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Diane Arbus
Diane Arbus

Diane Arbus

Country: United States
Birth: 1923 | Death: 1971

Diane Arbus was an American photographer and writer noted for black-and-white square photographs of "deviant and marginal people (dwarfs, giants, transgender people, nudists, circus performers) or of people whose normality seems ugly or surreal." Arbus believed that a camera could be “a little bit cold, a little bit harsh” but its scrutiny revealed the truth; the difference between what people wanted others to see and what they really did see – the flaws. A friend said that Arbus said that she was "afraid... that she would be known simply as 'the photographer of freaks'"; however, that phrase has been used repeatedly to describe her. In 1972, a year after she committed suicide, Arbus became the first American photographer to have photographs displayed at the Venice Biennale. Millions of people viewed traveling exhibitions of her work in 1972–1979. Between 2003 and 2006, Arbus and her work were the subjects of another major traveling exhibition, Diane Arbus Revelations. In 2006, the motion picture Fur, starring Nicole Kidman as Arbus, presented a fictional version of her life story. Although some of Arbus's photographs have sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars at auction, Arbus's work has provoked controversy; for example, Norman Mailer was quoted in 1971 as saying "Giving a camera to Diane Arbus is like putting a live grenade in the hands of a child." Others have, however, pointed out that Mailer was dissatisfied with a picture of him holding his crotch taken by Arbus for the New York Times book review.

Diane Arbus was born as Diane Nemerov, to David Nemerov and Gertrude Russek Nemerov. The Nemerovs were a Jewish couple who lived in New York City and owned Russek's, a famous Fifth Avenue department store. Because of her family's wealth, Arbus was insulated from the effects of the Great Depression while growing up in the 1930s. Arbus's father became a painter after retiring from Russek's; her younger sister would become a sculptor and designer; and her older brother, Howard Nemerov, would later become United States Poet Laureate, and the father of the Americanist art historian Alexander Nemerov. Diane Nemerov attended the Fieldston School for Ethical Culture, a prep school.

In 1941, at the age of eighteen, she married her childhood sweetheart Allan Arbus. Their first daughter Doon (who would later become a writer), was born in 1945 and their second daughter Amy (who would later become a photographer), was born in 1954. Diane and Allan Arbus separated in 1958, and they were divorced in 1969. The Arbuses' interests in photography led them, in 1941, to visit the gallery of Alfred Stieglitz, and learn about the photographers Mathew Brady, Timothy O'Sullivan, Paul Strand, Bill Brandt, and Eugène Atget. In the early 1940s, Diane's father employed them to take photographs for the department store's advertisements. Allan was a photographer for the U.S. Army Signal Corps in World War Two.

In 1946, after the war, the Arbuses began a commercial photography business called "Diane & Allan Arbus," with Diane as art director and Allan as the photographer. They contributed to Glamour, Seventeen, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, and other magazines even though "they both hated the fashion world." Despite over 200 pages of their fashion editorial in Glamour, and over 80 pages in Vogue, the Arbuses' fashion photography has been described as of "middling quality." Edward Steichen's noted 1955 photographic exhibit, The Family of Man, did include a photograph by the Arbuses of a father and son reading a newspaper.

In 1956, Diane Arbus quit the commercial photography business. Although earlier she had studied photography with Berenice Abbott, her studies with Lisette Model, beginning in 1956, led to Arbus's most well-known methods and style. She began photographing on assignment for magazines such as Esquire, Harper's Bazaar, and The Sunday Times Magazine in 1959. Around 1962, Arbus switched from a 35 mm Nikon camera which produced grainy rectangular images to a twin-lens reflex Rolleiflex camera which produced more detailed square images. In 1963, Arbus was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for a project on "American rites, manners, and customs"; the fellowship was renewed in 1966. In 1964, Arbus began using a twin-lens reflex Mamiya camera with flash in addition to the Rolleiflex. Her methods included establishing a strong personal relationship with her subjects and re-photographing some of them over many years. During the 1960s, she taught photography at the Parsons School of Design and the Cooper Union in New York City, and the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island.

The first major exhibition of her photographs occurred at the Museum of Modern Art in a 1967 show called New Documents, curated by John Szarkowski. The show also featured the work of Garry Winogrand and Lee Friedlander. Some of her artistic work was done on assignment. Although she continued to photograph on assignment (e.g., in 1968 she shot documentary photographs of poor sharecroppers in rural South Carolina for Esquire magazine), in general her magazine assignments decreased as her fame as an artist increased. Szarkowski hired Arbus in 1970 to research an exhibition on photojournalism called From the Picture Press; it included many photographs by Weegee whose work Arbus admired. Using softer light than in her previous photography, she took a series of photographs in her later years of people with intellectual disability showing a range of emotions. At first, Arbus considered these photographs to be "lyric and tender and pretty," but by June, 1971, she told Lisette Model that she hated them. Associating with other contemporary photographers such as Robert Frank and Saul Leiter, Arbus helped form what Jane Livingston has termed The New York School of photographers during the 1940s and 1950s.

Among other photographers and artists she befriended during her career, she was close to photographer Richard Avedon; he was approximately the same age, his family had also run a Fifth Avenue department store, and many of his photographs were also characterized as detailed frontal poses. Another good friend was Marvin Israel, an artist, graphic designer, and art director whom Arbus met in 1959. Arbus experienced "depressive episodes" during her life similar to those experienced by her mother, and the episodes may have been made worse by symptoms of hepatitis. Arbus wrote in 1968, "I go up and down a lot," and her ex-husband noted that she had "violent changes of mood." On July 26, 1971, while living at Westbeth Artists Community in New York City, Arbus took her own life by ingesting barbiturates and slashing her wrists with a razor. Marvin Israel found her body in the bathtub two days later; she was 48 years old.

Source: Wikipedia


 

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More Great Photographers To Discover

Garry Winogrand
United States
1928 | † 1984
Garry Winogrand (14 January 1928, New York City – 19 March 1984, Tijuana, Mexico) was a street photographer known for his portrayal of America in the mid-20th century. John Szarkowski called him the central photographer of his generation. Winogrand was influenced by Walker Evans and Robert Frank and their respective publications American Photographs and The Americans. Henri Cartier-Bresson was another influence although stylistically different.Winogrand was known for his portrayal of American life in the early 1960s. Many of his photographs depict the social issues of his time and in the role of media in shaping attitudes. He roamed the streets of New York with his 35mm Leica camera rapidly taking photographs using a prefocused wide angle lens. His pictures frequently appeared as if they were driven by the energy of the events he was witnessing. Winogrand's photographs of the Bronx Zoo and the Coney Island Aquarium made up his first book The Animals (1969), a collection of pictures that observes the connections between humans and animals. His book Public Relations (1977) shows press conferences with deer-in-the-headlight writers and politicians, protesters beaten by cops, and museum parties frequented by the self-satisfied cultural glitterati. These photographs capture the evolution of a uniquely 20th and 21st century phenomenon, the event created to be documented. In Stock Photographs (1980), Winogrand published his views of the Fort Worth Fat Stock Show and Rodeo. At the time of his death there was discovered about 2,500 rolls of undeveloped film, 6,500 rolls of developed but not proofed exposures, and contact sheets made from about 3,000 rolls. The Garry Winogrand Archive at the Center for Creative Photography (CCP) comprises over 20,000 fine and work prints, 20,000 contact sheets, 100,000 negatives and 30,500 35mm colour slides as well as a small group of Polaroid prints and several amateur motion picture films.Winogrand grew up in the then predominantly Jewish working-class area of the Bronx, New York, where his father, Abraham, was a leather worker, and his mother, Bertha, made neckties for piecemeal work. Winogrand studied painting at City College of New York and painting and photography at Columbia University in New York City in 1948. He also attended a photojournalism class taught by Alexey Brodovich at The New School for Social Research in New York City in 1951. In the early 1960s Winogrand photographed on the streets of New York City alongside Joel Meyerowitz, Lee Friedlander, Tod Papageorge and Diane Arbus. In 1955 two of Winogrand’s photos appeared in The Family of Man exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York. Winogrand's first one-man show was held at Image Gallery in New York City in 1959. His first notable appearance was in Five Unrelated Photographers in 1963, also at MoMA in New York City, along with Minor White, George Krause, Jerome Liebling and Ken Heyman. In 1966 Winogrand exhibited at the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York with Lee Friedlander, Duane Michals, Bruce Davidson, and Danny Lyon in an exhibition entitled Toward a Social Landscape. In 1967 he participated in the New Documents show at MoMA in New York City with Diane Arbus and Lee Friedlander, curated by John Szarkowski. John Szarkowski, the Director of Photography at New York's Museum of Modern Art, became an editor and reviewer of Winogrand's work. Szarkowski called him the central photographer of his generation.In 1964 Winogrand was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship Award to travel through America. Some of the results of this work were shown in the New Documents exhibition. He was awarded his second Guggenheim Fellowship in 1969 to continue exploring media events and their effect on the public. Between 1969 and 1976 Winogrand shot about 700 rolls of film at public events, producing 6,500 eleven by fourteen inch prints for Tod Papageorge to select for the exhibition and book Public Relations. Winogrand received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1975. In 1979 with his third Guggenheim Fellowship he moved to Los Angeles to document California. While in LA he developed 8522 rolls of film. Winogrand worked as a commercial photographer between 1952 and 1954 at the Pix Photo Agency in Manhattan and from 1954 at Brackman Associates. Between 1971 and 1972 Winogrand taught photography at the Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago and between 1973 and 1978 at the University of Texas in Austin. In 1952 Winogrand married Adrienne Lubeau, separating in 1963 and divorcing in 1966, they had two children, Laurie and Ethan. Around 1967 Winogrand married his second wife Judy Teller, they were together until 1969. In 1972 he married Eileen Adele Hale, with whom he had a daughter, Melissa.Winogrand died of gall bladder cancer, in 1984 at age 56. As evidence of his prolific nature, Winogrand left behind nearly 300,000 unedited images. Some of these images have been exhibited posthumously, and published by MoMA in the overview of his work Winogrand, Figments from the Real World.
Ming Smith
United States
1973
Ming Smith is an American photographer. She was the first African-American female photographer whose work was acquired by the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Smith was born in Detroit, Michigan, and raised in Columbus, Ohio. After graduating from Howard University in 1973, she moved to New York City, where she found work modeling. While in New York she met photographer Anthony Barboza, who was an early influence. Smith's approach to photography has included in-camera techniques such as playing with focus, darkroom techniques like double exposure, collage techniques and paint on prints. Her work is less engaged with documentation of events than with expression of experience. It has been described as surreal and ethereal, as the New York Times observed: "Her work, personal and expressive, draws from a number of artistic sources, preeminently surrealism. She has employed a range of surrealist techniques: photographing her subjects from oblique angles, shooting out of focus or through such atmospheric effects as fog and shadow, playing on unusual juxtapositions, even altering or painting over prints." Smith's early work was composed of photos that were shot quickly to produce elaborate scenes, and due to this process many of her photos have double dates. She has used the technique of hand-tinting in some of her work, notably her Transcendence series. Ming Smith has photographed many important black cultural figures during her career, including Alvin Ailey and Nina Simone. In 1973 Smith was featured in the first volume of the Black Photographers Annual, a publication closely affiliated with the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and early 1970s. Smith had her first exhibition at Cinandre, a hairdressing salon, in 1973 as well. At Cinandre, she met Grace Jones, whom she photographed wearing a black and white tutu on occasion. Smith recalls that she and Jones would talk about surviving as black artists. Smith reflects on the memories by saying: "We came out of Jim Crow. And so just coming to New York and trying to be a model or anything was new." Two years later (1975), Smith became the first female member of the Harlem-based photography collective Kamoinge, under director Roy DeCarava. The Kamoinge Workshop was founded in New York in 1963 to support the work of black photographers in a field then dominated by white men. The collective, which still exists today, has undertaken a range of initiatives, including exhibitions, lectures, workshops, and the publishing of portfolios for distribution to museums. Smith participated with Kamoinge in three groups shows in New York and Guyana. Smith dropped off a portfolio at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), where the receptionist mistook her for a messenger. When she returned, she was taken into the curator's office. Susan Kismaric named a price for Smith's work, which Smith declined due to the price not paying off her bills. Kismaric asked Smith to reconsider, which she eventually did. Shortly after, she became the first Black woman photographer to be included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York City. In addition to the MOMA, Smith's art has been featured at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and the Smithsonian Anacostia Museum & Center for African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. Smith has twice exhibited at the Bellevue Hospital Centre in Morristown, New Jersey, through their Art in the Atrium exhibitions. The first was in 1995, for Cultural Images: Sweet Potato Pie, an exhibit curated by Russell A. Murray. In 2008 she contributed as part of the exhibition New York City: In Focus, part of Creative Destinations 2008 Exhibition of African American Art. Smith's photographs are included in the 2004 Ntozake Shange book The Sweet Breath of Life: A Poetic Narrative of the African-American Family and Life. In 2010, her work was included in MOMA's exhibition Pictures by Women: A History of Modern Photography. This exhibition recontextualized Smith's work alongside that of Diane Arbus and marked a growing interest in Smith's work. Organized by curator Roxana Marcoci, it was curated by Sarah Meister through the Department of Photography. In 2017, a major survey exhibition of Smith's work was held at the Steven Kasher Gallery in New York. The exhibition featured 75 vintage black-and-white prints that represented Smith's career. Smith has collaborated with filmmaker Arthur Jafa in the Serpentine Sackler Gallery's 2017 show, Arthur Jafa: A Series of Utterly Improbable, yet Extraordinary Renditions (Featuring Ming Smith, Frida Orupabo and Missylanyus). That same year, she was featured in the Tate Modern group exhibition Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power, curated by Mark Godfrey and Zoé Whitley. The show received international acclaim before traveling to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, The Brooklyn Museum, The Broad, the de Young Museum of San Francisco and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Since then, Smith's work was featured in solo presentations by Jenkins Johnson Gallery both at Frieze New York and Frieze Masters in 2019, the former of which receiving the Frieze Stand Prize. In 2020, Ming's work will be included in the group exhibition Working Together: Louis Draper and the Kamoinge Workshop at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, VA. From there, the exhibition will travel to The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, CA, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY.[19] Smith's work is in museum collections including the National Gallery of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Detroit Institute of Arts, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Some of Smith's work displayed in the Museum of Modern Art depicts motherhood in Harlem. These photos are taken using a documentary style way of photographing these subjects. Ming Smith lives and works in New York City.Source: Wikipedia Ming Smith is known for her informal, in-action portraits of black cultural figures, from Alvin Ailey to Nina Simone and a wide range of jazz musicians. Ming’s career emerged formally with the publication of the Black Photographer’s Annual in 1973. She was an early member of the Kamoinge Workshop, an association of several generations of black photographers. Ming has traveled extensively, showing her viewers a cosmopolitan world filled with famous landmarks and extraordinary landscapes. People continue to be her most treasured subjects. This is most apparent in her series depicting African American life. Ming’s early style was to shoot fast and produce complicated and elaborate images in the developing and post-printing processes, so that many of her pictures carry double dates. She experimented with hand-tinting in My Father’s Tears, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (1977/1979). Ming continues to expand the role of photography with her exploration of image and paint in the more recent, large-scale Transcendence series. Ming’s place in photography’s 175-year history was recognized by her inclusion in the Museum of Modern Art’s groundbreaking exhibition Pictures by Women: A History of Modern Photography in 2010. Ming Smith's photography is held in collections in the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York; the Smithsonian Anacostia Museum & Center for African American History and Culture, Washington, DC and the AT&T Corporation.Source: Steven Kasher Gallery
Mahdiyeh Afshar Bakeshloo
Mahdiyeh Afshar Bakeshloo (born 1995 in Tehran) is a professional photographer in the category of fine art and concept from Iran. Afshar has been studying photography professionally for 2 years in an academy since 2014 and is currently working in Tehran. Mostly she deal with human issues by referring to inner feelings that combined them with the inanimate environment. The starting point of her works have always been his surroundings and personal feelings. Sensitively, she tries to explore her relationship with the world around her today. Afshar held her first group exhibition at Mojdeh Gallery. Her most famous collection is "The light in the city", which takes a look at contemporary Tehran. Reason for popularity of this collection was due to a special technique that was done by manipulating the photo. So far, it has received various awards from world festivals such as IPA, Monochrome photography awards, Fine Art Photography Awards, ND Photography Awards, and Spider Photography Awards. Afshar says about her photos: “Each of my projects describes human emotions such as sadness, loneliness, confusion. I try to make viewers find their hidden feeling in my photos. Every time I take a photo, my personal feelings affect my work and shape my inner thoughts. I want to have something in common with my audience to talk to them. " Most of Afshar's works are presented in single black and white photos. Her photos has been published in various Magazine such as Float Photo Magazine, Humble Arts Foundation, F-stopmagazine, More Art please. She has participated in many exhibitions in Iran, Greece and Rome.
Fritz Liedtke
United States
Fritz began photographing as a teen, carrying his Kodak 110 Instamatic around on a US tour with his father at age 14, in their little blue Datsun B210. Twenty-five years later, he continues to explore the world, camera in hand. In the intervening years, Fritz acquired a BFA in Photography; won numerous awards and grants for his work; enjoyed artist residencies in various places; had photographs published, collected, and shown in galleries and museums; wrote articles and essays for various publications; lectured and taught workshops on photography and the artistic life; and balanced both commercial and fine art practices. He also loves to travel. He is constantly looking for new ways to approach the world through art. Portland, Oregon is his home, along with his wife and daughter and their bright orange house.About Astra Velum: April, a freckled woman in this series, told me a story from her childhood: One day after playing outside, her grandmother asked her to go wash up. She went to the bathroom and did so, but grandma wasn’t satisfied. “Your face isn’t clean! Go scrub it some more!” The young girl was distraught, for all that was left on her skin were her freckles, and no amount of scrubbing would make them go away. In a world that flaunts flawlessness as the ideal, can we find real beauty in the blemishes? More than once, while photographing for this series, women thanked me for making something beautiful out of what they often viewed as an imperfection. At its essence, Astra Velum explores the beauty of flawed human skin, with its freckles and scars, overlaid upon us like a thin veil of stars. This series is hand-printed by the artist as a limited edition set of photogravures.
Carole Glauber
Israel
1951
Carole Glauber is an internationally exhibiting, award-winning photographer and photo-historian, based in Israel since 2017. She has a B.S.Ed and a M.Ed. and is the author of two books: "Personal History" (Daylight Books) and "Witch of Kodakery: The Photography of Myra Albert Wiggins 1869-1956" (Washington State University Press). Her photographs have been exhibited in the United States and Europe including PH21 Gallery in Budapest, ValidFoto in Barcelona, Festival Pil'Ours in France, and The Center for Fine Art Photography, Blue Sky Gallery, ASmith Gallery, Soho Photo Gallery, the Griffin Museum of Photography, and the Dr. Bernard Heller Museum amongst others in the United States. Her book "Personal History" received a silver medal from the PX3 Prix de la Photographie Paris and three gold and bronze medals from the Budapest, Tokyo, and Moscow International Foto Awards. Her photography honors include PX3 Prix de la Photographie, Paris, the International Photography Awards, the Tokyo International Foto Awards, the Julia Margaret Cameron Awards, the Pollux Awards, the Mobile Photography Awards, PHmuseum, and the International Krappy Kamera Competition. She is the recipient of a Peter E. Palmquist Photographic History Research Fellowship, a Winterthur Museum Fellowship, an Oregon Humanities Research Fellowship, and numerous grants for her photographic research. She continues her studies and teaching of History of Photography and making photographs of her experiences and observations based on her curiosity and sense of spontaneity. Statement My book, "Personal History" explores the lives of my sons, Ben and Sam—a span covering 30 years. I used a 1950's Kodak Brownie Hawkeye camera for this work which I tried by chance, and discovered I related to the soft colors, the imperfections, and the transcendent quality of the image. During childhood and adolescence, we first experience the world. Spells are woven, our thoughts wander, curiosity grows, and our memories are sown. Friendships, dream chasing, and absorbing knowledge under the glare of the day can all happen. It is the time to discover by divergent thinking; to create, love, and energize without practical concerns of the day. Travel and seeing the world are fresh. They are like waves lapping on the beach. I invited Ben and Sam to write essays about being photographed by their mother for so many years. In effect, they have the final word. For me, the opportunity to photograph my children is like a calm breeze and now I can run with the memories recorded in the soft imagery of time.
Lello Fargione
Photographer for passion and empathetic traveler, I was born in Sicily where I live and have fun with photography. I continue to photograph, to tell things as they happen, as if I were not there, but at the same time remaining deeply inside the image, a "journey" for the desire to know new cultures and penetrate the most remote and inaccessible places by identifying with situations that I meet, to '' narrate '' through images. I remained, by nature and conviction, a freelance "photographer", who likes to "photograph" to tell stories, not to forget, not to stop "dreaming"... Asia, a woman's life Work, fatigue, the unhealthy environment in which women in Asia live, are the theme of my photographic journey in the Burmese and Vietnamese lands. A theme that has imposed itself with all the drama of the apparently impassive gazes of women who seem to be eternal figures in an exotic and enigmatic mosaic. Often in the shadows, as if to underline an obscure and forgetful role of the past, the gesture is repeated with the automatism forged in the labor of days that have consumed the face and limbs. It is known that once these women enjoyed a very different social status and one cannot help but know that what I see today is the result of a "commercialization" of the society that commodifies individuals. The anguish as the sense of guilt intervenes in a second moment: seeing oneself as a privileged observer of the condition of others. But reviewing and showing beyond glossy aesthetics is also a way (the photographer's only way) of going beyond the observer's impotence.
Janette Beckman
United Kingdom
1959
Janette Beckman is a British documentary photographer who currently lives in New York City. Beckman describes herself as a documentary photographer. While she produces a lot of work on location (such as the cover of The Police album Zenyatta Mondatta, taken in the middle of a forest in the Netherlands), she is also a studio portrait photographer. Her work has appeared on records for major labels, and in magazines including Esquire, Rolling Stone, Glamour, Italian Vogue, The Times, Newsweek, Jalouse, Mojo and others. Beckman was at King Alfred School, in Golders Green in north London, from 1953 to 1967. She spent a year at Saint Martin's School of Art, and then three years at London College of Communication studying photography. After initially working for Sounds magazine with Vivien Goldman – her first shoot was with Siouxsie and the Banshees – she had a job shooting for music magazines such as Melody Maker and The Face, with a studio and darkroom in central London. Her primary focus was the UK's burgeoning punk subculture. Beckman moved permanently to New York City in 1982 and continued her career, shooting for her UK clients as well as new ones in the U.S. After moving to New York, Beckman presented her portfolio to American record companies looking for work shooting album covers, but the gritty feel of her work did not fit the "airbrushed" aesthetic preferred at the time. She was passed on to smaller rap and hip-hop labels, where she photographed acts such as Salt-N-Pepa, LL Cool J, Public Enemy, and the Beastie Boys in their early days. In a 2015 interview with American Photo magazine, she recalled "It is amazing, 30 years later, people going 'oh you photographed legends.' I guess I did, but they weren’t legends when I was taking pictures of them".Source: Wikipedia As a child growing up in London in the 1960s, Janette Beckman visited the National Portrait Gallery. Entranced by the portraits of people from distant times and places, she instinctively knew that’s what she wanted to do. “I was always fascinated by people,” she remembers. “I’d see them at the bus stop on the way to school but I was too shy to talk to anybody, so I’d stare at them. My mother would say, ‘Don’t stare,’ but I couldn’t help myself.” Drawn to the irrepressible expression of style, character, and personality, Beckman forged ahead with her dream of becoming an artist. In the early 1970s, she enrolled at Central St. Martins to study art while living in a semi-squat in Streatham, South London, with her classmates. “We lived on four floors, shared a bathroom, and there was no heat — but my rent was only £5 a week,” she recalls. Beckman’s foray into photography happened by sheer serendipity. “We would sit around drawing each other endlessly,” she says. “My dear friend Eddie was a fantastic artist; he could draw as well as David Hockney. I would look at his work, then mine, and realize I was never going to be that good. When the end of the school year came, I had to decide what I was going to do, and I thought, I’ll try photography.” After enrolling in photography school, where she was just one of three women in the class, Janette Beckman quickly realized she didn’t want to learn by instruction — she wanted to do it herself. Determined to chart her own path, Beckman gave herself portrait assignments, and only went into class to learn the things she needed to know, like how to make prints. “I was in my really rebellious stage,” says Beckman, who followed this guiding light throughout her career. Her love for subversives, innovators, and activists is collected in the new book, Rebels: From Punk to Dior, which brings together four decades of photographs celebrating artists, musicians, and movements on the fringe that have redefined mainstream culture and society. Beckman’s photographs have played a seminal role in these seismic shifts — one so undeniable that institutions are finally taking note. In a truly full-circle moment, earlier this year, the National Portrait Gallery acquired four Beckman prints of British musicians including the Specials and Laurel Aitken as part of “Inspiring People,” a major curatorial redevelopment project to represent cultural and gender diversity across both sitter and artists.Source: Blind Magazine
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