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David Johndrow
David Johndrow
David Johndrow

David Johndrow

Country: United States

David Johndrow is a fine art photographer living in Austin, Texas. After studying photography the University of Texas, he began shooting commercial work as well as pursuing his more personal fine art photography.

David’s continuing series, Terrestrials, combines his passion for gardening and photography and features macro nature photographs of animals and plants that inhabit his Hill Country, Texas garden. To realize his vision, he prints with silver gelatin, platinum/palladium, gum-bichromate and gumoil.

His photographs are part of the Wittliff Collection of Southwestern and Mexican Photography, as well as in many private collections.


All about David Johndrow:

AAP: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?
I took a darkroom class in art school and fell in love with the process. The first roll of film I shot I processed and printed myself.

AAP: Where did you study photography?
I learned photography at The University of Texas, but I built my own darkroom and started working on my own. I really honed my printing skills working as a printer in a photo lab. Just the shear volume of work I printed during that time made me a better printer.

AAP: Do you have a mentor or role model?
I can’t say I had any mentors except for photographers like Irving Penn who I loved and was inspired by.

AAP: How long have you been a photographer?
I’ve been a photographer for 30 years.

AAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it?
My first shot was of my friends who were in a band. I had other friends who were actors and comedians, so I started taking lots of portraits for peoples publicity shots.

AAP: What or who inspires you?
I am inspired creatively by many different kinds of artists, but my biggest inspiration is the natural world. Rarely do I go in search of photographs; rather things just appear to me when I spend enough time outdoors. Gardening is my biggest obsession next to art.

AAP: How could you describe your style?
I have lots of styles but my most well know work is done in macro. I guess the one common thing in all my work is a simple graphic composition.

AAP: Do you have a favorite photograph or series?
I love Matt Mahurin, especially his portraits of Tom Waits.

AAP: What kind of gear do you use?
I shoot with a Hasselblad on 120 film.

AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images?
Although I shoot on film, I edit my images on the computer. It helps me group images in a series or arrange them for exhibition.

AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)?
My favorite photographer is Irving Penn.

AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer?
I would tell young photographers to shoot a lot of images, do a lot of experiments, and try to learn some different printing processes.

AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid?
Don’t try and shoot photos of things you think others would like but shoot subjects you are most interested in. Every subject has been done before, so try and put your own spin on it.

AAP: What are your projects?
The project I’m working on is close-ups of natural textures.

AAP: Your best memory as a photographer?
My best memory is of shooting the pyramid at Chichen Itsa. It was at the solstice and I wanted a photo of the serpent shadow on the steps, but it was a cloudy, rainy day. Suddenly, right before closing, the sun burst out and I got some great shots.

AAP: Your worst souvenir as a photographer?
Don’t know

AAP: The compliment that touched you most?
“Every time I look at your photograph I see something different”.

AAP: If you were someone else who would it be?
No one else.

AAP: Your favorite photo book?
Irving Penn: Passages
 

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More Great Photographers To Discover

Gilles Nicolet
France
1960
I am a self-taught photographer who spent 35 years living and working in Africa, with long stays in Somalia, West Africa and Tanzania. I started out as an agricultural engineer but soon switched to photography in order to follow an old passion. I have since shot numerous stories for all sorts of magazines, including the Sunday Times Magazine, National Geographic Magazine, Geo, the Smithsonian and Paris-Match. I have a special interest in anthropology and ethnography, something that - I hope - has helped me capture the essence of my subjects. In the past most of my stories where about rare traditions that somehow linked man and wildlife, but Africa has changed a lot in the last few decades and unfortunately most of these traditions have now disappeared. My recent work has therefore been more personal and contemplative and less focused on narrative picture stories meant for magazines. In fact, today my interest lies in the convergence between art and documentary photography. I have also moved away from color photography and now only shoot in black and white. My work has received several major awards, including a World Press Photo Award and a Fuji Award. My latest project on the Swahili Coast also obtained the following recognitions: 2017 HIPA Hamdan International Photography Awards - 2nd Prize, Portfolio Category 2017 Elliott Erwitt Havana Fellowship - Nominee 2017 Seventh Annual Exposure Photography Awards - Winner 2017 IPA International Photography Awards - 2nd Prize, People/Culture Category 2017 Meitar Award - Nominee 2017 Monochrome Photography Awards - Photojournalism/Professional - Two Honorable Mentions 2017 Monochrome Photography Awards - People/Professional - Honorable Mention 2018 CAP Contemporary African Photography Prize - Finalist 2018 SIPA Contest - Honorable Mention 2019 SOPHOT Award - Winner This work on the Swahili Coast is featured in "Swahili", a book released by Contrejour Publishers in May 2019 (available on amazon.fr and amazon.co.uk). Six degrees south The Zanzibar archipelago, an highly evocative name even for those who are quite unable to locate it on a map, lies six degrees south of the Equator. It is also the exact geographical center of the Swahili Coast, a unique physical, historical and cultural entity running from Southern Somalia to Mozambique, which first grew in the 10th century through trade with the Arab world, India and China. Gold, coconut, ebony, mangrove wood, sisal, myrrh and the infamous slave trade helped make the wealth of this region, slowly shaping it and giving it its unique present character. For a thousand years now, wooden dhows have sailed these lonely shores, with their characteristic white cotton sails, using the monsoon winds to help traders move goods between Africa and Arabia. And for a thousand years too, fishermen have ploughed these rich seas for their bounty of fish, contributing with the traders to the emergence of rich city-ports like Stone Town or Mombasa. But all of this is changing now. A combination of overfishing by both local and foreign ships, population increase, changes in weather patterns as well as the recent discovery of huge gas fields in the region, is threatening this fragile equilibrium. The fishing communities that occupy these shores are particularly at risk, and it could be that we are now witnessing the last of fishing and sailing traditions that had remained largely unchanged since Ibn Battuta, the famous 12th Century Arab explorer, first described them in his travel memoirs. With this recent work I have tried to testify to the unique beauty and timelessness of the Swahili Coast, and to record it for generations to come. It is a personal, melancholic, sometimes dreamy vision of a place and a culture that are very dear to my heart but which, I now realise, may soon disappear.
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
Tim Franco
France/Poland
Tim Franco is French-Polish freelance photographer based in Shanghai. Since he first came to China in 2005, Tim Franco got fascinated by the fast social and urban transformation that chinese cities where going through. He has spent some time documenting those growth through urban photography but also by studying social changes, such at the underground art world and the social problems related to the evolutions of the cities. Among his projects is a comprehensive depiction of the growth of the alternative music scene in China and particularly Shanghai. The project was synthesized and published in a book, “Shanghai Soundbites”, released in June 2008 in response to the attitude towards cultural expression manifested in the lead up to the Beijing Olympics. Subsequently, the pictures have been included in numerous news and lifestyle publications both in China and abroad. He now continues his work documenting the urban development of chinese cities and its social impact on the local people. He is also involved in local youth and underground movement both in China and greater asia. Tim Franco is a regular contributor to Le Monde ( newspaper and magazine ), but his work has also been published in the New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Bloomberg, Financial Times, Le Point, NRC, Wiwo, Global Journal, Architecture d’Aujourd’hui, The Fader, CNN online, Time Out, Urban. About the series Vertical Communism: Vertical Communism is a long term project about the city of Chongqing. This city, one of the biggest in central china, went through one of the fastest development process in the country. The main reason is, located upstream of the three gorges dam, the government has welcomed all displaced population from submerged region into its main urban areas. The city is fascinating because of its accelerated development that produced high rises buildings on the side of rivers and mountains, taking away the traditional charms of the old Chang Kai Shek capital, but also because of its political and social history. Once at the hand of the biggest organized crime group in China, the city has been re manipulated into a neo communist style red propaganda machine, led by the highly controversial son of a famous revolutionary named Bo Xilai. With his wife now in prison for the murder of a British national, and his personal implication in corruptions and tortures, Bo Xilai has been quickly removed from any government places in China and the city is looking once again for a new direction. I personally see Chongqing as a macro representation of the whole China. With its tumultuous political history and its growing social pressure for managing farmers coming into urban areas for a better life, all of it pushed by a constant need of investments and fast modernization, I wanted to portray this view of a growing china, far away from the common views of eastern cities such as shanghai or Beijing. From a photographic point of view, I have decided to shoot the people in their environment. But i have decided to take a step back, using medium format film camera, I want to transmit the feeling of scales that the city and china in general is facing. Urban Scales, Social Scales, the country's biggest problem is now to find a way to link some extremes the highly rich to the very poor, the extravagant to the meaningful. Vertical Communism is a portrait of Chinese a megapolis full of contradiction, trying to keep up with its unpredictable modernization Source: www.timfranco.com Interview with Tim Franco: AAP: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer? Tim Franco: There is not a precise moment. When I was young, I loved writing stories, then my passion became music. I always wanted to share my ideas and vision of things through some mediums at the end it became photography. AAP: Where did you study photography? TF: When I was a kid, my artist mother pushed me from one opening to the other, through museums and galleries. At first I hated it, and then became used to it and started to hang out more and more in her studio, until I took away her old cameras , I have learn through experience, other photographers and reading tutorials. AAP: How could you describe your style? TF: Photographers tend to be classified, put into boxes, commercial photographer, photojournalists, artists, etc. I never really know how to classify my work. What I love is telling stories, document facts with an artistic esthetic to it. I also enjoy working on creative commercial assignments. I always try to stay simple in the esthetic and subtle about the story. AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film? TF: For my personal work, I really enjoy medium format. When I see something, most of the time, I ideally want to frame it in square. I don't really like naming brands, they all have different feeling and esthetic and it really depends the look you want to give your image. To name a few I personally work with Hasselblad and old rolleiflex. For commercial work, I use Canon because of their price and availability in terms of lenses. AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? TF: When shooting film, I usually spend very little time editing, just cleaning dust on films and other small details. When shooting commercial work on digital its another story. Clients are very specific about what they want and color out of raw files needs to go through extensive treatment. My photo agency works with a retouching studio for most of our commercial projects. AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer? TF: Those days, its very easy to call yourself a photographer, grab a camera , a couple of nice prime lenses and you can get some good images. But I think young photographers should really focus on what are they trying to say with their images. What makes a great photo is not the instant esthetic of it but the impact that image will have on its viewer. AAP: An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share? TF: One of the main project I worked on for the past year is about one particular city in China called Chongqing. Since 2009, I am going there quite frequently, at the beginning for some press assignments since the city have seen lot of interesting political stories and turmoils but also because it fascinates me. Both from an esthetic point of view and from its stories. This giant megapolis has been forcly populated with countryside people and has now a very hard time to deal its urbanization. "I personally see Chongqing as a macro representation of the whole China. With its tumultuous political history and its growing social pressure for managing farmers coming into urban areas for a better life, all of it pushed by a constant need of investments and fast modernization, I wanted to portray this view of a growing china, far away from the common views of eastern cities such as shanghai or beijing. From a photographic point of view, I have decided to shoot the people in their environment. But I have decided to take a step back, using medium format film camera, I want to transmit the feeling of scales that the city and china in general is facing. Urban Scales, Social Scales, the country's biggest problem is now to find a way to link some extremes the highly rich to the very poor, the extravagant to the meaningful. Vertical Communism is a portrait of chinese a megapolis full of contradiction, trying to keep up with its unpredictable modernization." AAP: Your best and worst memory as a photographer? TF: Being a professional photographers gives you a chance to go to many great places and meet amazing people. Sometimes the best memory is all the instants that led you to take a particular photo, the untold stories. What happened in the discussion you had with the person you were about to portray, how did you get to this fantastic point of view etc. For worst memory there is always issues of dealing with authorities, this large gap of misunderstanding between the photographer wanting to tell a story and a person not allowing you to shoot. This is always very annoying.
Cao Luning
China
1990
Cao Luning is a street photographer who lives in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China, a city of 8 million people. He only started to do photography 3 years ago and all learnt by himself. For Cao Luning, photography is a means of getting to know and expressing himself. Just like the saying "You are what you read", he also believes "You are what you shoot". He's extremely crazy about Street, Travel and Documentary photography, and the uncertainty and infinite possibilities of them fascinate him. They are just similar to life, you never know what you are going to get tomorrow. You may capture some nice shots, or you might come back empty-handed. Street photographer is his identity. Cao Luning is a street wanderer and likes to watch people. He can linger on the streets all day long without feeling tired or fed up. When he shoots, he focuses on the serendipity of specific colors, light and shadows, gestures and the implied humor of scenes. Cao Luning reckons framing is crucial to a good photograph, and he's been greatly influenced by Henri Cartier-Bresson and his "The Decisive Moment Theory", which He thinks is something that every photographer should pay attention to. His mentors are Mangum Photographer Alex Webb and his wife Rebecca Norris Webb, and they both helped him a lot in developing his own vision. In his opinion, given different situations and scenarios, a good street photographer should swiftly apply different compositions that best suit the scenes, instead of using one or two methods for all situations, because that's not a creative process, it's just mechanical repetitions. Statement I'm a street photographer who started to do photography 3 years ago. For me, photography is a means of getting to know and expressing myself. Just like the saying "You are what you read", I also believe "You are what you shoot". I'm extremely crazy about Street, Travel and Documentary photography, and the uncertainty and infinite possibilities of them fascinate me. They are just similar to life, you never know what you are going to get tomorrow. You may capture many nice shots, or you might come back empty-handed. I'm a street wanderer and I like to watch people. I can linger on the streets all day long without feeling tired or fed up. When I shoot, I focus on the serendipity of specific colors, light and shadows, gestures and the implied humor of scenes. I reckon framing is crucial to a good photograph, and I've been greatly influenced by Henri Cartier-Bresson and his "The Decisive Moment Theory", which I think is something that every photographer should pay attention to. In my opinion, given different situations and scenarios, a good street photographer should swiftly apply different compositions that best suit the scenes, instead of using one or two methods for all situations, because that's not a creative process, it's just mechanical repetitions. Most of the works I submitted were shot during the pandemic in China.. On January 2020, The New Coronavirus Pneumonia (or COVID-19) outbroke in Wuhan, Hubei Province in China and soon spread all over the country. As a result, the Chinese government locked down the whole country, stopped all production activities, restricted intercity transportation, and people were advised not to go outside. I live in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, a city of 8 million people, and when it was shut down, it was a bit like a ghost town in the beginning, not completely empty, but hard to find people on the streets. However, I found out by the Yangtze River and some parks, there are some citizens. People would go fishing, do sports, exercise or simply relax. So I often go to those places with my camera, trying to capture their life under the influence of Coronavirus. The virus has pressed the pause button for most of us, though it's not a good thing, objectively speaking, it gives us a good opportunity to look inside and review our living states. It offers us a window to slow down and appreciate all the good and beautiful things around us as well. In the meantime, we are also given the possibility to do the things that we always wanted to do. We should cherish it and live in the moment, despite how dreadful the epidemic situation might be, life has to go on. I hope you'll enjoy my works and get to know me better by them.
Thierry Cohen
France
1963
Thierry Cohen was born in Paris in 1963. He began his professional career in 1985 and is seen as one of the pioneers of digital photography. His work has been shown at the Palais de Tokyo, and the Musee de l”Homme in Paris, and in 2008 was an official selection of the Mois de la Photo. Since 2010 he has devoted himself to a single project – “Villes Enteintes” (Darkened Cities) – which depicts the major cities of the world as they would appear at night without light pollution, or in more poetic terms: how they would look if we could see the stars. Cohen’s method is original and precise and harkens back to the methodologies employed by early 19th century photographers like Gustave Le Grey. He photographs the world’s major cities, seeking out views that resonate for him and noting the precise time, angle, and latitude and longitude of his exposure. As the world rotates around its axis the stars that would have been visible above a particular city move to deserts, plains, and other places free of light pollution. By noting the precise latitude and angle of his cityscape, Cohen is able to track the earth’s rotation to places of atmospheric clarity like the Mojave, the Sahara, and the Atacama desert. There he sets up his camera to record what is lost to modern urban dwellers. Compositing the two images, Cohen creates a single new image full of resonance and nuance. The work is both political and spiritual questioning not only what we are doing to the planet but drawing unexpected connections between disparate locations. Equally importantly it asks: what do we miss by obscuring the visibility of stars? As the world's population becomes increasingly urban, there is a disjunction with the natural world which both Cohen and science posit causes both physical and psychological harm. Cities that never sleep are made up of millions of individuals breaking natural cycles of work and repose. Cohen’s photographs attempt to restore our vision, and in beautifully crafted prints and images offer the viewer a possibility - to re-connect us to the infinite energy of the stars.Source: Danziger Gallery
Esmeralda Ruiz
United States
Artist Statement: "My childhood was different then most. Growing up with nothing but artists was one thing, but having actually flat lined during a surgery after being diagnosed with a kidney infection changed my life forever. It wasn’t that it left me weak or prevented me from going outside and playing or even going to school with other children but the images that I saw when that moment occurred is what I strive to show in my work today. A wonderful world where the air was crisp and refreshing, with all of its flowers in bloom, my journey begins down a path with little yellow homes on each side. Beyond the path, a valley flowers appeared. On the right there were rocky mountains so enormous that clouds covered their midsection with their snow covered summits peering through. To my left the sound of the ocean was relentlessly crashing into a cliff. As I crossed my valley of flowers and ascended the cliff, I felt a cool yet, strong breeze off the ocean forcing me back. As I looked up into the vast skies above, I was overcome by the ever so omnipotent clouds with their glorious rays of sunlight beaming through. The feeling of leaping into the breeze and flying towards the light was more then overwhelming. Instead, I greeted it with a smile and made my way back to the valley. Relaxed, laying across its delicate wild flowers, my tranquil body curled up and fell into a deep sleep. Awaking to my mother at my bedside, disappointment overcame me with the realization that it was all just a dream. Weeks passed, the pain healed but my dream still reigned true. Numerous sketches and endless rants of my new world was all that was real. Having to transition from a world of such perfection to a life of obscurity seemed almost inconceivable. As such, a minor state of depression would set in as my life slowly began to drift back into its regular routine. During this time my only solace came from the amazing work found in books from various art movements and even my favorite childhood cartoons. However, as my healing process dragged on, much of what I know about color (and how I use it today) came from all the extra time spent in my parent’s studio. Watching them work and being surrounded by various mediums helped better understand art as a form of expression. This would inevitably forge my desire to show the world what I had experienced on that fateful day. As the years pass, my dream still lives within me. My thesis project has only driven my need to share my moment with the world in ways I never thought possible. After much soul searching and numerous critiques, I have come to the realization that my utopia isn’t just a dream; it is in the landscapes that have always surrounded me. Those three minutes had and will always have a tremendous impact on my life. If anything, I learned how fragile life is and to always appreciate the beautiful things in life. Photography has allowed me to show what stands out in my eyes by glorifying it in a photograph. It is the best way that I can communicate what I saw and what I felt at that particular moment. It is the bridge between my past and my present.Source: Esmeralda Ruiz Website
Tim Flach
United Kingdom
1958
Tim Flach is an animal photographer with an interest in the way humans shape animals and shape their meaning while exploring the role of imagery in fostering an emotional connection. Bringing to life the complexity of the animal kingdom, his work ranges widely across species, united by a distinctive stylisation reflecting an interest in how we better connect people to the natural world. He has four major bodies of work concerning different subjects: Equus (2008) focusing on the horse, Dogs Gods (2010) on canines, More Than Human (2012) a broad exploration of the world’s species, and Endangered (2017) a powerful document of species on the edge of extinction. He has published five books; Endangered (2017), Evolution (2013), More than Human, (2012), Dogs Gods (2010) and Equus (2008). Flach is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from University of the Arts London in 2013. He lives and works in London with his wife and son. Source: timflach.com Over the past decade, Flach's work has increasingly focused on animals, ranging widely across species but united by a distinctive style that is derived from his concerns with anthropomorphism and anthropocentrism. His interests lie in the way humans shape animals, and shape their meaning. He has three major bodies of work: More Than Human, Dogs Gods, and Equus. Through the related books and exhibitions, Flach has attracted international interest. His images have been acquired by major public and private collections. Commissions by leading editorial and commercial clients have also garnered multiple awards, including three Cannes Lions. He has won the International Photography Award's Professional Photographer of the Year for fine art, and in 2013 was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate from Norwich University of the Arts, in recognition of his contribution to photography.
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