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Simon Roberts
Portrait of Simon Roberts by Francesco Niccolai, 2010
Simon Roberts
Simon Roberts

Simon Roberts

Country: United Kingdom
Birth: 1974

Simon Roberts is a British photographic artist based in Brighton, UK. Often employing expansive landscape photographs, his approach is one of creating wide-ranging surveys of our time, which communicate on important social, economic and political issues.

Roberts has been exhibited widely with We English touring to over thirty national and international venues. He’s had solo shows at the National Media Museum, Bradford, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, and Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai, and been included in numerous group exhibitions. Recent shows include Observers: British Photography and the British Scene (From the 1920s to Now) at Galeria de Arte SESI, Brazil, and Landmark: The Fields of Photography at Somerset House, London. His photographs reside in major public and private collections, including the George Eastman House, Deutsche Börse Art Collection and Wilson Centre for Photography.

In recognition for his work, Roberts has received several awards including the Vic Odden Award (2007) - offered for a notable achievement in the art of photography by a British photographer, along with bursaries from the National Media Museum (2007), John Kobal Foundation (2008) and grants from Arts Council England (2007, 2010, 2011, 2014). He was commissioned as the official Election Artist by the House of Commons Works of Art Committee to produce a record of the 2010 General Election on behalf of the UK Parliament. In 2012 he was granted access by the International Olympic Committee to photograph the London Olympics and most recently was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, UK (2013).

He has published three critically acclaimed monographs, Motherland (Chris Boot, 2007), We English (Chris Boot, 2009) - voted by Martin Parr as one of the best photography books of the past decade - and Pierdom (Dewi Lewis Publishing, 2013).

One commentator has described his photographs as “subtle in their discovery and representation of forms of cultural character, which, upon closer inspection, reveal a richness of detail and meaning. They exhibit a disciplined compositional restraint, a richness of palette, and a wealth of narrative incident.

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More Great Photographers To Discover

Milos Nejezchleb
Czech Republic
1978
The Czech photographer Miloš Nejezchleb was born in 1978. He lives in the Czech Republic and has got three children. He has only been involved in conceptual photography since 2016; however, he has already won several prestigious international awards. He is the absolute winner of the Fine Art Photography Award in London (2021), where he won the FINE ART PHOTOGRAHER OF THE YEAR title. He is the winner of the Malta International Photo Award (2020), two-time gold medalist in the Trierenberg Super Circuit competition in Linz and he is also, among others, silver medalist in IPA 2021 - International Photography Award. The most characteristic features of his photographs are noticeably colorful elements with a clear focus on the art of photography. Miloš often chooses current social topics, which he processes as stories using photographic series. These stories are narrated by people. He works on such series on his own and ensures the entire Art direction. He himself designs styling, looks for locations and carries out post-production. Besides conceptual art, where he points out currently discussed topics, Miloš has 2long-term thematic photographic cycles which document stories of real people. The most famous of them is photographic cycle "Stronger", in which Milos takes photos of people who have gone through hard times in their lives, and thanks to this experience they have become stronger personalities. Milos is at the beginning of his photographic career. He was fascinated by art photography when he bought his first camera. It happened before the birth of his first daughter. He is currently working on other production-intensive projects.
Ruud van Empel
Netherlands
1958
Ruud van Empel (born 21 November 1958 in Breda) is a Dutch photographer and visual artist. Ruud van Empel was born in Breda in 1958. He studied at the Academie voor Beeldende Kunst St. Joost (St Joost Academy of Art) in Breda in the 1970s, and began making independently produced videotapes in the eighties. He moved to Amsterdam in the late eighties to work on his career as a visual artist. His first photographic series were The Office (1995-2001), Study for Women (1999-2002) and Study in Green (2003). The Groninger Museum presented his first solo exhibition in 1999. He made his international breakthrough with his series World-Moon-Venus, which was shown in the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, New York State. Until mid-1995, Van Empel’s art was primarily generated by a process of assembling analogue photographic images. At that point, he exchanged this traditional collage technique – cutting, pasting and retouching in the darkroom – for image processing on the computer, working in an idea-driven manner. The first series created with this method was The Office (1995). In a technical sense, The Office displays a handicraft-like quality, missing the perfectionist character of his later work. Nevertheless, Ruud van Empel clearly demonstrated that his approach differed from other disciplines such as staged photography. In certain aspects, The Office offered a somewhat surrealistic character and referred to photomontages from the 1920s in terms of style and design. On the basis of this art-historical reference, Van Empel created a new genre within photography – without a ready-to-wear label. The artist himself speaks of the ‘construction of a photographic image’. Although he does make use of pure photomontage – he never applies so-called morphing techniques – the final result strives for content aligned to natural reality rather than to surrealism. The artificiality is visible but the final image is a convincing, autonomous reality. As a consequence, the work does not seem grotesque or absurd but could theoretically actually appear in reality. In that respect, Van Empel’s images are independent. They do not manifest themselves as ‘symbolic’ and have been stripped of all ‘pictorial’ associations. He does not deploy photography as a substitute for painting but rather uses it as an independent form of depiction. Every image consists of photographic sources that are digitally assembled on the computer. The work of Ruud van Empel exists by grace of the camera by means of which he records his building blocks. After The Office, he created the Study for Women series, which comprises a number of female portraits that refer to the magic realism art movement. In this series, produced in the period 2000-2002, he displayed the form language with which he would soon gain worldwide recognition. The Study in Green series from 2003-2004, the Untitled series from 2004, and the three closely related series World, Moon and Venus, which he began in 2005, represented Van Empel’s true international breakthrough. Curator Deborah Klochko invited him to participate in the exhibition entitled Picturing Eden in the George Eastman House. In the book Ruud van Empel Photoworks 1995-2010, she wrote: ‘Van Empel’s virtuosity lies in his capacity to combine in photography the kind of ideas anchored in painting (historical references, the power of a glimpse, use of colour) and cinema (structure with multiple images and the power of a narrative), and to do so on a large scale. To understand his work you must ask yourself: ‘Is it science or art? Is it real or imaginary? Is innocence or decadence?’ Particularly the World series, which explores the theme of innocence, made a deep impression. These works were inspired by photos taken by his father. Van Empel placed neatly dressed, black boys and girls in paradisical settings of unspoiled, non-existent natural surroundings. Great interest in and appreciation of this series are expressed worldwide to this day. The breakthrough in America also led to renewed attention in Dutch museums. Van Empel has had solo exhibitions in Museum Het Valkhof in Nijmegen, the Groninger Museum and the NoordBrabants Museum in ’s-Hertogenbosch. Since the international recognition of his work gave Ruud Van Empel the status of an artist with an own independent form language, he has progressively extended his oeuvre with the Theatre series from 2010-2013, and Souvenir, which provided a charged picture of his youth in Breda. This series was purchased by the NoordBrabants Museum. A typical feature of the work of Ruud van Empel is the composition of a perfected and idealized representation right down to the finest details. But this always has a darker side, albeit not always evident. Ruud Schenk, curator of the Groninger Museum, wrote about that aspect with reference to the Study for Women series (2000-2002): ‘As a spectator you feel that there is something not quite right about the depiction of the women: they are not completely lifelike, but tend to be a mixture of real women and window dummies. This generates a certain discomfort, an uneasiness that touches upon what was described as 'das Unheimliche' (the uncanny) at the beginning of the 20th century.’ Although the photographic images seem to capture an epoch, you can hardly assign a date to any of them. This timeless element of Van Empel’s work has taken on a different significance in his recent work, as he deals with themes such as transience and Vanity in his Still Life series from 2014, and also portrays older people as in the portrait of an older woman in the Sunday series (2012), or in the Nude series (2014), in which he questions the pose of the model and the aesthetics of nudity. In the Solo Work series, on which Ruud van Empel has been working since 2011, he consistently deals with just one topic in an isolated work. The moral, ethical and aesthetic dilemmas of society and art are presented to us in a photographic form language. The significance of these is shown in the countless publications and international exhibitions of this work, not only in institutions specialized in photography but also in renowned museums for modern visual art.Source: Wikipedia
Colby Deal
United States
1988
Colby Deal is a photographic artist born (b. 1988) and raised in Houston, Texas. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in the practice of photography from The University of Houston. Within his practice, he explores the culmination of elements of the psychological environment as well as the physical. He shows the dynamic range of family, community and the individual by combining street photography and portraiture to capture vibrant communities. In recent years he has incorporated the medium of sculpture and public art as a means of preserving cultural characteristics that are being erased and positively influencing his community and others alike. Colby is directly inspired by his upbringing through getting to see his family’s photographs that were mostly taken by his father. This appreciation for slowing down and concentrating on photographing what’s right in front of him, “The Now”, has led him to be more in touch with using analog photography. Colby Deal is an alumni of Project Row Houses residency, Red Line Contemporary Art Center residency in Denver, Colorado and in 2020, was awarded an exhibition at the Houston Museum of African American Culture. Colby became a Magnum nominee member in 2020.Source: Magnum Photos Colby Deal is a firm believer in the potential of photography to be a transformative medium. “Especially now with Covid and how it is separating people, imagery is so important” he says, over video call from outside his home in Houston’s Third Ward, where he has been photographing with the intention to uplift cultural representations of the predominantly Black neighborhood. “People of color and people from under-resourced communities are always shown negative images about themselves,” says Deal, whose practice involves pasting his images onto abandoned buildings and derelict shopfronts. “Imagine being a kid, waking up, getting on the school bus, and seeing yourself displayed monumentally in a positive manner. That can have a strong psychological effect on the way you think about yourself and others. Like seriously, just a glance at an image can change your thought patterns — it can change your whole life.” Adopting a participatory approach, Deal’s process involves a lot of talking and walking. On a typical day, he will drag his large format camera on a wagon, stopping at people’s doorsteps and porches for a drink, smoke, and conversation, about their lives and the condition of their community. “I don’t want to call it a story because I sound like a fucking news reporter,” he laughs, “but what I’ll do is walk around, find things I like, and shoot around it”. The culmination of these excursions is Beautiful, Still, an ongoing collection of over 1,000 black-and-white negatives of street photographs and portraits. The ability to layer these historical, personal, and social contexts in a single image can be cited back to Deal’s childhood and evolution as an artist. Deal was initially self-taught, later enrolling in the Photography BFA at The University of Houston, mostly for “the network,” he says, and to “learn how to better articulate what I was doing”. The documentary photographer, who last month became a Magnum nominee, is also a sculptor, carpenter, graphic designer, and painter. “As a child, everything I found joy in was about art,” says Deal, who was drawing from the age of three, and later developed an obsession with breaking down objects and piecing them back together. “That aspect has played a huge part in what I do today, which is looking at an idea, concept, or message that I want to get across, then starting from the root, and working from there.”Source: British Journal of Photography
Erik Johansson
Sweden
1985
Erik Johansson (born 1985) is a photographer and visual artist from Sweden based in Prague, Czech Republic. His work can be described as surreal world created by combining different photographs. Erik works on both personal and commissioned projects with clients all around the world. In contrast to traditional photography he doesn't capture moments, he captures ideas with the help of his camera and imagination. The goal is to make it look as realistic as possible even if the scene itself contains impossible elements. In the end it all comes down to problem solving, finding a way to capture the impossible. To Erik it's always important with a high level of realism in his work. He want's the viewer to feel like they are part of the scene. Although his work consists of a lot of work in post-production and combining photogaphs he always tries to capture as much as possible in camera. "No one can tell you that it doesn’t look realistic if you actually captured it for real." Light and perspective are crucial parts when combining images in a realistic way and if some parts are not possible to shoot on location, a similar scene has to be built up in a controlled environment. Having an understanding of both photography and post production is very important to make everything come together seamlessly. Every photograph and part has its purpose. Erik always do all the post production himself to be in complete control of the end result. The idea, photography and post production are all connected. The final image doesn’t become better than the photographs used to capture it. Just like the photographs don’t become stronger than the idea. There are no computer generated-, illustrated- or stock photos in Erik's personal work, just complex combinations of his own photographs. It's a long process and he only creates 6-8 new images a year (excluding commissioned work). Artist Statement "My name is Erik Johansson, I was born in 1985 outside a small town called Götene in the middle of Sweden. I grew up on a farm with my parents and two younger sisters. For as long as I can remember I have liked drawing. Probably because of my grandmother who was a painter. Early I also got interested in computers, escaping to other worlds in computer games. At the age of 15 I got my first digital camera which opened up a new world. Being used to drawing it felt quite strange to be done after capturing a photo, it wasn’t the process of creating something in the same way. Having an interest in computers made it a quite natural step to start playing around with the photos and creating something that you couldn’t capture with the camera. It was a great way of learning, learning by trying. But I didn’t considered it as a profession until years later. In 2005 I moved to Gothenburg to study Computer engineering at Chalmers University of Technology. During my time studying I took up my interest for retouch once again. I had a lot of ideas that I wanted to realize and I saw it as problem solving trying to make it as realistic as possible. After publishing some of my images online I started to get requests about commissioned work from some local advertisement agencies. I started out freelancing in parallel with my studies while still working on personal projects. I got more and more jobs and at the time I finished my studies with a master in Interaction Design I felt like I rather wanted to try out the photography path. I moved to Norrköping in the eastern part of Sweden to start working full time as a freelance. I made new friends and got to work on interesting projects, both local and abroad. In early 2012 it was time for something new as I moved to Berlin, Germany. A very artistic city with lots of inspiration. Today I work with both personal and commissioned projects and I also started doing photography street illusions."Source: www.erikjo.com/
Jennifer Garza-Cuen
United States
Jennifer Garza-Cuen is an artist from the Pacific Northwest. Currently Assistant Professor of Photography at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, she received her MFA in photography and MA in the History of Art and Visual Culture from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2012. Her BA in comparative literature was completed at the American University in Cairo. During both years of her attendance at RISD, she received the RISD GS competitive grant. She was also awarded the Daniel Clarke Johnson, Henry Wolf, and Patricia Smith Scholarships. Additionally, she has received fellowships to attend residencies at The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Light Work, Ucross, Oxbow, Hambidge, Brush Creek, and the Vermont Studio Center. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and published in contemporary photography journals such as Dear Dave, Contact Sheet, Musée, Blink, PDN, Der Greif, The Photo Review, and Conveyor Magazine as well as on-line journals such as i-D, Conscientious, Feature Shoot, Aint-Bad, Fubiz, iGNANT, Dazed, and Juxtapoz. Eden Imag[in]ing America depicts a series of locations in the United States as a residue of cultural memory, an inheritance. It is a metaphorical memoir, a narrative re-telling of facts and fictions and it is also a discovery of the dreamland that still is America. Located in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom, Eden appears a quiet community of Adventists, Mennonites, and Quakers where dairy farmers, mill workers, and craftsmen gather at the general stores, dinners are served in old wooden churches, and dances are held at the local Grange Hall. The rivers of Eden all spring from Eden and the views are as ravishing as the garden from which it takes its name. But it is also a hard and rugged place, where resourceful and independent inhabitants still labor stoically, as their ancestors before them.
Giles Duley
United Kingdom
1971
Giles Duley was born in 1971 in London. After 10 years as an editorial photographer in the fashion and music industries in both the US and Europe, Duley now focuses his work on humanitarian projects. Working with well respected charities such as Medecins sans Frontiers, IOM and UNHCR to highlight lesser known stories deserving of public attention and action. Although documenting challenging, and at times, horrific situations, Duley captures the strength of those who fight their adversity rather than succumb. His photographs draw the viewer to the subject, creating intimacy and empathy for lives differing from ours only in circumstance.In 2011, whilst on patrol with 75th Cavalry Regiment, United States Army in Afghanistan, Duley stepped on an improvised explosive device. He was severely injured, losing both legs and an arm.Source: www.gilesduley.com Artist Statement "In 2011 I was injured whilst working as a photographer in Afghanistan. I spent the next 46 days of my recovery fighting for my life in intensive care. During that period, I was often awake for days, unable to move or communicate as I was incubated and my remaining shattered hand was in a cast. My mind wandered, drifting on a mixture of morphine, exhaustion and fear and so battling to keep my sanity and to pass the dragging hours I’d challenge myself with mental exercises. My favourite was thinking of portraits I wished I could do, creating a list of the 100 people I most wanted to photograph. My first love in photography was portraiture. I love telling someone’s story through an image, trying to capture some essence of character in a frozen moment. For ten years I worked as a portrait photographer before cynicism with celebrity culture and a desire to document humanitarian issues took me in a different direction. I had always hoped to return to portraiture in time. Lying there, trapped in my body, I imagined all the portraits I wanted to take, aware that now I’d probably never get the chance. This wasn’t just a list of heroes or inspirations; more a collection of people who had shaped my cultural identity or whose large personas drew me in. Ben Okri whose writing first opened my eyes to Africa and storytelling; Tom Waits with his gnarled voice; Natalie Portman, hypnotic in the last film I’d seen before my accident; Don McCullin who inspired me to first pick up the camera. The list grew in my mind; eclectic, eccentric characters I wished I’d captured in frame. I resolved that if by some chance I made it through, I’d contact the names on my list and ask them to sit for a portrait. I would not waste my second chance at life. I have no idea where this project will lead, who will say yes, who will say no, or what I will learn about the people I meet and about myself. I’m aware I’ll face practical difficulties brought on by my injuries and the challenges of working within a celebrity culture, but through this journey I hope to develop my abilities in portraiture, to explore my own cultural identity and broaden my understanding of photography. Most importantly to fully regain my life and identity post accident, with more than a little fun along the way! As for the list? From PJ Harvey to Dead Prez, from Samantha Morton to Jean Paul Belmondo, the names on the list are united by a common trait. When I thought I was going to die and when I had to come to terms with my new life, one thing kept me going, my photography. It is my lifeblood. The sitters for my portraits may all be famous, but I believe they have become that because of what they do, not because they craved celebrity. I believe for each one their craft is also their lifeblood. So here I am. It’s taken two years, 30 operations and a long rehabilitation, but I’m ready to start. 100 Portraits Before I Die: A Photographers Odyssey..."
Mathilde Pettersen
Mathilde Helene Pettersen, born 1976 in Norway. Photographer and visual artist, lives and work in Kristiansand, south of Norway. Holds a BA in Photography and film from Napier Edinburgh University, Scotland and a MA in Art from the University of Agder, Kristiansand, Norway. Pettersen is a member of Association of Norwegian Visual Artist and society of Fine Art Photographers in Norway. Between 2013 and 2015 she was selected for the Norwegian Journal of Photography #2, a program supporting eight independent photographers in Norway, working on long-term projects and published by Journal, Stockholm (2015). In this publication, she chose to show a selection from her project Searching for Cloudberries, which was featured in Time Magazine/Lightbox and SHOTS magazine and exhibited at the Festival Voies Off in Arles, France (2016) and at the Encuentros Abiertos Festival de La Luz , in Buenos Aires, Argentina (2016) and at the Henie Onstad Art center in Oslo, Norway (2019). Her work I need a kiss before they leave was exhibited at the Musée de l'Elysée in Lausanne, Switzerland (2016), Kristiansand Kunsthall, Norway (2017), the International Photofestival PhotoVisa in Krasnodar, Russia (2017) and is currently on show at the Sørlandets Museum of Art (Jun-Nov 2020) alongside photographers as Swedish Christer Strömholm and Anders Petersen and the Norwegian Tom Sandberg, Dag Alveng and Kåre Kivijärvi. Her first photobook I NEED A KISS BEFORE THEY LEAVE was launched at Paris Photo 2019 at the Grand Palais by the German Kehrer Verlag in Heidelberg. Mathilde Pettersen presents two projects: Searching for Cloudberries (2008-), analogue black and white photographs. My projects revolve around portraiture and self-portraiture, and in their themes touch upon motherhood and family as constellations. So does this project, presently spanning ten years now. It takes shape by depicting a sense of dysfunctionality of the infertile female body - a theme that is often taboo in our society - before it turns and grows in a new direction when discovered not, moving on to contemplate the development of the child and the changes of the body of its mother over time in connection with life cycles in nature. I need a kiss before they leave (2011-), digital colour photographs. I NEED A KISS BEFORE THEY LEAVE is an emotional family portrait, filled with immense joy, but also with a disturbing realization of a wonderfulness that cannot be stored. It reflects upon a human desire to freeze time, to forever savoring those moments which are destined to live on only as distant memories. Photography is of course the artistic technique to actually freeze time and to store a split second forever. In this book, Norwegian photographer Mathilde Helene Pettersen captures an entire parenthood, with all its bright and dark moments. I need a kiss before they leave reflects on becoming and being a mother, on building a family, on the immediate and unpredictable, on strengths and fragilities in life, and sometimes on the overshadowing fear of death and the irreversible. From the text in I NEED A KISS BEFORE THEY LEAVE by Anna-Kaisa Rastenberger: First things first: loving is not for the faint of heart. Loving, day af- ter day, requires the courage to handle the disappointment of quotidian love falling short of the ideal of love. It requires even more courage to extend love to societal structures in need of repair. (...) "This is my story." These are the words used by Mathilde Helene Pettersen at the beginning of her book I need a kiss before they leave. The series, consisting of photographs taken with a camera phone over a period of eight years, is a chronicle of childbirth, motherhood, and family life. Pettersen writes that this was a story she hesitated to tell. Pettersen has spoken about the challenge and dichotomy of com- bining motherhood with the work of a photographer. On the one hand, she leads an ordinary enough, down-to-earth life with her family; on the other, she has a life outside the home, working as a photographer. Even in the Nordic countries, this is no simple equa- tion to balance. Although the principle of gender equality in the workplace is firmly established, or at least acknowledged, it re- mains elusive in practice.
Gregory Dargent
France
1977
Gregory Dargent is a French musician and photographer born in 1977 in Argenteuil. A graduate of the Strasbourg Conservatoire, he has an international career as a musician (electric guitar and oud) as well as a composer. His creations have taken him all over the world, from the Berlin Philharmonic to a small place in the Itabuna Church in Brazil, from the Doha Oud Festival to the "Poisson Rouge" in New York, from the Jazz Festival in Cairo to the auditorium of Warsaw Radio. Somewhat belatedly fascinated by photography he discovered it accidentally the day of his 38th birthday, anchored in the temporality of film, committed to the abstraction of black and white and advocating its subjectivity, he created in 2018 the Book H., published by Saturn, his first photographic work. It is an echo in images to the disc H (contemporary trio setting to music the French nuclear tests in the Sahara). This book tells his feelings and his personal awareness during 3 short trips around the seventeenth ground zero French atomic explosions in the 60s, in Reggane and Tamanrasset, Algeria. His book is acclaimed by the press (Christmas selection Telerama for the book + CD, L'Humanité, L'Oeil de la Photographie, L'Interval, "Par les temps qui courent" on France Culture) and became the subject of his very first exhibition as part of the collective exhibition "Le Rêve d'un mouvement" in Paris in January 2019, alongside, among others, Gilles Roudière, Damien Daufresne, Stephane Charpentier and Gael Bonnefon. This exhibition then travelled to Studio Spiral (Grenoble) in March/April 2019, at Retine Argentique (Marseille) in April/May 2019, Sharjah Art Foundation (E.A.U), Galerie VU'(Paris), Dar Abdelaatif in Algiers and will be on view at Studio Baxton (Brussels) in 2020. He is selected in 2019 as a "young talent photographer in residence" as part of the Festival Planche (s) Contact of Deauville for which he will create a new exhibition, L'Echappée, and is currently working on his next personal projects, mixing photography, video super 8 and music. The first project is about spirituality and poetry in Haiti, "Black Venus", the second one is about the feeling of underground life mixed with ancient mythologies in Cairo (with musician and photographer Frederic D. Oberland).
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