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S. Gayle Stevens
S. Gayle Stevens
S. Gayle Stevens

S. Gayle Stevens

Country: United States

S. Gayle Stevens has worked in antiquarian photographic processes for over fifteen years. Her chosen medium is wet plate collodion for its fluidity and individuality. She exhibits extensively across the United States, United Kingdom, the Netherlands and China. Ms. Stevens received an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1999. She is an educator, speaker, juror, curator and an active member of the photographic community. Named one of the Critical Mass Top Fifty Photographers for 2010, she received second place in the Lens Culture International Exposure Awards in 2011 and was named a finalist for the Clarence John Laughlin Award in 2012. Her work has been featured in Fraction, Square, Shots, Diffusion, B + W Photography, South by Southeast and Fuzion magazines and in the recently published book Inventing Reality, New Orleans Visionary Photography. North Light Press published a book of Stevens’ work, Calligraphy, in their 11 + 1 Signature series. Christopher James will feature her work in the third edition of The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes. Stevens’ work is widely collected and is part of the permanent collection of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, the Rockford Museum of Art and the Center for Fine Art Photography among others. A member of the Posse photo collective, she divides her time shooting in Pass Christian, Mississippi and Downers Grove, Illinois, where she resides. Stevens is represented by Tilt Gallery.
 

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Jared Ragland
United States
1977
Jared Ragland is a fine art and documentary photographer and former White House photo editor. He currently teaches and coordinates exhibitions and community programs in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and is at work on a long-term documentary on methamphetamine users living in northeast Alabama. He is the photo editor of National Geographic Books' "The President's Photographer: Fifty Years Inside the Oval Office," and has worked on assignment for NGOs in the Balkans, the former Soviet Bloc, East Africa and Haiti. His photographic work is rooted in his lifelong exposure to the landscapes, people, aesthetics, and storytelling traditions of the American South, and his work has been exhibited internationally and featured by The Oxford American, The New York Times, and TIME Magazine. Jared is an alumni of LaGrange College and a 2003 graduate of Tulane University with an MFA in Photography. He resides in his hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. Statement: The rise in use of methamphetamine across the United States over the last decade has led to increased cultural anxiety about the drug and those who use it, while the general perception of the meth-head is perpetuated by popular television programs and pervasive anti-meth campaigns. These limited representations typically paint one-dimensional, demonized characters whose chronic drug use is epitomized by obsessiveness, paranoia, and monstrous physical side effects. But while there are certainly deleterious consequences to meth use and stereotypes often ring too true, existing cultural narratives too often fall short of more complex, individually considered realities. Photographed over 18 months in collaboration with University of Alabama at Birmingham sociologist Heith Copes, Ph.D., GOOD BAD PEOPLE documents the tumultuous lives of meth users from Sand Mountain, a sandstone plateau in northeast Alabama infamous for extreme poverty, poultry processing plants, Pentecostal snake-handlers, and meth production. The images simultaneously reinforce and undermine assumptions of what it means to be a methamphetamine user and present an intimate look into the lives of those who struggle amidst drug use and diminished social status.
Ron Cooper
United States
I am a travel, documentary and portrait photographer based in Denver, CO. I began exploring photography ten years ago after retiring early from a corporate career. I travel extensively in pursuit of images that reflect local cultures and people. My emphasis in recent years has been on portraiture with the objective of “introducing” viewers to the people I meet and photograph at home and around the world. My work has been exhibited in juried group shows at Colorado Photographic Art Center (Denver, CO), Center for Fine Art Photography (Ft. Collins, CO), Southeast Center for Photography (Greenville, SC), Naples (FL) Art Association, PhotoPlace Gallery (Middlebury, VT), ACCI (Berkeley, CA), A. Smith Gallery (Johnson City, TX), Blackbox Gallery (Portland, OR), Click! Photography Festival (Raleigh/Durham, NC), Midwest Center for Photography (Wichita, KS). Solo exhibitions include: Asian Journeys (2016) at Gallery MFC, Denver, CO; Faces (2016) at the Hamilton Family Gallery, Children's Hospital of Colorado, Aurora, CO; Faces of the American West (2016) at The Darkroom, Longmont, Colorado; and Pleased to Meet You: Portraits from Places Near & Far (2018) at Gallery MFC, Denver, CO; and Keepers of Tradition (2019) at Robert Anderson Gallery, Denver, CO. My photographs have been published in Black & White Magazine, Monovisions Magazine, AAP Magazine, PDN, New Mexico Magazine and Photographer's Forum. My portraits celebrate humankind. I've been privileged to meet and photograph people in may different places - across five continents, diverse geographies, cultures and ways of life. My objective is to make interesting, accessible and compelling images that tell a story or convey a sense of place and personality. As a matter of respect and courtesy, I always engage with my subjects, asking permission to make their portrait. My request is sometimes met with skepticism. Occasionally I'm turned down. More often, however, my approach results in a conversation - sometimes quite brief, and often through sign language or a translator. That conversation - whatever it's form - yields a connection that I hope is reflected in the final image. I favor simple compositions - straightforward and tightly framed. This approach directs the viewer's attention to the subject's eyes. In most of my images the individuals are looking directly at the camera and, by extension, at us. This approach feels honest and straightforward. The great majority of my portraits are made in natural surroundings with available light. No studio, no strobes. This approach is less intimidating and less formal. It improves the chances of capturing a genuine portrait, an unguarded moment that reveals something of the person behind the photograph. My portraits document the amazing diversity in appearance, lifestyle and circumstances of the people I meet in my travels. At the same time, I hope the message that stays with the viewer is, despite our many superficial differences, our shared humanness connects all of us in the human tapestry.
Graeme Williams
South Africa
1961
I grew up in the whites-only suburbs of Cape Town, South Africa during the apartheid era when South African law decreed that 92% of the population were regulated to the status of second-class citizens. My interest in photography began at the age of twelve, but I soon realized that a Kodak Instamatic was never going to produce the results that I wanted. I worked for three years in a bookshop and eventually bought myself a Fujica ST701. It was a real thing of beauty; a single reflex camera with a basic zoom lens, that provided me with the means to control how light formed itself onto the surface of the silver halide film. Sunsets and silhouettes held my attention for a few months, but I had already begun to explore the complex tradition of photographic expression. Life Magazine was for me, at that time, the Holy Grail. Over the years, my enthusiasm for exploring the photographic medium has never diminished. My photographic momentum was temporarily diverted after school by parental pressure to obtain a 'proper' qualification. In my final school year, I was both the Dux scholar as well as a first-team sportsman, which resulted in me being offered a De Beers bursary to study Geology and Statistics at the University of Cape Town. After graduating, I broke the news to my unnerved parents that I was giving up this career path and instead of becoming a property photographer at the local newspaper. In the hierarchy of photographic jobs, this is very close to the bottom. My immediate aim was to gain access to unlimited amounts of film and the time to work on my own projects. In 1987 I began photographing a conscientious objector and medical doctor, Ivan Toms, who refused to comply with the apartheid government's military service requirements. He was sentenced to 21 months in prison. The essay highlighted the absurdity of the political system. Renowned photographer, David Goldblatt, took an interest in this work and this interaction led to a three-decade relationship in which he became both a mentor and a friend. The rights to my essay on Ivan Toms were bought by Life magazine the following year. Much of my work during this period was motivated by the desire to expose the social inequalities and racial divisions within my country. I eventually joined the strongly anti-apartheid collective, Afrapix, and later became a founding member and manager of the documentary collective, South Photographs. In 1989, the beginning of the end of apartheid was evident. I was eager to situate myself in a position that would afford me the best opportunities to witness the transition to democracy. I joined Reuters News Agency as a permanent stringer and for the next five years, I became immersed in the events, both violent and momentous, that led up to the inauguration of Nelson Mandela as president in 1994. Many of my photographs from this period have taken on a life of their own. The image of Nelson Mandela walking out of prison with his wife, Winnie, has been exhibited and published worldwide. In 2008, as Barack Obama fought John McCain for the presidency, Newsweek magazine ran a story asking each candidate to choose an image that best personified their worldview. Obama's team chose an image that I photographed in Thokoza township in 1991. Last year the same photograph became central in a high-profile image-appropriation dispute between me and New York artist, Hank Willis Thomas. There was a massive groundswell of support from colleagues and media from around the world. An amicable settlement was reached. Since 1994 I have concentrated on producing personalized and contemporary bodies of work that reflect this complex country and the continent as a whole. These essays have been shown in solo exhibitions in New York, London, Paris, Cape Town, and Johannesburg as well as numerous photo festivals around the world. (Including China, Singapore, Brazil, Cambodia, France, and the USA). I have been privileged to have been included in major international exhibitions showcasing contemporary South African photography; including Figures and Fictions at London's Victoria and Albert Museum, Apartheid and After at Huis Marseille in Amsterdam, Earth Matters at the Smithsonian in New York, The Rise and Fall of Apartheid at the ICP in New York and Being There, at the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris. Awards include the CAP Prize for Contemporary African Photography (Basel) in 2013 and the Ernest Cole Award (South Africa) in the same year. I have continued working on commissioned assignments and traveling to over fifty countries. My photographs have appeared on the cover of Time magazine twice, and have been published in The New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, Newsweek, Stern, and many others. Whilst working on my long-term projects, I try to bear in mind how the work will be exhibited and published. So, therefore, during the planning and photographing stages, I attempt to create a broad context for my essays, that includes a general look and feel while creating the space for each image to convey its individual complexity. This need to develop a dual awareness in my personal work has benefitted me from a long-term interest in designing and producing photobooks. I have created over 20 publications, some of them winning awards and many being shortlisted in dummy book competitions. During the past five years, I have felt a need to shift my attention from South Africa to the American social, political, and physical landscape. Some of my motivations for this change in direction have been outlined within the 'Plan' document. In 2016 I was granted a residency in the US by the Ampersand Foundation, giving me an opportunity to develop a body of work that interrogated the social strata within the greater community of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I designed and produced a book called, Diverging Dreamlines that included, portraits, urban landscapes as well as multi-image, digital, illustrations. The publication was chosen as "best of the show" in the Annual Photobook Exhibition at the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, Massachusetts. The work was also included in the Unmasked exhibition at Axis Gallery, New York in 2017. Earlier this year (2019) I co-presented a paper, Over Time, at the International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA) Congress held in London. Four of my personal essays were incorporated into the presentation, allowing a psychoanalytical exploration into the parallels between this photographic record and South Africa's dynamics and process of change. I have participated in various mentorship programs, supporting students from South African photographic institutions: Tierney Fellowship winners from the University of the Witwatersrand (2018/2019) and the Market Photo Workshop (2015/2016). As well as candidates from the Photographer incubator Program in 2016. Learn more about Graeme Williams on videos: Victoria and Albert Museum Photography and Democracy South African Studios Dwell in Possibility opening Check out Graeme Williams's interview about his latest project America Revisited
 Atom
Japan
1980
ATOM is a Japanese photographer, born in 1980, based in Tokyo. ATOM spent years travelling around the world to take pictures; he visited 64 countries in total and encountered many cultures and many people. The experience gained from the trip raised many questions for himself. What does it mean to life, coexistence with nature, happiness and purpose of living for? And the fundamental question is, "Why am I born in Japan in this age?" By leaving Japan, he reconsidered his homeland and pondered about living as a Japanese and a modern people. Conscious of his identity as a Japanese, he uses the motifs of symbols that symbolize Japan, takes a photo of the present age, and prints it on the most precious handmade Japanese paper in Japan. Using these media, ATOM decided to deliver the message to the world. In today's diverse world, ATOM hope that you will face yourself and think about the future through the work of ATOM. ATOM has been active as a photographer in the world. His works have been published internationally in publication such as Washington Post(USA), My Modern Met(USA), Weather Channel(USA), 20minutos(Spain), incredibilia(Italy), Hong Kong and others. He also won many international awards. ATOM will continue to experience many things, and explore and express the meaning of living in the present age as a Japanese. HINOMARU, KIMONO and TORII HINOMARU is an alias name of the Japanese flag. KIMONO is a Japanese traditional costume. TORII is a gate commonly found at the shrine. In the photos, ATOM use the Japanese flag, traditional costume and shrine to symbolize money (economic power), declining birthrate and dilution of community. For some, they may seem to represent Japanese religion (Buddhism, Christianity, and Shinto). For others, they may associate the "red circle" with harmony, coins (money), countries or peace; the "red kimono" with their lover, health or cross (religion); the "red torii" with home or relationship with their family. This minimalistic photo is two colors red and white. The colors of red and white represent Japan's national color. And in this photo, he shoot it so that it looks like a Japanese painting without a shadow. This minimalistic photography series raises questions to the modern society, makes the viewer face and think about the present age as well as imagine the future. Today, we live in a rational, material world; we have too much information, and too much stuff. We can get almost anything with a single click. In exchange, however, there are things we have lost: health, appreciation for things we are given, time to spend with our families, time to think and question ourselves, the definition of happiness... Get promoted. Be rich. Become famous. Are you not bound by these stereotypes? How long will you keep pretending to be something you are not, just to gratify your vanity? What is happiness to you? What does abundance mean to you? What is it that you really need? From the age of materialism to the age of mind. Look at these minimal photos. How do they look to you?
Martin Stranka
Martin Stranka was born on Friday April 13, 1984 in Most, Czech Republic, where he lived with his parents and older sister until the age of three. For the next twenty years, family then moves to Litoměřice, where he attends elementary school and the Josef Jungmann Gymnasium. He went on to study economics in Prague, where he has lived and worked ever since. He never studied art, but after the loss of a close friend in 2007 he turned to photography as therapy to regain his balance in life. After completing his university studies, he worked as a human resources manager while continuing in his pursuit of photography which later became his passion. In December 2010 his passion became his profession when he accepted commissions from New York publishing houses Sterling Publishing and HarperCollins. In his seventeen-year career, Stranka won more than 90 international awards, and honorary mentions in photography, of which the most significant include Special Photographer of the Year from the International photography Awards in New York in 2022, and 1st place in the Sony World Photography Awards that he won in 2018 and 2019 in London. His works were exhibited and auctioned at Christie’s in London in early 2023. Martin Stranka exhibited his work in New York, Miami, London, Paris, Prague, and Shanghai, in galleries including Christie’s London, Saatchi Gallery, SNAP! Orlando, Somerset House in London, or the exhibition hall of Prague’s Mánes. His works already attract the attention of art collectors and can be seen on the covers of books published by HarperCollins, Sterling Publishing, and Penguin Random House. Martin has also created several photographic visuals for the National Theater, the National Theater Ballet, and the National Theater Opera. He has published four monographic books the last of which was published the retrospective book for the exhibition at the Danubiana Meulensteen Art Museum. Statement Martin wrote about his work: ''I’m always searching for beauty, but to me, the sort of beauty that is obvious seems uninteresting and empty. To the contrary, a flaw in something that is seemingly perfect adds vital meaning to the captured scene and catches my often-distracted attention. At least a small wobble of emotion to contrast the calmness of mind in a piece of art makes sense to me. As an artist, I need to strip both myself and the viewer of certainty in order to create space for the necessary multitude of questions. I look for form and content that harmonizes with people and provides them with a quiet visual refuge. At first glance, the images I capture are calm, yet under the surface, they rage and roar. I plant a sense of dismay into the same artwork, be it only with the slightest hint of something sinister lurking beneath the surface. And it never ceases to amaze me that such seemingly incompatible contrasts can be combined into one image. I constantly return to the narrative of the relationship between mankind and nature, as well as the exploration of human existence itself. Loneliness and isolation – such relevant topics today – seem to me like an endless line of poetry that I stitch through every photograph, even if only marginally. I can’t let go of the feeling that it is in isolation that I find a much-needed dialogue. A dialogue with myself, within myself, into myself. The visible silence in a photograph is contrasted by hectic thoughts that I’m unable to resist. And after all, I don’t want to defy them, I just need to accept everything as an observer. Observation and voyeurism become the best ways to learn. I repeatedly try to discover the connection between visual beauty and dramatic reality. What connects the state of oversaturation of human relationships and the state of one’s own loneliness? I need to know the answer. In my work, I continue to experiment with the portrayal of personally experienced intimacy contrasted against the more ephemeral feelings of closeness between strangers. I try to give meaning to situations and objects beyond how they are perceived. I’m driven to tear down traditional contexts, to give states and objects different meanings, and thus place ordinary experiences in extraordinary contexts. Although this process may seem complicated, to me it comes completely spontaneously every step of the way. The medium of photography allows me to materialize all these external happenings and flickering events onto paper.''
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