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Kristina Varaksina
Kristina Varaksina
Kristina Varaksina

Kristina Varaksina

Country: Russia

Kristina Varaksina is a Russian photographer currently living and getting Photography MFA Degree in San Francisco, USA. In May 2013 she received Best in Show Portfolio Award at Academy of Art Spring Show. In May 2013 she received 1st Place Award for at Academy of Art Spring Show for her image "Aspirations". In April 2013 she was chosen among the six recipients from USA of 2013 APA EP Educational Grants. In February 2013 her image "Aspirations" won the Digital Photo Magazine "6th Annual Your Best Shot" photo contest.

In May 2012 she recieved Best in Show award at Academy of Art Spring Show for her self-portrait image 'Typewriter'. Her work was exhibited at the APA Something Personal show in January 2012 – February 2013. In the Fall 2012 she was also published in CMYK magazine among 100 New Best Creatives of the US. In her photography she explores human psychology by telling stories and creating imaginary worlds. Color palette is one of the key elements in her work.

Source: kristinavaraksina.com

 

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Giacomo Brunelli
Giacomo Brunelli (b. Perugia, Italy, 1977) graduated with a degree in International Communications in 2002. His series on animals has been exhibited widely with shows at The Photographers’Gallery, London (Uk), Galerie Camera Obscura, Paris (France), Format Festival, Derby (Uk), Robert Morat Galerie, Hamburg (Germany), Noorderlicht Photofestival (The Netherlands), Athens Photo Festival (Greece), Daegu PhotoBiennal (South Korea), Angkor PhotoFestival (Cambodia), BlueSky Gallery, Portland (Usa), The New Art Gallery Walsall (Uk), Griffin Museum ,Boston (Usa), StreetLevel Glasgow (Uk), Photofusion, London (Uk), Arden & Anstruther Petworth (Uk), Galleria Belvedere Milan (Italy), Fotofestiwal Lodz (Poland) and Boutographies, Montepellier (France). The work has won the Sony World Photography Award, the Gran Prix Lodz, Poland and the Magenta Foundation “Flash Forward 2009”. It has also been featured widely in the art and photography press including The Guardian (Uk), Harper’s Magazine (Usa), Eyemazing (Holland), European Photography (Germany), B&W Magazine (Usa), Creative Review (Uk), Foto&Video (Russia), Images Magazine (France) Photographie (Germany), Katalog (Denmark), AdBusters (Canada), FOTO (Sweden) and FOTOGRAFI (Norway). His work is in the collection of Museum of Fine Arts Houston, The New Art Gallery Walsall, Uk Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts and Portland Art Museum, Usa. “The Animals”, his first monograph, was published by Dewi Lewis Publishing in 2008. In 2012, he was commissioned by The Photographers’Gallery to do a project on London that will be shown there in March 2014. Interview with Giacomo Brunelli: All About Photo: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer? I remember when more that 10 years ago, I found my father's camera in a drawer and immediately wanted to be able to use it. Did't know exactly to do what but since then I have been using it to shoot my ideas." Where did you study photography? "I graduated in Communications in 2002 and attended a six month course in photojournalism in Rome." Do you remember your first shot? What was it? "I don't remember my first shot but I started shooting people, lanscapes and animals since the beginning. I have been soon fascinated by the idea of being outside taking pictures of what you like." What or who inspires you? I take inspiration from exhibitions, books, walks, stories and music." How could you describe your style? Street Photography." What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film? "Since the very beginning, I have been using a Miranda Sensomat 35mm, a japanese film camera from the '60. Although I have tried the 28mm and 135mm when I started, I use the 50mm lens only and 1.8 1/500 as combination diaphragm/shutter speed. For a recent commission I got from The Photographers'Gallery two years ago on London, I started using 1/1000 also. Regarding the film, I like Kodak Tri-x 400 and I print the images myself in my darkroom on Agfa Fiber Based paper." Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? For what purpose? "Editing is crucial and I love spending time looking at my images as a body of work and select the ones I feel are the strongest to communicate my vision." AFavorite(s) photographer(s)? "I grew up looking at the great masters such as Lartigue, Muybridge, Giacomelli, Frank, Klein and Winogrand so I think I have been deeply influenced by the way they managed to express their own ideas through photography." What advice would you give a young photographer? "Developing a coherent body of work takes time and energy; I would say just be prepared to work hard." What mistake should a young photographer avoid? "Not to be patient." Your best memory as a photographer? Publishing "The Animals" (Dewi Lewis Publishing, 2008) has been great, seeing your pictures taking the form of a book is fantastic." Your worst souvenir as a photographer? "In 2005 I left my camera and my own things in a taxi in Bratislava."
Ron Cooper
United States
I am a travel, documentary and portrait photographer based in Denver, CO. I began exploring photography ten years ago after retiring early from a corporate career. I travel extensively in pursuit of images that reflect local cultures and people. My emphasis in recent years has been on portraiture with the objective of “introducing” viewers to the people I meet and photograph at home and around the world. My work has been exhibited in juried group shows at Colorado Photographic Art Center (Denver, CO), Center for Fine Art Photography (Ft. Collins, CO), Southeast Center for Photography (Greenville, SC), Naples (FL) Art Association, PhotoPlace Gallery (Middlebury, VT), ACCI (Berkeley, CA), A. Smith Gallery (Johnson City, TX), Blackbox Gallery (Portland, OR), Click! Photography Festival (Raleigh/Durham, NC), Midwest Center for Photography (Wichita, KS). Solo exhibitions include: Asian Journeys (2016) at Gallery MFC, Denver, CO; Faces (2016) at the Hamilton Family Gallery, Children's Hospital of Colorado, Aurora, CO; Faces of the American West (2016) at The Darkroom, Longmont, Colorado; and Pleased to Meet You: Portraits from Places Near & Far (2018) at Gallery MFC, Denver, CO; and Keepers of Tradition (2019) at Robert Anderson Gallery, Denver, CO. My photographs have been published in Black & White Magazine, Monovisions Magazine, AAP Magazine, PDN, New Mexico Magazine and Photographer's Forum. My portraits celebrate humankind. I've been privileged to meet and photograph people in may different places - across five continents, diverse geographies, cultures and ways of life. My objective is to make interesting, accessible and compelling images that tell a story or convey a sense of place and personality. As a matter of respect and courtesy, I always engage with my subjects, asking permission to make their portrait. My request is sometimes met with skepticism. Occasionally I'm turned down. More often, however, my approach results in a conversation - sometimes quite brief, and often through sign language or a translator. That conversation - whatever it's form - yields a connection that I hope is reflected in the final image. I favor simple compositions - straightforward and tightly framed. This approach directs the viewer's attention to the subject's eyes. In most of my images the individuals are looking directly at the camera and, by extension, at us. This approach feels honest and straightforward. The great majority of my portraits are made in natural surroundings with available light. No studio, no strobes. This approach is less intimidating and less formal. It improves the chances of capturing a genuine portrait, an unguarded moment that reveals something of the person behind the photograph. My portraits document the amazing diversity in appearance, lifestyle and circumstances of the people I meet in my travels. At the same time, I hope the message that stays with the viewer is, despite our many superficial differences, our shared humanness connects all of us in the human tapestry.
Annick Donkers
Annick Donkers is a documentary photographer from Antwerp, Belgium. After obtaining a Master’s degree in Psychology, she decided to specialize in photography. She has received a grant from the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was selected to participate in the Seminar on Contemporary Photography at the Centro de la Imagen in Mexico City (2008). Her work has been exhibited and published internationally. She was one of the winners at the Survival International Competition (2015), won an award at the San José Photo Festival in Uruguay (2016), the Sony Awards in UK (2016), the MIFA awards in Russia (2016), the IPA awards in USA (2016), the TIFA awards in Tokyo (2016), received an honorable mention at the Px3 Prix de la Photo in Paris(2016), was selected at Latin American Photography vol.5 (2016), on the cover of Dodho magazine (2016), shortlisted for the Kolga Tbilisi Awards and Athens Photo Festival (2017). She currently lives and works as a freelance photographer in Mexico City.About Lucha Libre Extrema The Lucha Libre Extrema series emerged from a growing interest I had in Mexican professional wrestling. I was soon drawn towards sub-genres of the sport such as Lucha Libre Exótica and Lucha Extrema. This semi-clandestine hardcore genre is currently prohibited in Mexico City because of how dangerous it is, but events still take place outside the capital, notably at a car wash-turned-arena in Tulancingo, the village where El Santo, Mexico’s most famous pro wrestler, was born. The participants receive professional training and are paid a little bit more because of the risks they take. They perform with a variety of weapons: chairs, thumbtacks, wire, and fluorescent lights, turning the ring into a war zone. Yet the community of luchadores “extremos” is closely knit and few outsiders have gained access. Mexico has been a very violent place in recent years. As such, I found it fascinating that people were drawn to the dangerous world of Lucha Libre Extrema and turned my camera to the audience in an attempt to understand their reasons. About Afromexican HealersAt the end of last year my attention was drawn to the coastal region of Guerrero known as Costa Chica, located to the south of Acapulco. This region is home to Mexicans descended from African slaves that identify themselves as being “black”. But outside this region they are little-known and they are currently fighting to be officially recognized by the Mexican State. The Costa Chica is also a place rooted in traditional beliefs that include appearances of trolls, the devil and spirit animals. The legend tells that when a baby is born, a member of the family brings the child to a crossroads up in the mountains where lots of wild animals pass by. The first creature to approach the child will be the child's spirit animal, or tono in Spanish, since there is now a dependency created between child and animal. This means that when the animal is hurt, wounded or dies, the person is too. In the Afromexican communities there are healers that will cure these "animal"-related illnesses, since conventional medicine will not work in these cases. The person is cured with herbs selected by the healers and also according to the needs of the animal. They call these healers curanderos del tono and there are only a small number of them left. I went to the Costa Chica region in an attempt to capture what remains of this Afromexican tradition.
Jean-Francois Jonvelle
France
1943 | † 2002
Jean-François Jonvelle, born on October 3, 1943, in Cavaillon was a French photographer of fashion, glamor and portraiture. Work on the release of 20 ans magazine and then work on Dim, Dam, Dom, Vogue, Stern, Gala, Elle. In the 1960s, Jonvelle was assistant to Richard Avedon. During his career, he made many portraits of women, often his friends: natural young people, often naked, unconcerned. Unlike other fashion and glamor photographers, who offer a provocative woman, Jean-François Jonvelle's performance is much softer, more natural, more jovial but equally sensual. He died at the age of 58 years of terminal cancer, 15 days after it was detected on January 16, 2002, in Paris.Source: Wikipedia Jean-François Jonvelle was snatched by the hand of death with a suddenness to match the photographs that were his life. Just as that life was dedicated to capturing these stolen moments, so death followed suit, carrying him off in the midst of life. A tumor was discovered in early January, a final farewell just a fortnight later. He was gone in a flash. As I turn the pages of my friend’s last book my eyes mist over. My tears dissolve Jonvelle’s photographs into the soft focus of a David Hamilton. Jonvelle’s work is often described as being – in the time-honored formula – ‘sexy but not vulgar’. I prefer his own description of what he sought out: ‘la poésie du quotidien’, ‘the poetry of the everyday’. Photographs freeze moments of truth, all you have to do is choose the ones that do it best. "I tell myself that the present and the future don’t exist", he also used to say. "Everyone, every day, creates their own past." The quality that makes his images more moving than the rest is their vulnerability. Jonvelle taught me one crucial lesson: in photography, as in literature, what counts is feeling. Eroticism and tenderness are not sworn enemies. A downy arm, the frail nape of a neck, an uptilted breast, the curve of a back beneath the sheets, damp hair, closed eyelids, the trace of a kiss on the neck all these can be arousing. Jonvelle’s women are fresh and natural because they are unaware of our gaze. Jonvelle makes adoring voyeurs of us all. He shows us why heterosexuality can be so painful: everywhere, in every house and every bathroom, paradise lurks. Paradise delicately removes her T-shirt, brushes her teeth, buttocks pert, the curve of her breasts taut, timeless. Suddenly paradise parts her legs in silence, biting her fingernails as she looks you straight in the eye, teasing you as she waits for you on the sheets. Jonvelle is in paradise now, but for him nothing has changed: he was already there in his lifetime. As I gaze in wonder, the way I always do, at these images, so far removed from the familiar clichés, my thoughts turn to the beautiful women he immortalized. Photographs fix the fleeting, immortalize the ephemeral. Many of the women Jonvelle photographed are now old or dead, but – thanks to this photographer who is now also dead – their perfection will never fade. Every one of Jonvelle’s photographs is a declaration of love. One day, at my request, he photographed Delphine Vallette, the mother of my daughter. I wanted to give this brunette whom I loved a portrait. Never have I felt such a cuckold – though in the most erotic of ways. Beauty is an evanescent mystery that some artists have the ability to capture. As I look again at these wonderful images, I’m reminded of the title of that American comedy Drop Dead Gorgeous. Jonvelle’s work as a whole is not an ode to femininity; the story it tells is of the battle to vanquish death by means of the celebration of desire. All these shoulders caught by surprise, these half-seen breasts, these finely- arched insteps, these flawless backs, this sensual solitude, this calm between two storms, all these beautiful women who don’t give a damn are simply doors softly opened, through which we may catch a glimpse of eternal life. -- Frédéric Beigbeder Jean-François Jonvelle was born in 1943 in Cavaillon, south of France. Soon he will sell famous melons to buy Hasselblad. Its inspirations will come from the painting of Balthus, Bacon, of Schiele, but the true influence comes from films from Mankiewicz, Lubitsch, Fritz Lang, Orson Welles, Arthur PEN, Minnelli and more recently of Terry Gillian of which it acknowledges to have seen eleven times the film Brazil; Finally its preferred film: Jules and Jim of François Truffaut. In 1959, it is the photographer George Glasberg who initiates him with photography while making him make the turn of France of the cathedrals. It is a photographic revelation which will leave it never again. At the age of 20 he becomes the assistant of the American photographer Richard Avedon. After this enriching experiment he becomes his own 'Master' whose favorite subject will be the woman. Her mom and her small sister of whom he always was very near will be her 'first agreeing victims'. Then come the first 'muse' and accomplice, Tina Sportolaro whom he meets in 1982 and with which he carries out some of his more beautiful images. Will be then Béatrice, Myriam and many others.Source: The Eye of Photography
Jan Saudek
Czech Republic
1935
Jan Saudek (born 13 May 1935) is an art photographer and painter. He and his twin brother Kaja Saudek are holocaust survivors. Jan Saudek's art work represents a unique technique combining photography and painting. In his country of origin, Czechoslovakia, Jan was considered a disturbed artist and oppressed by authorities. His art gained more prominence during the 1990s, thanks to his collaboration with the publisher Taschen. During the 2000s, Saudek lost all his photo negatives in matrimonial dispute and his pictures are now displayed on internet for free. Jan claims they were stolen from him. Jan is the author of many “mise en scene” that were re-taken and copied by other artists. The cliché of a naked man holding a naked new born baby with tenderness became a picture that was reproduced so many times that the composition became as commonplace as posing for a graduation picture. During his life in communist Czechoslovakia, Jan was labeled by the totalitarian regime as a pornographer. He lived in poverty using the only room in his basement as his studio. A disintegrating wall and a window giving a glimpse into the backyard became the witnesses of his fantasies and collaborations with models of all different sizes and origins. Jan Saudek and his twin brother Karel (also known as Kája) were born to a Slavic (Czech) mother and Jewish father in Prague in 1935. Their mother's family came to Prague from Bohemia, and their father from the city of Děčín in the northwest part of that area. During World War II and after the invasion of the German Nazis, both sides of his family were racially persecuted by the invaders. Many of his Jewish relatives died in the Theresienstadt concentration camp during the war. Jan and his brother Karel were sent to a children's concentration camp for Mischlinge (mixed-blood in German, as Nazis classified Jews as a race distinct from "Aryans"), located in Silesia near the present Polish-Czech border. Their father Gustav was deported to Theresienstadt concentration camp in February 1945. Although their mother and many other relatives died, both sons and father survived the war. A Communist-dominated government gained power after the war to rule the country, enforced by the Soviet Union and considered to be behind the Iron Curtain. According to Saudek's biography, he acquired his first camera, a Kodak Baby Brownie, in 1950. He apprenticed to a photographer, and in 1952 started working in a print shop; he was restricted to this work by the Communist government until 1983. In 1959, he started using the more advanced Flexaret 6x6 camera, and also engaged in painting and drawing. After completing his military service, he was inspired in 1963 by the catalogue for American photographer Edward Steichen's The Family of Man exhibition, and began to work to become a serious art photographer. In 1969, Saudek traveled to the United States, where he was encouraged in his work by curator Hugh Edwards of the Art Institute of Chicago. Returning to Prague, Saudek had to work at his photography clandestinely in a cellar, to avoid the attentions of the secret police. With his work turning to themes of personal erotic freedom, he used implicitly political symbols of corruption and innocence. From the late 1970s, he became recognized in the West as the leading Czech photographer, and also developed a following among photographers in his own country. In 1983, the first book of Saudek's work was published in the English-speaking world. The same year, he became a freelance photographer; the Czech Communist authorities allowed him to stop working in the print shop, and gave him permission to apply for a permit to work as an artist. In 1987, the archives of his negatives were seized by the police, but later returned. His best-known work is notable for its hand-tinted portrayal of painterly dream worlds, often inhabited by nude or semi-nude figures surrounded by bare plaster walls or painted backdrops. He frequently re-uses elements (for instance, a clouded sky or a view of Prague's Charles Bridge). In this his photographs suggest the studio and tableaux works of mid-19th century erotic photographers, as well as the works of the 20th-century painter Balthus, and of Bernard Faucon. Saudek's early art photography is noted for its evocation of childhood. His later works often portrayed the evolution from child to adult (re-photographing the same composition/pose, and with the same subjects, over many years). Religious motifs and the ambiguity between man and woman have also been some of Saudek's recurring themes. During the 1990s, his work at times generated censorship attempts in the West because of its provocative sexual content. Saudek's imagery has sometimes had a mixed reception internationally. He gained early shows in 1969 and 1970 in the United States and in Australia. In 1970 his work was shown at the Australian Centre for Photography and was welcomed by curator Jennie Boddington at the National Gallery of Victoria. Decades later, by contrast, his photograph Black Sheep & White Crow, which features a semi-naked pre-pubescent girl, was removed from the Ballarat International Foto Biennale in Victoria, Australia just before the opening on 21 August 2011; objections had been made related to allegations of child prostitution for his subject. Saudek's photographs have been featured as covers for the albums of Anorexia Nervosa (New Obscurantis Order), Soul Asylum (Grave Dancers Union), Daniel Lanois (For the Beauty of Wynona), Rorschach (Remain Sedate), and Beautiful South (Welcome to the Beautiful South). Saudek lives and works in Prague. His brother Kája Saudek was also an artist, the best-known Czech graphic novelist.Source: Wikipedia Saudek's pictures display a fondness for sequences that can be traced back to his childhood appreciation of comic books. More obviously, his work is often inspired by the nineteenth century tradition of photographs of large women posed in lingerie reproduced as postcards (quite possibly also the source of inspiration for Saudek's collection 30 Postcards). His formal training occurred from 1950 to 1952, when Saudek attended Graphic Arts school and took a photography class. Saudek first exhibited in Prague in 1963 at the Hall of the Theatre on the Balustrade; though he continues to show work in his home country occasionally, Saudek's pictures are most widely exhibited in the United States. His work is held by such institutions as the Art Institute of Chicago; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris; Musée Nicephore Nièpce, Chalon-sur-Saone, France; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia; and Photo Art, Basel, Switzerland. Saudek continues to live and work in the Czech Republic.Source: Museum of Contemporary Photography
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Call for Entries
Solo Exhibition January 2022
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