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Samantha VanDeman
Samantha VanDeman
Samantha VanDeman

Samantha VanDeman

Country: United States
Birth: 1982

Samantha was born in Chicago, IL. She received a BFA in Fine Art from Columbia College Chicago and an MFA in Visual Arts from The Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University. During the summer of 2003, Samantha studied drawing at Santa Repararta International School of Art in Florence, Italy. Her work has been published and exhibited in the United States and abroad. Samantha lives and works in Chicago, IL.

Born in 1982, Samantha VanDeman grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. She studied fine arts at Columbia College Chicago, receiving a BFA in 2005. During her last year in college, she took a B+W photography class and found her passion. From that point on, she started to actively documenting everything around her. In 2007, she returned to college, this time to earn a MFA in photography from the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University in 2009. It was during her time at the low residency program at AIB, that she was able to have independent studies with artists such as Anne Wilson, Mayumi Lake, Jeanne Dunning, and Laura Letinsky. Samantha has exhibited her work nationally. Her work has been exhibited at Emory Visual Arts Gallery, Atlanta, GA; Finch and Ada, NY; New Orleans Photo Alliance Gallery, New Orleans, LA; Las Manos Gallery, Chicago, IL; Gallery 263, Cambridge, MA; Midwest center for Photography, Wichita, KS; Gallery 808, Boston, MA; Change Artist Space, San Francisco, CA; Perspective Gallery, Evanston, IL; Barrett Art Center Galleries, Poughkeepsie, NY; Fourth Wall Projects in Boston, MA; The Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins, CO; Newspace Center for Photography in Portland, OR; Black Box Gallery, Portland, OR; Texas Photographic Society, San Antonio, TX ; Wright Museum of Art in Beloit, WI and Review Santa Fe 100. Samantha VanDeman is adjunct faculty at The Art Institute of Illinois in Tinley Park, IL.


All about Samantha VanDeman:

AAP: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?
My last year as an undergraduate at Columbia College Chicago, I took a Black and white photography class. It was then I knew I wanted to be a photographer. Up until that point, I wanted to be a painter.

AAP: Where did you study photography?
I studied photography at The Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University. During my time at The Art Institute of Boston, I had independent studies with Laura Letinsky, Jeanne Dunning, Anne Wilson and Mayumi Lake.

AAP:Do you have a mentor?
Laura Letinksy has been a friend/mentor since 2008

AAP: How long have you been a photographer?
10 years

AAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it?
My first shot was of rotten fruit.

AAP: What or who inspires you?
I’m inspired by silence, decay, kindness and long road trips. Artists who inspire me are Jenny Saville, Edward Hopper, Sally Mann and Fiona Apple.

AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film?
Canon 5D

AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images?
I do minimal editing.

AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)?
Sally Mann, Angela Strassheim, Nan Goldin and Corrine Day

AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer?
Find your own voice and follow your gut. Your best work will come from the projects you are most passionate about.

AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid?
Trying too hard to be different or copying another photographer’s style

AAP: An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share?
I’m currently working on a project called “Died Alone”. This project explores abandoned living spaces of people that died alone in their home.

AAP: Your best memory has a photographer?
My fondest memory: The first time I explored the abandoned – now demolished Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago. I had never explored an abandoned place before Michael Reese Hospital, so it opened up a whole new world for me.

AAP: If you could have taken the photographs of someone else who would it be?
Weegee or Walker Evans
 

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Zaharia Cusnir
Moldova
1912 | † 1993
Zaharia Cuşnir (1912-1993) was an amateur photographer born in Rosietici village, Floresti region, Moldova. He was photographing people within 1955-1973, and left a collection of negative films 6x6 cm, from which 3751 were discovered in his abandoned house in 2016. The photographs portray groups, landscapes, scenes from everyday life: work in the kolkhoz, weddings, funerals, national celebrations. Life Zaharia Cuşnir was born as the last child in the family of 16 children in Rosietici village, Soroca district. His father was a Moldovan businessman (born 1870), and his mother was of German origins (born in approx. 1870). Zaharia was born in Bessarabia, at that time part of the Russian Empire, educated in Romania (Iasi city), and after WW-II, became a USSR citizen. He went to school to the neighbouring Rogojeni village and later attended the pedagogical lyceum in Iasi, Romania. He began teaching in Rogojeni, then though he worked in kolhoz, performing works as carrying stones, digging the frozen ground, carrying loam, destroying fences, herding cows. Villagers also remember him as a blacksmith. He also built a family of 4 children with his wife, Daria. Zaharia learned photography from his nephew, who returned from the army. The nephew was living in another village, so they decided to split the territory for the photographic activities. So, Zaharia stayed responsible for the surrounding villages: Caşunca, Rogojeni, Țâra, Ghindeşti, Roşietici, and Cenuşa. The first pictures were taken in 1955. Zaharia was photographing mainly portraits of neighbours and then he was selling the photos. He had a bicycle, which he was usually lending to people for a photograph, as well he had a black blanket, which he was using as a background when he was taking portraits. Up to 1973, he had taken around 4000 pictures of the medium format 6x6 cm. In 1993, after he died, the house was abandoned and the pictures were stocked in a suitcase and placed in the attic. Discovery In spring 2016, Victor Galuşca, being a student at the Academy of Arts in Chisinau, Moldova, arrived in Rosietici village to film his documentary film for the bachelor's degree exam. He entered the abandoned house and found several negative films scattered through the trash all around the floor. Victor inquired from the villagers whose house was it and found the daughter of Zaharia Cusnir, living in the neighbourhood. With her permission, within several days, he picked all of them, and together with his photography professor, Nicolae Pojoga started the cleaning and indexing process of the archive. Among all, there were found old documents, among which was an edited request for admission to the school, adjusted to a stilted language used at the time. There was also found a table of exercises written in Russian Cyrillic script, as well as elementary calculus tests designed for primary school. Other documents and archival remnants reveal a struggle between life and death for the majority of the population; these include bread allowances and checks listing debts. Further Development The archive has a high resonance and was appreciated within several exhibitions: at the Museum of Art of Moldova (curated by Cervinscaia Nadejda) and the Romanian Peasant Museum in Romania in 2018, and at the Ethnographic Museum of Transilvania, the Subway Gallery of the House of Arts in Timisoara, Romania and at the Museum of Ethnography and Folklore MARAMUREş from Baia Mare, Romania in 2019. In 2017 a Moldovan Publishing house Cartier published a photo album "Lumea lui Zaharia" ("Zaharia's World"). At the beginning of 2020, was launched the website and facebook page, aiming to give open access to the usage of the Zaharia Cusnir archive. The team is working on few coming exhibitions in Europe in 2020.
William Wegman
United States
1943
William Wegman is an artist best known for creating series of compositions involving dogs, primarily his own Weimaraners in various costumes and poses. Wegman reportedly originally intended to pursue a career as a painter. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting from Massachusetts College of Art in 1965 and a Master of Fine Arts degree in painting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1967. While teaching at California State University, Long Beach, he acquired the first and most famous of the dogs he photographed, a Weimaraner he named Man Ray (after the artist and photographer). Man Ray later became so popular that the Village Voice named him "Man of the Year" in 1982. He named a subsequent dog Fay Ray (a play on the name of actress Fay Wray). On January 29, 1992, Wegman appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and showed a video clip of Dog Duet, a short which he made in 1975 featuring Man Ray and another dog slowly and mysteriously peering around. Wegman explained that he had created the video by moving a tennis ball around, off-camera, thus capturing the dogs' attention. The same year, he did 3 network ID's for Nickelodeon starring the dogs on pedestals. William Wegman was artist-in-residence at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts in spring 2007 where his work featured on campus in the Addison Gallery of American Art. Wegman has also been an artist in residence at Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, Massachusetts where his Circus series was created with the College's 20x24 inch Polaroid camera. He received the College's Distinguished Alumni Award in 1987. William Wegman made his appearance on Animal Planet's "Dogs 101".(Source: en.wikipedia.org)
Martine Franck
Belgium
1938 | † 2012
Franck was born in Antwerp to the Belgian banker Louis Franck and his British wife, Evelyn. After her birth the family moved almost immediately to London. A year later, her father joined the British army, and the rest of the family were evacuated to the United States, spending the remainder of the Second World War on Long Island and in Arizona. Franck's father was an amateur art collector who often took his daughter to galleries and museums. Franck was in boarding school from the age of six onwards, and her mother sent her a postcard every day, frequently of paintings. Ms. Franck, attended Heathfield School, an all-girls boarding school close to Ascot in England, and studied the history of art from the age of 14. "I had a wonderful teacher who really galvanized me," she says. "In those days she took us on outings to London, which was the big excitement of the year for me." Franck studied art history at the University of Madrid and at the Ecole du Louvre in Paris. After struggling through her thesis (on French sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska and the influence of cubism on sculpture), she said she realized she had no particular talent for writing, and turned to photography instead. In 1963, Franck's photography career started following trips to the Far East, having taken pictures with her cousin’s Leica camera. Returning to France in 1964, now possessing a camera of her own, Franck became an assistant to photographers Eliot Elisofon and Gjon Mili at Time-Life. By 1969 she was a busy freelance photographer for magazines such as Vogue, Life and Sports Illustrated, and the official photographer of the Théâtre du Soleil (a position she held for 48 years). From 1970 to 1971 she worked in Paris at the Agence Vu photo agency, and in 1972 she co-founded the Viva agency. In 1980, Franck joined the Magnum Photos cooperative agency as a "nominee", and in 1983 she became a full member. She was one of a very small number of women to be accepted into the agency. In 1983, she completed a project for the now-defunct French Ministry of Women's Rights and in 1985 she began collaborating with the non-profit International Federation of Little Brothers of the Poor. In 1993, she first traveled to the Irish island of Tory where she documented the tiny Gaelic community living there. She also traveled to Tibet and Nepal, and with the help of Marilyn Silverstone photographed the education system of the Tibetan Tulkus monks. In 2003 and 2004 she returned to Paris to document the work of theater director Robert Wilson who was staging La Fontaine's fables at the Comédie Française. Nine books of Franck's photographs have been published, and in 2005 Franck was made a chevalier of the French Légion d'Honneur. Franck continued working even after she was diagnosed with bone cancer in 2010. Her last exhibition was in October 2011 at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie. The exhibit consisted of 62 portraits of artists "coming from somewhere else" collected from 1965 through 2010. This same year, there were collections of portraits shown at New York's Howard Greenberg Gallery and at the Claude Bernard Gallery, Paris. Franck was well known for her documentary-style photographs of important cultural figures such as the painter Marc Chagall, philosopher Michel Foucault and poet Seamus Heaney, and of remote or marginalized communities such as Tibetan Buddhist monks, elderly French people, and isolated Gaelic speakers. Michael Pritchard, the Director-General of the Royal Photographic Society, observed: "Martine was able to work with her subjects and bring out their emotions and record their expressions on film, helping the viewer understand what she had seen in person. Her images were always empathetic with her subject." In 1976, Frank took one of her most iconic photos of bathers beside a pool in Le Brusc, Provence. By her account, she saw them from a distance and rushed to photograph the moment, all the while changing the roll of film in her camera. She quickly closed the lens just at the right moment, when happened to be most intense. She cited as influences the portraits of British photographer Julia Margaret Cameron, the work of American photojournalist Dorothea Lange and American documentary photographer Margaret Bourke-White. In 2010, she told The New York Times that photography "suits my curiosity about people and human situations." She worked outside the studio, using a 35 mm Leica camera, and preferring black and white film. The British Royal Photographic Society has described her work as "firmly rooted in the tradition of French humanist documentary photography." Source: Wikipedia Born in Belgium, Martine Franck (1938-2012) grew up in the United States and in England. She studied art history at the University of Madrid and at the École du Louvre in Paris. In 1963, she went to China, taking her cousin's Leica camera with her, and discovered the joys of documenting other cultures. Returning home via Hong Kong, Cambodia, India, Afghanistan and Turkey, and bought her first camera while on the trip. Returning to France, she worked as a photographic assistant at Time-Life where she developed her own technique. In 1966, Franck met Henri Cartier-Bresson, whose photographs epitomized Magnum's tradition of humanitarian photography. Franck was adamant that she would neither bask in his reflection nor disappear in his shadow and she joined the Vu agency in 1970. Her first solo exhibition was planned for the ICA in London that year; when she saw that the invitations were embossed with the information that her husband would be present at the launch, she cancelled the show. With Vu's demise, Franck co-founded the Viva agency in 1972. It also collapsed and it was not until 1980 that Franck joined Magnum, becoming a full member in 1983. She was one of the few women to be accepted into the agency and served as vice-president from 1998 to 2000. Eschewing the war/human tragedy reportage that characterized Magnum's reputation, Franck continued her projects on marginal or isolated lives throughout the rest of her life. Source: Howard Greenberg Gallery
Massimo Vitali
Massimo Vitali was born in Como, Italy, in 1944. He moved to London after high-school, where he studied Photography at the London College of Printing. In the early Sixties he started working as a photojournalist, collaborating with many magazines and agencies in Italy and Europe. It was during this time that he met Simon Guttman, the founder of the agency Report, who was to become fundamental in Massimo's growth as a "Concerned Photographer." At the beginning of the Eighties, a growing mistrust in the belief that photography had an absolute capacity to reproduce the subtleties of reality led to a change in his career path. He began working as a cinematographer for television and cinema. However, his relationship with the still camera never ceased, and he eventually turned his attention back to "photography as a means for artistic research." His series of Italian beach panoramas, starting in 1995, began in the light of drastic political changes in Italy. Massimo started to observe his fellow countrymen very carefully. He depicted a "sanitized, complacent view of Italian normalities," at the same time revealing "the inner conditions and disturbances of normality: its cosmetic fakery, sexual innuendo, commodified leisure, deluded sense of affluence, and rigid conformism." (October Magazine 2006, no. 117, p. 90, How to Make Analogies in a Digital Age by Whitney Davis) Over the past 22 years he has developed a new approach to portraying the world, illuminating the apotheosis of the Herd, expressing and commenting through one of the most intriguing, palpable forms of contemporary art - Photography. He lives and works in Lucca, Italy, and in Berlin, Germany sometimes. Vitali’s work has been collected in four books: Natural Habitats, Landscapes With Figures, Beach and Disco, and Entering a New World. His photographs have been published in magazines, newspapers, and other periodicals around the world. Additionally, his work is represented in the world’s major museums, including the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver, the Fond National Art Contemporain in Paris, the Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris, the Fondation Cartier in Paris, and the Museo Luigi Pecci in Prato.
Manfred Baumann
Austria
1968
Manfred Baumann was born in Vienna in 1968. The Leica photographer has since presented his works worldwide in the form of exhibitions, books, and calendars. His photographs are displayed in museums as well as in international galleries. Over the past years, Baumann has taken his place among the most influential photographers of our time. Via social media his range is more than 1 million! He lives and works in Europe and the USA, and has already photographed such greats as Kirk Douglas, Sandra Bullock, Olivia Newton John, Martin Sheen, Don Johnson, Danny Trejo, William Shatner, Jack Black, Natalie Portman, Tony Curtis, Paul Anka, Lionel Richie, Kathleen Turner, John Malkovich, Bruce Willis, Juliette Lewis, Angelina Jolie, Toni Garrn, Michelle Rodriguez, Leah Remini, Evander Holyfield, as well as many international top models. For Manfred Baumann, the fascination of photography lies in departing from the familiar and capturing an impression of the moment. He loves to explore the world through the eyes of a photographer. To make visible that which others have not seen has been the objective of Baumann's exhibitions, such as END OF LINE, in which he documented the final journey of death row inmates in Texas; ALIVE, where he photographed homeless persons on the street for one year; and his current project SPECIAL, which showcases Baumann's portraits of intellectually disabled persons. His ambition is to break with tradition and the conventional perspective. The viewer of my photographs should discover the soul and history they embody and recognize that photography is the only language that can be understood all over the world. As an ardent animal welfare activist, vegetarian, and goodwill ambassador for Jane Goodall, he also ventured into the world of animal photography for the first time with the project MUSTANGS. The project's works and exhibition were shown in the Natural History Museum Vienna and the Leica Gallery in Los Angeles He teaches for the Leica Academy worldwide and doing worldwide Lecture & workshops Manfred Baumann was 2017 Testimonial for Huawei international alongside with Robert Lewandowski. His Book and exhibition VIENNA were shown at the Grand Hotel Vienna. From February 2019 to May 2019, Baumann exhibited for the first time in Australia (in Melbourne and Sydney). In 2020 two new books will appear, the "Lipizzaner" the white horses and a Best of book with the name "a photographer's life". It is the 15 and 16 illustrated books which have been published worldwide. Among Manfreds role models are great Master of Photography such as Alfred Eisenstaedt, Helmut Newton, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Richard Avedon, Herb Ritts, and Ansel Adams. Manfred Baumann also photographed the late Tony Curtis. This was the Hollywood star's last official photo shoot and did much to bolster Baumann's considerable fame in the USA. For more than 25 years, Manfred has been drawn to the most distant places in the world, where his breathtaking landscape photographs are created, and it is only natural that since 2013, he has cooperated with and photographed for National Geographic. He lives and works in Vienna with his wife and muse Nelly Baumann, although his sojourns to his second home, Los Angeles, have become increasingly frequent and of longer duration. His clientele, however, come from all over the world. Statement "I GIVE THE MOMENT DURATION" "Photographs are like songs that you sing into the world." "HEART AND MIND – THE TRUE LENS OF THE CAMERA" "The truth is the best picture!"
Scott M. Fincher
United States
1946
So what differentiates a portrait of a person from a picture of an object? Essentially nothing. A photographer's purpose is revelation. In the street or in the corporate suite the imperative is to take surfaces into the interior so that the viewer comes to understand something about what has been presented. This could be an aspect of personality or the structure of a design. In short, one can say no more than one can see. Early in my career, I used to fantasize that I could be a Beethoven of photography. The idea contradicts the central principle of the medium. What distinguishes photography from the other arts is time. Unlike music, which takes a single idea and expands it, photography interrupts the continuum and digests it into an exquisite moment where understanding, composition and action intersect. All this is expressed succinctly in poet e.e. cummings's introduction to his volume "Is Five": "I am abnormally fond of that precision which creates movement." In my eyes, photography also adheres to Francis Bacon's maxim, "The contemplation of things as they are without error, without confusion, without substitution or imposture is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of inventions." That is why I love both nature and the street and quest for the image that sits on the cusp of the real and surreal. For the most part, I do not manipulate the images in the digital "darkroom" any more than I would have were I using techniques of the old "wet" darkrooms. Mostly, I adjust luminosity. My background is print journalism. I edited photography and foreign and national news for the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times for many years before deciding to rededicate myself to my passion. It has been, as the great Edward Steichen once said about the photographic act, "Incredibly easy and impossibly difficult." Nevertheless, the results have been good, and I have won national, international and art fair awards since my return to photography in 2006. My images are in collections all over the U.S. and in Germany, Poland, Denmark and Venezuela. I hold a bachelor's in English from Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill., and have studied photography in too many workshops to enumerate. I live in Chicago.
Polly Gaillard
United States
1965
Polly Gaillard is a fine art photographer, writer, and educator. She is part-time Professor of Art at Furman University and has taught photography workshops and college courses for more than ten years including summers abroad teaching American students in Prague, Czech Republic, and Cortona, Italy. Polly received a Master of Fine Arts in Visual Arts from Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2010. She has exhibited her fine art photographs nationally and published a limited edition artist book, Pressure Points, with a foreword by actress Jamie Lee Curtis. Polly's photographic skills traverse contemporary art, documentary, portrait, and traditional photographic practices. She lives in Greenville, SC with her daughter. You, From a Distance Making portraits in a pandemic is challenging if you like to get closer than six feet to your subject. Frustrated by an inability to work at close range, I began to make portraits on my computer screen via FaceTime and Zoom by photographing friends, family, acquaintances, strangers, and my daughter at her father's home. This collaboration with others is particularly rewarding, especially when I've put the camera down, and we sit screen to screen discussing the changes in our collective worlds while checking in to make sure the other is okay. Each person has been generous in showing me around their homes to find the right background and light. They move furniture, take pictures off the wall, change clothing to create the right contrast, and position their laptops or phones so that I can take their picture at just the right angle. I sit behind my screen watching them do the work that I so desperately want to do as I experience a heightened sense of ambivalence, the love of "seeing" others, the distaste for lack of physical control over the situation. At times, the process calls for a third person to hold the camera phone, sometimes that assistant is a six-year-old girl, a father, a husband, or a cousin. During the awkwardness of the portrait session, there are moments of laughter when cats photobomb the sitting, a mother walks in the room wanting to reclaim her office space, a dad saunters by with a laundry basket, a sibling or grandchild screams from an adjoining room, and many phones crash to the floor from their perch of prime picture-taking position. We laugh together across connected distances about the absurdity of the situation and that I am trying to make a meaningful portrait amid unpredictability. Strangely, I find the absurdity satisfying; everything feels peculiar at this moment in time. For a more technically astute photographer than myself, the lack of technical command over making screen portraits would be unnerving. In essence, the image is blurry if the Wifi connection isn't clear. There are uncontrollable color shifts due to monitor calibrations; a moire pattern may appear because the screen is refreshing, and the perspective of the body can distort if the phone isn't perfectly parallel to the subject. I won't elaborate on how the highlights and shadows clip. The image noise and pixelation can drive you mad if you don't accept it as divine intervention. I find myself wanting to jump into the scene and move things and bodies, hold reflectors, close blinds, and refrain from making my subject do the heavy lifting. However, I sit behind the computer giving direction to "look to the right, chin down, eyes up, come closer to the camera" and then I embrace every technical flaw as if it's a gift. The power I have over the subject and the limitation I command over the image humbles me. The vulnerability I feel in putting these imperfect images into the world is tempered by the realization that we are all powerless in the face of this pandemic. You, From a Distance reflects the way I have experienced life during the Covid-19 pandemic- a personal feeling of distance and loss but with a desire to hold onto normalcy of making pictures, albeit without influence over the outcome. I am interested in these new ways of seeing each other and being together without being together - I look at you on my computer, in return, you look back at me through a phone or laptop while you can also see yourself in the frame. Who are we looking at - ourselves or others? The intersection of gazes is countless at times; it excites and confuses me. The process of looking and seeing divided by screens changes everything I have learned about image-making. The portraits become my memory of shared moments across time zones with distant faces; the four walls of my house expand into the space of others' homes. The intimacy I feel with the subject ironically is far greater than the portraits I make in-person in a time before social distance. In the span of one month, I have virtually traveled to five countries, five states, and homes nearby in South Carolina. Although more than the required physical distance is maintained through these portrait sittings, the mutual human connection is undoubtedly rich with meaning and unlimited possibility. December and Everything After
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