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Mark Tuschman
Mark Tuschman

Mark Tuschman

Country: United States

Over the years I have become more motivated to use my photography to communicate in a more socially conscious way—in a way that exposes people to both the degree of human suffering that exists in today’s world and to the courage and fortitude that people manifest to overcome it. In my travels I can easily imagine that I could have been born into completely different circumstances and my worldview would have been radically different, having been influenced by a completely, radically dissimilar environment and culture. Indeed, I know I have been privileged and fortunate to have been born into an affluent culture with tremendous opportunities. I believe that it is especially important for people in our society to understand other cultures and the enormous difficulties that people in other countries face daily in order to simply survive. The human condition is wrought with great uncertainty and suffering, and yet the human spirit and the hope for a better life can grow stronger in the face of adversity. I am constantly inspired by the profound fortitude of people living in difficult conditions and the empathy and commitment of the many who give counsel and aid to those less fortunate. I believe it as my moral obligation to use whatever talents I have as a photographer to transcend our limited worldviews and to help bridge the gap between cultures of affluence and poverty. Photography is a universal language and it is my hope that my images will move viewers to respond not only with empathy, but also with action. It is my intention to photograph people with compassion and dignity in the hope of communicating our interrelatedness. In the words of Sebastiao Salgado whose work I greatly admire, “If you take a picture of a human that does not make him noble, there is no reason to take this picture. That is my way of seeing things.”
 

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Sim Chi Yin
Singapore
1978
Sim Chi Yin (born 1978) is a Singaporean photographer, based between Beijing, China, and London. She works as a documentary photographer and artist who pursues self-directed projects in Asia and is "interested in history, memory, and migration and its consequences". As well as photography she uses film, sound, text and archival material. The Long Road Home: Journeys Of Indonesian Migrant Workers was published in 2011. Sim is a nominee member of Magnum Photos. Sim Chi Yin was born in Singapore. She learned history and international relations at the London School of Economics on a scholarship. She worked as a print journalist and foreign correspondent at The Straits Times for nine years. In 2010 she quit to work full time as a photographer. Within four years she was working as a photojournalist, getting regular assignments from The New York Times. Her first major work was The Rat Tribe, about blue-collar workers in Beijing. It has been published widely and was shown at the Rencontres d'Arles in 2012. Sim spent four years photographing Chinese gold miners living with the occupational lung disease silicosis, published in the photo essay Dying To Breathe, much of it about He Quangui, also the subject of a short film. She was commissioned as the Nobel Peace Prize photographer in 2017 to make work about its winner, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. Her photographs of similarities in landscapes related to nuclear weapons, both in the USA and along the China-North Korea border, were exhibited at the Nobel Peace Center museum in Oslo, Norway. In 2014 she became an interim member of VII Photo Agency, a full member in 2016 then left in 2017. In 2018 she became a nominee member of Magnum Photos. She has been awarded a Magnum Foundation Social Justice and Photography fellowship and the Chris Hondros Award. She is newly based in Berlin.Source: Wikipedia Sim Chi Yin’s work combines deep research with intimate storytelling. She explores history, memory, conflict and migration using photography, film, sound, text and archival material, in a multidisciplinary practice. Chi Yin was commissioned as the Nobel Peace Prize photographer in 2017 and created a solo show for the Nobel Peace Centre museum in Oslo on nuclear weapons, combining video installation and still photography. Other notable projects include One Day We’ll Understand, an ongoing excavation of histories from the anti-colonial resistance movement in British Malaya during the early Cold War, Dying to Breathe which chronicled the slow death of a Chinese gold miner from “Black Lung” disease and Shifting Sands, an on-going visual investigation into world’s dependence on a non-renewable resource. Her work has been exhibited in the Istanbul Biennale (2017), at the Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore, the Annenberg Space For Photography in Los Angeles, Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art in South Korea, and other galleries and institutions in Europe, the United States and Asia. Her film and multimedia work have also been screened at Les rencontres d’Arles and Visa pour l'Image festivals in France, and the Singapore International Film Festival. She has worked on assignments for global publications, such as The New York Times Magazine, Time Magazine, National Geographic, The New Yorker and Harper's Bazaar. Chi Yin read history at the London School of Economics and Political Science for her first two degrees and was a staff journalist and foreign correspondent for a decade before quitting to become an independent visual practitioner in 2011. She is currently also a PhD candidate on scholarship at King’s College London, in War Studies. Chi Yin became a Magnum nominee in 2018.Source: Magnum Photos Recent solo exhibitions include One Day We’ll Understand, Les Rencontres d’Arles (2021), One Day We’ll Understand, Landskrona Foto Festival, Sweden (2020), One Day We’ll Understand, Hanart TZ Gallery, Hong Kong (2019) and Most People Were Silent, Institute of Contemporary Arts, LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore (2018), Fallout, Nobel Peace Museum, Oslo (2017). Her work has also been included in group shows such as Most People Were Silent, Aesthetica Art Prize, York Art Gallery, United Kingdom (2019); UnAuthorised Medium, Framer Framed, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Relics, Jendela (Visual Arts Space) Gallery, Esplanade, Singapore (both 2018); and the Guangzhou Image Triennial ( 2021), the 15th Istanbul Biennial, Turkey (2017). Sim was commissioned as the Nobel Peace Prize photographer in 2017, nominated for the Vera List Center’s Jane Lombard Prize for Art and Social Justice 2020.Source: chiyinsim.com
Sean Perry
United States
1968
Sean Perry is a fine-art photographer living and working in New York City and Austin, Texas. His photographs and books center on architecture, space and light - expressing the ambiance felt within built environments. He is currently completing three series/books on New York City entitled Monolith, Gotham and Fotopolis, as well as exhibiting a recently completed body of work on the dreamscape of temporary environments, Fairgrounds. Perry attended Berklee College of Music and was a working musician before turning to photography in 1996. His photographs and books have been acquired by notable private collectors including Manfred Heiting and Alan Siegel in addition to being held in the permanent collections of the Museum Fine Arts Houston, the Amon Carter Museum, Wittliff Gallery of Southwestern & Mexican Photography, and the Harry Ransom Center. Cloverleaf Press published Perry's first limited edition book, Transitory in 2006, and followed with a second title, Fairgrounds in the Fall of 2008. In 2009 he was selected as a finalist for the Hasselblad Masters award for his work and book Fairgrounds. His photographs have been published widely including the New York Times Sunday Magazine, Graphis, Camera Arts, New York Magazine, Billboard and American Photography. He has served as an adjunct Professor of Photography in Austin since 2001 as well as an adjunct Professor for the School of Visual Arts in New York City since 2006. Perry frequently contributes his photographs to auctions that benefit photographic and social concerns. His work is represented by the Stephen L. Clark Gallery, Austin. Interview with Sean Perry All About Photo: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer? Sean Perry: When I was younger I didn't know or have access to any professional photographers, but I really loved movies and looked at a lot of books. At that time I got into music and everything else was just secondary. As a musician I always thought about pictures and the visual atmosphere great songs provoke and in my thirties I started photographing and haven’t stopped. AAP: Where did you study photography? With whom? SP: I don’t have a formal background studying photography but it’s not quite right to say I'm self taught either. One of my old bandmates, Jeff Miller is a brother to me, a great photographer and my first teacher - I learned about cameras, making good pictures and printing in the darkroom. That experience was also my first big introduction to contemporary artists like Joel-Peter Witkin and The Starns. I later had important mentors in a photographer I assisted for, Frank Curry and a sculptor who has had a tremendous influence on me as an artist and photographer, John Christensen. AAP:Do you have a mentor? SP: I have a few friends and colleagues who I admire and trust that I ask for insight and guidance with various things... Elizabeth Avedon, Jace Graf, Stephen Clark - there are others. I ask different people, different questions for different reasons if that makes sense. I think it's important to deeply consider who you ask and why. I've been a client of Mary Virginia Swanson for many years and her savvy is always invaluable, I truly owe her a great deal. I'm always learning and seeking out the chance to improve and grow. AAP: How long have you been a photographer? SP: I have been making pictures consistently since 1996 and started working professionally in 1998. AAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it? SP: What I remember most are the pictures that when I saw the film, they made me feel that the image was somehow better, or more than my capability at the time. It would lead to months of chasing and trying to catch up to the image. The first time that happened was of a barren tree in the wintertime, backlit. I remember making the other pictures from that time, but the experience of seeing something unexpected back on the contact sheets always sticks with me as meaningful. AAP: What or who inspires you? SP: Music always. Also the discovery and study of people that give themselves to their pursuits with the discipline and heart to be excellent. New York City. Late fall leading to snow and cold weather makes me happy. AAP: How could you describe your style? SP: A little romantic but not sentimental - sci-fi but not overtly conceptual. I always work to make beautiful images and objects that don’t apologize for their consideration of aesthetic and design. My experience has taught me there is a strange, small line between beautiful and pretty, arbitrary and yet often substantial. I think my favorite word or aim for my work is earnest, and hopefully elegant. I try to be consistent and to quote someone I deeply respect, Paul Rand – "Don’t try to be original, just try to be good." AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film? SP: I’m fluent in digital tools and use them to manage images online etcetera, but I have used the same camera gear for over twelve years. Hasselblad 501CM with a 120mm lens and 25A Red filter. Tri-X film in A12 backs. Processed in D76, 1 to 1. Silver gelatin prints bleached and then toned in combinations of sepia and selenium or platinum–palladium prints from enlarged negatives. AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? SP: I tend to run film and then not look at it for a while.... I then go through the contact sheets and make work prints of the things that seem to have promise. As the series and work evolves the process of editing, sequencing and design kicks in. After the edges of a project are more or less in place, I’ll go back again and see what I may have missed on the contact sheets. AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)? SP: If I am only allowed one, Irving Penn – hands down, no one else. I love books and too many favorites to list, but in no particular order others would be Saul Leiter, Ted Croner, Robert & Shana Parke-Harrison, Tom Baril, Louis Faurer, Edward Burtynsky, Albert Watson, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Berenice Abbott and Matt Mahurin. AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer? SP: Fearlessly make all the bad pictures you need to in order to get to the good ones. Not thoughtlessly in the number of images, but without hesitation in the intent to chase your ideas. When you are disappointed, try to understand why specifically – was it a technical mistake your effort and experience will resolve over time or was it about vision in what you could or could not see at that moment. The technical things are usually easier to improve upon, I have found the other takes additional perseverance and courage. For myself there is always the confrontation of closing the distance between the potency I’m after and the many challenges at hand while guiding it there. I think the biggest secret is simply not to quit. AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid? SP: Everyone is different, so very hard to say. I believe one truth for myself has been it’s more valuable to invest time in what your pictures, your life, your point of view are all about and less energy worrying about the urgency sometimes encouraged in technology and shorter term concerns. Play long ball. AAP: An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share? SP: I am currently administrating an ambitious project that connects college students with high school students, creating mentorship and the development of visual language. For the college students it is to illustrate the value of mentorship from both sides, as well as create meaningful dialogue about photography and image making. It provides a mechanism for high school students to share and express their photographic work with a new audience and has direct, tangible advantages for everyone involved – accenting the importance of communication and emphasizing the photography community's tradition of portfolio review. Visit The Picture Review. AAP: Your best memory has a photographer? SP: All of my favorite memories are darkroom related. My first darkroom was in John Christensen's studio, I deeply miss those days and that place. I would often print all day and all night - it's where I learned about photo-chemistry and the subtleties of split-toning and other irresistible alchemy. AAP: Your worst souvenir as a photographer? SP: My checking account. AAP: If you could have taken the photographs of someone else who would it be? SP: It's an interesting question but it reminds me of a rock & roll story, urban legend I remember as a kid and recently retold in Esquire Magazine. When Van Halen was touring in the late 70’s they were opening for Ted Nugent who admired Eddie Van Halen's guitar tone. Among other things, Eddie would hide one of his effect pedals (a tape echo) in an old bomb casing, adding to the mystery of his great tone and why he sounded the way he did. Everyone believed he had a "magic" black box. During sound check, Ted Nugent got the chance to play through Eddie’s rig and was disappointed to discover his guitar tone was unchanged – he sounded like he always did and whatever he loved about Eddie's tone was in his hands and not in the gear. I think photographs are like that, there are many pictures I would be thrilled if I had produced but in the end I can only make what is in my hands and heart. The images I love that others have made don't represent my life and could never belong to me. I remain a fan and audience to my heroes, happily so.
Marna Clarke
United States
A black and white Kodak advertisement caught my attention. The simple image of a cityscape with a teenage boy leaning against a wall plastered with faded, torn posters portrayed an honest and oddly poignant moment.It was 1972. I was living in New York City, married with two small sons. Inspired by the ad, I started carrying a point-and-shoot camera and capturing whatever struck me as memorable or unsettling. I soon bought a 35mm SLR camera and began educating myself with classes and exhibitions. At night I would transform my kitchen into a dark room and stay up late watching the chemicals turn my observations into silver images. After moving with my family to Hartford, Connecticut, I built a legitimate darkroom in the basement of my house. In 1981, I began working professionally with a focus on portraiture, weddings, and events. Color landscapes I had done in Europe and America landed me magazine work and eventually architecture/interior design documentation and advertising. I continued to pursue my own projects, receiving a Connecticut Individual Artist's Grant in 1987 for experimentation in B&W portraiture. I taught at the Hartford Art School for a couple of years as an adjunct instructor.In 1992 I stopped photographing, sold all my equipment and most of my possessions, and traveled. I had become certified to teach English as a Second Language and wanted employment in Europe. Instead, I ended up in an ashram in India teaching English and learning meditation. I moved to California in 1996, and in 2005 began again to capture the world both within and around me. I had met a man who invited me to live with him, had gifted me a digital camera, and told me to get back to work. I'm still with this man and still photographing. Time As We Know It
Thomas Dworzak
Germany
1972
Thomas Dworzak (born 1972) is a German photographer. He became a Magnum Photos nominee in 2000 and a full member in 2004. He was elected President of Magnum in 2017. Dworzak won a World Press Photo award in 2001 and in 2018 received the Hood Medal from the Royal Photographic Society in the UK. Dworzak was born in Kötzting, Germany. He decided to become a photographer from an early age, travelling to Northern Ireland, Israel, Palestine and to Yugoslavia while still in high school. Dworzak lived in Tbilisi, Georgia from 1993 until 1998 where he documented the conflicts in Chechnya, Karabakh and Abkhazia. Whilst there he worked on a project about the Caucasus region and its people, the impact years of brutal war had on the region, and the interplay between Russian literature and the typical imagery of the Caucasus. This was published as the book Kavkaz.Source: Wikipedia In the years following the 9/11 attacks, he spent time covering the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as their impact on the U.S. During a several-months assignment in Afghanistan for The New Yorker, he discovered studio portraits of the Taliban; these images would form his first book, Taliban. The images that were taken during his many assignments in Iraq, most of which were shot for TIME Magazine, were used to create his next book: M*A*S*H* IRAQ. From 2005 to 2008, as a TIME magazine contract photographer, Dworzak covered many major international news stories including: Macedonia, Pakistan, Chechnya, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Lebanon, Haiti, Chad, C.A.R., the London attacks, Ethiopia, Iran, U.S. presidential campaigns, Hurricane Katrina, and the revolutions in the former Soviet republics of Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, and Ukraine. During breaks from conflict areas and war zones he regularly photographed Fashion Weeks in major cities. In 2006, Thomas photographed the New York Marathon while participating himself. Thomas remained in Georgia after the 2008 war with Russia. This would lead to the Magnum Group project Georgian Spring, which was a starting point for a new, several-year-long engagement with the "New Georgia" under President M. Saakashvili. In 2012, Thomas photographed Nowrooz celebrations in Georgia. Dworzak spent 2009-2010 in Afghanistan, documenting the deployment of ISAF troops and their return home. In 2009, he also visited Iran to photograph Ashura. A National Geographic assignment on the Sochi Olympics became later the book Beyond Sochi. In 2013, a commission for the Bruges Museum led him to photograph the memory of WWI. This has since become an ongoing project concerning the legacy of the First World War around the world, which he planned to finish in 2018, 100 years after the end of the conflict. Always an avid collector, Thomas started gathering Instagram screenshots of a variety of subjects and has been grouping them together into ever-growing collections of Instagram artist scrapbooks. A final set of 20 of these books has been presented at the International Center of Photography, ICP, in New York from February 2017. Besides his personal stories, Thomas Dworzak continues to cover international stories, including the 2015 Paris terror attacks, Pokemon Go!, the 2016 U.S. elections, and the run-up to the 2017 French presidential elections. When covering the escalation of the refugee crisis in 2015, he conceived the idea of "Europe - a photographic guide for refugees," which was produced and distributed free of charge to migrants with the support of a Magnum Foundation Emergency Grant and AFAC in 2016. Dworzak has also been teaching a number of workshops.Source: Pulitzer Center With an unflinching eye and depth of vision, Thomas Dworzak has documented many of this century’s most important news stories since the 1990s. Dworzak started travelling aged 16 to photograph conflicts in Northern Ireland, Israel/Palestine and the disintegrating Yugoslavia. Since then, he has gone on to photograph wars in Afghanistan and Iraq post 9/11, the revolutions in the former Soviet republics of Georgia, Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine. After graduating from Robert-Schuman Gymnasium, Cham (specializing in English, French, History and Russian Literature) he left Germany, always combining his travels and attempts to become a photographer with studying languages: Spanish in Avila, Czech in Prague, Russian in Moscow. During the Nineties, Dworzak lived in Georgia, exploring the people, culture and conflicts in the Caucasus, which resulted in the book, Kavkaz in 2010. Significant projects include a several-month assignment in Afghanistan for The New Yorker, where he discovered studio portraits of the Taliban. This became his first book, Taliban. Meanwhile, images taken during his many assignments in Iraq, most of which were shot for TIME Magazine, were used to create his next book:M*A*S*H* IRAQ. In his most recent project, Feldpost (2013 – 2018), he photographed the ‘memory’ of WWI in more than 80 countries, producing 1568 ‘postcards’ (one for every day of the war). It was completed on 11/11/2018, 100 years after the end of the conflict. Dworzak is also a keen curator, with a particular interest in digital culture. His work mining Instagram memes under various hashtags—ranging from animals dressed as the pope to the aftermath of the Boston marathon bombing‚—has resulted in 20 sketchbooks compiled of his findings.Source: Magnum Photos Since 2011 he is also represented by Gallery Clair in Munich and St.Paul.
Carol Beckwith
United States
Thirty years of work on the African continent have carried Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher across 270,000 miles and through remote corners of 40 countries in exploration of more than 150 African cultures. In the process, this team of world-renowned photographers has produced fourteen widely acclaimed books and made four films about traditional Africa. They have been granted unprecedented access to African tribal rites and rituals and continue to be honored worldwide for their powerful photographs documenting the traditional ceremonies of cultures thousands of years old. As an intrepid team of explorers, they are committed to preserving sacred tribal ceremonies and African cultural traditions all too vulnerable to the trends of modernity. The Beckwith-Fisher images are the result of a long, enduring and deeply respectful relationship with African tribal peoples. This, combined with their photographic skills, creates an intimate portrayal of ceremonies long held secret that might have never been recorded. Their work preserves and presents the power, complexity and celebration found within the rituals of African tribal life. Their extraordinary photographs are recorded in fourteen best-selling books and in their films. Their new book “Painted Bodies” (2012) follows “Maasai” (1980), “Nomads of Niger” (1983), “Africa Adorned” (1984), “African Ark” (1990), “African Ceremonies” (1999), “Passages” (2000), “Faces of Africa” (2004), “Lamu: Kenya’s Enchanted Island” (2009), and “Dinka” (2010). The special limited-edition books, hand printed in Santiago, Chile, are titled “Surma,” “Karo,” “Maasai,” and “Dinka.” “African Ceremonies,” their defining body of work, is a double volume, pan-African study of rituals and rites of passage from birth to death, covering 93 ceremonies from 26 countries. This book won the United Nations Award for Excellence for “vision and understanding of the role of cultural traditions in the pursuit of world peace.” Honored twice with the Annisfield-Wolf Book Award in race relations for “outstanding contributions to the understanding of cultural diversity and prejudice,” Angela and Carol are also winners of the Royal Geographical Society of London’s Cherry Kearton Medal for their contribution to the photographic recording of African ethnography and ritual. The photographers have made four films about traditional Africa, including Way of the Wodaabe (1986), The Painter and the Fighter, and two programs for the Millennium Series Tribal Wisdom and the Modern World. Numerous exhibitions of their photography and films have been shown in museums and galleries around the world. In 2000 their Passages exhibition opened at the Brooklyn Museum of Art featuring 97 mural photographs, six video films and a selection of African masks, sculpture and jewelry. This exhibition has traveled to seven museums on three continents. Aware that traditional cultures in Africa are fast disappearing, Carol and Angela are working with an urgency to complete the third volume of their ongoing study of African Ceremonies with the goal of covering the remaining traditional ceremonies in the 13 African cultures in which they have not yet worked.Source: carolbeckwith-angelafisher.com
Petros Kotzabasis
Petros Kotzabasis was born in Komotini, a small town in north of Greece, where he has chosen to live. He has teaching photo, to the cultural club of students of Democritos University of Thrace, since 2007.The procedure of taking pictures has an affect on him, similar to psychoanalysis, as he says, he feels as if he is the one and only viewer of an act that takes place daily and his camera is the diary that captures, in this moving reality which surrounds us, pictures that only last for split seconds. Lines and shapes formed and get lost instantly, changing every minute and in this constant alteration and movement he works by isolating several instant expressions of real through this lens. A photo is a creation of the reality, in which there are not the spots of the world that he does not want to include in his picture. It' s the total of the thinks that the photographer has lived, others that he has read, listen or he has imagined. The power of an artist is his knowledge that, by using something real simple, such as a different composition of colours, or the change of the contrast, or the standing of a head, or the shoot from a lower angle, makes the difference between the indifferent and the genius. His pictures are spontaneous and quite personal. There are no special events in them, he searches for magic in common people of the street, his neighbors, passers-by. He believes that the everyday routine of the object is what leaves plenty of space for elements to create the "art" of photography. He takes photographs of "everyday life" on a daily basis, urged by a habit he used to have when he was little. As he describes: "Every day I used to stand on our doorstep with my grandmother and observe the street and the passers-by for hours, making up stories between us. Without exchanging a single word, we had absolute communication. That habit, as I was growing up, directed me to photography." With a canon 5D and a 35 mm lens he tries to create a photograph which possesses elements of poetry, he would call it 'visual poetry', thus intending to communicate with the viewers as he used to do with his grandmother, without explanations and messages, permitting them total freedom. His starting point is the phrase by Odysseas Elytis, the great Greek poet that says: "with lime twigs you may capture birds, yet you never capture their singing. It takes a different kind of twig...." This very singing is what he tries to capture with his photographs.All about Petros Kotzabasis:AAP: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?It’s rather hard to answer such a question as I still haven’t realized that I am a photographer. What I am doing is actually due to an urge to create and express myself. Here in Greece, you see, you are deemed a photographer if you are professionally involved with wedding photography or photojournalism.AAP: Where did you study photography?I haven’t actually studied photography; I am self-taught. I have come upon everything by looking up in books.AAP:Do you have a mentor?Strange though it may sound, I could regard as my “mentor” the distinguished Greek poet, Odysseas Elytis, Fernando Pessoa or Marcel Proust, as they help me find my way whenever I reach a deadlock.AAP: How long have you been a photographer?I became involved with photography in 1985 but in 1994 I reached a stalemate and for almost a decade I stopped photographing. I didn’t shoot a single photo. I couldn’t even lay my hands on the camera; not even on holidays when a tourist asked me to take a photo. Then a certain incident urged me to take it up again in 2004 and since then I keep on photographing on a daily basis. I have never seen the photos of that first phase and I dumped the films in the basement of the house I used to live at that time.AAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it?It’s been quite a while and I can’t remember my first shot. Instead, I could recount the story of a photo of mine, which may be indicative of the way I act. A few years ago, I set off for a traditional fete that takes place on the mountains, almost a two-hour drive from home. I set off equipped with several memory cards with a view to taking loads of photos during the 3 days the fete lasted. As soon as I reached my destination and opened the car door, I saw the frame that was created , took the picture and felt such a fulfillment that I realized there was no point in taking any more photos; so I instantly closed the door and returned with that one single photo.AAP: What or who inspires you?Literature and poetry have always been a source of inspiration for me.AAP: How could you describe your style?I would characterize what I am trying to do as visual poetry. In my photos there are no extraordinary events; I seek magic in the ordinary people on the street, in my neighbors, in passers-by. I seek the moment when narration is no longer needed with the aim of creating a new universe where all will be evident yet something will be left unrevealed, not with symbols but with hints. Starting point for me has been a quote by Odysseas Elytis “with lime twigs you may capture birds; yet you will never capture their singing…”AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film?The gear that I use is rather simple; a digital camera-Canon 5D- and a 35mm/f1,4 lens. I am against using several kinds of gear that may give you more opportunities; I like putting limitations and making particular choices, as they render you less “garrulous” and more conscious.AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images?Once I take a picture, I don’t spend so much time on it. At the end of the day I have a look at what I’ve shot and in very few minutes I sort out the one or ones that I am interested in. I always show the selected lot to a specific person who is not in any way involved with photography or any other form of art, but who I trust otherwise, and once I get their opinion, I make my final choice. Because I browse through the photos very quickly every evening, I feel that in my hard disks there may be photos I have never noticed and I have always had the urge to have another look at them but I never did.AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)?A lot of photographers are my favorite. The first one I had ever studied and really made an impression on me was Koudelka, then I “met” and fell in love with Kertész and Bresson. Also, Robert Frank , Plossu , my compatriot, Economopoulos and many others.AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer?The most important thing for someone who is about to take up photography is to gain a deep insight into themselves; it’s this process of personal development and cultivation that will enable them to express themselves through photography and take photos that will be the real them and provoke the interest of others.AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid?When one sets out on this photographic trip, they browse through the internet and magazines and try to shoot at some point what they have seen. I consider this a great mistake since they are drifted away in an attempt to imitate and they are caught in a deadlock.AAP: An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share?Since my intention is not to depict something specific or recount an event through my pictures, I couldn’t claim that I am currently working on some kind of project and once this is over, I’ll start with another one. The point is to decode what’s inside me and this “project” will be over once I am over with photography or once I am no longer alive.AAP: Your best memory has a photographer?What I find important, is that some say or write that one of my photos triggered a burst of emotion in them. I find this the most significant gift photography could grant me. AAP: Your worst souvenir has a photographer?Since I mainly photograph on the streets, the police have arrested me twice as a suspect. I believe these are my worst experiences as a photographer. AAP: If you could have taken the photographs of someone else who would it be?As I mentioned before, I love and admire the work of many photographers; thus, it would be impossible for me to pick one.
Artur Nikodem
Austria
1870 | † 1940
Artur Nikodem (1870-1940) was born in Trent, Austria. As a young man, Nikodem studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, Milan and Florence. He then served in the Austrian Navy before settling briefly in Paris, where he was strongly influenced by the works of Monet and Cezanne. Awestruck by the ability of pigment to rearrange and restructure life on canvas, Nikodem began his endeavors as a painter. His burgeoning artistic career was delayed by military service during World War I. After the war, Nikodem returned to his home in Innsbruck where he began work as a freelance artist. He agreed to test cameras and film for a friend who sold photographic supplies, privately pursuing this means of artistic expression. The modest size and intimate subject matter of these photographs provides a window into the artist's life and mind. After a series of successful international exhibitions, Nikodem emerged as a spokesman for Tyrolean artists. As Nikodem grew older, the changing political climate resulted in his paintings being outlawed in Germany and part of the collection in Nuremberg was destroyed. Unable to secure a teaching position at the Viennese Academy, Nikodem withdrew from public life and lived in seclusion with his wife, Barbara Hoyer, until his death in 1940. Nikodem's photographs were not exhibited or discussed outside of the studio until after his death. Although he worked as a painter for the bulk of his artistic career, he was also a prolific photographer, documenting the small towns and pastoral beauty of the Austrian countryside as well as the women in his life. Nikodem captures these women, his models and lovers, including Gunda Wiese - who died of tuberculosis - and his wife Barbara Hoyer. These sensual portraits portray the erotic tension between the older artist and his much younger subjects. Artur Nikodem's portraits have invited comparison to the paintings of Egon Schiele and the series of photographs by Alfred Stieglitz of Georgia O'Keefe, similarly characterized by both playful experimentation and somber meditation. Source: Robert Mann Gallery
Peter Hujar
United States
1934 | † 1987
Peter Hujar was an American photographer best known for his black and white portraits. He has been recognized posthumously as "one of the major American photographers of the late twentieth century" and "among the greatest American photographers." Hujar was born October 11, 1934, in Trenton, New Jersey, to Rose Murphy, a waitress abandoned by her husband during her pregnancy. He was raised by his Ukrainian grandparents on their farm, where he spoke only Ukrainian until he started school. He remained on the farm with his grandparents until his grandmother's death in 1946. He moved to New York City to live with his mother and her second husband. The household was abusive, and in 1950, when Hujar was 16, he left home and began to live independently. Hujar received his first camera in 1947 and in 1953 entered the School of Industrial Art where he expressed interest in being a photographer. He was fortunate to encounter an encouraging teacher, the poet Daisy Aldan (1923–2001), and following her advice, he became a commercial photography apprentice. Apart from classes in photography during high school, Hujar's photographic education and technical mastery were acquired in commercial photo studios. By 1957, when he was 23 years old, he was making photographs now considered to be of museum quality. Early in 1967, he was one of a select group of young photographers in a master class taught by Richard Avedon and Marvin Israel, where he met Alexey Brodovitch and Diane Arbus. In 1958, Hujar accompanied the artist Joseph Raffael on a Fulbright to Italy. In 1963, he secured his own Fulbright and returned to Italy with Paul Thek, where they explored and photographed the Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo, classic images featured in his 1975 book Portraits in Life and Death. In 1964, Hujar returned to America and became a chief assistant in the studio of the commercial photographer Harold Krieger. Around this time, he also met Andy Warhol, posed for four of Warhol's three-minute "screen tests," and was included in the compilation film The Thirteen Most Beautiful Boys. In 1967, Hujar quit his job in commercial photography, and at a great financial sacrifice, began to pursue primarily his own work. What followed was a dramatic expansion of his output. In 1969, with his lover the political activist Jim Fouratt, he witnessed the Stonewall riots in the West Village. In 1973, he moved into a loft above The Eden Theater at 189 2nd Avenue, where he lived for the rest of his life. In the 1970s and early 1980s, he inhabited the small bohemian art world in downtown New York City and made portraits of people such as drag queen and actor Divine, writers Susan Sontag, William Burroughs, Fran Lebowitz, and Vince Aletti. He visited "extremely serious, very heavy S&M bars" and the abandoned West Side Hudson River piers where men cruised for sex. In 1975, Hujar published Portraits in Life and Death, with an introduction by Sontag. After a tepid reception, the book became a classic in American photography. The rest of the 1970s was a period of prolific work. In early 1981, Hujar met the writer, filmmaker, and artist David Wojnarowicz, and after a brief period as Hujar's lover, Wojnarowicz became a protégé linked to Hujar for the remainder of the photographer's life. Hujar remained instrumental in all phases of Wojnarowicz's emergence as an important young artist. Hujar's work received only marginal public recognition during his lifetime. In January 1987, Hujar was diagnosed with AIDS. He died 10 months later at the age of 53 on November 25 at Cabrini Medical Center in New York. His funeral was held at Church of St. Joseph in Greenwich Village and he was buried at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Valhalla, New York. Hujar willed his estate to his friend Stephen Koch. Source: Wikipedia Peter Hujar (born 1934) died of AIDS in 1987, leaving behind a complex and profound body of photographs. Hujar was a leading figure in the group of artists, musicians, writers, and performers at the forefront of the cultural scene in downtown New York in the 1970s and early 80s, and he was enormously admired for his completely uncompromising attitude towards work and life. He was a consummate technician, and his portraits of people, animals, and landscapes, with their exquisite black-and-white tonalities, were extremely influential. Highly emotional yet stripped of excess, Hujar’s photographs are always beautiful, although rarely in a conventional way. His extraordinary first book, Portraits in Life and Death, with an introduction by Susan Sontag, was published in 1976, but his “difficult” personality and refusal to pander to the marketplace ensured that it was one of the last publications during his lifetime.Source: The Peter Hujar Archive Peter Hujar, who died of aids-related pneumonia in 1987, at the age of fifty-three, was among the greatest of all American photographers and has had, by far, the most confusing reputation. A dazzling retrospective, curated by Joel Smith at the Morgan Library & Museum, of a hundred and sixty-four pictures affirms Hujar’s excellence while, if anything, complicating his history. The works range across the genres of portraiture, nudes, cityscape, and still-life—the stillest of all from the catacombs of Palermo, Italy, shot in 1963, when he was there with his lover at the time, the artist Paul Thek. The finest are portraits, not only of people. Some memorialize the existence of cows, sheep, and—one of my favorites—an individual goose, with an eagerly confiding mien. The quality of Hujar’s hand-done prints, tending to sumptuous blacks and simmering grays, transfixes. He was a darkroom master, maintaining technical standards for which he got scant credit except among certain cognoscenti. He never hatched a signature look to rival those of more celebrated elders who influenced him, such as Richard Avedon and Diane Arbus, or those of Robert Mapplethorpe and Nan Goldin, younger peers who learned from him. His pictures share, in place of a style, an unfailing rigor that can only be experienced, not described. Hujar needed no introduction to the low. He never met his father, who abandoned his mother, a diner waitress, before his birth, in 1934, in Trenton. She left his raising to her Ukrainian-speaking Polish parents in semirural surroundings in Ewing Township, New Jersey, until, when he was eleven, she took him to live with her and a new husband in a one-room apartment in Manhattan. The home wasn’t happy. Hujar moved out at sixteen, at first sleeping on the couch of a mentoring English teacher at the School of Industrial Arts (now the High School of Art and Design): the fine poet, editor, and translator Daisy Aldan, a free-spirited lesbian who is portrayed in the earliest of his works in the Morgan show, from 1955.Source: The New Yorker
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