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Robert Bergman
© Robert Bergman
Robert Bergman
Robert Bergman

Robert Bergman

Country: United States
Birth: 1944

Over more than 50 years, largely outside the mainstream, Robert Bergman has pursued a vision of advancing psychological and philosophical depth in photography and of transcending the boundaries between painting and photography. In Toni Morrison's words in her introduction to his classic 1998 book A Kind of Rapture, his color portraits are "... a master template of the singularity, the community, and the unextinguishable sacredness of the human race."

In his Epilogue to that book, the pre-eminent art historian, Professor Meyer Schapiro, wrote, "... his recent color portraits ... have no forerunners in photography. ... he has introduced the processes of unification, as in painting, with the search for harmony, movement, variety and distinction within it, beyond what I have ever seen in a photograph.... His finest works bring to mind some of the greatest painted portraits. ... truly profound works of art."

Placing Bergman in the context of other, better known master American photographers, John Yau, poet, critic, and author of The United States of Jasper Johns, has said, "Diane Arbus, Robert Frank, Garry Winogrand, and William Eggleston. ...he is certainly in their league. ... One day Bergman will get credit for the richness of his photographs, the way they transcend image."

Robert Bergman is currently producing a limited edition KEY SET of new master prints of 150-200 photographs that, together with the 51 A Kind of Rapture prints, will reveal the organic unity, the arc, of his creative journey: black & white street work of people and cityscapes; black & white portraits in nursing homes; black & white abstracts; hundreds of color portraits on the streets of American cities; and most recently, large-scale color abstracts.

Bergman has had solo exhibitions at The National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, MoMA/P.S.1 in New York, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Yossi Milo Gallery in New York, and Michael Hoppen Contemporary in London. Group shows include the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, MoMA, the Ackland Art Museum in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and the "Come Together: Surviving Sandy" exhibition in Brooklyn, NY.

In addition to the collections of the Hill Art Foundation and Agnes Gund, President Emerita, MoMA, and numerous other individual's collections, Robert Bergman's work is in the permanent collections of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, which recently acquired a vintage set of the 51 A Kind of Rapture color portraits, the Cleveland Museum, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, The National Gallery of Art, the 21C Museum in Louisville, KY. His work has also been highlighted in books, magazines, and newspapers in the United States, Great Britain, France, and Germany as well as on National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting System. He received the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant in 2017.
 

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More Great Photographers To Discover

Marsel van Oosten
The Netherland
1967
Dutch-born Marsel van Oosten began his career in advertising. Photography started as a means of escaping fast-paced advertising life, but it was during a trip to Tanzania and close encounters with the animals of the Serengeti, where Marsel developed a passion for wildlife photography. Five years later, Marsel left advertising to become a full-time photographer and hasn’t looked back. Marsel’s images, which feature in galleries and museums across the globe, are famed for their composition, lighting, color and perspective. In his work, he tries to keep his images clean and uncluttered, enabling the viewer to focus on the image’s inherent graphic qualities. As a result, he has been decorated with many prestigious awards, including winning the overall titles for: Wildlife Photographer of the Year (Natural History Museum), Travel Photographer of the Year (TPOTY), and International Nature Photographer of the Year (2x in the International Photography Awards).Source: Nikon UK After graduating from the Academy of Arts with a BA in Art Direction and Graphic Design, Dutch-born Marsel van Oosten started a career in advertising. As an Art Director at various renowned agencies, he won numerous awards for his work, amongst which are one silver and two gold Lions at the prestigious International Advertising Festival in Cannes. The acclaimed TV commercial he made for a Dutch nature conservation organization is representative of both his creative and emotional approach to communication, as well as for his love for the natural world and his concern for the environment. Taking photographs began as a way for Marsel to escape from life in the fast lane. After a trip to Tanzania, however, things started getting more serious. Close encounters with the animals of the Serengeti fueled his passion for wildlife photography, which soon became his specialty. Five years later, Van Oosten took the plunge and swapped his established advertising career for the precarious life of a nature photographer, a move that demands unyielding devotion and commitment. His images are featured in galleries and museums, are used worldwide in advertising and design, and he is a regular contributor to National Geographic. When Marsel is not traveling, he lives in South Africa, with producer and videographer Daniella Sibbing. Together they run specialized nature photography tours for all experience levels to exciting destinations worldwide.Source: Squiver
Berenice Abbott
United States
1898 | † 1991
Berenice Abbott was an American photographer best known for her portraits of between-the-wars 20th-century cultural figures, New York City photographs of architecture and urban design of the 1930s, and science interpretation in the 1940s to 1960s. Abbott was born in Springfield, Ohio, and brought up in Ohio by her divorced mother, née Lillian Alice Bunn (m. Charles E. Abbott in Chillicothe OH, 1886). She attended Ohio State University for two semesters but left in early 1918 when her professor was dismissed because he was a German teaching an English class. She moved to New York City, where she studied sculpture and painting. In 1921 she traveled to Paris and studied sculpture with Emile Bourdelle. While in Paris, she became an assistant to Man Ray, who wanted someone with no previous knowledge of photography. Abbott took revealing portraits of Ray's fellow artists. Abbott was part of the straight photography movement, which stressed the importance of photographs being unmanipulated in both subject matter and developing processes. She also disliked the work of pictorialists who had become popular during a substantial span of her career, leaving her work without support from this school of photographers. Most of Abbott's work was influenced by what she described as her unhappy and lonely childhood. This gave her the strength and determination to follow her dreams. Throughout her career, Abbott's photography was very much a reflection of the rise in the development of technology and society. Her works documented and extolled the New York landscape. This was guided by her belief that a modern-day invention such as the camera deserved to document the 20th century. The film Berenice Abbott: A View of the 20th Century, which showed 200 of her black and white photographs, suggests that she was a "proud proto-feminist"; someone who was ahead of her time in feminist theory. Before the film was completed she questioned, "The world doesn't like independent women, why, I don't know, but I don't care." She identified publicly as a lesbian and lived with her partner, art critic Elizabeth McCausland, for 30 years. Berenice Abbott's life and work are the subject of the 2017 novel The Realist: A Novel of Berenice Abbott, by Sarah Coleman.Source: Wikipedia Let us first say what photography is not. A photograph is not a painting, a poem, a symphony, a dance. It is not just a pretty picture, not an exercise in contortionist techniques and sheer print quality. It is or should be a significant document, a penetrating statement, which can be described in a very simple term—selectivity. -- Berenice Abbott Berenice Abbott was born and raised in Ohio where she endured an erratic family life. In 1918, after two semesters at Ohio State University, she left to join friends associated with the Provincetown Players, in Greenwich Village. There she met Djuna Barnes, Kenneth Burke, Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Little Review editors Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap, and other influential modernists. From 1919-1921, while studying sculpture, Abbott supported herself as an artist's model, posing for photographers Nikolas Muray and Man Ray. She also met Marcel Duchamp, and participated in Dadaist publications. Abbott moved to Paris in 1921, where she continued to study sculpture (and in Berlin), and to support herself by modeling. During 1923-1926, she worked as Man Ray's darkroom assistant (he had also relocated to Paris) and tried portrait photography at his suggestion. Abbott's first solo exhibition, in 1926, launched her career. In 1928 she rescued and began to promote Eugène Atget's photographic work, calling his thirty years of Parisian streetscapes and related studies "realism unadorned." In 1929 Abbott took a new artistic direction to tackle the scope (if not the scale) of Atget's achievement in New York City. During 1929-38, she photographed urban material culture and the built environment of New York, documenting the old before it was torn down and recording new construction. From 1934-58, she also taught photography at the New School. During 1935-39, Abbott worked as a "supervisor" for the Federal Art Project to create Changing New York (her free-lance work and New School teaching commitment made her ineligible for unemployment relief) . From 1939-60, Abbott photographed scientific subjects, concluding with her notable illustrations for the MIT-originated Physical Sciences Study Committee's revolutionary high school physics course. In 1954, she photographed along the length of US 1; the work never found a publisher. In 1968, Abbott sold the Atget archive to the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and moved permanently to her home in central Maine (bought in 1956 and restored over several decades) . 1970 saw Abbott's first major retrospective exhibition, at the Museum of Modern Art. Her first retrospective portfolio appeared in 1976, and she received the International Center of Photography's Lifetime Achievement Award in 1989. She died at home in Monson, Maine in December 1991.Source: New York Public Library I took to photography like a duck to water. I never wanted to do anything else. Excitement about the subject is the voltage which pushes me over the mountain of drudgery necessary to produce the final photograph. -- Berenice Abbott In 1929, Abbott returned to the United States, where she embarked on her best-known body of work--a documentation of New York City for which she developed her famous bird's-eye and worm's-eye points of view. She worked on the project independently through the early years of the Depression, and in 1935, secured funding from the Federal Art Project (a part of the Works Progress Administration). Her pictures were published as Changing New York (1939), which was both critically and commercially successful; it remains a classic text for historians of photography. One of Abbott's later final projects was an illustration of a scientific phenomenon, produced in the 1950s in collaboration with the Physical Sciences Study Committee based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Although not as well known as her New York work, these pictures are exquisite examples of her acumen for technical experimentation and her natural instinct for combining factual photographic detail with stunning artistic accomplishment. With their clear visual demonstration of abstract scientific principles, the photographs were chosen to illustrate physics textbooks of the 1950s and 1960s.Source: International Center of Photography
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
Pedro Luis Saiz Ajuriaguerra
Pedro Luis Saiz Ajuriaguerra (Bilbao, Bizkaia, Spain, 1974). self-taught photographer, began his career back in 2011 discovering a passion that was unknown, the beginning do little more than encourage their concerns are increasing making try almost all disciplines of photography, highlighting mainly in sports photography, and architectural photography. It has the distinctions MCEF / o (Gold Master of the Spanish Confederation of Photography) and EFIAP / g (Gold Excellence of the International Federation of Photographic Art). He is currently collaborating with magazines such as BAO Bilbao Magazine, Bilbao Tourism, Bilbao Bizkaia Tour Magazine and for different sports promoters such as MGZ Promotions, Euskobox etc. Judge in more than 20 international competitions. He has participated in numerous International competition and has managed numerous medals of FIAP, PSA, GPU, IUP, DPA, UPI, CVB, ISF, PCA (50 FIAP Gold Medals and around 70 PSA Gold Medals), just over 400 awards and more than 5000 acceptances by various international photographic salons in the last years. The predator of instants He is shy, thin, with white skin and very large, green, expressive eyes. They are eyes that capture everything; Suddenly, they focus on a sheet of time and begin to create a painting. The camera is just the harpoon that he catches that moment. Before, Pedro Luís has studied the hunting area. And then he will catch the moment before showing the trophy. He is a predator. "I'm not obsessed with light, or color, or movement. I am very attracted to various disciplines such as sports, architecture and extreme macro. I am looking for a place, event or object and I begin my research on what can be photographed, which can last for weeks. Then I let myself go, "he explains. "It is essential to tell stories with photos. A good photograph must relate something. A photo is a story, a short story. Of course, it is not always possible. But the most impressive photos always have a story inside ". He insists that passion is the descriptive element of his photographic style. "It is my strong point, it forces me to go further." That passion is transmitted to the photo "with a lot of contrast, sharpness and blacks pushed to the limit; with marked shadows, the light is there. It is a style close to the comic ". The photo does not exist although the moment already feels that it carries the harpoon on its back. "It is necessary to complement two processes: a good photograph and a good edition. He did a lot of editing work ", "A photo, once you have taken it, you have worked on it, you have it finished, it loses part of its value for me. It is tremendous. It may be something subconscious, but once the process is complete, it loses its charm. And I do not stop finding defects. It also happens to me that the more I see a photo, it becomes devalued, it comes off the ability to surprise me. It is the essence of the predator. He needs new blood. A recent trail. The stimulus to capture prey that he has not yet seen.
Patrick Wack
France
1979
Patrick Wack was born in Cannes in 1979 and grew up in the Paris suburbs. A former top sportsman, he has a degree in foreign languages and a diploma from the Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Paris. His studies took him to the United States, Sweden and Germany. A self-taught photographer, he left Berlin in 2006 for China with the ambition of documenting its emergence, and the hope of living a life off the beaten track. He was based in Shanghai for eleven years as a freelance photographer alternating between commissions for the international press and institutional clients. He also worked on long-term documentary projects on themes important to the understanding of our times. These include urban change and forced modernisation in China, the Tibetan question, inter-ethnic tensions in the Balkans and the 'pioneering front' of the New Silk Road in its aesthetic, social and political dimensions. After eleven years in China, he now divides his time between Europe, China and Russia. His reports have been published in Time magazine, The Sunday Times, Géo, The British Journal of Photography and Courrier International, among others. He is one of the co-founders of the photographic cooperative Inland. DUST Dust, a monographic book by photographer Patrick Wack on the Uyghur communities. The monograph DUST gathers four years of work by French photographer Patrick Wack shot in the areas of Central Asia known as East Turkistan or Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region under the current Chinese administration. In recent years, the region has been at the centre of an international outcry following the mass-incarceration of its Uyghur population and other Muslim minorities. This body of work captures a visual narrative of the region and is a testimony to its abrupt descent into an Orwellian dystopia. In 2016 and 2017, Wack spent more than two months in Xinjiang photographing Out West, his first long-term project about the region. He decided to return in 2018, upon reading reports of the mass arbitrary detention system being set up there. In 2019, he travelled to Xinjiang on two separate occasions for another project, The Night Is Thick. This second reportage aimed at documenting life under acute repression among the Uyghur minority alongside the disturbing simultaneous increase of Han-Chinese tourism in the region. These images have been widely published and exhibited over the past four years, illustrating the situation in the region, and have received numerous accolades. Recent events in Xinjiang are now considered some of the most severe crimes against humanity currently unfolding in the world and this project is possibly the most complete photographic documentation of the region in recent years. Find out more about DUST
Ricardo Reis
Portugal
1981
Why I Photograph As a young person, I needed and had to put out there so many things that were stuck inside me, and very quickly, I realized that I had a different way of seeing the world. I started noticing that even if there were many people looking at the same thing as me, they weren't seeing what I was seeing. Photography became the most realistic representation of my perspective. Photography blends all the art mediums and I am inspired to create amalgamations of the dream world with the real. I love the challenge of being able to put onto paper the ideas and surreal world of my own creation. My Purpose When I create a photograph image, I want to engage in a dialogue-to make the viewer feel something, even if it's a negative reaction. I appreciate the negative reaction, because I understand I've drawn something out in the viewer: an honest reaction is more potent than an indifferent one. I want to be able to convey an inner conversation-an ambience, a vibe- to create curiosity in the viewer for the lives and moments depicted in my images. My Method I prefer to shoot with black and white 35mm film, because I find it's more honest and direct, at least for me. I like the mental exercise of having to prepare the picture in your mind first and do the chain of thoughts necessary to translate the idea into the final work. Color can be distracting and disruptive of the real intent and emotion I am trying to achieve. My favorite camera is the Canon EOS 1 RS film camera; it has plenty of functions which allow me to have more control over the final product. I love to prepare a playlist and just go and take a walk with my camera and put myself in the mood: a limbo between voyeurism and participant. My Path When I started I wanted to be a war photographer, but in my home country of Portugal, it's very difficult to get the connections necessary to achieve that. I was fortunate to get an internship at a daily newspaper in Portugal which led to my work being published in several major newspapers and magazines. I began to work more in fashion photography and was assigned to the fashion weeks that took place in Europe. During the shows, I found that I always preferred the backstage where I had more freedom to do different things, take more risks. Photography has been the driving force through all my creative pursuits. My love of music, music photography and music videos comprise a large part of my work. As a cinematographer/director for album and DVD covers, I work in collaboration with several European photography agencies in Portugal and in the UK. The more artistic side of my work is represented in several countries and in private collections, from Canada, the UK, France, Netherlands, Australia, China, Portugal, and the United States. Currently I am living in Lisbon, but who knows what's next.
Mike Magers
United States
1976
Michael Magers is a documentary photographer and journalist based in New York City. He is a frequent collaborator with the highly acclaimed team at Roads & Kingdoms and served as the lead photographer on their award-winning books, Rice Noodle Fish and Grape Olive Pig (as well as contributing to the 3rd book in the series Pasta Pane Vino) published by Harper Collins/Anthony Bourdain. His images are exhibited both internationally and in the U.S. and have appeared in a wide range of digital and print publications including TIME, Smithsonian, Vogue Italia, Huck Magazine, Outside, The California Sunday Magazine, CNN's Explore Parts Unknown, Saveur, New York Times - T Magazine (Instagram Takeover), Grantland, Barron's, The Guardian.com, and L'oeil de la Photographie. Michael's work documenting craftsmanship in Japan was named a 2016 Critical Mass Finalist. About Independent Mysteries Independent Mysteries (pub. November 2019) is the first monograph from documentary photographer Michael Magers. In it, Magers exposes the persistent tension between connection and disconnection -- a feeling of "intimate distance" -- he grappled with while traveling to places like Japan, Haiti, and Cuba for various assignments and personal projects. Drawing on nearly a decade of work, each image can be viewed as a film-still, with little context other than light brushes of human contact, fleeting intimacy, solitude and vulnerability. Every one of the grainy, black-and-white photographs in this book carries with it a secret to be discovered and explored. Read More about Independent Mysteries Book
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