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Pierre Verger
Pierre Verger

Pierre Verger

Country: France
Birth: 1902 | Death: 1996

Pierre Edouard Leopold Verger, alias Fatumbi or Fátúmbí was a photographer, self-taught ethnographer, and babalawo (Yoruba priest of Ifa) who devoted most of his life to the study of the African diaspora - the slave trade, the African-based religions of the new world, and the resulting cultural and economical flows from and to Africa.

At the age of 30, after losing his family, Pierre Verger took up the career of journalistic photographer. Over the next 15 years, he traveled the four continents, documenting many civilizations that would soon be effaced by progress. His destinations included Tahiti (1933); United States, Japan, and China (1934 and 1937); Italy, Spain, Sudan (now Mali), Niger, Upper Volta, Togo and Dahomey (now Benin, 1935); the West Indies (1936); Mexico (1937, 1939, and 1957); the Philippines and Indochina (now Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, 1938); Guatemala and Ecuador (1939); Senegal (as a conscript, 1940); Argentina (1941), Peru and Bolivia (1942 and 1946); and finally Brazil (1946). His photographs were featured in magazines such as Paris-Soir, Daily Mirror (under the pseudonym of Mr. Lensman), Life, and Paris Match. In the city of Salvador, Brazil he fell in love with the place and people, and decided to stay for good. Having become interested in the local history and culture, he turned from errant photographer to a researcher of the African diaspora in the Americas. His subsequent voyages are focused on that goal: the west coast of Africa and Paramaribo (1948), Haiti (1949), and Cuba (1957). After studying the Yoruba culture and its influences in Brazil, Verger became an initiated of the Candomblé religion, and officiated at its rituals. During a visit to Benin, he was initiated into Ifá (cowrie-shell divination), became a babalawo (priest) of Orunmila, and was renamed Fátúmbí ("he who is reborn through the Ifá"). Veger's contributions to ethnography are embodied in dozens of conference papers, journal articles and books and were recognized by Sorbonne University, which conferred upon him a doctoral degree (Docteur 3eme Cycle) in 1966 — quite a feat for someone who dropped out of high school at 17.

Verger continued to study and document his chosen subject right until his death in Salvador, at the age of 94. During that time he became a professor at the Federal University of Bahia in 1973, where he was responsible for the establishment of the Afro-Brazilian Museum in Salvador; and served as visiting professor at the University of Ifé in Nigeria. The non-profit Pierre Verger Foundation in Salvador, which he established to continue his work, holds more than 63,000 photos and negatives taken until 1973, as well as his papers and correspondence.

Source: Wikipedia

 

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Don McCullin
United Kingdom
1935
Don McCullin is one of our greatest living photographers. Few have enjoyed a career so long; none one of such variety and critical acclaim. For the past 50 years he has proved himself a photojournalist without equal, whether documenting the poverty of London's East End, or the horrors of wars in Africa, Asia or the Middle East. Simultaneously he has proved an adroit artist capable of beautifully arranged still lifes, soulful portraits and moving landscapes. Following an impoverished north London childhood blighted by Hitler's bombs and the early death of his father, McCullin was called up for National Service with the RAF. After postings to Egypt, Kenya and Cyprus he returned to London armed with a twin reflex Rolleicord camera and began photographing friends from a local gang named The Guv'nors. Persuaded to show them to the picture editor at the Observer in 1959, aged 23, he earned his first commission and began his long and distinguished career in photography more by accident than design. In 1961 he won the British Press Award for his essay on the construction of the Berlin Wall. His first taste of war came in Cyprus, 1964, where he covered the armed eruption of ethnic and nationalistic tension, winning a World Press Photo Award for his efforts. In 1993 he was the first photojournalist to be awarded a CBE. For the next two decades war became a mainstay of Don's journalism, initially for the Observer and, from 1966, for the Sunday Times. In the Congo, Biafra, Uganda, Chad, Vietnam, Cambodia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Iran, Afghanistan, Northern Ireland and more, he time and again combined a mastery of light and composition with an unerring sense of where a story was headed, and a bravery that pushed luck to its outermost limits. He has been shot and badly wounded in Cambodia, imprisoned in Uganda, expelled from Vietnam and had a bounty on his head in Lebanon. What's more, he has braved bullets and bombs not only to get the perfect shot but to help dying soldiers and wounded civilians. Compassion is at the heart of all his photography. Away from war Don's work has often focused on the suffering of the poor and underprivileged and he has produced moving essays on the homeless of London's East End and the working classes of Britain's industrialised cities. From the early 1980s increasingly he focused his foreign adventures on more peaceful matters. He travelled extensively through Indonesia, India and Africa returning with powerful essays on places and people that, in some cases, had few if any previous encounters with the Western world. In 2010 he published Southern Frontiers, a dark and at-times menacing record of the Roman Empire's legacy in North Africa and the Middle East. At home he has spent three decades chronicling the English countryside - in particular the landscapes of Somerset - and creating meticulously constructed still lifes all to great acclaim. Yet he still feels the lure of war. As recently as October 2015 Don travelled to Kurdistan in northern Iraq to photograph the Kurds' three-way struggle with ISIS, Syria and Turkey.Source: donmccullin.com Photography has given me a life… The very least I could do was try and articulate these stories with as much compassion and clarity as they deserve, with as loud a voice as I could muster. Anything less would be mercenary. -- Don McCullin
Debbie Fleming Caffery
United States
1948
Debbie Fleming Caffery grew up along the Bayou Teche in southwest Louisiana and still lives in the area. Early on in her career, she was inspired by the work of Dorothea Lange and many of the artists working within the FSA and Federal Arts Project of the WPA during the Depression. Like these forbears, she is interested in telling stories with her pictures, but unlike those earlier photographers, her work is as much artful as it is documentary. Her rich, and dramatic prints are the result of the deep relationships with the people and places she photographs, a visual corollary to the reverence she has for her subjects. Caffery has photographed the sugarcane industry and its community in Louisiana since the late 1970s. She has also photographed in rural villages in Mexico for many years, creating works that draw connections between those communities and the ones in Louisiana that were so familiar to her from her own upbringing. In 2005, Caffery was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship for the work she made of women working in brothels in Mexico. In 2006, she received the Katrina Media Fellowship from the Open Society Foundations to continue to photograph the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Recently Caffery received a commission from the High Museum in Atlanta for their Picturing the South photography initiative. Her monographs include: Carry Me Home (Smithsonian, 1990), The Shadows (Twin Palms Press, 2002) and Polly (Twin Palms Press, 2004), The Spirit & The Flesh (Radius Books, 2009) and Alphabet (Fall Line Press, 2015). Source: Gitterman Gallery
Martín Chambi
Peru
1891 | † 1973
Martín Chambi Jiménez was a Peruvian photographer, originally from southern Peru. He was one of the first major Indigenous Latin American photographers. Recognized for the profound historic and ethnic documentary value of his photographs, he was a prolific portrait photographer in the towns and countryside of the Peruvian Andes. As well as being the leading portrait photographer in Cuzco, Chambi made many landscape photographs, which he sold mainly in the form of postcards, a format he pioneered in Peru. In 1979, New York's Museum of Modern Art held a Chambi retrospective, which later traveled to various locations and inspired other international expositions of his work. Martín Chambi was born into a Quechua-speaking peasant family in one of the poorest regions of Peru, at the end of the nineteenth century. When his father went to work in a Carabaya Province gold mine on a small tributary of the River Inambari, Martin went along. There he had his first contact with photography, learning the rudiments from the photographer of the Santo Domingo Mine near Coaza (owned by the Inca Mining Company of Bradford, Pa). This chance encounter planted the spark that made him seek to support himself as a professional photographer. With that idea in mind, he headed in 1908 to the city of Arequipa, where photography was more developed and where there were established photographers who had taken the time to develop individual photographic styles and impeccable technique. Chambi initially served as an apprentice in the studio of Max T. Vargas, but after nine years set up his own studio in Sicuani in 1917, publishing his first postcards in November of that year. In 1923 he moved to Cuzco and opened a studio there, photographing both society figures and his Indigenous compatriots. During his career, Chambi also traveled the Andes extensively, photographing landscapes, Inca ruins, and local people. Chambi began his work as a photographer as an apprentice to Max T. Vargas in Arequipa, Peru. During this time as an apprentice, Chambi learned different ways of manipulating light for portraits in the studio. His daughter, Julia Chambi, is quoted as saying, "my father was enchanted by light." His studio in Cuzco included a set of blinds and shutters made specifically so that he could alter the natural lighting to best suit his photographs. Furthermore, most of Chambi's photos of Indigenous people were taken outside so that he could use only natural lighting. Chambi produced a variety of works over his career as a photographer. Within the studio, he took many portraits of both wealthy and elite members of society, as well as the Indigenous people; he also took many self-portraits. Chambi is well-known for his work in documenting the Indigenous culture, including Machu-Picchu and other ruins. In a magazine interview in 1936, he is quoted saying "in my archive I have more than two hundred photographs of diverse aspects of the Quechua culture." He took pictures of ruins and architecture, but also tried to capture the events of everyday life. With regard to Chambi's diverse work, Jorge Heredia once said, "He has been the photographer of whites who seek after his images, but also of Indians and Mestizos." In addition to taking photographs for individual commissions or for his own personal interests, Chambi also used his photographs in other publications. One such publication was the use of his photographs in postcards. The other main use for his photographs was in a weekly Argentine newspaper called La Nación ("The Nation") where he contributed photographs of artists, writers, and any other assignments he was commissioned to do. Chambi traveled to Chile to exhibit some of his artworks and used his artistic skills to allow the audience to understand how the photographer prioritized the Indigenous outcome that relates to the Peruvians and the Chileans. There were some arguments that the two countries disagreed with each other when involving the differences of race, indigeneity, and civilization. The photographer managed to redevelop the process through his artwork, letting the viewers and art critics to understand these types of political issues that concern the Chileans and the Peruvians. The Peruvians were able to accept Indigenous people from various countries, but the Chileans did not accept them because of the 'pacification' campaigns of the late 19th century. The Mapuche leaders discuss educational benefits; however, they were dealing with some problems with governmental authorities that involves Chile and Peru. Chambi was determined to debunk racial stereotypes, but often up reinforcing them. El Sol, La Nacion, and other news critics prioritize the photographer's artwork because it would enable them to discuss national boundaries and open up ideological debate. Eighty-eight images by Peruvian photographer Martin Chambi have been added to the archives of the famous Instituto Moreira Salles (IMS) in Brazil. It gives the public an opportunity to discover one of the first major, indigenous Latin American photographers. Face Andina features nearly 90 photographs and 23 postcards of studio portraits and the urban and rural landscapes of Cuzco, Arequipa and Puno.Source: Wikipedia
Zaharia Cusnir
Moldova
1912 | † 1993
Zaharia Cuşnir (1912-1993) was an amateur photographer born in Rosietici village, Floresti region, Moldova. He was photographing people within 1955-1973, and left a collection of negative films 6x6 cm, from which 3751 were discovered in his abandoned house in 2016. The photographs portray groups, landscapes, scenes from everyday life: work in the kolkhoz, weddings, funerals, national celebrations. Life Zaharia Cuşnir was born as the last child in the family of 16 children in Rosietici village, Soroca district. His father was a Moldovan businessman (born 1870), and his mother was of German origins (born in approx. 1870). Zaharia was born in Bessarabia, at that time part of the Russian Empire, educated in Romania (Iasi city), and after WW-II, became a USSR citizen. He went to school to the neighbouring Rogojeni village and later attended the pedagogical lyceum in Iasi, Romania. He began teaching in Rogojeni, then though he worked in kolhoz, performing works as carrying stones, digging the frozen ground, carrying loam, destroying fences, herding cows. Villagers also remember him as a blacksmith. He also built a family of 4 children with his wife, Daria. Zaharia learned photography from his nephew, who returned from the army. The nephew was living in another village, so they decided to split the territory for the photographic activities. So, Zaharia stayed responsible for the surrounding villages: Caşunca, Rogojeni, Țâra, Ghindeşti, Roşietici, and Cenuşa. The first pictures were taken in 1955. Zaharia was photographing mainly portraits of neighbours and then he was selling the photos. He had a bicycle, which he was usually lending to people for a photograph, as well he had a black blanket, which he was using as a background when he was taking portraits. Up to 1973, he had taken around 4000 pictures of the medium format 6x6 cm. In 1993, after he died, the house was abandoned and the pictures were stocked in a suitcase and placed in the attic. Discovery In spring 2016, Victor Galuşca, being a student at the Academy of Arts in Chisinau, Moldova, arrived in Rosietici village to film his documentary film for the bachelor's degree exam. He entered the abandoned house and found several negative films scattered through the trash all around the floor. Victor inquired from the villagers whose house was it and found the daughter of Zaharia Cusnir, living in the neighbourhood. With her permission, within several days, he picked all of them, and together with his photography professor, Nicolae Pojoga started the cleaning and indexing process of the archive. Among all, there were found old documents, among which was an edited request for admission to the school, adjusted to a stilted language used at the time. There was also found a table of exercises written in Russian Cyrillic script, as well as elementary calculus tests designed for primary school. Other documents and archival remnants reveal a struggle between life and death for the majority of the population; these include bread allowances and checks listing debts. Further Development The archive has a high resonance and was appreciated within several exhibitions: at the Museum of Art of Moldova (curated by Cervinscaia Nadejda) and the Romanian Peasant Museum in Romania in 2018, and at the Ethnographic Museum of Transilvania, the Subway Gallery of the House of Arts in Timisoara, Romania and at the Museum of Ethnography and Folklore MARAMUREş from Baia Mare, Romania in 2019. In 2017 a Moldovan Publishing house Cartier published a photo album "Lumea lui Zaharia" ("Zaharia's World"). At the beginning of 2020, was launched the website and facebook page, aiming to give open access to the usage of the Zaharia Cusnir archive. The team is working on few coming exhibitions in Europe in 2020.
Lola Álvarez Bravo
Mexico
1907 | † 1993
Lola Álvarez Bravo was a Mexican photographer. She was a key figure (along with Tina Modotti, Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and her husband Manuel Álvarez Bravo) in Mexico's post-revolution renaissance. She was born Dolores Martinez de Anda to wealthy parents in the state of Jalisco. She moved to Mexico City as a young child, after her mother left the family under mysterious circumstances. Her father died when she was a young teenager, and she was then sent to live with the family of her half brother, living nearby in Mexico City. It was here that she met the young Manuel Álvarez Bravo, a neighbor. They married in 1925 and moved to Oaxaca where Manuel was an accountant for the federal government. Lola Álvarez Bravo became pregnant but before she gave birth, they returned to Mexico City. Manuel had taken up photography as an adolescent; he taught Lola and they took pictures together in Oaxaca. Manuel also taught her to develop film and make prints in the darkroom. As he became more serious about pursuing a career in photography, she acted as his assistant, although she also harbored a desire to become a photographer in her own right. The Álvarez Bravo's separated in 1934 but she decided to maintain the Álvarez Bravo name. Lola Álvarez Bravo needed to support herself and taught as well as worked in a government archives. She also continued to experiment with photography and in 1936 received her first real commission photographing the colonial choir stalls of a former church. She also worked in commercial photography, including advertising and fashion. She was the director of photography at the National Institute of Fine Arts. She opened an art gallery in 1951 and was the first person to exhibit the work of Frida Kahlo in Mexico City. She also taught photography at the Academia de San Carlos in Mexico City. Inspired by such photographers as Edward Weston and Tina Modotti, Álvarez Bravo established her own independent career. For 50 years, she photographed a wide variety of subjects, making documentary images of daily life in Mexico's villages and city streets and portraits of great leaders from various countries. She also experimented with photomontage.Source: Wikipedia Born Dolores Martínez in Jalisco, Mexico, Lola Álvarez Bravo was one of Mexico’s most important photographers. Like other women artists linked with famous male counterparts, her work has often been overshadowed by that of her husband, renowned photographer Manuel Álvarez Bravo. They married in Mexico City in 1925 just as Manuel’s photography practice began to develop. Manuel introduced Lola to the camera, the darkroom, and photography techniques, and she assisted him with developing and printing his images. They shared equipment when Lola began taking her own photographs, although Lola recalled Manuel’s impatience when she wanted to use the camera. In 1927 their son Manuel was born and they opened a photography gallery in their Mexico City home. The couple played a vital role in the cultural circle that included artists Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Rufino Tamayo, Maria Izquierdo, and David Alfaro Siquerios. Lola continued to take photographs but her work always came second to Manuel’s development as an artist. They separated in 1934 and Lola turned to photography to support herself and her seven-year-old son. Stubbornly independent, her camera became both her livelihood and her means of portraying what she explained as “the life I found before me.” She traveled throughout Mexico photographing people in everyday circumstances with honesty and respect. Her assured formal aesthetic, which often bordered on the abstract, included strong compositional elements, crisp details, and the play of light and shadow on surfaces. Most often Lola Álvarez Bravo eschewed posing subjects or staging situations. Instead, she moved amongst the people along cluttered streets, observing them at work, in the marketplace, and at leisure, waiting for opportunities to capture informal moments in carefully composed scenes. Her keen eye produced stirring and expressive images of Mexican life with a contemporary sensibility that places her among the renowned photographic interpreters of that country in the modern period: Edward Weston, Paul Strand, Tina Modotti, and Manual Álvarez Bravo. During her long career, Lola Álvarez Bravo worked as a photojournalist, commercial photographer, professional portraitist, political artist, teacher, and gallery curator. Despite her professional success, it is her personal photography that marks her most significant contribution to the history of the medium. While working professionally she culled a small, core group of photographs she would refer to as her personal work, “mis fotos, mi arte.” The photographs in the Center’s collection are among those she most valued and are in the spirit of that distinction. Her direct, uncompromising, and impassioned studies of the Mexican people offer an important chapter to the history of photography, both as creative force and indelible subject matter. The Center acquired the Lola Álvarez Bravo Archive in 1996. It includes her negatives and nearly 200 gelatin silver photographs, 100 of which were selected by Lola Álvarez Bravo in 1993. An additional 100 photographs were selected by the Center in consultation with the artist. © Artists Rights Society (ARS)Source: Center for Creative Photography
Jim Ferguson
United States
1954
Recently I "remerged" back into the fine art photography world, but this is my second round of showing and selling work. Years back I received a BFA from San Francisco Art Institute and MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. After getting my BFA, I started contacting galleries. I was successful from the very start with three galleries representing my work and acquisitions by major museums and numerous private collections. In the fall of 2017 I re-emerged into the fine art world full time, introducing my work again to galleries and museums. Since "reemerging" I’ve had a number of successes. I was in an exhibition at Catherine Edelman Gallery and am represented in their Chicago Project. I’ve been included in exhibitions curated by April Watson, Elizabeth Houston, Douglas Beasley and Robert Klein. I’ve also had a One Person exhibition at Workspace Gallery, and was selected for the Top 200 in Critical Mass 2018. Wide Range Statement Traveling through the Southwest for the first time I was photographically hot. My imagery gelled into the beginning of a body of work. This first trip was truly life changing. The Southwest appealed to me so much that I moved to Albuquerque. It served as home base for travels in the West; thus beginning my Wide Range series. I call this series Wide Range because of the open range nature of the American West and the wide variety of subjects I choose to photograph. Man's isolated impacts on the environment stood out more in the broad expanses of the landscape. I sought not to highlight the negative impacts but to utilize the man-made objects to create my images. The juxtaposition of these man-made objects vs. dramatic backgrounds allowed me to visually compact space into layered unity. This series began the visual journey I've traveled with my photography. Unfamiliar Places Statement Unfamiliar Places is a body of autobiographical memories that have been altered by the passage of time rather than by a proactive chemical or digital process. The images were stored on undeveloped film for 20 years, resulting in the degradation of the "latent" image. This work reflect the serendipity that is unique to working with the analogue process and highlights its inherent materiality. The unique process of the degradation of the film over 20 years mirror the historical content of the images. The images are a result of my photographic journey, the degradation of the emulsion in the negatives and the layering of history with the film wrapper's film numbers and dots. They were taken in France Mexico and the U.S. Over the past two decades I continued to photograph, standing guard against the instinct for gratification and instead allowing the pictures to rest peacefully in a dark place. It is now thrilling to finally see that the choice to wait offers its rewards: here are the both subtle diminishments and vital revelations in the aging process. Time has left marks on these images just as the events of a life do.
Spencer Tunick
United States
1967
Spencer Tunick is an American photographer best known for organizing large-scale nude shoots. Since 1994, he has photographed over 75 human installations around the world. Spencer Tunick was born in Middletown, Orange County, New York into a Jewish family. His father Earl owned a keychain photo-viewer franchise in the Catskills. In 1986, he visited London, where he took photographs of a nude at a bus stop and of scores of nudes in Alleyn's School's Lower School Hall in Dulwich, Southwark. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from Emerson College in 1988. In 1992, Tunick began documenting live nudes in public locations in New York through video and photographs. His early works from this period focus more on a single nude individual or small groups of nudes. Tunick cites 1994, when he posed and photographed 28 nude people in front of the headquarters of the United Nations in midtown Manhattan, as a turning point in his career; "It all started there, moving my work from just photography into installation and performance photography," he says. Since then, he has organized and photographed over 65 temporary site-related installations in the United States and abroad. Tunick's philosophy is that "individuals en masse, without their clothing, grouped together, metamorphose into a new shape. The bodies extend into and upon the landscape like a substance. These grouped masses which do not underscore sexuality become abstractions that challenge or reconfigure one's views of nudity and privacy." Sometimes, after gathering his subjects together, Tunick grades them by gender, long hair, age or other characteristics. Registration for modeling on his website includes questions about skin tone. A color chart shows seven boxes ranging from stark white to baby-powder pink and dark chocolate. In his work, he plays off different flesh tones or groups people of the same color. Tunick is also interested in the juxtaposition between the organic and the mechanical, and often chooses famous buildings or unusual structures as his backdrop. As of 2021, Tunick is the star of forthcoming pandemic documentary film Stay Apart Together, directed by Nicole Vanden Broeck, in which Tunick reinvents his photography "to find a way to bring everyone together while staying apart". To mark International Women's Day on March 8, 2021, the twenty-fourth session of the Stay Apart Together project saw Tunick and Vanden Broeck collaborate with Mexican-American visual artist Daniela Edburg to depict 75 Latin American women in 11 poses, incorporating the colors purple and green (symbols of the Latin American feminist movement) and hot pink, selected by Edburg for its liveliness.Source: Wikipedia Spencer Tunick has been documenting the live nude figure in public, with photography and video, since 1992. Since 1994, he has organized over 100 temporary site-related installations that encompass dozens, hundreds or thousands of volunteers, and his photographs are records of these events. In his early group works, the individuals en masse, without their clothing, grouped together, metamorphose into a new shape. The bodies extend into and upon the landscape like a substance. These group masses, which do not underscore sexuality, often become abstractions that challenge or reconfigure one's views of nudity and privacy. The work also refers to the complex issue of presenting art in permanent or temporary public spaces. Spencer Tunick stages scenes in which the battle of nature against culture is played out against various backdrops, from civic center to desert sandstorm. In 2002 he started to work with standing positions for his group formations referencing traditional group portraiture. Now, for some installations, he adds objects that the participants are often holding or wearing and has included body paint. Spencer has and continues to make group installations/photographs elevating awareness of HIV/AIDS, LGBTQ rights, equality and climate change, among other issues. Near the end of installations, for the final setups, he sometimes separates the participants into smaller groups to make additional assemblages: sometimes by sex, sometimes by age, or even by hair color. However, no one is ever excluded from an installation because of the color of their skin, ethnicity, gender identity, sex, race, religion, or political affiliation. If you can make it to an installation you can participate, unless of course there are space limitations. Spencer could not make his art without the generosity of the participants. He is eternally grateful for their participation. He wishes he could credit everyone in his individual and group photographs but there are hundreds and thousands who have taken part collectively. In exchange for taking part, participants receive a limited edition print. Spencer Tunick's temporary site-specific photographic installations have been commissioned by the XXV Biennial de Sao Paulo, Brazil (2002); Institut Cultura, Barcelona (2003); The Saatchi Gallery (2003); MOCA Cleveland (2004); Vienna Kunsthalle (2008) and MAMBO Museum of Modern Art, Bogota (2016), among others.Source: www.spencertunick.com
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