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Sol Hill
Sol Hill
Sol Hill

Sol Hill

Country: United States
Birth: 1971

Sol Hill was born in Albuquerque, NM in 1971, to artist parents who founded the first contemporary art gallery in Santa Fe. His early memories were of being with his parents in their respective studios and of being in their gallery in Santa Fe. As a child the mysterious objects and paintings that pervaded the gallery intrigued him. Contemporary art works were prevalent both in the gallery and at home. Looking at those artworks felt like observing some secret alchemical language that Hill wished to learn. Growing up, Hill lived all across the United States, and in Jamaica and Germany. He majored in International Affairs and German at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR and at Maximilian Ludwig Universität in Munich, Germany. He also studied printmaking in college and then became deeply involved with photography while in Germany. He later returned to Santa Fe and founded Zen Stone Furnishings with his wife, a paper artist from Brazil. Together they designed and manufactured hand crafted home furnishings from stone, twigs, copper and handmade paper. After an intense medical crisis, Hill decided to dedicate himself to fine art. He went on to study photography at the Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, where he received an MFA in 2010. Hill travels regularly and often to Brazil to visit his wife’s family. Travel has powerfully affected his vision as an artist. Although Hill uses some of the latest digital photographic equipment and embraces digital photography, he finds that he is drawn to the kind of liberation found in embracing the mysterious and unfamiliar rather than that which is crisply defined and well known.

About Token Feminine:
The mannequin is a token feminine used to impart cultural conventions of the idealized female image In this body of work I examine mannequins in storefront windows as symbols of consumer culture. I see them as emblems upon which the desire and fantasy of sex and fashion are draped and from which complex valuations of body image are ingested. The mannequin is a token feminine presence used to impart cultural conventions of the idealized female image. I dissipate these literal mannequin pictures by interrupting the expected information and accepting the digital noise, which are undesirable artifacts produced by false exposure, inherent to the process of capturing digital images. This allows me to explore the nature of the boundary between the reverie of the token feminine and the reality of the commercial icon.

About Urban Noise:
I seek stillness within the modern day information overload through the act of unconventional street photography. Urban Noise combines an exploration of the aesthetic and conceptual value of digital noise in photography with a contemplative study of the contemporary urban environment. Digital noise is a reviled artifact inherent to digital imaging. I challenge the notion that this artifact is inherently worthless by using it to render photographs into contemporary visual tropes. It is my tool to address the digital nature of the contemporary world. Digital noise is false exposure produced by energies other than light, namely heat, electrical current and “cosmic noise.” Cosmic noise is the term for invisible wavelength energies comprised in part of man-made signals from our built and technological environment mixed with the electro magnetic energy produced by human bodies. The resulting noise from these interfering energies transforms my photographs. The contemporary urban environment is flooded with so much extraneous information that we necessarily turn most of it into background noise to survive. There is so much conflicting information competing for our attention that I am intrigued by how we sort out what is worthy of our attention, from meaningless background noise. I seek my own stillness within the overwhelming cacophony of modern day information overload through the act of unconventional street photography.
 

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Ian Berry
United Kingdom
1934
Ian Berry made his reputation as a photojournalist reporting from South Africa, where he worked for the Sunday Times and Drum magazine. He was the only photographer to document the massacre at Sharpeville. While based in Paris he was invited to join Magnum by Henri Cartier-Bresson. He moved to London to become the first contract photographer for the Observer Magazine. He has covered, conflict in Israel, Ireland, Vietnam, Czechoslovakia and Congo, famine in Ethiopia and apartheid in South Africa. He has also reported on the political and social transformations in China and the former USSR. Awards include Nikon Photographer of the Year (twice), Picture of the Year award from the National Press Photographers of America, and British Press Magazine Photographer of the Year (twice). Arts Council Award, Art Directors' Club of New York Award. His books include The English, two books on South Africa, Sold into slavery and Sea. Exhibitions in London, Paris, Hamburg, Brussels, Bradford, Perpignan, Aix en Provence Shanghai, Lowry Gallery, Walker Art Gallery Liverpool, Edinburgh, SCOP Shanghai, Hastings, Bruges. Ian Berry: Street Photography Photojournalism, documentary, reportage, call it what you will, shooting on the street is not easy. It needs a level of dedication and commitment as well as preparation, both mentally and with your shooting equipment. I'm aware of the differences of opinion over whether a photographer should ask a potential subject's permission before taking a picture. My take on the matter is that if you want a self-conscious stare into the camera, by all means ask, but if you want a potential subject in their natural environment and make a picture that reflects the situation, then shoot first and, if needs be, talk later. If observed, a smile nearly always puts your subject at ease. Often I find that if I walk out of a hotel in a strange city and go unnoticed when shooting the first picture, I'm high all day and can photograph non-stop without being seen or rebuffed, but a bad reaction from the first subject and I might as well go back to bed. A good way to hone your skills is to attend local events, street fairs and even pet shows, places where people are more amenable and accustomed to being photographed. It goes without saying that whether planning to shoot abroad or in Britain one should respect local customs and dress codes. It's no good wandering around a city in shorts and colourful T-shirts if you wish to move unobserved. This selective process also applies to equipment; whether you compromise between the Christmas tree approach and the sneaky ‘one camera in the hand behind the back' system, and between carrying enough gear to cope with whatever might arise, but not so much that you're exhausted after a few hours. I'm always amazed at colleagues who walk up to people with a 28mm lens and a flashgun banging away in their faces. It certainly creates a style but adds artificiality that I find unpleasant, both visually and in terms of aggression towards the subject. I think a style on the street should be created by a vision rather than a technique. Also the benefit of today's digital cameras to boost the ISO has enabled me at least to ditch a flashgun altogether during the day. Once in a while a new photographer joins Magnum with a totally different vision, like Russian Gueorgui Pinkhassov, who really excites me and makes me want to go out and shoot, not to recreate his style but rather to reinvent myself. I love to shoot with two fixed focal length lenses on two quiet Olympus cameras hanging around my neck, partially concealed under a vest or jacket. Only partially concealed because I don't want it to appear as if I were trying to hide the fact I am a photographer. The lenses I use are a 28mm and a 50mm, which are small, light and fast. I prefer fixed focal length lenses because I like to know exactly what is going to be in the frame, and it's far easier to take half a step forward or backward than fiddling with a zoom. In Magnum the jury is out among the street shooters over whether a DSLR or a range finder is the better choice, but nearly all use single focal length lenses. The other plus of a small camera is that you are often perceived as an amateur photographer and therefore less of a threat to the people you're photographing. Shooting with a long zoom on the street is a definite no-no, as you will be viewed as a voyeur. Curiously, I find I can be 3ft or 4ft from someone, shoot with a 28mm lens and pass by unnoticed and yet be obvious at 15ft. A recent fashion trend I don't think works is trying to carry equipment in a rucksack. It's great for the countryside or getting to or from a location but on the street every second counts and by the time you get a camera or lens out of this sort of bag, night has fallen and everyone has gone home. I find that a soft bag of the Domke variety will hold a body with longer lens inconspicuously but within quick reach. Whatever your kit set-up, however, the same creative needs apply. The ability to recognise a potential situation and produce an elegant composition in a fraction of a second on the street is what separates the great photojournalists such as Eugene Smith, Sebastião Salgado and Alex Webb from the rest of us. I've noticed that with that ability comes the physical stamina and professionalism to pound the streets for 12 hours on the trot. The basic elements are either to grab the decisive moment on the hoof, to see a potential situation and hover unseen until it develops, or spot a potentially great background and be prepared to hang around for an hour or more until the right juxtaposition of people slot into place in front of you. This is something I frequently do, especially in a foreign environment; simply wait until you become part of the fixtures and fittings so that when you raise the camera slowly and smoothly to the eye, no one's attention is drawn by an unusual movement. One of the great things about growing up photographically in Magnum was the words of wisdom dropped casually on occasion by Henri Cartier-Bresson. For example, "A great photograph is not an intellectual result, the only intellectual involvement is being there in the first place. The actual moment is purely intuitive, like squeezing the trigger of a gun when your subject is in exactly the right place in the frame." On another occasion as we were wandering around in Paris, "Walk softly and slowly. If you are moving quickly and stop suddenly, the people you are about to photograph will react to the change of pace in their peripheral vision and become aware of you." Street photography in Britain has become another issue. Years ago when travelling from Istanbul to Beijing by train, I'd passed from Iran into Turkmenistan and was shooting in the capital, Ashgabat. Most of the main buildings had 15ft-high portraits of the President in true personality cult style and after wandering around I chose what I thought was the most interesting building architecturally. I then stood for quite a while waiting for interesting people to pass by to make up the shape. After a short time a couple of guys came out of the building and watched me, then came over and ‘invited' me into the building. It transpired I was photographing the equivalent of the FSBheadquarters. One of the men spoke excellent English and after quizzing me in a not unpleasant way, asked that if he were to come to London would he be allowed to photograph Scotland Yard? In response I invited him to call me when he was next in London so we could photograph it together. Sadly I could not do that any more, we are no longer that relaxed a society. So what to do when you're in front of the Bank of England trying to shoot an essay on the City and an officious PCSO or a jobsworth from the nearest sock shop arrives to tell you to desist, or worse, delete your images? The advice of lawyer Rupert Grey, who knows a thing or two about photographers' rights, is to keep your cool, be polite and explain that you are perfectly entitled to take photographs in a public place without being hassled. The public are more sensible on the whole, although it's still best to avoid photographing children. Years ago when shooting for my book, The English, I was able to go into school playgrounds with the teachers' approval and thought nothing of it; and it was the same in shopping centres, even hospitals, but no longer. Having said that, not too long ago I was passing an African-Caribbean church and stopped outside to take a few pictures of people milling around, only to be invited in to photograph the service – a pleasurable experience in this age, which tells me that one should not give up on recording life in Britain. Ian's words of wisdom "Know your camera inside out. Walk with your finger on the release. Have your lens pre-focused (Josef Koudelka had bits of matchsticks glued to Olympus lenses at different points to focus by feel). A single focal lens is best. I shoot on aperture, only adjusting as light conditions change. Don't be intimidated, most people are happy to be photographed. If nervous walk with a friend, although they are always distracting and get in the way. Buy a waistcoat or jacket a size too big to keep your camera concealed inside. Look around you constantly. Be discreet; looking beyond the subject after shooting often helps. If confronted, good-humoured banter and a smile always work."
Arnaud Gaertner
France
1966
Born in 1966 in Nancy, France. Gaertner moved to Pennsylvania, US at the age of 3-6 (learned arnaud gaertnerto drink milk at school and sing the national anthem, never stopped!). He then spent 5 years in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from age 10 to 16. Gaertner then travelled all over South America. He moved to Belgium for two years at the age of 16 and spent the next 12 years in in France. He took thousands of photos while traveling in North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East. He has resided in the Bay Area since 2012 with his wife Marine and their four sons. Gaertner is an explorer of California and its wonders.Series “In the middle of nowhere”, 2014In the middle of the Back Rock Desert, Nevada. In that Middle of Nowhere, 70 000 people camp in total autonomy for one week on a 30 million old dried lake, and on the main square, dozens, hundreds of art pieces, static or moving, are there, subject to the weather conditions: extreme heat, wind, dust storm. Most of the wooden art pieces are burned by the end of the week. As we speak all these moments are gone, people have left, art pieces returned into ashes, and I am glad these ephemeral moments are still alive through my photographs. This series is about the Ephemeral nature and Mystical dimension of the American desert.Artist statementBy 16 years of age, I had already visited more than 30 countries and had lived abroad, away from my home country France, for close to10 years in the United States, Brazil and Belgium. This decade opened my eyes to the diversity of the world, seen through its landscapes, people, cultures, sounds and tastes. I love people. I love getting to know others better. I love trying to understand who people are and what it is that makes them who they are. I made my first pictures when my Dad let me borrow his old camera while we were discovering the world, then he bought me a Kodak with Cube Flashes-this was my first camera and I have never stopped taking pictures since then. As an adult, I continue exploring all the continents. Photography keeps me connected to the magic of the planet. During my travels I have taken thousands of photos :f rom nature to cities, from diverse subjects to artists in their studios. This project, “In The Middle of Nowhere”, was born in the Black Rock Desert, Nevada, in September 2014. My son Baptiste had come to me and said “Dad, a friend of mine just came back from a crazy art festival in the desert called Burning Man”. Curious, we researched it and discovered something strange and amazing. For my first time at Burning Man I stayed only 3 days, but I took over 3000 pictures! My camera lens ended up ull of dust, but that probably added to the mystery of my images and the “sense of nowhere” I felt deeply. In the middle of nowhere, under 100 degrees Fahrenheit, cycling on a lake that dried 30 million years ago, 70 000 people live in total autonomy for one week where no money is exchanged, and hundreds of art pieces, static or moving, under the heat, in a dust storm, are admired by visitors in very creative costumes. Everything is burned by the end of the festival in a ritual of true “Ephemeral Art!” I seek to testify for the ephemeral, fleeting nature of these art pieces and unique moments made lasting by the photographic image. I try to capture the place, light, dusty wind that surround this eclectic eccentric happening. For this project I have selected about 30 im- ages out of 3000, helped by my two friends Gino Castoriano and Jules Maeght who are both gallerists. “In The Middle of Nowhere” is about people, places and art—those unique, ephemeral moments I capture through my images and that I want to share with you.
Arnold Odermatt
Switzerland
1925 | † 2021
Arnold Odermatt was a Swiss police photographer whose work spanned more than 40 years. Originally trained as a baker, he was a photographer for the Nidwalden cantonal police from 1948 until his retirement in 1990. He is best known for his eerily beautiful black and white photographs of the aftermath of motor vehicle accidents. Odermatt joined the police in 1948 and rose to become a lieutenant, chief of the transport police, and deputy chief inspector of the Nidwalden Police before he retired. At the beginning of the 1990s, Odermatt's photography was discovered by his son, Urs Odermatt during research for his film Wachtmeister Zumbühl, and this work became a central theme in the film's plot. Urs brought his father's works together in the working groups entitled Meine Welt, Karambolage, Im Dienst, and In zivil and has published Odermatt's work ever since, working in collaboration with the Frankfurt art historian Beate Kemfert and a gallery in Berlin - Galerie Springer & Winckler. In 2001, Odermatt's photography was selected by Harald Szeemann to be exhibited at the 49th Venice Biennale. In 2002 James Rondeau exhibited Odermatt's work in its own right at the Art Institute of Chicago, as did Urs Stahel at the Fotomuseum Winterthur in 2004. Odermatt was born in Oberdorf, canton Nidwalden, Switzerland. He joined the Nidwalden Police in 1948. He was forced to give up his original career as a bakery and pastry chef on health grounds. As the policeman Odermatt first appeared with his Rolleiflex at the scene of an accident - to provide photos to complement the police report, people found this rather disconcerting. At that time, photography was anything other than an independent means of providing the police with evidence. A colleague observed Odermatt as he took pictures for the force and was suspicious. He was ordered to report to his commander immediately. Odermatt managed to convince his superiors of the pioneering work he was doing. They allowed him to convert an old toilet in an observation post in Stans into a makeshift darkroom. When the observation post was moved into another building several years later, Switzerland’s first police photographer was given his own laboratory. Odermatt's biggest role model was the famous Magnum photographer Werner Bischof. He met him once by chance, as he was on security duty on the Bürgenstock and wanted to photograph Charlie Chaplin. Odermatt's own style was characterized by sobriety and authenticity. The spartan linguistic expression of his police reports can also be found in Odermatt’s images. His craftsmanship is beyond question, nothing of note is missed by his photographic eye. In Karambolage, his most famous series of work, you can’t see the maimed victims but you do see the ethereal, surreal sculptures of scrap metal. With the softness and melancholy of Jacques Tati, he looks at the consequences of speed and the hectic nature of modern times. For 40 years, Odermatt captured the daily work of the Nidwalden police force. It was only rarely that the local press, the court or an insurance company were interested in his photos. It was only when his son, the film and theatre director Urs Odermatt, showed the photos for the first time at a solo exhibition in Frankfurt am Main that the art scene first became interested in his work. After the inspiring exhibition, the photo book Meine Welt followed. Suddenly the everyday observations from the central Swiss province had gained the same status as those of his well-traveled predecessor, Werner Bischof. At an early stage in his police career, when Arnold used the camera to catalog traffic accidents, this was a revolutionary innovation in the Swiss police. If Odermatt were to turn up at a crime scene with his camera today, he could expect to be told that photography was not for him, but was instead the job of a specially trained police photographer.Source: Wikipedia
Marjory Collins
United States
1912 | † 1985
Marjory Collins was an American photojournalist. She is remembered for her coverage of the home front during World War II. She was born March 15, 1912 to Elizabeth Everts Paine and writer Frederick Lewis Collins in New York City, and grew up in nearby Scarsdale, Westchester County. She studied at Sweet Briar College and the University of Munich. In 1935, Collins moved to Greenwich Village, and over the next five years she studied photography informally with Ralph Steiner and attended Photo League events. In the 1980s she moved to San Francisco where she obtained an M.A. in American Studies at Antioch College West. Her work as a documentary photographer was taken up by major agencies. As a result of a contribution for U.S. Camera and Travel about Hoboken, New Jersey, she was invited to work for the Foreign Service of the United States Office of War Information. She completed some 50 assignments there with stories about the American way of life and support for the war effort. In line with a new emphasis on multiculturalism, she contributed to photographic coverage of African Americans as well as citizens of Czech, German, Italian and Jewish origin. In 1944 Collins worked freelance for a construction company in Alaska before traveling to Africa and Europe on government and commercial assignments. Thereafter she worked mainly as an editor and a writer covering civil rights, the Vietnam War, and women's movements. In the 1960s she edited the American Journal of Public Health. Collins was very active politically; a feminist, she founded the journal Prime Time (1971–76) "for the liberation of women in the prime of life." In 1977 Collins became an associate of the Women's Institute for Freedom of the Press. Her work is included in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. She died in 1985 at the age of 73.Source: Wikipedia By January 1942, Collins had transferred to Washington, DC, to join Roy Stryker's famous team of documentary photographers. Over the next eighteen months, Collins completed approximately fifty different assignments consisting of three thousand photographs. Her upbeat, harmonious images reflected the OWI editorial requests for visual stories about the ideal American way of life and stories that showed the commitment of ordinary citizens in supporting the war effort. Documenting the lives of Americans, discovering my own country for the first time, I was freed of the whims of publicity men wanting posed leg art. -- Marjory Collins During World War II, race and ethnicity consciousness heightened around the globe. United States President Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive Order 8802 on June 25, 1941, to reaffirm a policy of full participation of people of every race, creed, color, and national origin in the national defense program. Multiculturalism became a topic of major importance for government agencies as the United States geared up for war. Collins worked closely with OWI colleagues John Vachon and Gordon Parks and contributed to a substantial photographic study of African Americans. Many of her assignments involved photographing "hyphenated Americans," including Chinese-, Czech-, German-, Irish-, Italian-, Jewish-, and Turkish-Americans. The photographs were used to illustrate publications dropped behind enemy lines to reassure people in Axis-power countries that the United States was sympathetic to their needs. For example, using the popular "day-in-the-life" format favored by picture magazines, Collins portrayed the Winn family at work, at play, and at home. The Winns had arrived in New York from the Czech Republic about 1939 and appeared to be thriving in October 1942. On the job, Collins gave rein to her curiosity about how the other half lived. Roy Stryker wrote in his April 13, 1943 Gossip Sheet for OWI staff, "Marjory is in Buffalo, working on women in industry. This is a special story on women workers for the London Overseas Office." "These photographs should ... portray representative types actually at work rather than posed 'cuties,'" and should show "the very important contribution made towards final victory and how they have adapted themselves to wartime conditions." For one of her topics, Collins covered a young widow (possibly giving her a fictitious name) and her six children, all less than twelve years of age. "Mrs. Grimm's" work outside the home as a crane operator forced heavy responsibility on her older children and required that her younger daughters stay in a foster home Monday through Friday. Some images reveal the family's poverty and their struggle to maintain nutrition and housekeeping ideals. With her social reform interests, Collins felt that this assignment was consistent with Stryker's encouragement to make "pictures of life as it is." She considered the Grimm Family images among her very best, but they also clashed with the glamorized Rosie-the-Riveter concept called for by the OWI. Fellow OWI photographer Alfred Palmer complained that Collins' photographs sometimes showed "the seamy side of life." Palmer and others believed that the OWI had two roles--straight news for publication in the United States and propaganda for overseas audiences. Palmer's news group wanted to clean up photographs, while Stryker's photographers wanted to show how deeply Americans sacrificed to support the war. The Grimm Family photographs are among the last images by Collins that survive in the FSA/OWI Collection. A set of almost fifty photos taken in Tunisia in May and June 1942 are credited to Collins, but no textual records have been found that explain this trip.Source: Library of Congress
Margarita Mavromichalis
Margarita Mavromichalis comes from a family of Greek diplomats and has spent her life living and traveling all over the world. She speaks five languages and studied translation and interpreting. She likes to think that photography is her second language, as it's a universal language, one that is understood by all across the world and conveys messages in the most powerful way. Margarita moved to New York in 2009. She continued her studies for three years at the International Center of Photography where she also served as a Teaching Assistant for several classes. She moved back to Greece from 2013 to 2016 where she devoted most of her work covering the refugee crisis as it developed on the island of Lesvos. She currently lives and works in London. Margarita is mostly attracted to street photography and the elements that evoke emotions and surprise in our everyday life. Furthermore she is passionate about documenting current events that she feels very strongly about, highlighting their social impact. Her work has been displayed in exhibitions in New York, Boston, San Diego, The Museum of the City of New York, the Brooklyn Historical Society and most recently in Budapest, Athens, Paris, Berlin, Barcelona and London. Selected images are part of the permanent collections of the Museum of the City of New York and the Brooklyn Historical Society. She is the winner of the 9th Pollux Awards (2016) and the winner of the 12th edition of the Julia Margaret Cameron Awards (2018) and has been nominated for the 2019 Prix Pictet Hope Award and was recently awarded the 15th edition of the Julia Margaret Cameron Award (2020). In 2021, she won a Gold Medal at the Budapest International Foto Awards, a Silver Medal at the Prix de la Photographie Paris and is an official selection and top 5 at the Tokyo International Foto Awards.
Larry Louie
Canada
1961
International award winning documentary photographer Larry Louie leads a dual career. In his optometry clinic, he is Dr. Larry Louie, working to enhance the vision of people from all walks of life in the urban core of a North American city. On his travels, he is a humanitarian documentary photographer, exploring the lives of remote indigenous people, and documenting social issues around the world. As an optometrist, Larry adjusts people’s visual perception. As a photographer, he seeks to adjust people’s view of the world. Either way, he is interested in things that exist outside the regular field of vision. Larry’s photographs have often been described as realism at its best. There is a story waiting to be told in every image. Sarah Cho, competition director of the IPA/Lucie Awards describes Larry’s photographs as “captivating and sincere and reflect his passion for the medium,” adding, “Larry Louie has a very distinctive style, straddling the fine line of a photo journalist and documentarian. His images are as rich and evocative as the subjects (on) which he focuses.” His photographs show the strength and perseverance that mark people the world over, revealing the light sometimes found in dark places. Larry' s work to document the lives of people around the world has resulted in a vast archive of images. His work has received international recognition and awards including the IPA Lucie Award; National Geographic Photo Essay Award; and Humanitarian Documentary Grant with the World Photography. As an optometrist and photographer, Larry is avid supporter of Seva Canada, an international non-profit organization who is a part of VISION 2020, the global initiative for the elimination of preventable and avoidable blindness in the world by year 2020. Source: www.larrylouie.com Interview with Larry Louie All About Photo: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer? Larry Louie: I knew when I was about 16 when I received my first real camera and I was experimenting exposures. AAP: Where did you study photography? LL: Self taught. AAP: Do you have a mentor or role model? LL: I do not have a mentor, but I have master photographers whose work I greatly admire and I study their amazing portfolio of works: Josef Koudelka, Sebastiao Salgado, James Natchwey. AAP: How long have you been a photographer? LL: I have been regularly photographing since 18 years of age but in regards to the documentary work, only for the last 8 years. AAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it? LL: My first shot that I liked was the color image of 2 women taken in Jodphur, India. I call it the Blue City image because of the predominating blue color of the city. This image was placed second in a National Geographic Traveler magazine photo competition. AAP: What or who inspires you? LL: Great work that has passion in the subject. That is why I like the works of the above artists I mentioned. AAP: How could you describe your style? LL: I like B&W documentary work that evokes one's curiosity about mankind and his struggle with the surrounding environment. AAP: Do you have a favorite photograph or series? LL: I like 2 of my latest series: "A Working Day in Dhaka" and my latest series "Tondo, Manila" (will be up on the web within this month). AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film? LL: I use Canon 5D Mark3 bodies, 24mm f1.4 prime lens, 85mm f/1.2 prime lens, and 24-105mm f/4 zoom lens. AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? For what purpose? LL: I don't do too much editing. I do not crop my images and very minimal photoshop besides converting it into black and white and some burning and dodging. I do most of my editing the week after I return on a trip. The images are used for my website, to produce prints, calendars for fund raising purposes. AAP: What are your projects? LL: Please go to my website. My latest projects have been concentrated on the working poor and people who are stuck in the bonds of poverty, especially children born into poverty and child laborers. AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)? LL: Josef Koudelka, Sebastiao Salgado, James Natchwey. AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer? LL: Photograph what gives you passion. The best work will come through. Shoot, shoot, shoot. AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid? LL: Being cliché. One should be original. AAP: An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share? LL: My wife and I are working presently with an organization named "Philippines Community Fund" whose goal is through education to enable a generation of children to escape from the cycle of poverty to which they are born into, and in doing so create a better and more sustainable life for them and their family. PCF today funs a four storey school in Tondo, Manila providing education, food, healthcare, and other support services for nearly 600 children from the nearby garbage dump and cemetery. AAP: Your best memory as a photographer? LL: To be able to help and raise funds and bring attention to issues that makes a significant difference in the lives of the people we photograph. AAP:The compliment that touched you most? LL: A thank you and a smile from the people who we touched during our visits and who in return touched us with their graciousness. AAP:If you were someone else who would it be? LL: I am happy with who I am and what I do. AAP: Your favorite photo book? LL: "The Sahel" by Sabastiao Salgado. AAP: Anything else you would like to share? LL: No, I would like to thank you for your interest in my photography.
Dejan Mijović
Slovenia
1976
Slovenian freelance photography journalist Dejan Mijović, born on 18 September 1976 and based in Ljubljana, is assistant photo editor of the Delo.si web portal. Mijović has been involved in photography for the past 20 years, ever since undertaking studies of graphic technology at the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering. In 2010, Mijović sustained an injury and was left completely paralysed from the neck down. Through amazing luck, strong willpower and lengthy rehabilitation, and driven by his as yet unfulfilled desire to pursue photography, the tetraplegic was back in the saddle, and has since held several one-man shows and participated in a number of group exhibitions in Slovenia and abroad. Recently, he has been polishing his photography skills with Klavdij Sluban, a French photographer of Slovenian descent based in Paris. Developing his photographic idiom, Mijović first focused on the wide landscapes of the Caribbean and South America, the poetic Tuscany, the magical Lake Cerknica, and explored hidden gems in his immediate vicinity and further afield. Mijović's great flair for composition and light contrasts renders his portraits of random individuals far more than simply frozen moments in time but, rather, perceptive accounts of his life stories. His black-and-white photographs, a preoccupation of recent years, aim to capture diverse moods of his closest family and long-standing friends also in their most intimate moments. All photos in this project were taken after the injury. About 9 years 9 months "The greatest desire of most couples around the world is to start a family. Unfortunately, this is a big problem in developed countries today, as every sixth couple suffers from infertility. These data also apply to Slovenia. Our story began ten years ago when I became quadriplegic after falling on a slippery ramp which led to the sea and was overgrown with algae. After spinal surgery and a six-month recovery in the Rehabilitation Center Soča, I returned home on crutches. A good year after the accident, my wife and I began to think intensely about starting a family. Due to my medical condition (spastic quadriplegia, also known as spastic tetraplegia), we had to seek medical help. We decided for the infertility clinic in Postojna. This is where our nine-year odyssey began, full of ups and downs, joy, tears, mental distress, depression but most of all, getting to know each other and learning about life. Our relationship was put to the test for the entire period, but we realised time and time again that each painful experience created an even stronger bond between us and we were even more determined to succeed sooner or later. In Postojna, the first three attempts with IVF, better known as in vitro fertilization, were unsuccessful. This was a very painful experience for both of us. Naturally for women this is much more traumatic as all the processes take place in their body. Men can only support them, but in reality we do not experience the whole process as intensely as women do. In one phase, the procedure is also physically extremely painful for women (puncture of follicles or removal of eggs from the ovaries). After the doctor performs the artificial insemination (he usually inserts a five-day-old embryo into the uterus which developed in the laboratory under the watchful eye of an embryologist), a long fourteen-day wait begins before a pregnancy test can be done. When the moment of truth comes and you see a minus instead of a much desired plus, your heart breaks. It seems like a piece of you dies with every negative pregnancy test. The bad news was followed by a depressing break of several months, during which we decided to try our luck at an infertility clinic in Maribor. Each clinic has its own methods. They are basically the same, with minor differences. Despite eight embryo transfers, all attempts were unsuccessful here as well. We were especially crushed after the first pregnancy which unfortunately ended in miscarriage in the initial phase. When, after years of unsuccessful attempts, you finally see the desired plus on a pregnancy test, you instantly forget about all previous painful experiences. All of a sudden you are overwhelmed by positive energy and you come to life again, both emotionally and physically. But as the saying goes, life is not a box of chocolates. Suddenly, the joy was over and a time of great sorrow and crocodile tears came instead. Such events cut into your heart forever. Despite the pain, we did not give up and we tried to move on. In order to forget the past events, full of distress and failures, but also because a symbolic wedding had already been quietly planned all along, we decided to get married unofficially in Thailand. After a few more relaxed months, it was time for action again. But what could we do after having used all the six free procedures (multiple transfers are possible in each procedure, depending on the amount of embryos) provided by our healthcare system? We had no choice but to find an infertility clinic abroad on our own which is, among other things, also a big financial burden. However, which clinic to choose and where? A shorter period of research followed. In the Czech Republic alone, which is a very interesting and quite affordable destination for Slovenian couples, there are about 40 such clinics. We decided for an infertility clinic in Brno. After two more unsuccessful attempts and eight extremely exhausting years, my wife gave up. She simply could no longer see the light at the end of the tunnel. We started thinking about adoption more and more intensely. However, this procedure also required a lot of energy and research. Above all, the social work center first had to obtain a certificate proving that we were a suitable candidates for adoption. At the same time we had to obtain a psychological assessment from a psychologist. It took more than ten hearings at the social work center and a visit from a social worker at our home to obtain the certificate. We also found out during the procedure that in most countries where adoptions take place, applicants are required to be officially together for at least ten years before they apply for adoption. In addition, they must be officially married. We therefore had to get married officially, this time in Slovenia. With all the papers we obtained and with the help of our acquaintances, a possibility arose to adopt a child in one of the African countries. We were the tenth on the waiting list. It would have taken at least a year before we could adopt a child. However, since we still had some frozen embryos in Brno, we decided to try our luck in Brno for the last time while waiting for the adopted child. We thought that we would only be able to get the desired child through adoption and that we would soon become parents in any case. Finally, the wheel of fortune was on our side. After nine long years our biggest wish came true. My dear wife got pregnant and despite a risky pregnancy and a long nine-month wait, our son was born and we named him Lev (Lion in English). He was born healthy in mid-March, during the coronavirus pandemic. We can proudly say that we are the happiest parents in the world. We wish to share the story with others to encourage all the couples who are facing a similar situation as we did last 9 years." -- Dejan Mijović
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