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Laura Stevens
Laura Stevens
Laura Stevens

Laura Stevens

Country: United Kingdom
Birth: 1977

Laura Stevens (born in England) is a photographic artist living in Paris. She received her BA from Leeds Metropolitan University, before furthering her studies at the University of Brighton in 2007. Stevens has participated in group exhibitions at institutions including The National Portrait Gallery, The Centre for Fine Art Photography, Encontros da Imagem festival, the Singapore International Photography Festival with a solo show at The Latvian Museum of Photography. Her work is also represented in private collections. Laura received a special distinction in the LensCulture Emerging Talents 2014, nominated as a finalist in the PHPA (Photo d’Hotel Photo d’Auteur) 2014 and in The Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize 2013/2014.

Stevens’ series of narrative portraits often represent and fictionalise personal situations with the domestic landscape serving as a backdrop, using cinematic drama and painterly aesthetics along themes of intimacy, relationships and loss.

Alongside her dedication to long-term personal projects, she is a regular contributor for the press, for publications such as The Times Magazine, Le Monde, Forbes and The Washington Post.
 

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Trent Parke
Australia
1971
Trent Parke (born 1971) is an Australian photographer. He is the husband of Narelle Autio, with whom he often collaborates. He has created a number of photography books; won numerous national and international awards including four World Press Photo awards; and his photographs are held in numerous public and private collections. He is a member of Magnum Photos. Parke was born and brought up in Newcastle, New South Wales; he now lives in Adelaide, South Australia. He started photography when he was twelve. At age 13 he watched his mother die from an asthma attack. He has worked as a photojournalist for The Australian newspaper. Martin Parr and Gerry Badger say that Parke's first book Dream/Life is "as dynamic a set of street pictures as has been seen outside the United States or Japan". In 2003 he and his wife, the photographer Narelle Autio, made a 90,000 km trip around Australia, resulting in Parke's books Minutes to Midnight and The Black Rose. Parke became a member of the In-Public street photography collective in 2001. He became a Magnum Photos nominee in 2002 and a member in 2007; the first Australian invited to join.Source: Wikipedia Trent Parke, the first Australian to become a Full Member of the renowned Magnum Photo Agency, is considered one of the most innovative and challenging photographers of his generation. Moving beyond traditional documentary photography, Parke’s work sits between fiction and reality, offering an emotional and psychological portrait of family life and Australia that is poetic and often darkly humorous. In 2015, solo exhibition The Black Rose, premiered at the Art Gallery of South Australia. Featuring photographs, lightboxes, video, written texts, and books, the exhibition lead viewers through a vast, visual narrative that explored the meaning and transience of life from both personal and universal perspectives. Parke has received numerous awards and accolades. He was a Finalist, with collaborator Narelle Autio, in the 2016 Basil Sellars Art Prize and was Winner of the 2014 Photography Prudential Eye Award. Whilst working as a press photojournalist he won five Gold Lenses from the International Olympic Committee, and multiple World Press Photo Awards in 1999, 2000, and 2005. In 2003 he was awarded the prestigious W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography. Parke’s work has featured in exhibitions and art fairs across the globe and is held in major institutional collections, including the National Gallery of Australia, Museum of Contemporary Art, National Gallery of Victoria, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of South Australia, Artbank, Magnum London and Magnum Paris. In 2014, Steidl released two hardback monographs of Parke’s work, Minutes to Midnight and The Christmas Tree Bucket. The self-published book, Dream/Life, a collaboration with Narelle Autio, was awarded second place in the American Picture of the Year Award for Photography Books in 2000.Source: Stills Gallery
Ren Hang
Chinese
1987 | † 2017
Ren Hang (Chinese: 任航; March 30, 1987 – February 24, 2017) was a Chinese photographer and poet. During Ren's incipient career, he was known mostly for nude photographic portraits of his friends. His work is significant for its representation of Chinese sexuality within a heavily censored society. For these erotic undertones, he was arrested by PRC authorities several times. He received the backing of the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, who included Ren in his 2013 Netherlands show, Fuck Off 2 The Sequel, and curated the photographer's 2014 exhibition in Paris, France. Ren's erotic, playful and casual yet provocative expression gained him worldwide fame. Ren was born in 1987, in a suburb of Changchun, Jilin province, in northeastern China. In 2007, in order to relieve the boredom of studying advertising at college, he bought a point-and-shoot camera and began shooting his friends. As a self-taught photographer, he said his style of photography was inspired by the artist Shūji Terayama. Ren suffered from depression. He posted a series of diary entries titled My depression on his blog, recording the fear, anxiety and internal conflicts he experienced. Ren died by suicide on February 24, 2017 in Beijing. Ren Hang first began taking pictures of his roommates and friends in 2007, shooting them in the nude as all were close and seeking excitement. In an interview, he also admitted: “I usually shoot my friends, because strangers make me nervous.” He arranged his subjects' naked limbs in his photographs. Ren did not consider his work inappropriate: “I don’t really view my work as taboo, because I don’t think so much in cultural context, or political context. I don’t intentionally push boundaries, I just do what I do.” This may account for his reticence to limit his work to indoor settings. He said there were no preferred places for him to work, as he believed anywhere was beautiful and worthy to be shot, including sparse studios, parks forests, and atop buildings. Ren's photos employ nude groups and solo portraits of men and women often contorted into highly performative positions. For example, hands reach down milky thighs, a limp penis flops onto a watermelon and a series of backsides imitate a mountain range. Questioning the purpose of his work, he once stated that his creation was a way to seek fun for both photographer and the photographed. However, once he had reached fame on an international level, he began to think deeply about his work. The British Journal of Photography quoted him as once saying: "I don't want others having the impression that Chinese people are robots... Or they do have sexual genitals but always keep them as some secret treasures. I want to say that our cocks and pussies are not embarrassing at all." Ren also focused on marginalised people in Chinese society with gender identity disorders by 'indeterminating' sex and gender in some of his work: a group of naked bodies stacked together, men wearing silk stockings and wearing lipstick. He denied having a preference in models: “Gender… only matters to me when I’m having sex.” The international quarterly photography journal Aperture used his photo as the cover for its Queer theme. Commentators also see his work, the naked body and the starched penis, as evolving sexual mores and the struggle for creative and sexual freedom in a conservative, tightly controlled society. But Ren Hang also announced "I don't try to get a message across, I don't give my works names, I don't date them. I don’t want to instill them with any vocabulary. I don't like to explain my photos or work as a whole". It has been mentioned that Ren's work is softcore pornography because of the degree of nudity and sex in it, but he also worked with other themes. The most famous was titled My Mum. Although still under a fetishistic atmosphere, posing with usual props in Ren's works like animals and plants, Ren's mother posed as a clothed model, in a light-hearted way to represent her daily life. Ren's photographs have been included in magazines L'Officiel, GQ Style, and Vice. He worked with fashion companies Gucci, Rick Owens, and Loewe. Ren's work is included in Frank Ocean's magazine Boys Don't Cry. Ren Hang is noted to be greatly influenced by Chinese and Asian contemporary art and in particular, Japanese photographer and contemporary artist Nobuyoshi Araki. Ren Hang mainly worked with a simple point-and-shoot camera. He would direct the models as to how to place their bodies and shoot in quick succession. Genitalia, breasts and anuses were not covered up, but featured, or accentuated with props and close-ups. Colors were rich and high in contrast, increasing visual impact. This, along with the fact all bodies were slim, lithe and relatively hairless, made the impact of his photographs more impressive. His work communicated a raw, stark aesthetic that countered taboos and celebrated sexuality and it was this contemporary form of poeticism in a visual context in which Ren Hang expressed themes of identity, the body, love, loss and death. Nudity is not a theme in art that can be widely accepted by the Chinese older generation. Ren Hang's works are sometimes misinterpreted by the public as pornography. Although some have written that Ren Hang used his photographs to challenge Chinese cultural norms of shame around nudity, he did not believe he was challenging the stereotype and leading a revolution. For him, nudity and sexuality are natural themes which he used in his work. "Nudes are there since always. We were born nude. So talking about revolution, I don't think there's anything to revolutionize. Unless people are born with clothes on, and I want to take their clothes off, then I think this is a revolution. If it was already like that, then it's not a revolution. I just photographed things on their more natural conditions." He said he was not trying to liberate nudity and sexuality since he believed that the Chinese young generation was open-minded and less affected by the old-fashioned cultures. When Ren Hang talked about the question whether the topic of sexuality was still a taboo in China, he said: "I don't think it's related to our times, these are individual cases. Like how to say it, I think it depends on different people, it doesn't really relate to other things. I was not in the whole parents told you that you can only have sex if you get married era. The time after I grow up was already over that period, it was already different like everyone was already more relaxed."Source: Wikipedia Flesh, corpses, souls and bland flashlights, all composite into seconds or milliseconds of lights and shadows, projecting onto the film that never knows how to lie. Focus gathering and the shutter releasing, connecting his unpretentious, rebellious, wild and free perspectives towards the naked human body. The images look so natural, yet fun and unexpected. One soul after another all blossom like a newborn baby, urging to crawl out of his mother’s womb, dying to be redefined. In this era that we live in, being censored by the Chinese government has almost become a stamp of approval for contemporary artists. Ren Hang, a young man with a mature look and tanned skin, hair as short as a Chinese soldiers’, always carrying an irresistibly cute and innocent smile on his cheeks. He is, perhaps, the sole artist and photographer with the most edgy outlook towards the naked human body. Ren Hang continues to stress the fact that he is “boring“. Especially when asked about those basic questions of his inspirational origins and meanings behind the photos, he always just smiles naively, shakes his shoulders and says, “I don’t really know. I never really thought about it.” Perhaps he is such a paver, heading towards the direction of happiness and creative freedom without realizing the pathways he has left behind. You might find him confusing and puzzling, but he has the ambience of such kindness that you would always trust that no evil can come out from him. He is merely a pure form of naked human beings. Source: ITSLIQUID
Robert Mapplethorpe
United States
1946 | † 1989
Robert Mapplethorpe was born in 1946 in Floral Park, Queens. Of his childhood he said, "I come from suburban America. It was a very safe environment and it was a good place to come from in that it was a good place to leave." In 1963, Mapplethorpe enrolled at Pratt Institute in nearby Brooklyn, where he studied drawing, painting, and sculpture. Influenced by artists such as Joseph Cornell and Marcel Duchamp, he also experimented with various materials in mixed-media collages, including images cut from books and magazines. He acquired a Polaroid camera in 1970 and began producing his own photographs to incorporate into the collages, saying he felt "it was more honest." That same year he and Patti Smith, whom he had met three years earlier, moved into the Chelsea Hotel. Mapplethorpe quickly found satisfaction taking Polaroid photographs in their own right and indeed few Polaroids actually appear in his mixed-media works. In 1973, the Light Gallery in New York City mounted his first solo gallery exhibition, "Polaroids." Two years later he acquired a Hasselblad medium-format camera and began shooting his circle of friends and acquaintances—artists, musicians, socialites, pornographic film stars, and members of the S & M underground. He also worked on commercial projects, creating album cover art for Patti Smith and Television and a series of portraits and party pictures for Interview Magazine. In the late 70s, Mapplethorpe grew increasingly interested in documenting the New York S & M scene. The resulting photographs are shocking for their content and remarkable for their technical and formal mastery. Mapplethorpe told ARTnews in late 1988, "I don't like that particular word 'shocking.' I'm looking for the unexpected. I'm looking for things I've never seen before … I was in a position to take those pictures. I felt an obligation to do them." Meanwhile his career continued to flourish. In 1977, he participated in Documenta 6 in Kassel, West Germany and in 1978, the Robert Miller Gallery in New York City became his exclusive dealer. Mapplethorpe met Lisa Lyon, the first World Women's Bodybuilding Champion, in 1980. Over the next several years they collaborated on a series of portraits and figure studies, a film, and the book, Lady, Lisa Lyon. Throughout the 80s, Mapplethorpe produced a bevy of images that simultaneously challenge and adhere to classical aesthetic standards: stylized compositions of male and female nudes, delicate flower still lifes, and studio portraits of artists and celebrities, to name a few of his preferred genres. He introduced and refined different techniques and formats, including color 20" x 24" Polaroids, photogravures, platinum prints on paper and linen, Cibachrome and dye transfer color prints. In 1986, he designed sets for Lucinda Childs' dance performance, Portraits in Reflection, created a photogravure series for Arthur Rimbaud's A Season in Hell, and was commissioned by curator Richard Marshall to take portraits of New York artists for the series and book, 50 New York Artists. That same year, in 1986, he was diagnosed with AIDS. Despite his illness, he accelerated his creative efforts, broadened the scope of his photographic inquiry, and accepted increasingly challenging commissions. The Whitney Museum of American Art mounted his first major American museum retrospective in 1988, one year before his death in 1989. His vast, provocative, and powerful body of work has established him as one of the most important artists of the twentieth century. Today Mapplethorpe is represented by galleries in North and South America and Europe and his work can be found in the collections of major museums around the world. Beyond the art historical and social significance of his work, his legacy lives on through the work of the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. He established the Foundation in 1988 to promote photography, support museums that exhibit photographic art, and to fund medical research in the fight against AIDS and HIV-related infection.
Emin Özmen
Turkey
1985
Emin Özmen (born 1985) is a Turkish photographer, photojournalist and film maker based in Istanbul. He has worked especially on Turkey, on refugees and in the wider Middle East, including Syria and Iraq. In 2013 he founded a photography cooperative named Agence Le Journal, which is based in Istanbul. In 2017, he became a nominee member of Magnum Photos. He currently lives in Istanbul.Source: Wikipedia In 2008, he published two photobooks, "Humans of Anatolia" and "Microcredit Stories in Turkey", a collection of stories on women who were able to access a microcredit in Turkey. That same year, he obtained a degree in media photography and documentary (photography) at the University of Art and Design in Linz, Austria. In 2011, his work on drought in Somalia was published in a book and he worked on the disaster of Tohoku Earthquake and economic protests in Greece. The following year, he covered the Syrian civil war and ISIS crises in Iraq. Since 2012, Emin Özmen is working on his longterm project "Limbo - Les Limbes" and has undertaken a long work of photographic documentation with the populations uprooted by the spiral of conflicts. He has traveled many times to Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, Austria, Germany, Italy and France to meet people who were forced into becoming “refugees”.Source: www.eminozmen.com Emin Özmen is concerned with documenting human rights violations in his home country of Turkey and around the world. His deeply affecting work has brought attention to the suffering of those who are victim to natural disaster, civil unrest and corruption. Since a few years, he has been working on his two long-term projects: Limbo - Les Limbes, which documents the populations uprooted by the spiral of conflicts and Hidden War about the Kurdish conflict that has simmered for decades in Turkey. He worked in South Sudan in 2018 on the adversity and resilience of life in a Protection of Civilians camp and surrounding villages. In 2019 he travelled to Venezuela, where he covered the humanitarian crisis inflicting the country. His work has been published by TIME Magazine, New York Times, Washington Post, Der Spiegel, Le Monde magazine M, Paris Match, Newsweek, among others. Özmen has won several awards, among them two World Press Photo awards and Public Prize of The Bayeux Calvados awards for war correspondents. He was a member of the jury of 2016 and 2018 World Press Photo Multimedia contests.Source: Magnum Photos
Sean Gallagher
United Kingdom
1979
Sean Gallagher is a British photographer and filmmaker, who has been in Asia for over 15 years. Based out of Beijing, China, he specialises in covering issues surrounding the climate crisis and other global environmental issues for some of the world's leading news outlets. He creates innovative photographic, video and multimedia projects that highlight individual's stories from communities that are affected by issues such as climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution, desertification and deforestation. He is a 8-time recipient of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting travel grant, his images are represented by the National Geographic Image Collection and he is a Fellow of the UK Royal Geographical Society. He graduated in Zoology from university in the United Kingdom and it is his background in science that has led to much of his work being focused on communicating environmental issues through visual storytelling. His selected awards include; Environmental Photographer of the Year - Changing Environments Prize (2019), Resilience Science Journalism Fellow - Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at City University New York (2019), Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute Science Journalism Fellow (2017), Environmental Film of the Year - Winner - 'The Toxic Price of Leather', Environmental Photographer of the Year Competition (2014), Published 'Meltdown', a multimedia eBook documenting China's environmental crises in the early 21st Century (2013). Photography and Climate Change Awareness
Laura Heyman
United States
Laura Heyman was born in Essex County, New Jersey. She received a B.F.A in photography from University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA, and an M.F.A. from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, MI. Heyman’s work has been exhibited at Luggage Store Gallery, San Francisco, CA, Deutsches Polen Institute, Darmstadt, DE, Ampersand International Arts, San Francisco, CA, Senko Studio, Viborg, DK, Silver Eye Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA, The Palitz Gallery, New York, NY, Light Work Gallery, Syracuse, NY, The Ghetto Biennale, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Philadelphia Photographic Arts Center, Philadelphia, PA, The Laguna Art Museum, Laguna, CA, The United Nations, New York, NY and The National Portrait Gallery, London, UK.In 2010, she was nominated for a John Guttman Photography Fellowship, and was awarded a Light Work Mid-Career Artist Grant. She has received the Silver Eye Fellowship, a Ragdale Fellowship and multiple NYFA Strategic Opportunity Stipends. Heyman has curated exhibitions and panel discussions at Vox Pouli, Philadelphia, PA, Wonderland Art Space, Copenhagen DK and the Clocktower Gallery, New York, NY, and her work has been reviewed and profiled in The New Yorker, Contact Sheet, Frontiers, and ARTnews.Pa Bouje Ankò: Don’t Move Again uses the studio portrait to explore embedded hierarchies between photographers, subjects and viewers. The work is driven in part by longstanding questions around photographic representation, specifically those involving the voyeurism and objectification of so-called “third world” subjects by “first world” artists. Seeking to examine these questions in depth, I established an outdoor portrait studio in the Grand Rue neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, Haiti in late November 2009. Advertisements circulated news about a photography studio in the area, where members of the local community could schedule appointments to have their portraits made for free. Working in black and white with an 8x10 camera, I photographed one hundred and twenty people over a period of two weeks.Three weeks later, the meaning of those images shifted with the earthquake. They became both records and memorials. That event also changed the focus of the project, which evolved to include various expanding populations in Port-au-Prince tied to future development and reconstruction.Issues of representation, visual sovereignty and cultural protocol, central to the project from the beginning, became more complicated after the earthquake. When I first arrived in Port-au-Prince, I imagined that positioning myself as a “studio photographer” would allow me to escape or subvert the complex tangle of hierarchies at play in Haiti, as well as in the exchange between photographer and subject. Neither has been the case. Instead, layers of meaning and intention continue to reveal themselves, expanding the project's framework and engaging the myriad contradictions and impossibilities present in the work’s original question.All about Laura Heyman:AAP: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?I began making photographs in high school, and knew I wanted to be a photographer before going to college.AAP: Where did you study photography?At University of the Arts in Philadelphia, I studied with Jack Carnell and Alida Fish. At Cranbrook Academy of Art, where I got my MFA, I studied with Carl Toth, and also Grant Kester, who taught Critical Theory at the school during my first year there.AAP:Do you have a mentor or role model?I don’t know that I’d say I have a mentor – there are peers I look to regularly for advice and feedback on my work.AAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it?One of my first shots was the stream in my grandparent’s backyard in Phonecia, New York. My grandfather fished there, and my older sister and I used to run around and catch salamanders and frogs.AAP: What or who inspires you?Artists like Collier Schorr, An-My Lê, Roni Horn, Robert Adams, Mark Ruwedel, Pieter Hugo; David Shrigley, Jennifer Dalton Ai Wei Wei; Richard Mosse and Liz Cohen. I’m inspired by artists whose work makes me think, those using humor in their practice, and artists who really put themselves on the line. Books and essays, movies and performance – I’m inspired by a lot of different people and things.AAP: How could you describe your style?The visual style of my work changes according to the subject – a constant is subjects or projects that can and do express a layered viewpoint, or pose a series of questions.AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film?While I sometimes shoot digital, mostly I work analogue, with a medium or large format camera. Lately that has meant using Ilford HP5 black and white film with a Deardorff 8X10 camera and a 300 mm lens.AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images?For me, editing (by which I mean deciding what images are included in a series, not post-production) is at least fifty percent of the job. I spend as much, if not more time editing a series as I do producing it.AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)?Collier Schorr, Robert Adams, Rineke Djikstra, Zoe Strauss, Luc DelahayeAAP: What advice would you give a young photographer?Know what you want. Shoot twice as much as you think you should. Be prepared to shoot and re-shoot until you get what you want.AAP: Your best memory as a photographer?A number of photographs I made of some friends while we waited in a car for the ferry. It was cold out, and we were all inside, smoking. The images captured the moment and the subjects very precisely – although this was over twenty years ago, they still have an immediacy that thrills me.AAP: Your worst souvenir as a photographer?A little while ago I was shooting some portraits on a very sunny day, and forgot to flag the lens. The negatives l ended up with were completely fogged and unusable.AAP: If you could have taken the photographs of someone else who would it be?Either Robert Adams What We Bought, or Collier Schorr’s Jens F. Both books have a real hold on me – I’m completely consumed every time I open one up. And after years of looking at them, they still surprise and fascinate me.
Shuwei Liu
China
1985
Shuwei Liu (b.1985) was born in Tangshan and currently lives in Shanghai, China. He received his Bachelor of Engineering in Guangdong University of Technology in 2009, then he decided to do what he really love such as photography, design and writing. He's a finalist of LensCulture Portrait Awards 2016. His works got exhibited internationally include Power Station of Art, the State Hermitage Museum, Artefiera Bologna, JIMEI × ARLES Photo Festival Three Shadows Photography Art Centre, Vu Photo. He was an residency artist in Vermont Studio Center, Red Gate residency and granted by them, and was awarded Fine Art "First Place" by PDN, and he was a finalist of LensCulture Portrait Awards, Three Shadows Photography Awards, Barcelona International Photography Awards, British Journal of Photography, described as "Ones to Watch" talents and Photovogue Festival.All about Childhood Revisited"Childhood is a human water, a water which comes out of the shadows. This childhood in the mists and glimmers, this life in the slowness of limbo gives us a certain layer of birth... " Gaston Bachelard "Childhood is not a thing which dies within us and dries up as soon as it has completed its cycle. It is not a memory. It is the most living of treasures, and it continues to enrich us without our knowing it." Franz Hellens All about Visible Darkness "Visible darkness" is a part of my "Blue" trilogy. When I discovered 4 moon-like crescents at the base of my corneas, I thought I was going to lose sight. The anxiety reminded me of Derek Jarman's "Blue is darkness made visible." , blue was the only thing he could see before he went blind. Meanwhile I was hiding in my own corner, chasing the color blue, turned out to be adjusting the distance between the world and me. Blue itself is just like distance, not reachable.
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