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Carol Beckwith
Carol Beckwith

Carol Beckwith

Country: United States

Thirty years of work on the African continent have carried Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher across 270,000 miles and through remote corners of 40 countries in exploration of more than 150 African cultures. In the process, this team of world-renowned photographers has produced fourteen widely acclaimed books and made four films about traditional Africa. They have been granted unprecedented access to African tribal rites and rituals and continue to be honored worldwide for their powerful photographs documenting the traditional ceremonies of cultures thousands of years old. As an intrepid team of explorers, they are committed to preserving sacred tribal ceremonies and African cultural traditions all too vulnerable to the trends of modernity. The Beckwith-Fisher images are the result of a long, enduring and deeply respectful relationship with African tribal peoples. This, combined with their photographic skills, creates an intimate portrayal of ceremonies long held secret that might have never been recorded. Their work preserves and presents the power, complexity and celebration found within the rituals of African tribal life. Their extraordinary photographs are recorded in fourteen best-selling books and in their films. Their new book “Painted Bodies” (2012) follows “Maasai” (1980), “Nomads of Niger” (1983), “Africa Adorned” (1984), “African Ark” (1990), “African Ceremonies” (1999), “Passages” (2000), “Faces of Africa” (2004), “Lamu: Kenya’s Enchanted Island” (2009), and “Dinka” (2010). The special limited-edition books, hand printed in Santiago, Chile, are titled “Surma,” “Karo,” “Maasai,” and “Dinka.” “African Ceremonies,” their defining body of work, is a double volume, pan-African study of rituals and rites of passage from birth to death, covering 93 ceremonies from 26 countries. This book won the United Nations Award for Excellence for “vision and understanding of the role of cultural traditions in the pursuit of world peace.” Honored twice with the Annisfield-Wolf Book Award in race relations for “outstanding contributions to the understanding of cultural diversity and prejudice,” Angela and Carol are also winners of the Royal Geographical Society of London’s Cherry Kearton Medal for their contribution to the photographic recording of African ethnography and ritual. The photographers have made four films about traditional Africa, including Way of the Wodaabe (1986), The Painter and the Fighter, and two programs for the Millennium Series Tribal Wisdom and the Modern World. Numerous exhibitions of their photography and films have been shown in museums and galleries around the world. In 2000 their Passages exhibition opened at the Brooklyn Museum of Art featuring 97 mural photographs, six video films and a selection of African masks, sculpture and jewelry. This exhibition has traveled to seven museums on three continents. Aware that traditional cultures in Africa are fast disappearing, Carol and Angela are working with an urgency to complete the third volume of their ongoing study of African Ceremonies with the goal of covering the remaining traditional ceremonies in the 13 African cultures in which they have not yet worked.

Source: carolbeckwith-angelafisher.com

 

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Elisa Migda
France
1981
Graduated from the Sorbonne and the University Paris X in Literature, Human Sciences and Visual Anthropology (Formation de Recherches Cinématographiques created by Jean Rouch) after studying photography,video and graphic design, she joined the International photojournalism festival Visa pour l'Image Perpignan in communication and coordination. In 2016, she is also responsible for the creation of the art book fair FILAF ARTBOOK FAIR within the FILAF festival as well as the curating of the exhibitions A L'Italia by Carine Brancowitz and Before Landing by Michel Houellebecq in Perpignan. Passionate about film photography but also after having assisted various fashion and reportage photographers and contributed to various audiovisual creations, she decided to join a traditional photography laboratory in Paris, which offers more particularly the realization of large formats in order to revive the practice of printing and its processes. Eighteen months ago, she set up her own laboratory in Seine et Marne in order to carry out a more experimental and personal photographic work, that she has been pursuing for about fifteen years. In 2019, she participates in the group exhibition "Le Rêve d'un mouvement" in Paris with Gilles Roudière, Damien Daufresne, Stéphane Charpentier, Grégory Dargent, Frédéric D. Oberland and Gaël Bonnefon and presents her solo exhibition "Sweet Surrender" in Arles during the month of July with the Bergger group. Statement "My photographic work is long-term and develops around a personal project: to capture images that revolve around my life, intimate experiences and, from these photographic episodes were born portraits, self-portraits, imprints of existence. It is an abandonment where bodies and faces waver in obscure clarity, plunge into dazzle, navigate between interior and exterior spaces, loneliness and erasure from the world. In this universe, a feeling of sweet melancholy often emerges around themes such as energy, destruction, dealing with both the eternal and the ephemeral, disappearance and metamorphosis. These are trembling moments, a collection of images with fleeting, spectral visions, sprinkled with imperfections just as in our daily lives or in our dreams. There remains a disturbing strangeness, a subjective territory, trying and pensive, where the eyes are closed, frozen, elusive..."
Sean Perry
United States
1968
Sean Perry is a fine-art photographer living and working in New York City and Austin, Texas. His photographs and books center on architecture, space and light - expressing the ambiance felt within built environments. He is currently completing three series/books on New York City entitled Monolith, Gotham and Fotopolis, as well as exhibiting a recently completed body of work on the dreamscape of temporary environments, Fairgrounds. Perry attended Berklee College of Music and was a working musician before turning to photography in 1996. His photographs and books have been acquired by notable private collectors including Manfred Heiting and Alan Siegel in addition to being held in the permanent collections of the Museum Fine Arts Houston, the Amon Carter Museum, Wittliff Gallery of Southwestern & Mexican Photography, and the Harry Ransom Center. Cloverleaf Press published Perry's first limited edition book, Transitory in 2006, and followed with a second title, Fairgrounds in the Fall of 2008. In 2009 he was selected as a finalist for the Hasselblad Masters award for his work and book Fairgrounds. His photographs have been published widely including the New York Times Sunday Magazine, Graphis, Camera Arts, New York Magazine, Billboard and American Photography. He has served as an adjunct Professor of Photography in Austin since 2001 as well as an adjunct Professor for the School of Visual Arts in New York City since 2006. Perry frequently contributes his photographs to auctions that benefit photographic and social concerns. His work is represented by the Stephen L. Clark Gallery, Austin. Interview with Sean Perry All About Photo: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer? Sean Perry: When I was younger I didn't know or have access to any professional photographers, but I really loved movies and looked at a lot of books. At that time I got into music and everything else was just secondary. As a musician I always thought about pictures and the visual atmosphere great songs provoke and in my thirties I started photographing and haven’t stopped. AAP: Where did you study photography? With whom? SP: I don’t have a formal background studying photography but it’s not quite right to say I'm self taught either. One of my old bandmates, Jeff Miller is a brother to me, a great photographer and my first teacher - I learned about cameras, making good pictures and printing in the darkroom. That experience was also my first big introduction to contemporary artists like Joel-Peter Witkin and The Starns. I later had important mentors in a photographer I assisted for, Frank Curry and a sculptor who has had a tremendous influence on me as an artist and photographer, John Christensen. AAP:Do you have a mentor? SP: I have a few friends and colleagues who I admire and trust that I ask for insight and guidance with various things... Elizabeth Avedon, Jace Graf, Stephen Clark - there are others. I ask different people, different questions for different reasons if that makes sense. I think it's important to deeply consider who you ask and why. I've been a client of Mary Virginia Swanson for many years and her savvy is always invaluable, I truly owe her a great deal. I'm always learning and seeking out the chance to improve and grow. AAP: How long have you been a photographer? SP: I have been making pictures consistently since 1996 and started working professionally in 1998. AAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it? SP: What I remember most are the pictures that when I saw the film, they made me feel that the image was somehow better, or more than my capability at the time. It would lead to months of chasing and trying to catch up to the image. The first time that happened was of a barren tree in the wintertime, backlit. I remember making the other pictures from that time, but the experience of seeing something unexpected back on the contact sheets always sticks with me as meaningful. AAP: What or who inspires you? SP: Music always. Also the discovery and study of people that give themselves to their pursuits with the discipline and heart to be excellent. New York City. Late fall leading to snow and cold weather makes me happy. AAP: How could you describe your style? SP: A little romantic but not sentimental - sci-fi but not overtly conceptual. I always work to make beautiful images and objects that don’t apologize for their consideration of aesthetic and design. My experience has taught me there is a strange, small line between beautiful and pretty, arbitrary and yet often substantial. I think my favorite word or aim for my work is earnest, and hopefully elegant. I try to be consistent and to quote someone I deeply respect, Paul Rand – "Don’t try to be original, just try to be good." AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film? SP: I’m fluent in digital tools and use them to manage images online etcetera, but I have used the same camera gear for over twelve years. Hasselblad 501CM with a 120mm lens and 25A Red filter. Tri-X film in A12 backs. Processed in D76, 1 to 1. Silver gelatin prints bleached and then toned in combinations of sepia and selenium or platinum–palladium prints from enlarged negatives. AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? SP: I tend to run film and then not look at it for a while.... I then go through the contact sheets and make work prints of the things that seem to have promise. As the series and work evolves the process of editing, sequencing and design kicks in. After the edges of a project are more or less in place, I’ll go back again and see what I may have missed on the contact sheets. AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)? SP: If I am only allowed one, Irving Penn – hands down, no one else. I love books and too many favorites to list, but in no particular order others would be Saul Leiter, Ted Croner, Robert & Shana Parke-Harrison, Tom Baril, Louis Faurer, Edward Burtynsky, Albert Watson, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Berenice Abbott and Matt Mahurin. AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer? SP: Fearlessly make all the bad pictures you need to in order to get to the good ones. Not thoughtlessly in the number of images, but without hesitation in the intent to chase your ideas. When you are disappointed, try to understand why specifically – was it a technical mistake your effort and experience will resolve over time or was it about vision in what you could or could not see at that moment. The technical things are usually easier to improve upon, I have found the other takes additional perseverance and courage. For myself there is always the confrontation of closing the distance between the potency I’m after and the many challenges at hand while guiding it there. I think the biggest secret is simply not to quit. AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid? SP: Everyone is different, so very hard to say. I believe one truth for myself has been it’s more valuable to invest time in what your pictures, your life, your point of view are all about and less energy worrying about the urgency sometimes encouraged in technology and shorter term concerns. Play long ball. AAP: An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share? SP: I am currently administrating an ambitious project that connects college students with high school students, creating mentorship and the development of visual language. For the college students it is to illustrate the value of mentorship from both sides, as well as create meaningful dialogue about photography and image making. It provides a mechanism for high school students to share and express their photographic work with a new audience and has direct, tangible advantages for everyone involved – accenting the importance of communication and emphasizing the photography community's tradition of portfolio review. Visit The Picture Review. AAP: Your best memory has a photographer? SP: All of my favorite memories are darkroom related. My first darkroom was in John Christensen's studio, I deeply miss those days and that place. I would often print all day and all night - it's where I learned about photo-chemistry and the subtleties of split-toning and other irresistible alchemy. AAP: Your worst souvenir as a photographer? SP: My checking account. AAP: If you could have taken the photographs of someone else who would it be? SP: It's an interesting question but it reminds me of a rock & roll story, urban legend I remember as a kid and recently retold in Esquire Magazine. When Van Halen was touring in the late 70’s they were opening for Ted Nugent who admired Eddie Van Halen's guitar tone. Among other things, Eddie would hide one of his effect pedals (a tape echo) in an old bomb casing, adding to the mystery of his great tone and why he sounded the way he did. Everyone believed he had a "magic" black box. During sound check, Ted Nugent got the chance to play through Eddie’s rig and was disappointed to discover his guitar tone was unchanged – he sounded like he always did and whatever he loved about Eddie's tone was in his hands and not in the gear. I think photographs are like that, there are many pictures I would be thrilled if I had produced but in the end I can only make what is in my hands and heart. The images I love that others have made don't represent my life and could never belong to me. I remain a fan and audience to my heroes, happily so.
Vassi Koutsaftis
Vassi Koutsaftis has explored the globe for over 30 years, specializing in travel photography – of the extreme kind, especially in the mountainous regions of Himalayan, the Karakoram, Hindu Kush and other very remote areas of Asia. Born in 1952 in Athens, Greece and crossed the world’s oceans working on cruise ships and freighters. That was just the beginning for he continued to examine our planet traveling to remote areas on his own, then from the air, when he went on to study aeronautics and became a pilot in the U.S. He leads treks and exploratory tours in Afghanistan, Mongolia, Tibet, Nepal, Pakistan, Iran, Bhutan, Burma, Turkey and India, and he contributes essential research to unusual and remote itineraries for Geographic Expeditions one of the best and most respected expedition companies in the US. Vassi’s photographs have been published in a number of magazines including Geo (European edition), Photografos, USA Today, Asia Week, National Geographic Traveler, and Marin Magazine. He serves as Conde Nast’s Tibet expert and is well known for his compelling images of the Dalai Lama. His photographic and travel expertise has been instrumental in scouting for films including productions by CBS, PDI and Dreamworks and a number of independent filmmakers. Vassi’s work is included in the collections of U.C. Berkeley’s Blum Center, Steve Wynn Casinos, Stanford University’s Center for Buddhist Studies. Vassi has exhibited his work widely in a number of galleries in the United States and Overseas including The Hellenic American Union in Athens, Greece and enjoys giving presentations of his photographs while sharing stories of extensive travels around the world.
Thomas Barbèy
Switzerland
Thomas Barbey grew up in Geneva, Switzerland, across the street from the “Caran D'ache” factory, the largest manufacturer of art supplies. He started drawing seriously at the age of 13, using black “encre de Chine” and gouaches for color. His influences were Philippe Druillet, Roger Dean and H.R. Giger. After living in Geneva for 17 years and designing posters for musical bands, he decided to move to Italy, where he lived in Milan for 15 years making a living as a successful recording artist, lyricist and fashion photographer. Today, he resides in Las Vegas and travels the world, taking his camera wherever he goes. Thomas has been a photographer for over twenty years now and prefers to use his old Canon AE1s when he shoots in 35mm or his RB67 when he shoots in medium format. More recently, he has been doing Black and White Photomontages for the sole purpose of doing Fine Art, without working for a specific client. He has combined several images taken over a period of twenty years to create surreal situations with the help of the enlarger in a dark room. His work has a specific style and is very characteristic. He only works with Black and White, including Sepia toning at times. Every single one of his images has to pass what he likes to call the “So what?” test. If a combination of two or more negatives put together doesn't touch him or have any particular meaning, he starts over. At times, he tries to combine images and sometimes the results can be disappointing. A giant clock in the middle of the ocean can be an unusual image, but if he looks at it and says to himself, “So what?”, this means it isn't good enough.” If, instead, an ocean liner is going down a “funnel-type” hole and he titles it “Shortcut to China”, it takes on a whole new meaning. The picture takes you into an imaginary world where you can see the captain telling the passengers to fasten their safety belts and get prepared for the descent, and so on. At times Thomas comes up with ideas beforehand, try to materialize them and it works. At other times, it comes as an accident, where the ideas come afterwards, when the image is already finished and the concept has yet to be understood. Thomas claims he is learning constantly through the process of creation. Thomas travels 2-3 times a year to take photographs of different things and places. Sometimes he uses an image several years later, but only when it fits, like the perfect piece in a puzzle, and completes his latest project. Some images are composed of negatives that are separated by a decade in the actual time that he has taken them and only come to life when they found their perfect match. It's the combination of two or more negatives that give birth to a completely unusual vision, but most of all, the title he gives the final image is the glue and the substance of the piece. Source: thomasbarbey.com
Samantha VanDeman
United States
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 yearsAAP: 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 5DAAP: 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 DayAAP: 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 styleAAP: 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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