Future. "You pays your money and you takes your choice".
Marcin Owczarek, Lier 2011
 

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John Kenny
United Kingdom
In 2006 I developed my style of portrait photography within traditional communities, heavily influenced by the dramatic pictures of chiaroscuro artists. Chiaroscuro is an Italian term which literally means light-dark. Back then, at the very start of my Africa journey, I was buzzing with energy having met people of real magnetism just days into my trip. I was excited by extraordinary people and fascinating cultures and wondered how I could possibly communicate and express these feelings of excitement to friends and family back home.The solution, I imagined, would involve abstracting the remarkable from the not so remarkable: put simply, I felt that the vibrant and intense individuals that I had met in traditional communities would best show their magnetism on camera when they were removed from the (often) dull and dusty backgrounds of their immediate environment. After a few days I started to imagine each of these people in front of me emerging from the nothingness of darkness, with no distractions, hoping that this would provide a real feeling of proximity between the viewer and the person in the picture. I made a conscious decision at that time to leave a more documentary style of environmental portraiture to others. Practicing this new technique in remote African villages in 2006 I had nothing but sunshine and a hut available as a great ‘open studio': so I used these parameters and started experimenting (I've never really liked flash anyway). So it's simply the illumination of natural sunlight, and sun on dry earth, that reaches into the darkness of huts and lights up these remarkable people. Sun and dry earth are the only ingredients required for the lighting in my prints. And of course, you also need to find exceptional people!Falling in love with photography, and the origins of this series:I first fell in love with photography around 2003. I had not been fortunate enough to receive an art or photography education, but I knew back then, when I picked up my first SLR camera, that I had found the perfect way to express myself. Every time I had the camera in my hand I was looking to improve, needing to know what everything and anything looked like once it had been through the photographic process. It was a bit like a mad pursuit of alchemy - throwing everything into the mix to see if any magic came out of the other side. The process of photographic learning is very rarely a simple one, but to me it remains beautiful: discoveries, experimentation and seeing for the first time how a camera distorts and enhances the world.In Africa I seem to have made it my goal to travel through some of the remotest areas of the continent where the reaches of urbanisation and 21st century living are barely detectable. Looking back, this wasn’t my intention when I first arrived there in 2006, but somehow I keep returning to Africa to photograph because I'm fascinated to encounter societies that are able to survive in some of the most arid, isolated and difficult environments that people have settled in. If you haven’t visited these places then the reality of living is not nearly as romantic or idealised as one might imagine. Life takes place against a backdrop of very uncertain resources and enormous hardships, but traditions and hospitality towards outsiders remain intact.I specifically chose to photograph the individuals that you see in these galleries because I had a very real sense of wonder when I met them. Each one of these people had something that attracted me, sometimes a piercing intensity, or an uncommon beauty, that I felt compelled to try and capture. It’s true that I photograph for myself, first and foremost, but a close second is my desire to show others this magnetism that draws one into the eyes of these fascinating people.I have usually travelled alone or with a guide on these journeys, along the way walking and hopping onto overloaded vehicles of every kind to head to remote settlements. Often the destination is a transient, weekly market where hundreds of vibrant, colourful people assemble somewhat incongruously against a dull, dusty backdrop for a few hours. Later in the day they will all melt away with their animals and traded possessions, until the location is again a patch of bone-dry ground with almost nothing to separate it from the rest of the featureless land that typifies much of the African Sahel. It is fascinating to observe this process play out in almost exactly the same way across countless African countries, many of which are separated by hundreds or thousands of miles across this huge continent’s surface.My favourite tools are sharp prime lenses and cameras that let you capture the tiniest pieces of detail: whilst these details may be insignificant alone, when aggregated I feel they help paint the picture of the environment and how each person adapts to theirs.My favourite series of work remains the Northern Kenya series which involved 6 weeks of intense travelling with my guide, Mo, across remote areas without a vehicle and often without any semblance of an idea how to get to the next tiny settlement. The trip was full of unique encounters in locations that seemed to be famous, to me at least, as places where no transport seemed to be heading. On one particular occasion we came across a lone Moran (warrior) emerge into the dawn light, miles from anywhere. He seemed like a mirage: a vibrant vision in pink cloth and bright colourful jewellery, and more acutely so when set against the hazy yellow monotone of land that he emerged from. Even for Northern Kenya, I thought he seemed to be in a remote, featureless location: devoid of any water, and within an hour it would again be blistering hot. Despite these uncomfortable realities - which clearly weighed more heavily on my mind than his - the warrior seemed confident of his bearings and stopped for a moment to exchange pleasantries with Mo and I. A couple of minutes later, after sharing cigarette with my guide, he purposefully set off walking again, to God knows where. This place that looked barren and foreboding, to me at least, was clearly his home.
Ansel Adams
United States
1902 | † 1984
American photographer and environmentalist known for his black and white photographs of the American West in Sierra Nevada and in Yosemite National Park. Ansel Easton Adams was born in 1902 in an upper-class family. His family migrated from Ireland in the early 1700s. He was the only child of Charles and Olive Adams. His paternal grandfather founded a successful lumber business, which was later run by Ansel’s father. His mother’s family came from Baltimore. His maternal grandfather had a successful Freight-Hauling business, but squandered his wealth in numerous investment ventures. His nose was broken and scared during the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 as an aftershock threw him up against a wall. After the death of his grandfather the family business was hit by the bank crisis of 1907 and by 1912, his family’s standard of living had been dearly impacted. Ansel was a hyperactive child prone to sickness. After being expelled from several schools due to his restlessness, at age 12, his father decided to tutor him at home with the help of professors and Ansel’s aunt.He soon became interested in music and started learning the piano, but all changed when aged 14, his aunt gave him a copy of “In the Heart of the Sierras”. The photographs by Georges Fiske were a revelation and Ansel persuaded his parents to visit Yosemite National Park during the following vacations. Equiped with a Kodak Box Brownie n°1, Ansel Adams first visited Yosemite National Park in 1916. Amazed by the site and the light, he returned to Yosemite National Park the following year with better cameras and a tripod. He will return regularly to Yosemite National Park where he will even meet his future wife, Virginia Best. At age 17, Adams joined the Sierra Club, a wildlife preservation group. He will remain a convinced environmentalist and a member of the Sierra Club his entire life. His work will promote the goals of the Sierra Club and bring environmental issues to light. In 1932, Adams founded the group f/64 with photographer friend Edward Weston, to promote their independent and modernist vision of photography. It is with Fred Archer that Adams will develop the Zone System (1939-40), a technique which allows photographers to define the proper exposure on negatives and adjust the contrasts on the prints. The depth and clarity of Ansel Adam’s photographs illustrate this technique. Initially, despite their size and weight, Ansel Adams used large format cameras as they offered a high resolution and a sharp image. The timeless photographs and the striking visual beauty clearly characterize Ansel Adams’ photographs. In 1952, he was also one of the founders of Aperture magazine. He died in 1984 from a cardio Vascular disease. Shortly after his death in 1984, the Minarets Wilderness in the Inyo National Forest was renamed the Ansel Adams Wilderness. In 1985, a peak in Sierra Nevada, was named Mount Ansel Adams. He was survived by his wife, two children and 5 grand children.
Jennifer Shaw
United States
Jennifer Shaw earned a BFA in photography at the Rhode Island School of Design. Her photographs have been featured in B&W, American Photo, Shots, Light Leaks, The Sun, and Oxford American magazines, online publications including NPR, Fraction Magazine, One One Thousand, Lenscratch, and Brain Pickings, and are included in two recent monographs: Hurricane Story (Chin Music Press, 2011), and Nature/Nurture(North Light Press, 2012). Her work is exhibited widely and held in collections, including the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. Shaw is based in New Orleans, Louisiana where she teaches the disappearing art of darkroom photography at the Louise S. McGehee School in addition to chasing after two young sons.Statement:Photography is always an act of discovery for me. It’s about the joy of seeing and the mysterious convergence of light, texture and form as translated onto film. A sense of wonder and a reverence for beauty are motivating factors that lead me to document and interpret the world through the camera’s lens. I attempt to create images that transcend literal description, reaching beyond the physical surface of the subject to resonate with viewers on an emotional level. Most of my work is created using toy cameras. These simple plastic devices lend a whimsical spontaneity to the act of photographing. Although they offer little control in making exposures, their quirks can sometimes result in magic. I print my black and white images in the darkroom on traditional silver paper, then split-tone them to add depth and color. This toning method can be unpredictable, and like every other part of my process, owes a bit to serendipity. The color work is shot on film, then scanned to make archival pigment prints on Hahnemuhle Rag 308 paper.
Thomas Jorion
France
1976
Thomas Jorion (b. 1976, lives in Paris) photographs urban ruins and condemned buildings, spaces that no longer serve the purposes for which they were built. His work explores the built environment in a state of entropy, inviting viewers to reflect on the relationship between the material and the temporal.My work is based on our perception of time, how it passes and especially its lack of linearity. Some places seem frozen as time passes by. While our society is developing and changing very rapidly, these places are submitted to a distorted passing of time. They seem to be lifeless or in a waking state, although in reality they have their own link with time. I travel the world with one idea in mind, to find and show timeless islands. I choose to enter closed and abandoned places formerly alive, and often places of leisure or prestige to capture and share them. My fascination for the esthetic of abandoned places is the extension of an older tradition. The Romantics enjoyed strolling amidst the ruins of long lost civilizations. Centuries earlier, painters such as François de Nomé (1592 – 1623), Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778) and Hubert Robert (1733 – 1808) dedicated part of their work to these forgotten places. Somehow my photos are part of this process. The existence of timeless islands stems from a variety of contemporary phenomena. Though each of these islands has a particular origin depending on its location, all eventually evoke the disappearance of men. In Japan, the line between leisure and consumption is often blurry. Leisure activities that are deemed old-fashioned are disposed of – similar to those handkerchiefs, the “nuigishi,” given out for free on the streets by pretty young ladies. An example of this occurence (occurrence – deux R) is the three-storied, 108-lane bowling alley in a Tokyo suburb. Being out of use for some time, it soon is to be demolished. The expansion of new forms of leisure activities has also led to a booming hotel industry. Better and cheaper flight connections and the growing mobility of global citizens made the world a village, with every destination easy to reach. The province of Izu, which used to be a popular summer destination for the Japanese, is now competing with international destinations as in China or Korea. Hotel complexes or amusement parks now open for business or shut their gates according to short-lived trends in the tourism industry. In America the consequences of the economic crisis have been more disastrous than anyone could hardly have imagined. In the vast landscape of the United States, the possibility to build on new land is considered limitless. The habit of constructing new buildings instead of renovating old ones has proven rather catastrophic for the country. The dramatic consequences can be seen in cities such as Detroit MI, where the “white flag” phenomenon has made matters even worse. Other cities, such as Memphis, TN, or Bridgeport, CT have followed suit. Those cities’ entire cultural and social identities have decayed into ruin. The first places to have become useless for society were theaters, movie theaters, sport centers, schools and churches. Health care institutions, public housing, and judicial systems suffered, too… The failure of American Utopias, photographed by Joel Sternfeld in the late 70s, was already heralding deeper phenomena observed today. On the old continent, the reasons are multiple and the consequences are often the same. Struck by a major structural transformation from industrial to post-modern societies many countries had to turn away from their heavy industry. Gigantic textile factories in Northern Italy have completely disappeared, even sumptuous villas of industrialists were forsaken and left to decay. Twenty years after the reunification this development can also be seen in Germany, where factories became completely unsuitable for the global economy and whole regions became deserted due to migration. There is no denying that these abandoned places now cover all continents and in the name of the profit motive tends to amplify this phenomenon. As for my photographic practice, I wish to conserve the rawness of the places that I observe. This represents a challenge. The frame must be arranged in accordance with the layout of the space and the available light. For me, this reinforces the immaculate and timeless aspect of the place. My use of a large format camera allows me to make sharp and detailed images that contain a variety of focal points, textures, and depths. Capturing the richness of such pictures takes much time, which in turn reduces the number of photographs I can take. The choice of color film is important because it anchors the place within the present moment and allows for a faithful rendering of things seen. This eliminates the austere quality of certain spaces. For example, in the Piedmont theater, the blue, yellow, and brown are muted and soft colors, but they correspond well together to reveal a new beauty. Source: www.thomasjorion.com
Lori Pond
United States
1959
Lori Pond is an artist using the photographic process to explore the human condition as seen through the conflict of good vs. evil, contemporary anxiety and the impermanence of all things. She received a B.S. in Music Performance and Spanish from Indiana University and an M.A. in Broadcast Journalism from USC before embarking on a career in television, where she is a graphic artist at Conan O'Brien's talk show, "Conan." She splits her time between this and her fine art photography. Her work has been included in numerous solo shows at institutions such as: The Griffin Museum of Photography, (Boston) Oceanside Museum of Art, University of the Arts (Philadelphia) and Gallery 825 in Los Angeles. Lori has exhibited in over 30 group shows around the globe. Lori's body of work, "Bosch Redux," has been featured in online publications and interviews, such as: Beta Developments in Photography, Adobe Create, LENSCRATCH, Peripheral Vision Arts Salon and Your Daily Photograph. Hard copy publications of her photography have appeared in The Sun Magazine, Seeing in Sixes, Arboreal, Bosch Redux and Self. Lori's art can be found in the permanent collections of : The Center for Fine Art Photography, Morgan Stanley headquarters and The Center for the Arts, Los Angeles. She lives and works in Los Angeles. All about Menace Menace When danger flares, what do you do? Since humans first experienced the fight or flight reflex, the subconscious brain has told us what, when, and whom to fear. This remains so. When faced with peril, our bodies respond with intensified adrenaline and racing heart beats. Survival depends on our instantaneous emotional response instructing us to run or stay, a millisecond before our rational self can decide. While our brains have not changed, what we fear has. It is rarely a carnivorous beast that triggers our instinct to run. It is pictures of burning skyscrapers, reports of schoolchildren crouching behind desks to hide from bullets, or a gathering of teens in hoodies that make us tremble: Our 21st Century litany of what to fear. But are these threats real? My series "Menace" challenges us to question what we "know." "Menace" confronts us with frightening, darkened, wild animals that trigger the ancient instinct, while our rational mind knows we are in a safe, civilized space, viewing images. We look longer, closer, and realize the threat was never there: these are taxidermied animals, their images captured in bright sunlit shops, manipulated later by the artist to ferocity. They frighten, but are impotent. Menace asks us to consider if our modern fears are justified, or if our contemporary bogeymen are figments of our imagination, mere empty threats manipulated by an unseen hand.
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