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Matej Michalik
Matej Michalik
Matej Michalik

Matej Michalik

Country: Slovakia
Birth: 1981

My name is Matej Michalik. I was born in 1981 and live in Bratislava, Slovakia. I came in contact with photography in 2010. Apparently, I belong to the new wave of photographers who didn’t go through the analogue era and developing films in darkrooms but ended up in times of digital cameras instead. I am convinced that no matter how expensive your photography gear is, having a good imagination is essencial.

From the beginning, my intuition was leading me towards black and white photos. I began observing the work of several fine art photographers whose work I enormously appreciate. I started communicating with them, sharing pieces of advice and experience. That‘s how it all started.
 

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Jared Ragland
United States
1977
Jared Ragland is a fine art and documentary photographer and former White House photo editor. He currently teaches and coordinates exhibitions and community programs in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and is at work on a long-term documentary on methamphetamine users living in northeast Alabama. He is the photo editor of National Geographic Books' "The President's Photographer: Fifty Years Inside the Oval Office," and has worked on assignment for NGOs in the Balkans, the former Soviet Bloc, East Africa and Haiti. His photographic work is rooted in his lifelong exposure to the landscapes, people, aesthetics, and storytelling traditions of the American South, and his work has been exhibited internationally and featured by The Oxford American, The New York Times, and TIME Magazine. Jared is an alumni of LaGrange College and a 2003 graduate of Tulane University with an MFA in Photography. He resides in his hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. Statement: The rise in use of methamphetamine across the United States over the last decade has led to increased cultural anxiety about the drug and those who use it, while the general perception of the meth-head is perpetuated by popular television programs and pervasive anti-meth campaigns. These limited representations typically paint one-dimensional, demonized characters whose chronic drug use is epitomized by obsessiveness, paranoia, and monstrous physical side effects. But while there are certainly deleterious consequences to meth use and stereotypes often ring too true, existing cultural narratives too often fall short of more complex, individually considered realities. Photographed over 18 months in collaboration with University of Alabama at Birmingham sociologist Heith Copes, Ph.D., GOOD BAD PEOPLE documents the tumultuous lives of meth users from Sand Mountain, a sandstone plateau in northeast Alabama infamous for extreme poverty, poultry processing plants, Pentecostal snake-handlers, and meth production. The images simultaneously reinforce and undermine assumptions of what it means to be a methamphetamine user and present an intimate look into the lives of those who struggle amidst drug use and diminished social status.
Bettina Rheims
France
1952
Bettina Rheims is a French artist and photographer. She is the daughter of Maurice Rheims, of the French Academy. After having been a model, a journalist, and opening an art gallery, she began to be a photographer in 1978 at the age of 26. Initially she did many commissioned works such as albums covers for Jean-Jacques Goldman and photos of various stars. From 1980 she devoted herself solely to photography. She made a series of photographs of strip-tease artists and acrobats, which were shown 1981 in two personal exhibitions, at the Centre Pompidou and at the Galerie Texbraun in Paris. Encouraged by this success, she worked on a series of stuffed animal portraits, which were exhibited in Paris and New York. At the same time she took portrait images for worldwide magazines and advertising campaigns (Well and Chanel), created her first fashion series, worked on cover sleeves, and film posters, and in 1986 directed her first advertising campaign. In 1989 her portraits of women were published in a monograph, Female Trouble, and were exhibited in Germany and Japan. In the following year she made a series of portraits of androgynous teenagers, Modern Lovers, which were shown in France, Great Britain and the United States as well as being issued in book-form. Her series Chambre Close, which was realized between 1990 and 1992 in collaboration with Serge Bramly, had an immense success not only in Europe but all over the world. The book is a collection of photographs of nude young women in various postures. It became a bestseller and is regularly reprinted. In the following years her fame began to become worldwide and she is renowned as a one of the most important photographers not only in Europe, but also in the United States, Japan, Korea, Australia and Moscow.(Source: en.wikipedia.org)
Elliott Erwitt
France
1928
Born in Paris in 1928 to Russian parents, Erwitt spent his childhood in Milan, then emigrated to the US, via France, with his family in 1939. As a teenager living in Hollywood, he developed an interest in photography and worked in a commercial darkroom before experimenting with photography at Los Angeles City College. In 1948 he moved to New York and exchanged janitorial work for film classes at the New School for Social Research. Erwitt traveled in France and Italy in 1949 with his trusty Rolleiflex camera. In 1951 he was drafted for military service and undertook various photographic duties while serving in a unit of the Army Signal Corps in Germany and France. While in New York, Erwitt met Edward Steichen, Robert Capa and Roy Stryker, the former head of the Farm Security Administration. Stryker initially hired Erwitt to work for the Standard Oil Company, where he was building up a photographic library for the company, and subsequently commissioned him to undertake a project documenting the city of Pittsburgh. In 1953 Erwitt joined Magnum Photos and worked as a freelance photographer for Collier's, Look, Life, Holiday and other luminaries in that golden period for illustrated magazines. To this day he is for hire and continues to work for a variety of journalistic and commercial outfits. In the late 1960s Erwitt served as Magnum's president for three years. He then turned to film: in the 1970s he produced several noted documentaries and in the 1980s eighteen comedy films for Home Box Office. Erwitt became known for benevolent irony, and for a humanistic sensibility traditional to the spirit of Magnum. Source: Magnum Photos
Christine Armbruster
Although a recent graduate of Brigham Young University with her Bachelor of Fine Art degree in Photography (2012), Christine Armbruster has managed to work on various projects and get published internationally. Working as a photojournalist in the Dominican Republic, Christine created her first solo show called "Working Identities: a collection of portraits from the Dominican Republic" which showed for a full year in 2009. This show was viewed all over Utah and various pieces won awards for documentary photography. The photojournalism work completed while there was published all of the world for papers such as USA Today and Dominican Today. Next on the list was Bosnia. Armbruster got grants and went to Sarajevo where the project, "Mortar Shells and Cigarettes", was completed. Walking the streets of Sarajevo for over a month, she captured these as a reaction to a city still recovering from war. The show exhibited in Utah as well as pieces were sent away to competitions in Texas. Prior to going to Bosnia, Armbruster started what would turn into a 2 year project in Utah, photographing town with populations of 800 people or less, called "Population 800." This small town documentary has shown throughout Utah and became her senior thesis for graduation. Since those shows have been completed, Armbruster has since traveled extensively to shoot two more projects still being edited. The first in collapsed Soviet towns and the second of Bedouins living in caves in the Arabian Desert. Additionally, Armbruster has blended her documentary interests with her commercial photography degree to work for international clients. Some of these clients have included The Travel Chanel, KT Tape, Blendtec Blenders, The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-Day Saints, Chicago Cultural Center, Petra Caravan Tours, and Bedouin Brothers Tour Group. Armbruster is committed to exploring the world of social change through art. Blending her education of commercial photography with her candid aesthetic, she is able to tell stories and capture people in their natural elements. She is currently based out of Chicago, working as an editorial travel photographer. About Working Identities: The first woman in this series is the inspiration behind this project. As I was walking around the market near my Dominican home, I came across an older woman by the name of Rosa Santana. I photographed her at her vegetable cart, she then grabbed my hand and insisted that I photograph every member of her family in our little community. Leading me inside stores converted out of modest houses and through narrow alleyways into small-enclosed spaces made of stucco with a single mattress inside. Each new home, whether large or small had a family member inside to be photographed. One of her daughters particularly struck me by the way she showed me the objects on the wall illustrating her own three children. As I thought about these seemingly strange dolls and single photograph nailed to the wall, I began to realize how not only do they represent her children, but the different ways we represent and give an identity to the people around us. As I photographed in the Dominican Republic, I began to realize that I was categorizing people, trying to collect one of everything for myself. These people I was collecting were not based on location or look, but rather by profession. I looked for the stereotypical from the butcher to the security guard, but then to the boy who fixes bicycles in front of his house in Santo Domingo and the even younger children who pick coffee beans in the mountains of Jarabacoa. Each of these people have an identity created not by the symbolic objects used to represent them, but rather by an occupation. With this some gain a definition in society, while others are generalized. I chose to explore these occupations not just as types, but rather go deeper to discover each person as individuals. How each person is an individual although they may do the same thing as handfuls of others everyday, how we are all Working Identities.Source: www.christinearmbruster.com Interview With Christine Armbruster: All About Photo: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer? Christine Armbruster: "It wasn't until I was twenty that I even considered it. I had always wanted to be in filmmaking and it wasn't until I was on my first real film set involving a week of 15-hour days that I decided I should reconsider. So i went with the next closest thing which was photography, and it just kind of stuck." AAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it? CA: "After my freshman year of college I was inspired by a good friend who studied photography and got my first "good camera". For months I photographed so many close up shots of industrial parts and weird metal things. My first memorable photographs, however, that I really feel like began to develop my style, are a few portraits of train hoppers in Austin, Texas later that summer. I sat on the ground with them and got to know them before asking to photograph their faces covered with tattoos and their accompanying dogs. Ever since I have been a little obsessed with train hoppers and spent handfuls of time with them. It's a surprise to me that I have still yet to hop a train of my own." AAP: What or who inspires you? CA: "Life around me and newness inspires me. There was once a photographer who said that when he stays in one place for too long he goes blind. I feel very similar. I unfortunately never photograph where I live after I have been there for a few months, it is just so common to me. But that is something I am working on so I can practice sitting still for slightly longer stints. He said he hadn't paid rent in 16 years, I feel like that could become my fate which is both exciting and daunting to me." AAP: How could you describe your style? CA: "I would describe my style as very natural and quiet. I am not in your face and not trying to be loud and force heart wrenching subjects on you. I just want things to be as they are, as beautiful and simple as they are in natural light, portraying people are the strong individuals as they are." AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film? CA: "I try to use film as much as possible. Digital just doesn't do it for me. There is something natural and more real to me when I use film. Maybe it is because I slow down or take the images more seriously. I have a Bronica ETRS medium format camera with a fixed 85mm lens that is always on my back loaded with Kodak Portra film." AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? CA: "I can't hold still long enough to edit my images! I would rather be shooting than in front of a computer, which is partially why I shoot so much film. When I first started photographing, I got a job with a newspaper. With newspapers heavily editing images will cost you your job. It got me in the practice of shooting right the first time and learning how to shoot without relying on Photoshop to make my images speak." AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)? CA: "I am currently really into Jonas Bendiksen and Jim Goldberg. I have always loved Olga Chagaoutdinova, Diane Arbus, and Pierre Verger." AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer? CA: "Shoot all the time! Someone once told me that you need to make a lot of crap before anything good comes out of it." AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid? CA: "Following trends. Trends are in my opinion one of the worst things a photographer can follow. Your work will be catchy for a moment then once trends shift you will be left with having to redefine your personal style again only to possibly fall into the same trap. Shoot what you like, it will become your own style. Everyone else is already photographing the trends, try something different. Classic and well done photography will always be in style and you will always have work." AAP: An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share? CA: "I am currently working on editing a project shot in Jordan about nomads who have been forced into settling but are resisting and moving back to caves and tents as they lived for thousands of years. That is a cool project I worked on all last winter, living in caves, collecting water, and walking with shepherds. That should be a pretty cool project once I get the storyline a little more organized." AAP: Your best memory as a photographer? CA: "I am so sentimental. I feel like every time I travel it was the best place yet, every person I photograph is so beautiful and interesting, and that every situation I have been in was the most idea. I guess that is part of the human experience and the glory of photographing. It is an excuse to walk with nomads, a reason to hitchhike across Russia, a motivation to travel and create. I already have a lifetime of memories and stories for grandchildren, and I am only 5 years into my career." AAP: Your worst souvenir as a photographer? CA: "I have a good handful of scars from not paying attention to where I'm walking while trying to get an image and a broken camera or two from sandstorms I was not prepared for." AAP: If you could have taken the photographs of someone else who would it be? CA: "Pierre Verger. He has such beautiful timeless style and dead perfect tonal ranges. He got to travel the world and experience so many things hands on from the Harlem Renaissance to religious ceremonies from underground cults in Brazil. I think he was working in just the right time and had some of the most guts from any photographer I have ever seen. He wasn't afraid and I love that about him."
Dorte Verner
Dorte Verner was born in Denmark and lives in Washington, D.C, USA. She holds a Ph.D. in economics and a passion for bringing change and attention to vulnerable people and voiceless people. Dorte's expertise in international development allows her to understand the reality in the environments she photographs. Dorte has won numerous prizes and awards for her photographs, e.g. she won the Nikon-100-Year Photo Contest 2016-2017, specifically the Most Popular Entry: Disappearing Fishing Method by Moken out of 80,000 submitted photographs. In the 2017, Dorte received first and third prize in Culture and Traditions, respectively in prestigious International Photo Award (IPA) by the Lucie Foundation and the Silver Prize in PX3. Dorte has photographed since 2011 and is a self-taught photographer. Dorte's photography focuses on people that has little voice and never make the news, but who have important knowledge and experiences to share. She captures their strength and beauty through intimate moments. She has focused on nomads, refugees, indigenous people, and people affected by climate change, among other changes. Dorte's portfolio centers on environmental portraits, with images inspired by the lives and livelihoods of people living in extreme situations. These people live in remote geographical locations, including: rural areas in Africa such as refugee camps; the Arabian Desert; Latin America's Amazon and drylands; and Asia's plains and mountains. Dorte's photographs are featured in many shows and galleries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the USA. Currently her photographs are exhibited in The Silk Road, Photography Biennial of Tianshui, China; and in two solo exhibitor shows: The Sahel, The World Bank, USA and Beyond Borders, Henry Luce III Center for Arts and Religion, Washington D.C., USA. They are also on permanent display in International Organizations and published in magazines such as GEO and Vanity Fair and on the cover of books and publications.
Hector Acebes
United States/Spain
1921 | † 2017
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Call for Entries
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Be Featured in our Apr 2021 Online Juried Solo Exhibition!