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Harry Gruyaert
Harry Gruyaert
Harry Gruyaert

Harry Gruyaert

Country: Belgium
Birth: 1941

Originally dreaming of becoming a film director, Harry Gruyaert studied at the School of Film and Photography in Brussels from 1959 to 1962. Shortly after he left Belgium at the age of 21, fleeing the strict catholic environment in which he was raised. Gruyaert travelled extensively across Europe, North Africa, Asia and the United States and lived in cities with a vibrant film and photography scene like Paris and London. During his first trip to New York in 1968, he discovered Pop artists like Roy Lichtenstein and Robert Rauschenberg. This encounter made him appreciate the creative potential of colour and encouraged him to search for beauty in everyday elements for the rest of his career. Around the same time Gruyaert befriended the American artists Richard Nonas and Gordon Matta-Clark and photographed their work. Further inspired by the visual impulses on his first trip to Morocco in 1969, he decided in the second half of the 1970s as one of the first photographers in Europe to commit himself entirely to colour photography.

Gruyaert's cinematographic background instilled in him an aesthetic conception of photography. Rather than telling stories or documenting the world through his lens, he searches for beauty in everyday elements. His images are simply snapshots of magical moments in which different visual elements, primarily colour, form, light and movement, spontaneously come together in front of his lens.

In his search for strong graphical images, Gruyaert focuses his camera on objects as much as on people, who are often reduced to silhouettes or rendered to plain colour fields. Unsurprisingly the countries he photographs are mostly identified by means of the subtle differences in colour palette and light, inherent to the local atmosphere, culture and climate, more than by the depicted subjects or scenes.

Among his most well-known series are 'Rivages/Edges', featuring coastal views from around the world, that Gruyaert photographed out of a fascination for the rapidly changing light in these places. In the early 1970s, while he was living in London, Gruyaert worked on a series of colour television screen shots later to become the 'TV Shots' and now part of the Centre Pompidou collection. Around that time he regularly returned to his home country Belgium. This resulted in the series 'Roots', that perfectly reflects the Belgian Zeitgeist of the 1970s and 1980s.

In 1982 Gruyaert joined Magnum Photos.

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Donell Gumiran
Philippines
Donell Gumiran is a Design & Senior Art Director based in Dubai."Every time I press the shutter, it seems like it's an extension of my personality,"- Donell Gumiran. He sees himself as an image-maker who captures and tells a story in a photograph. The Filipino lensman sees his photography as an art form, borne from his desire to create on canvas and his professional training in design, when he worked as a design director in a creative agency. Now based in the U.A.E. Donell is known for his evocative portraits and travel photography. His favorite subjects are those that capture human conditions and emotions in everyday life. His knack for sharing his stories, captured through the lens, has won him international recognitions. He is the recipient of numerous awards both local and international. Donell Gumiran is also photographer & contributor for Asian Geographic Magazine. Recently, He won in Tokyo Foto Award, Japan - Gold 2019, 1st Prize in documentary category 2018 - International Photography (IPA) Awards Los Angeles, USA. 1st Place Winner 2018 The Independent Photo Travel Award, Berlin, Germany - He was adjudged the 2017 grand prize winner of the Travel Photographer Society International Photography Contest Awards in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2017 and was awarded as "Portrait Photographer of the Year 2017" for Asian Geographic Images of Asia for its Asia without Borders program in Singapore. Donell Gumiran also awarded as Photographer of the year by the Filipino Times 2017 UAE. In addition, he was also one of the winners in the Life Framer World Travelers Competition judged by magnum photographer Steve McCurry. Most of his works have been exhibited in New York, Tokyo,and Rome. He was awarded also as Curtin Dubai's Photographer of the Year - Urban Art Festival 2018. On the home front, Donell was recently chosen by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts under the office of the President of the Philippines to receive the coveted "Ani ng Dangal Award 2018 & 2019." "I think my real accomplishment was that I was able to use photography as a significant instrument to help the world for the better. My work gives me a chance to capture and preserve memories of our time." He sits on the Board of Directors as creative director of Team Juan Makasining, and uses this position to encourage other photographers to express themselves through their art. "Start as passion, not as a profession." - Donell Gumiran
Ami Vitale
United States
1971
Nikon Ambassador and National Geographic magazine photographer Ami Vitale has traveled to more than 100 countries, bearing witness not only to violence and conflict, but also to surreal beauty and the enduring power of the human spirit. Throughout the years, Ami has lived in mud huts and war zones, contracted malaria, and donned a panda suit— keeping true to her belief in the importance of “living the story.” In 2009, after shooting a powerful story on the transport and release of one the world’s last white rhinos, Ami shifted her focus to today’s most compelling wildlife and environmental stories. Instyle Magazine named Ami one of fifty Badass Women, a series celebrating women who show up, speak up and get things done. She appeared alongside a group of incredible women including Jane Goodall, Christiane Amanpour and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She has been named Magazine photographer of the year in the International Photographer of the Year prize, received the Daniel Pearl Award for Outstanding Reporting and named Magazine Photographer of the Year by the National Press Photographers Association, among others. She is a five-time recipient of WorldPress Photos, including 1st Prize for her 2018 National Geographic magazine story about a community in Kenya protecting elephants. She published a best-selling book, Panda Love, on the secret lives of pandas. She is a featured speaker for the National Geographic LIVE series, and frequently gives talks and workshops throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia. Her photographs have been commissioned by nearly every international publication and exhibited around the world in museums and galleries. She is a founding member of Ripple Effect Images, an organization of renowned female scientists, writers, photographers and filmmakers working together to create powerful and persuasive stories that shed light on the hardships women in developing countries face and the programs that can help them. She is also on the Photojournalism Advisory Council for the Alexia Foundation. Currently based in Montana, Ami Vitale is a contract photographer with National Geographic magazine and frequently gives workshops throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia. Ami Vitale talks about Climate Change Awareness
John Simmons
United States
1950
John Simmons is a multi-talented artist whose work has spanned across decades. Born in Chicago and coming of age during the Civil Rights Era, Simmons' photography started at the peak of political and racial tension of the 1960s, mentored by a well known Chicago Civil Rights photographer, Bobby Sengstacke. After completing an undergraduate degree from Fisk University in art and photography, Simmons went on to study cinematography at the University of Southern California, and then to move to LA, where he currently lives. In 2004, Simmons was inducted into the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) and now serves as Vice President and as co-chair of the ASC Vision Committee. He is also on the Board of Governors of the Television Academy, working to increase diversity on-set, and taught at UCLA for 26 years before leaving to focus on his photography. Simmons has also filmed music videos and commercials for artists such as Stevie Wonder, Britney Spears, Snoop Dogg and many more. As a filmmaker, Simmons has collaborated with industry giants such as Spike Lee and Debbie Allen, and has served as the Director of Photography for more than 25 television series. Simmons earned an Emmy for his work on Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn. Outside of the aforementioned exhibits, his photographs are also held at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the Center for Creative Photography, the David C. Driskell Center, University of Maryland, and Harvard University, where they exhibited in "Time is Now: Photography and Social Change in James Baldwin's America" at the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts. His work is also in the permanent collection of the ASC. Exclusive Interview with John Simmons
Thomas Eakins
United States
1844 | † 1916
Thomas Cowperthwait Eakins (July 25, 1844 – June 25, 1916) was an American realist painter, photographer, sculptor, and fine arts educator. He is widely acknowledged to be one of the most important American artists. For the length of his professional career, from the early 1870s until his health began to fail some 40 years later, Eakins worked exactingly from life, choosing as his subject the people of his hometown of Philadelphia. He painted several hundred portraits, usually of friends, family members, or prominent people in the arts, sciences, medicine, and clergy. Taken en masse, the portraits offer an overview of the intellectual life of contemporary Philadelphia; individually, they are incisive depictions of thinking persons. In addition, Eakins produced a number of large paintings that brought the portrait out of the drawing-room and into the offices, streets, parks, rivers, arenas, and surgical amphitheaters of his city. These active outdoor venues allowed him to paint the subject that most inspired him: the nude or lightly clad figure in motion. In the process, he could model the forms of the body in full sunlight, and create images of deep space utilizing his studies in perspective. Thomas Eakins also took a keen interest in the new technologies of motion photography, a field in which he is now seen as an innovator. No less important in Eakins' life was his work as a teacher. As an instructor, he was a highly influential presence in American art. The difficulties which beset him as an artist seeking to paint the portrait and figure realistically were paralleled and even amplified in his career as an educator, where behavioral and sexual scandals truncated his success and damaged his reputation. Eakins was a controversial figure whose work received little by way of official recognition during his lifetime. Since his death, he has been celebrated by American art historians as "the strongest, most profound realist in the nineteenth and early-twentieth-century American art". Eakins has been credited with having "introduced the camera to the American art studio". During his study abroad, he was exposed to the use of photography by the French realists, though the use of photography was still frowned upon as a shortcut by traditionalists. In the late 1870s, Thomas Eakins was introduced to the photographic motion studies of Eadweard Muybridge, particularly the equine studies, and became interested in using the camera to study sequential movement. In the mid-1880s, Eakins worked briefly alongside Muybridge in the latter's photographic studio at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Eakins soon performed his own independent motion studies, also usually involving the nude figure, and even developed his own technique for capturing movement on film. Whereas Muybridge's system relied on a series of cameras triggered to produce a sequence of individual photographs, Eakins preferred to use a single camera to produce a series of exposures superimposed on one negative. Thomas Eakins was more interested in precision measurements on a single image to aid in translating a motion into a painting, while Muybridge preferred separate images that could also be displayed by his primitive movie projector. After Eakins obtained a camera in 1880, several paintings, such as Mending the Net (1881) and Arcadia (1883), are known to have been derived at least in part from his photographs. Some figures appear to be detailed transcriptions and tracings from the photographs by some device like a magic lantern, which Eakins then took pains to cover up with oil paint. Thomas Eakins' methods appear to be meticulously applied, and rather than shortcuts, were likely used in a quest for accuracy and realism. An excellent example of Thomas Eakins' use of this new technology is his painting A May Morning in the Park, which relied heavily on photographic motion studies to depict the true gait of the four horses pulling the coach of patron Fairman Rogers. But in typical fashion, Eakins also employed wax figures and oil sketches to get the final effect he desired. The so-called Naked Series, which began in 1883, were nude photos of students and professional models which were taken to show real human anatomy from several specific angles, and were often hung and displayed for study at the school. Later, less regimented poses were taken indoors and out, of men, women, and children, including his wife. The most provocative, and the only ones combining males and females, were nude photos of Eakins and a female model. Although witnesses and chaperones were usually on site, and the poses were mostly traditional in nature, the sheer quantity of the photos and Eakins' overt display of them may have undermined his standing at the Academy. In all, about eight hundred photographs are now attributed to Eakins and his circle, most of which are figure studies, both clothed and nude, and portraits. No other American artist of his time matched Eakins' interest in photography, nor produced a comparable body of photographic works. Thomas Eakins used photography for his own private ends as well. Aside from nude men, and women, he also photographed nude children. While the photographs of the nude adults are more artistically composed, the younger children and infants are posed less formally. These photographs, that are “charged with sexual overtones,” as Susan Danly and Cheryl Leibold write, are of unidentified children. In the catalog of Eakins' collection at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, photograph number 308 is of an African American child reclining on a couch and posed as Venus. Both Saidiya Hartman and Fred Moten write, respectively, about the photograph, and the child that it arrests. Late in life Eakins did experience some recognition. In 1902 he was made a National Academician. In 1914 the sale of a portrait study of D. Hayes Agnew for The Agnew Clinic to Dr. Albert C. Barnes precipitated much publicity when rumors circulated that the selling price was fifty thousand dollars. In fact, Barnes bought the painting for four thousand dollars. Eakins died on June 25, 1916, at the age of 71 and is buried at The Woodlands, which is located near the University of Pennsylvania in West Philadelphia. In the year after his death, Eakins was honored with a memorial retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and in 1917–18 the Pennsylvania Academy followed suit. Susan Macdowell Eakins did much to preserve his reputation, including gifting the Philadelphia Museum of Art with more than fifty of her husband's oil paintings. After her death in 1938, other works were sold off, and eventually another large collection of art and personal material was purchased by Joseph Hirshhorn, and now is part of the Hirshhorn Museum's collection. Since then, Eakins' home in North Philadelphia was put on the National Register of Historic Places list in 1966, and Eakins Oval, across from the Philadelphia Museum of Art on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, was named for the artist. In 1967 The Biglin Brothers Racing (1872) was reproduced on a United States postage stamp. His work was also part of the painting event in the art competition at the 1932 Summer Olympics. Since the 1990s, Eakins has emerged as a major figure in sexuality studies in art history, for both the homoeroticism of his male nudes and for the complexity of his attitudes toward women. Controversy shaped much of his career as a teacher and as an artist. He insisted on teaching men and women "the same", used nude male models in female classes and vice versa, and was accused of abusing female students. Recent scholarship suggests that these scandals were grounded in more than the "puritanical prudery" of his contemporaries—as had once been assumed—and that Eakins' progressive academic principles may have protected unconscious and dubious agendas. These controversies may have been caused by a combination of factors such as the bohemianism of Eakins and his circle (in which students, for example, sometimes modeled in the nude for each other), the intensity and authority of his teaching style, and Eakins' inclination toward unorthodox or provocative behavior. Eakins was unable to sell many of his works during his lifetime, so when he died in 1916, a large body of artwork passed to his widow, Susan Macdowell Eakins. She carefully preserved it, donating some of the strongest pieces to various museums. When she in turn died in 1938, much of the remaining artistic estate was destroyed or damaged by executors, and the remainders were belatedly salvaged by a former Eakins student.Source: Wikipedia
Ruth Bernhard
Germany / United States
1905 | † 2006
Ruth Bernhard (October 14, 1905 – December 18, 2006) was a German-born American photographer. She was born in Berlin to Lucian Bernhard and Gertrude Hoffmann. Lucian Bernhard was known for his poster and typeface design, many of which bear his name and are still in use. Bernhard's parents divorced when she was 2 years old and she only met her mother twice after the divorce. She was raised by two schoolteacher sisters and their mother. Bernhard's father Lucian was a major proponent of Ruth's work, and advised her frequently. Bernhard studied art history and typography at the Berlin Academy of Art from 1925 to 1927 before moving to New York City to join her father. She worked as an assistant to Ralph Steiner in Delineator magazine, but he terminated her employment for indifferent performance. Using the severance pay, Bernhard bought her own camera equipment. By the late-1920s, while living in Manhattan, Bernhard was heavily involved in the lesbian sub-culture of the artistic community, becoming friends with photographer Berenice Abbott and her lover, critic Elizabeth McCausland. Her first realization that she was attracted to other women occurred on New Year's Eve 1928 when she met the painter Patti Light. She wrote about her "bisexual escapades" in her memoir. In 1934 Bernhard began photographing women in the nude. It would be this art form for which she would eventually become best known. In 1935, she chanced to meet Edward Weston on the beach in Santa Monica. She would later say: "I was unprepared for the experience of seeing his pictures for the first time. It was overwhelming. It was lightning in the darkness ... here before me was indisputable evidence of what I had thought possible—an intensely vital artist whose medium was photography." Bernhard was so inspired by Weston's work that, after meeting him in 1935, she moved to California (where he lived). In 1939, Bernhard moved back to New York for eight years, during which time she met photographer Alfred Stieglitz. Bernhard was inspired by the small things in her life. In an interview from 1999 with Photographers Forum, Ruth states, "I’m most interested in—the little things that nobody observes, that nobody thinks are of any value". In the same interview she stated that, "Everything is universal" and that she was "very much aware of that". This idea of minimalism drove her passion for photography. In 1934 Ruth received a commission from the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) to photograph works for the Machine Art exhibition catalog. Her father Lucian Bernhard set up the meeting with MoMA for her. By 1944 she had met and became involved with artist and designer Eveline (Evelyn) Phimister. The two moved in together, and remained together for the next ten years in Carmel, California. Here, Bernhard worked with Group f/64. Soon, finding Carmel a difficult place in which to earn a living, they moved to Hollywood where she fashioned a career as a commercial photographer. In 1953, they moved to San Francisco where she became a colleague of photographers such as Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, Minor White, and Wynn Bullock. Most of Bernhard's work is studio-based, ranging from simple still lifes to complex nudes. In the 1940s she worked with the conchologist Jean Schwengel. She worked almost exclusively in black-and-white, though there are rumors that she had done some color work as well. She also is known for her lesbian themed works, most notably Two Forms (1962). In that work, a black woman and a white woman who were real-life lovers are featured with their nude bodies pressed against one another. In 1967, Bernhard began a teaching career. This same year, Bernhard met United States Air Force Colonel Price Rice, an African American man ten years younger than her, and the two became lovers. They would remain together until his death in 1999. In her 90s, Bernhard cooperated with biographer Margaretta K. Mitchell in the book Ruth Bernhard, Between Art and Life, publicly revealing her many affairs with women and men throughout her lifetime. A departure was a collaboration with Melvin Van Peebles (as "Melvin Van"), then a young cable car gripman (driver) in San Francisco. Van Peebles wrote the text and Bernhard took the unposed photographs for The Big Heart, a book about life on the cable cars. In the early 1980s, Bernhard started to work with Carol Williams, owner of Photography West Gallery in Carmel, California. Bernhard told Williams that she knew there would be a book of her photography after her death, but hoped one could be published during her lifetime. Williams approached New York Graphics Society, and several other photographic book publishers, but was advised that "only Ansel Adams could sell black-and-white photography books." Bernhard and Williams decided to sell five limited edition prints to raise the necessary funds to publish a superior quality book of Ruth Bernhard nudes. The ensuing edition was produced by David Gray Gardner of Gardner Lithograph, (also the printer of Adams's books) and was called The Eternal Body. It won Photography Book of the Year in 1986 from Friends of Photography. This book was often credited by Ruth Bernhard as being an immeasurable help to her future career and public recognition. The Eternal Body was reprinted by Chronicle Books and later as a deluxe limited Centennial Edition in celebration of Ruth Bernhard's 100th birthday in October 2005. Carol Williams credited Ruth Bernhard with encouraging her to venture into book publishing, and later published several other photographic monographs. In the 1980s Bernhard also started to work with Joe Folberg. Folberg bought Vision Gallery from Douglas Elliott (who founded it in 1979) in San Francisco in 1982. Bernhard and Folberg worked together until Folberg's death. The gallery split with Debra Heimerdinger taking over operations in North America and Folberg's son Neil moving the "Vision Gallery" to Jerusalem. In 1984 Ruth worked with filmmaker Robert Burrill on her autobiographic film entitled, Illuminations: Ruth Bernhard, Photographer. The film premièred in 1989 at the Kabuki Theater in San Francisco and on local PBS station KQED in 1991. Bernhard was inducted into the Women's Caucus for Art in 1981. Bernhard was hailed by Ansel Adams as "the greatest photographer of the nude". Bernhard died in San Francisco at age 101.Source: Wikipedia
Enri Canaj
Albania
1980
Enri Canaj was born in Tirana, Albania, in 1980. He spent his early childhood there and moved with his family to Greece in 1991, immediately after the opening of the borders. He is based in Athens and covers stories in Greece and the Balkans. He studied photography at the Leica Academy in Athens. In 2007 he took part in a British Council project on migration, attending a year-long workshop with Magnum photographer Nikos Economopoulos. Since 2008, he has been a freelance photographer for major publications such as Time Lightbox, CNN Photo, New York Magazine, MSNBC Photography, The Wall Street Journal, Courrier International, Vice Magazine, The Financial Times, Newsweek, Paris Match, Le Monde Diplomatique, sample of his work has been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Thessaloniki personal exhibition, HANOVER LUMIX Festival, Arles Festival, Benaki Museum Athens, Museum of Photography Thesaloniki, BOZAR Center for Fine Arts, Cultural Foundation of the National Bank of Greece in Athens, at the Bilgi Santral in Istanbul, the European Parliament in Brussels and the Athens Photo Festival, New Delhi Foto Festival.Source: Magnum Photos In 2010, statistics stated that some 90% of all illegal border crossings into the EU take place in Greek territory, with immigrants coming mostly from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, a reflection of the geopolitical conflicts currently ravaging each region, and the influx continues. These people are common a sight in Athens, as western tourists take part in the cultural tourism that keeps this city alive; peddling cheap products made in China – a crude image of capitalism eating its own tail. And yet, despite the ease with which this situation might be covered in bursts by the mainstream press, Enri Canaj’s work has consistently surrounded themes of migration within the Balkans, and more specifically the experience of immigrants in Greece, suggesting a dedication to a cause, rather than a newsworthy story. Since 2007, when he took part a yearlong project on migration with Magnum photographer Nikos Economopoulos entitled the City Streets Project organized by the British Council, this focus has become one of the key aspects to his work. And despite his professional status as a photojournalist, Canaj’s images reveal a more personal relationship to the situation of the migrant on the ground, given that Canaj himself was an immigrant who came to Greece from his native Albania in 1991 at the age of eleven. Having experienced first hand what it’s like to exist on the outside looking in, Canaj translates what he sees, and sends it back out into the world so as to reflect a sense of humanity in the lives of those so often treated as less than.Source: Aint-Bad In June 2019 Enri Canaj became a Magnum Photos associate. At-present he is based in Athens and covers stories in Greece, the Balkans, west & north Europe focusing on the migration matter.
Klavdij Sluban
France
1963
Winner of the European Publishers Award for Photography 2009, of the Leica Prize (2004) and of the Niépce Prize (2000), main French prize in photography, Klavdij Sluban is a French photographer of Slovenian origin born in Paris in 1963. He develops a rigorous and coherent body of work, nourished by literature, never inspired by immediate and sensational current affairs, making him one of the most interesting photographers of his generation. The Balkans, the Black Sea, the Baltic Sea, the Caribbean, Central America, Russia, China and the Antarctic (first artistic mission in the Kerguelen islands) can be read as many successive steps of an in-depth study of a patient proximity to the encountered real. His images have been shown in such leading institutions as the Metropolitan Museum of Photography of Tokyo, the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris, the Rencontres d'Arles, the Museum of Photography in Helsinki, the Fine Arts Museum in Canton, the Musée Beaubourg, the Museum of Texas Tech University… His many books include East to East (published simultaneously by Actes Sud, Dewi Lewis, Petliti, Braus, Apeiron & Lunwerg with a text by Erri de Luca), Entre Parenthèses, (Photo Poche, Actes Sud), Transverses, (Maison Européenne de la Photographie) and Balkans - Transit, with a text by François Maspero (Seuil). Since 1995, Sluban has been photographing teenagers in jails. In each prison he organizes workshops with the young offenders to share his passion. First originated in France, in the prison of Fleury-Mérogis with support from Henri Cartier-Bresson during 7 years, as well as Marc Riboud and William Klein punctually. This commitment was pursued in the disciplinary camps of Eastern Europe –Serbia, Slovenia, Ukraine, Georgia, Moldavia, Latvia – and in the disciplinary centres of Moscow and St Petersburg as well as in Ireland. From 2007 to 2012, Sluban has been working in Central America with imprisoned youngsters belonging to maras (gangs) in Guatemala and Salvador. In 2015, he started photogrphing imprisoned teenagers in Brazil. In 2013, the musée Niépce showed a retrospective of K.Sluban's work, After Darkness, 1995-2012. In 2015/16, he was awarded the Villa Kujoyama Residence in Kyoto, Japan.
Tamas Dezso
Hungary
1978
Tamas Dezso (b.1978) is a documentary fine art photographer working on long-term projects focusing on the margins of society in Hungary, Romania, and other parts of Eastern Europe. His work has been exhibited worldwide, with solo exhibitions in 2011 in Poland, Bangladesh, Budapest, New Mexico, and at the Robert Koch Gallery in San Francisco, and recent exhibitions at the New York Photo Festival, Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art, and FOAM Photo Museum in Amsterdam. He was twice Hungarian Press Photo’s Photographer of the Year (2005 and 2006), and has received awards from organizations such as World Press Photo, Pictures of the Year International, NPPA’s Best of Photojournalism, and PDN. His photographs have appeared in TIME magazine, The New York Times, National Geographic, GEO, Le Monde magazine, and many others. Dezso has recently been nominated for the 2012 Prix Pictet. Tamas Dezso's series 'Here, Anywhere' offers a desolate yet beautiful look at the people and places left behind during the post-communist transition in Hungary. Begun in 2009, the series explores the unique atmosphere of the country's now 20-year-long transition, and changing notions of Eastern European identity. With the introduction of democracy in the 1990s came euphoria and promise, but unrealized expectations of quickly catching up with the West have led to widespread disappointment and frustration, compounded by the current serious economic difficulties have fanned the popularity of far right politics, as well as an anachronistic nostalgia for the stability of communism. Presently Hungary has a right wing populist government and the strongest opposition party is the neo-Nazi party with nearly 1/8th of the eligible voters and gaining popularity. Dezso's layered images present unsettling moments of stillness that poetically allude to this gritty reality. Motivated by the isolation he sees his country facing, Dezso photographs the people and places of Hungary as symbols, where "a certain out-dated, awkward, longed-to-be-forgotten Eastern Europeanness still lingers." This award-winning series has garnered international attention, earning Dezso First Place at the 2011 CENTER Project Competition in Santa Fe, the Daylight Magazine & Center for Documentary Studies Project Prize, and Grand Prize at the Jeune Création Européenne Biennal 2011/2013 in Paris-Montrouge.Source: Robert Koch Gallery Interview with Tamas Dezso All About Photo: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer? Tamas Dezso: Soon after I left the University of Technology in Budapest in 2000. AAP: Where did you study photography? TD: I am self-taught. AAP: How long have you been a photographer? TD: I started as a photojournalist with a political daily in 2000. AAP: What or who inspires you? TD: Music. Beethoven, Bach and Mozart. AAP: How could you describe your style? TD: Documentary. AAP: Do you have a favorite photograph or series? TD: Richard Avedon 'Italy #9', 'Boy and Tree, Sicily, July 15, 1947' AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film? TD: Phase One cameras with various Schneider Kreuznach lenses. AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)? TD: Richard Avedon and Irving Penn AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer? TD: "Follow the advice of others only in the rarest cases." -- Beethoven AAP: What are your projects? TD: I am interested in the transitional period, the period after the fall of communism in Eastern Europe. AAP: Your best memory as a photographer? TD: My first trip to Romania. AAP:If you were someone else who would it be? TD: A pianist. AAP: Your favorite photo book? TD: Walter Niedermayr's Civil Operations.
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