Call for Entries - All About Photo Awards 2020

John Kenny

Country: 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 Ďopen 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 wasnít 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 havenít 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. Itís 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 continentís 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.
John Kenny
John Kenny
John Kenny
John Kenny
John Kenny
John Kenny
John Kenny
John Kenny
John Kenny
John Kenny
John Kenny
John Kenny
John Kenny
John Kenny
John Kenny
John Kenny
John Kenny
John Kenny
John Kenny
John Kenny
John Kenny
John Kenny
John Kenny
John Kenny
John Kenny
John Kenny
Photo LA
Sponsored Link
 

More Great Photographers To Discover

Ernie Luppi
Nationality: United States
Born: 1954
San Francisco native Ernie Luppi became involved with photography in 1973 when he started using his mother's Instamatic 126 camera that he and his brothers had given to her as a Christmas gift the previous year. During this time, Ernie was attending the City College of San Francisco and decided to switch his major to photography. The CCSF Photography Department offered one of the finest programs in the area and it helped Ernie unearth the creativity within him. To this day, (…)
Ernie Luppi
Ernie Luppi
Ernie Luppi
Ernie Luppi
Ernie Luppi
Ernie Luppi
Ernie Luppi
Ernie Luppi
 
Margo Davis
Nationality: United States
Born: 1944
Margo Baumgarten Davis is a photographer, educator and author of several photographer's books.

Margo was raised in Connecticut and has lived for over 30 years in Palo Alto, California. She attended Bennington College, spent time at the Sorbonne studying French literature, and graduated from University of California, Berkeley. It was at UC Berkeley where she met her first husband Gregson Davis and traveled frequently to his home country of Antigua. She has a (…)
Margo Davis
Margo Davis
Margo Davis
Margo Davis
Margo Davis
Margo Davis
Margo Davis
Margo Davis
 
Philip-Lorca diCorcia
Nationality: United States
Born: 1951
Philip-Lorca diCorcia (born 1951) is an American photographer. He studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Afterwards diCorcia attended Yale University where he received a Master of Fine Arts in Photography in 1979. He now lives and works in New York, and teaches at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. diCorcia's work has been exhibited in group shows in both the United States and Europe since 1977 , he participated in the traveling exhibition (…)
Philip-Lorca diCorcia
Philip-Lorca diCorcia
Philip-Lorca diCorcia
Philip-Lorca diCorcia
Philip-Lorca diCorcia
Philip-Lorca diCorcia
Philip-Lorca diCorcia
Philip-Lorca diCorcia
 
Matt Wilson
Nationality: United Kingdom
Born: 1969
Matt Wilsonís current body of work is part of an ongoing project, based upon a collection of transient observations, the landscapes of every day life and the people that call those landscapes home. It delves into the artistís own history, his formative and current years within his home landscape and in the city he now resides and also, those of distant landscapes both literally and metaphorically he has traveled. A subtle, visually rich character study of what makes us who (…)
 
Anita Conti
Nationality: France
Born: 1899 - Died: 1997

Anita Caracotchian was born in Ermont in Seine-et-Oise to a wealthy Armenian family. She spent her childhood being educated at home by different tutors and travelling with her family, gradually developing a passion for books and the sea. After moving to Paris, she concentrated on writing poems and the art of book binding. Her work got the attention of celebrities and she won different awards and prizes for her creativity in London, Paris, New York and Brussels.

(…)
 
Terry Barczak
Nationality: United States
Born: 1950
Terry Barczak is a Minneapolis based photographer who began her career as a street photographer in the late 70's. Largely self taught she also studied at Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester NY and Lightworks in Minneapolis Mn. Though cities still provide her with subject matter, Terry's other projects look into landscape, abstraction, portraiture, and religion. In addition to numerous exhibitions of her photographs, she has served as art director with filmmaker Shelli (…)
Terry Barczak
Terry Barczak
Terry Barczak
Terry Barczak
Terry Barczak
Terry Barczak
Terry Barczak
Terry Barczak
 
Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
Nationality: Russia
Born: 1863 - Died: 1944
Sergey Mikhaylovich Prokudin-Gorsky (Russian, August 30, 1863 Russian Empire Ė September 27, 1944) was a Russian chemist and photographer. He is best known for his pioneering work in color photography of early 20th-century Russia.

Prokudin-Gorsky was born in the ancestral estate of Funikova Gora, in what is now Kirzhachsky District, Vladimir Oblast. His parents were of the Russian nobility, and the family had a long military history. They moved to Saint Petersburg, (…)
Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
 
Miina Savolainen
Nationality: Finland
Miina Savolainen is a community art oriented photographer and an art and social educator from Helsinki whose works deal social engagement. Alongside her artistic work she explores, teaches and develops the use of photography as a pedagogic and therapeutic method. Her work has resulted in the method of empowering photography. Miina Savolainen, her project The Loveliest Girl In The World and the method of empowering photography have received several awards in Finland. Miina (…)
 
Roberto Pireddu
Nationality: Italy
Born: 1984

Artist Statement: "I was born on October 5th, 1984 in Cagliari, and even though I earned a high school diploma in surveying I never felt it was my field, and very soon I understood that calculations and straight lines were going to be too boring for me. The pencil, an instrument of torture if utilized in the surveying world, actually became a loyal partner if employed in the arts. I began to draw at a very young age; my first themes were the characters of my favourite (…)

Roberto Pireddu
Roberto Pireddu
Roberto Pireddu
Roberto Pireddu
Roberto Pireddu
Roberto Pireddu
Roberto Pireddu
Roberto Pireddu
 
Formento & Formento
Nationality: United States/United Kingdom
BJ Formento is the light. Richeille Formento is the pigment.

This dynamic husband-wife team have made an art of their unique strain of photography. Exuding an eerie sensuality combined with a narrative cinematic sensibility, the ambiguous nature of the characters and scenarios remind us of David Lynch and Hopper-esque landscapes. They couldnít have landed in the photographic landscape at a more opportune moment. With the enormous interest in their workósuccess is (…)
Formento & Formento
Formento & Formento
Formento & Formento
Formento & Formento
Formento & Formento
Formento & Formento
Formento & Formento
Formento & Formento
 
Photo LA
Sponsored Link
Join our newsletter
Be up-to-date with call for entries, deadlines and other news about exhibitions, galleries, publications, & special events
 
Photo Contest - All About Photo Awards 2020
 
Discover the Latest Issue of AAP Magazine
All About Photo Magazine showcases the winners of AAP Magazine Competitions
 
 
 
David Bailey: SUMO
Sponsored Link
 
Explore All About Photo