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Silvia Grav
Silvia Grav
Silvia Grav

Silvia Grav

Country: Spain
Birth: 1993

Born in Pais Vasco (Spain) in December, 1993. Learned to draw before she could talk and one day realizes that this is the thing she wants to do for the rest of her life. Consequently, she starts to study fine arts, but is frustrated soon and leaves during her second year to devote herself to real learning and begins to work as an artist. Since then, her art has appeared in several blogs and major journals. On top she is doing the artwork for various musicians and always is involved in some new projects.

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Imogen Cunningham
United States
1883 | † 1976
Imogen Cunningham is renowned as one of the greatest American women photographers. In 1901, having sent away $15 for her first camera, she commenced what would become the longest photographic career in the history of the medium.. Cunningham soon turned her attention to both the nude as well as native plant forms in her back garden. The results were staggering; an amazing body of work comprised of bold, contemporary forms. These works are characterized by a visual precision that is not scientific, but which presents the lines and textures of her subjects articulated by natural light and their own gestures. Her refreshing, yet formal and sensitive floral images from the 1920’s ultimately became her most acclaimed images. Cunningham also had an intuitive command of portraiture but her real artistic legacy was secured though her inclusion in the "F64" show in San Francisco in 1932. With a small group of photographers which included Edward Weston and Ansel Adams, she pioneered the renewal of photography on the West Coast. Awarded a Guggenheim fellowship, Cunningham’s work continues to be exhibited and collected around the world. Source: Photography West Gallery Cunningham was born in Portland, Oregon, in 1883. In 1901, at the age of eighteen, Cunningham bought her first camera, a 4x5 inch view camera, from the American School of Art in Scranton, Pennsylvania. She soon lost interest and sold the camera to a friend. It wasn’t until 1906, while studying at the University of Washington in Seattle, that she was inspired by an encounter with the work of Gertrude Käsebier, to take up photography again. With the help of her chemistry professor, Dr. Horace Byers, she began to study the chemistry behind photography and she subsidized her tuition by photographing plants for the botany department. After being graduated in 1907 Cunningham went to work for Edward S. Curtis in his Seattle studio, gaining knowledge about the portrait business and practical photography. In 1909, Cunningham won a scholarship from her sorority (Pi Beta Phi) for foreign study and applied to study with Professor Robert Luther at the Technische Hochschule in Dresden, Germany. In Dresden she concentrated on her studies and didn’t take many photographs. In May 1910 she finished her paper, “About the Direct Development of Platinum Paper for Brown Tones,” describing her process to increase printing speed, improve clarity of highlights tones, and produce sepia tones. On her way back to Seattle she met Alvin Langdon Coburn in London, and Alfred Stieglitz and Gertrude Käsebier in New York. In Seattle, Cunningham opened her studio and won acclaim for portraiture and pictorial work. Most of her studio work of this time consisted of sitters in their own homes, in her living room, or in the woods surrounding Cunningham's cottage. She became a sought after photographer and exhibited at the Brooklyn Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1913. In 1914, Cunningham's portraits were shown at An International Exhibition of Pictorial Photography in New York. Wilson's Photographic Magazine published a portfolio of her work. The next year, she married Roi Partridge, a teacher and artist. He posed for a series of nude photographs, which were shown by the Seattle Fine Arts Society. Although critically praised, Cunningham didn’t revisit those photographs for another fifty-five years. Between 1915 and 1920, Cunningham continued her work and had three children (Gryffyd, Rondal, and Padraic) with Partridge. In 1920, they moved to San Francisco where Partridge taught at Mills College. Cunningham refined her style, taking a greater interest in pattern and detail and becoming increasingly interested in botanical photography, especially flowers. Between 1923 and 1925 she carried out an in-depth study of the magnolia flower. Later in the decade she turned her attention toward industry, creating several series of industrial landscapes in Los Angeles and Oakland. In 1929, Edward Weston nominated 10 of Cunningham's photographs (8 botanical, 1 industrial, and 1 nude) for inclusion in the "Film und Foto" exhibition and her renowned, Two Callas, debuted in that exhibition. Cunningham once again changed direction, becoming more interested in the human form, particularly hands, and she was fascinated with the hands of artists and musicians. This interest led to her employment by Vanity Fair, photographing stars without make-up. In 1932, with this unsentimental, straightforward approach in mind, Cunningham became one of the co-founders of the Group f/64, which aimed to “define photography as an art form by a simple and direct presentation through purely photographic methods.” In 1934, Cunningham was invited to do some work in New York for Vanity Fair. Her husband wanted her to wait until he could travel with her, but she refused. They later divorced. She continued with Vanity Fair until it stopped publication in 1936. In the 1940s, Cunningham turned to documentary street photography, which she executed as a side project while supporting herself with her commercial and studio photography. In 1945, Cunningham was invited by Ansel Adams to accept a position as a faculty member for the art photography department at the California School of Fine Arts. Dorothea Lange and Minor White joined as well. In 1973, her work was exhibited at the Rencontres d'Arles festival in France through the group exhibition: Trois photographes américaines, Imogen Cunningham, Linda Connor, Judy Dater. Cunningham continued to take photographs until shortly before her death at age ninety-three on June 24, 1976, in San Francisco, California. Source: Wikipedia
Maynard Switzer
Maynard Switzer was born in Los Angeles and is a professional freelance travel and documentary photographer. He is a graduate of the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and a former assistant to legendary photographer Richard Avedon. He has taught at the International Center of Photography in New York City and has written many magazine articles about travel photography. His love of foreign cultures and their fascinating customs has been the main catalyst for Maynard’s photography around the globe. Maynard has had his photography published in National Geographic Traveler Magazine, Geo Magazine, Afar Magazine and the prestigious Fine Art Spanish Magazine Art Fotografico. Statement There are approximately 195 independent countries in the world and an estimated 6,800 different languages spoken, and often times there is a breakdown in communication. Some caused by language barriers, other times lost or inadequate translation and sometimes a woeful attempt at hand signals. However, images are universally understood. The cliché "a picture is worth a thousand words" certainly rings true. Pictures speak a thousand words to a thousand different people in a thousand different ways. This global understanding has been the main reason that I have been documenting various cultures around the world. Over the past 20+ years I have concentrated on photographing people and their various ways of life that seem to have been left behind by the world's rush to modernize. Certain aspects of these various cultures seem to be in a time warp, many within their own country. The photographs presented here are part of a long-term project photographing some of these people that live and work in challenging environments that time seems to have forgotten and whose way of life may never be seen again.
Peter Beard
United States
1938 | † 2020
Peter Hill Beard is an American artist, photographer, diarist and writer who lives and works in New York City and Kenya. His photographs of Africa, African animals and the journals that often integrate his photographs have been widely shown and published since the 1960s. Born in 1938 as a New York aristocrat, he was heir to a railroad fortune on his mother’s side of the family and a tobacco inheritance on his father’s. He was raised in New York City, Alabama, and Islip, Long Island, Beard began keeping diaries as a young boy and making photographs, as an extension of the diaries, at the age of 12. A graduate of Pomfret School, he entered Yale University in 1957, with the intention of pursuing pre-med studies, only to switch his major to art history. His mentors at Yale included Josef Albers, Richard Lindner and Vincent Scully. Inspired by earlier trips to Africa in both 1955 and 1960, Beard traveled to Kenya upon graduation. Working at Tsavo National Park, he photographed and documented the demise of 35,000 elephants and other wildlife, later to become the subject of his first book, "The End of the Game." During this time, Beard acquired Hog Ranch, a property near the Ngong Hills adjacent to the coffee farm owned by Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen), which would become his lifelong home-base in East Africa. Peter Beard's photographs of Africa, African animals and journals that often integrate his photographs have been widely shown and published since the 1970s. Each of his works is unique, a combination of his photography with elements derived from his daily diary-keeping, a practice he continues to this day. These volumes contain newspaper clippings, dried leaves, insects, old sepia-toned photos, transcribed telephone messages, marginalia in India ink, photographs of women, quotes, found objects, and the like; these become incorporated, with original drawings and collage by Beard. Certain of his works incorporate animal blood, sometimes Beard’s own blood (in sparing quantities), a painting medium the artist favors. Beard's first exhibition was at the Blum Helman Gallery, New York, in 1975. Landmark museum exhibitions have been held at the International Center of Photography, New York, in 1977, and the Centre National de la Photographie, Paris, in 1997. Gallery exhibitions followed in Berlin, London, Toronto, Madrid, Milan, Tokyo and Vienna. Beard’s work is included in private collections throughout the world. In 2017, Beard was sued by actor David Spade who purchased one of his works. Spade tried to resell a Peter Beard photograph that he had purchased from dealer Peter Tunney but the unsigned work could not be authenticated. Descended from distinguished American families on both sides, Beard is one of three sons born to Roseanne Hoar Beard and Anson McCook Beard, Jr. A great-grandfather, James Jerome Hill, was founder of the Great Northern Railway in the United States in the late 19th/early 20th centuries. Having made his fortune in the railroad business, James Jerome Hill was a great patron of the arts. All of his heirs were exposed to and owned great collections, presumably having a strong influence on Beard’s interests in the arts and beauty. Beard married his first wife (Minnie Cushing Beard Coleman) in 1962; their marriage lasted only briefly. His second wife was supermodel Cheryl Tiegs, from 1982 to 1986. In 1986, he married Nejma Khanum. The couple has a daughter, Zara, for whom his book, Zara’s Tales, was written. Beard has befriended and in some cases collaborated with many legendary artists including Andy Warhol, Andrew Wyeth, Francis Bacon, Karen Blixen, Truman Capote, Richard Lindner, and Salvador Dalí. He has also photographed many well-known people.Source: Wikipedia Peter Beard is a contemporary American photographer best known for his documentary images of Africa arranged in unique photo collages that combine painting, drawing, and text. Part documentarian, part activist, Beard’s work captures the plight of a continent succumbing to industrialization. “The wilderness is gone,” the artist has said, “and with it much more than we can appreciate or predict. We'll suffer for it.” Born on January 22, 1938 in New York, NY the artist and diarist was educated at Yale University, studying art history with the famed abstract painter Josef Albers. After moving to Africa in the 1960s, Beard began to catalog the demise of elephants and rhinoceroses in Kenya’s Tsavo National Park. In 1975, while living in Nairobi, Beard spotted a beautiful university student named Iman, the photographer later brought her to New York, launching her career as a super model. Over the course of his career he has collaborated with Andy Warhol, Richard Lindner, Francis Bacon, and others. Beard currently lives and works between New York and Montauk, NY, and Nairobi, Kenya.Source: Artnet
Isabel Muñoz
Spain
1951
Born in Barcelona in 1951, she moved to Madrid in 1970 where nine years later, she registered at PhotoCentro to completely dedicate herself to professional photography. She worked for the press and advertising sector in 1981, and made various still photos during film shoots. After a spell in New York to further her training, she returned to Madrid in 1986 where she produced 'Toques', her first exhibition. She travelled the world between 1990 and 2007, discovering and immersing herself in different artistic and cultural expressions, before producing her following series and exhibitions: 'Shaolín', 'Camboya Herida', 'Capoeira', 'Contorsionistas', 'Tanger', 'Tango' and 'Toros'. She usually works in black and white. She received the Gold Medal for Merit in Fine Arts in 2009 for her work. Source: Spain Culture When she was 20 years old, she moved to Madrid and started studying photography in 1979 in Photocentro. In 1986, she made her first exhibition, "Toques" and she has already made more exhibitions in several countries of the world for more than 20 years. Her black-and-white photos are a study of people through pieces of the human body or pictures of toreros, dancers or warriors, by using a handmade and meticulous process of developing. Her works are in the Maison Européenne de la Photographie, in Paris, the New Museum of Contemporary Art, in New York City, the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston or private collections. Source: Wikipedia Isabel Muñoz stands out as an assertive photographer. Platinum developments and extra large formats are favourite techniques used in order to strengthen her message of passion for the body as a means of approaching the study of human beings. Tango and Flamenco (1989) are considered the starting point of her unremitting search of the sentiments and emotions of world groups and cultures in an attempt to capture the expressions of beauty of the human body. When Muñoz focuses her camera on dancers, wrestlers, warrior monks, bullfighters or deprived children she does it with a strong sense of commitment. Her first individual exhibition, Toques, in 1986 at the French Institute in Madrid and her participation in the Mois de la Photographie in Paris in 1990, set her international projection as a high profile photographer without boundaries. These will be the first of many exhibitions throughout the main cities of Europe, the Americas and Asia. Her photographs are shown at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Madrid), Foto Colectania (Barcelona), Fundación Canal (Madrid), Maison Européenne de la Photographie (París), New Museum of Contemporary Art (New York) and Instituto Cervantes (Mexico, Guatemala, Bolivia, Shanghai, Tokio). Isabel Muñoz work has been widely recognized with numerous honours and distinctions. Recent awards include Fundación DEARTE (2012), the UNICEF Spain Awareness Rasing Award in 2010, Bartolomé Ros Prize (PHotoEspaña 2009), the Spanish Ministry of Culture Gold Medal to Fine Arts in Spain (2009), the first prize in photography by Comunidad de Madrid (2006), the two World Press Photo prizes (2000 and 2004), the Biennial of Alexandria Gold Medal (1999), Isabel Muñoz was born in Barcelona in 1951 and lives in Madrid since 1970. Source: LensCulture
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!"
Javier Arcenillas
Javier Arcenillas is a Spanish freelance photographer, with a degree in Evolutionary Psychology from the Complutense University of Madrid. He is Professor of documentary photography at the PICA School of PHE and editor of photographic projects. Arcenillas develops humanitarian essays where the protagonists are integrated in societies that limit and aggregate all reason and right. He has won several international prizes, including The Arts Press Award, Kodak Young Photographer, European Social Fund Grant, Euro Press of Fujifilm, FotoPress, UNICEF, Sony World Photography of the Year, POYI, POYILatam, Fotoevidence, Gomma Grant, W. Eugene Smith Grant 2013, Getty Images Grant, PDN 2018, World Press Photo 2018, Lucas Dolega 2019. In 2013, Javier Arcenillas entered the dictionary of Spanish photographers. It has 4 books published, City Hope on the satellite cities that populate the landfills of Latin America, Welcome that tells the story of the Rohingya refugees of Myanmar in the Kutupalong camp, Sicarios on the hitmen in Central America and UFO Presences in 2018, the fun project about the spaces of UFO sightings and the way of transformation that localities, roads and cities turned into a legend. Aliens, Area 51, Death Valley or Roswell. The project that conceptualizes in images, maps and graphics the UFO phenomenon offers us places where these strange appearances have entered a unique subculture in the environment, endowing it with a singular energy. In the year 2016 La Fabrica publishes a Photobolsillo within the Photographers Spanish collection. His most complete news articles outside Spain can be read in Time, CNN, IL Magazine, Leica Magazine, Der Spiegel, Stern, Esquire, GEO, El Mundo, PAPEL, VICE News, TRIP, Matador, Man on the Moon, L´Expresso, Zazpika, Primera Linea, El País Semanal, Planeta Futuro, Libero, Gatopardo, El Confidencial, El periódico de Guatemala, Sputnik News as most important magazines. His work is distributed by the Agency LUZ. CITY HOPE Since the mid-nineties settlements bordering on rubbish dumps in the major capitals of Central America and Caribean have experienced a radical transformation. Now a days there are numerous families living in the recycling of waste in these macrociudades of disposable plastic or glass, their economic survival depends on it. Neighborhoods such as La Esperanza in Guatemala, La Duquesa on the Dominican Republic or in Managua Acahualinca fairly communities adapted to the collection of waste in landfills. This essay shows how and where they live hundreds of people in Latin America whose work is not the collection of organic waste. LATIDOAMERICA Latidoamerica is a Photojournalistic Research project that describes and analyzes violence in Central America, one of the most dangerous places in the world documenting the direct consequences of violence Sumida in revolutions, dictatorships, genocides, wars or political lack of control inheriting in each country, these Societies use the fear learned in their worst years to coexist daily with death and criminality in each city. This inheritance that left so much death has transformed the way of thinking and acting in the area. Today, a large part of its citizens live in fear and insecurity of certain death by firearm, rape, aggression, extortion, kidnapping and murder. Since the end of hostilities in countries like El Salvador, the young people who emigrated due to the war in the United States returned as street soldiers with new laws and regulations. The gangs known as "Maras" are responsible for that fear in which they live because they have bloodied any attempt at peaceful democratic socialization and have led the country to a new undeclared war in which Salvadorans are the victims. Similar circumstances in Guatemala where after years of dictatorship, genocide and death professions like that of Sicario end up seducing the poorest young people for the fear and respect they instill. The hired killer recruits teenagers attracted to fast money. Her main game is fear and her job is intimidation and death. In order to ‘graduate' these assassins murder a person on the condition that the situation involves risk. But it is not the only problem, in these countries without war where deaths from violence occur every hour, their social portrait is considered the most terrifying place in the world according to the United Nations. In Honduras, its geographical value is a place of transit for drug trafficking, a constant fight by drug cartels, a country that does not generate social policies. It is the heartbeat of America. CITIZENS OF DESPAIR More than years after his expulsion from Myanmar, thousands of unregistered Rohingya refugees living in makeshift camp Kutupalong, Bangladesh, have been forcibly displaced from their homes, in an act of intimidation and abuse of local authorities. Some international organizations have been treating many people for injuries where the majority were women and children victims of rejection and the disdain and the situation seems to be moving to nowhere. The Rohingya are a small Muslim ethnic group have for years been fleeing the northern Rakhine state of Myanmar which were subject to cruel of Abandonment, violence and exploitation. AmA The story begins like this... "In Genesis there was only the sea. Everything was dark, neither sun nor moon, the water was the mother and her cloak covered everything." For indigenous people there is no difference between dream or reality, day and night, visible or invisible.... Everything is equally real with the eyes open or with them closed. The native, like Alicia, pierces the mirror of appearances naturally but not always with tranquility because if the imaginary is sobering it also has its black and white. EdeN is a story, an illusion that we build in its most spiritual and dreamy emotional state. For generations, indigenous people have explored light and the subconscious on trips beyond reason about a latent unreality of space / time, that origin is found in the need for mastery of the cosmos. They are dreams materialized in a hidden place of the mind. In a meeting of two worlds their universes divide or intertwine over water or earth, the ground and the stars, consciousness and matter. The project embraces an imaginative and unreal photography that plays with illusion and fable as a different form of viewing. That exploration that directs us to delve into the narrative forms of visual expression.
Peter Hujar
United States
1934 | † 1987
Peter Hujar was an American photographer best known for his black and white portraits. He has been recognized posthumously as "one of the major American photographers of the late twentieth century" and "among the greatest American photographers." Hujar was born October 11, 1934, in Trenton, New Jersey, to Rose Murphy, a waitress abandoned by her husband during her pregnancy. He was raised by his Ukrainian grandparents on their farm, where he spoke only Ukrainian until he started school. He remained on the farm with his grandparents until his grandmother's death in 1946. He moved to New York City to live with his mother and her second husband. The household was abusive, and in 1950, when Hujar was 16, he left home and began to live independently. Hujar received his first camera in 1947 and in 1953 entered the School of Industrial Art where he expressed interest in being a photographer. He was fortunate to encounter an encouraging teacher, the poet Daisy Aldan (1923–2001), and following her advice, he became a commercial photography apprentice. Apart from classes in photography during high school, Hujar's photographic education and technical mastery were acquired in commercial photo studios. By 1957, when he was 23 years old, he was making photographs now considered to be of museum quality. Early in 1967, he was one of a select group of young photographers in a master class taught by Richard Avedon and Marvin Israel, where he met Alexey Brodovitch and Diane Arbus. In 1958, Hujar accompanied the artist Joseph Raffael on a Fulbright to Italy. In 1963, he secured his own Fulbright and returned to Italy with Paul Thek, where they explored and photographed the Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo, classic images featured in his 1975 book Portraits in Life and Death. In 1964, Hujar returned to America and became a chief assistant in the studio of the commercial photographer Harold Krieger. Around this time, he also met Andy Warhol, posed for four of Warhol's three-minute "screen tests," and was included in the compilation film The Thirteen Most Beautiful Boys. In 1967, Hujar quit his job in commercial photography, and at a great financial sacrifice, began to pursue primarily his own work. What followed was a dramatic expansion of his output. In 1969, with his lover the political activist Jim Fouratt, he witnessed the Stonewall riots in the West Village. In 1973, he moved into a loft above The Eden Theater at 189 2nd Avenue, where he lived for the rest of his life. In the 1970s and early 1980s, he inhabited the small bohemian art world in downtown New York City and made portraits of people such as drag queen and actor Divine, writers Susan Sontag, William Burroughs, Fran Lebowitz, and Vince Aletti. He visited "extremely serious, very heavy S&M bars" and the abandoned West Side Hudson River piers where men cruised for sex. In 1975, Hujar published Portraits in Life and Death, with an introduction by Sontag. After a tepid reception, the book became a classic in American photography. The rest of the 1970s was a period of prolific work. In early 1981, Hujar met the writer, filmmaker, and artist David Wojnarowicz, and after a brief period as Hujar's lover, Wojnarowicz became a protégé linked to Hujar for the remainder of the photographer's life. Hujar remained instrumental in all phases of Wojnarowicz's emergence as an important young artist. Hujar's work received only marginal public recognition during his lifetime. In January 1987, Hujar was diagnosed with AIDS. He died 10 months later at the age of 53 on November 25 at Cabrini Medical Center in New York. His funeral was held at Church of St. Joseph in Greenwich Village and he was buried at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Valhalla, New York. Hujar willed his estate to his friend Stephen Koch. Source: Wikipedia Peter Hujar (born 1934) died of AIDS in 1987, leaving behind a complex and profound body of photographs. Hujar was a leading figure in the group of artists, musicians, writers, and performers at the forefront of the cultural scene in downtown New York in the 1970s and early 80s, and he was enormously admired for his completely uncompromising attitude towards work and life. He was a consummate technician, and his portraits of people, animals, and landscapes, with their exquisite black-and-white tonalities, were extremely influential. Highly emotional yet stripped of excess, Hujar’s photographs are always beautiful, although rarely in a conventional way. His extraordinary first book, Portraits in Life and Death, with an introduction by Susan Sontag, was published in 1976, but his “difficult” personality and refusal to pander to the marketplace ensured that it was one of the last publications during his lifetime.Source: The Peter Hujar Archive Peter Hujar, who died of aids-related pneumonia in 1987, at the age of fifty-three, was among the greatest of all American photographers and has had, by far, the most confusing reputation. A dazzling retrospective, curated by Joel Smith at the Morgan Library & Museum, of a hundred and sixty-four pictures affirms Hujar’s excellence while, if anything, complicating his history. The works range across the genres of portraiture, nudes, cityscape, and still-life—the stillest of all from the catacombs of Palermo, Italy, shot in 1963, when he was there with his lover at the time, the artist Paul Thek. The finest are portraits, not only of people. Some memorialize the existence of cows, sheep, and—one of my favorites—an individual goose, with an eagerly confiding mien. The quality of Hujar’s hand-done prints, tending to sumptuous blacks and simmering grays, transfixes. He was a darkroom master, maintaining technical standards for which he got scant credit except among certain cognoscenti. He never hatched a signature look to rival those of more celebrated elders who influenced him, such as Richard Avedon and Diane Arbus, or those of Robert Mapplethorpe and Nan Goldin, younger peers who learned from him. His pictures share, in place of a style, an unfailing rigor that can only be experienced, not described. Hujar needed no introduction to the low. He never met his father, who abandoned his mother, a diner waitress, before his birth, in 1934, in Trenton. She left his raising to her Ukrainian-speaking Polish parents in semirural surroundings in Ewing Township, New Jersey, until, when he was eleven, she took him to live with her and a new husband in a one-room apartment in Manhattan. The home wasn’t happy. Hujar moved out at sixteen, at first sleeping on the couch of a mentoring English teacher at the School of Industrial Arts (now the High School of Art and Design): the fine poet, editor, and translator Daisy Aldan, a free-spirited lesbian who is portrayed in the earliest of his works in the Morgan show, from 1955.Source: The New Yorker
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