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Caterina Bernardi
Caterina Bernardi
Caterina Bernardi

Caterina Bernardi

Country: Norway

I was born in a town called Orkanger on the north-west coast of Norway, the land of the northern lights and long winters. This is where I draw a lot of my inspiration from, with its incredibly dramatic scenery and landscapes, and fairytales I grew up with; stories of moody and mystical Nordic environments brimming with depictions of trolls, princesses and nature.

My connection with photography first blossomed in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where I lived in the very early 1990’s. There, I learned Portuguese, encountered very passionate people and discovered my own passion for photography. A friend had found a producer to make her first CD, and I took pictures of her recording music with famous Brazilian artists in the studio. It was an incredible experience that compelled me to pursue photography, which eventually led me to San Francisco, a magnificent city to go to live and work. There, I got my Bachelors of Fine Arts and ventured out on my own to shoot.

In the past decade I have created images for clients such as Merck, Genentech, Reebok, The Times of London, Pasolivo, Gilead, Bristol-Myers Squibb, KQED TV., Yoga Journal, Vodafone, and Warner Bros, while my work has appeared in photo publications such as Communication Arts, PDN, Graphis, APA Shows, and Graphic Design USA. Currently I am located in San Francisco, CA, but once a year the northern winds call upon me and I go back home and visit Norway, to feel the breeze and see the midnight sun.

Artist Statement
I think artists in general have an innate appetite for life, and speaking for myself, I find that curiosity and passion drive me to explore and create, to be mesmerized by life and it’s constant flux of magical encounters, fears and achievements; my vehicle of expression is the art and craft of photography. In this process I aim to intimately connect the subject and me and ultimately the viewer to a dialogue and to linger, to inspire and to create, and to preserve intense moments of emotion and beauty and mystery.

What I strive for in an image is to get genuine emotion and expressions from the subject. Sometimes it happens very naturally, and sometimes it is a real challenge to put a person at ease, to make them feel comfortable and enjoy having a camera pointed at them. It is a sensitive moment I share with my subjects while photographing, and establishing a connection with the talent is very important in order to capture striking images, and I work hard to make them comfortable and excited so they give their best. With great collaborations everyone wins and walks away with a sense of achievement.

Photography gives my life a purpose and a meaning, to further explore and discover myself, the arts and science, and our mysterious existence.
 

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Iris Brito Stevens
United States
I was born and raised in Salinas, California (U.S.), a farming community known for its lettuce. As a daughter of Mexican immigrants, I became aware of, and sensitive to, the differences between the immigrant and non-immigrant communities and their perspectives, which at times felt narrow and somewhat limiting. Growing up surrounded by family grounded me deeply, yet an insatiable curiosity and passion for learning about the world beyond me, called out. I spread my wings and traveled to destinations that were completely foreign, often under the auspices of humanitarian and educational endeavors. The lens through which I saw the world opened-up and expanded my perspective, just like a camera. Through first-hand experience, I became aware of the lives and conditions of marginalized and oppressed peoples globally. This new dimensionality helped me to confront certain realities, to grow, and to self-reflect on what it means to be human. It also led me toward activism and social documentary photography, which enabled me to blend visual narrative with the stories of other people through projects or partnerships in Uganda, the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Spain, San Francisco and more. My photographic work is my passion, and it serves to create awareness and a more intimate human connection, by encouraging a path that looks beyond our limited and inherent perceptions and conditioning. Statement In America, we place so much value on individuality and independence, that we forget how truly interdependent we are on one another, both on a local and global scale. We have become hyper-focused on the self and are losing our ability to empathize and see the intense vulnerability around us—though considering recent events, this appears to be shifting. As a social documentary photographer, I am drawn towards people and the conditions that are relevant in their lives, as individuals and as members of a family, community, or society. Our perception of the world can be limited to our own multi-faceted forms of conditioning; I utilize the impact of visual narrative to bring awareness of the human condition worldwide. There is so much beauty in diversity. I want to validate that diversity through photography, to help others grow in that appreciation, to demonstrate that we are all a part of something collectively - that life's experience doesn't begin and end with us, as individuals. Dominance consciousness is so pervasive in society; it's like a box with thick walls and nothing to see, nowhere to go, devoid of any inspiration. It kills curiosity and ideas. I want us all to be inspired and curious by the diversity we see and experience in everyday life. Diversity is beautiful.
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
Joel Bernstein
United States
1952
Joel Bernstein is a photographer, guitarist, and record producer based in Oakland, California. His photographs have appeared as the album covers to, among others, After the Gold Rush, 4 Way Street, Rita Coolidge, Wind on the Water, Running on Empty, CSN, Bob Dylan at Budokan, Rust Never Sleeps, Shadows and Light, and Hard Promises. His photographs have been published in Time, The New York Times, and Rolling Stone, among other publications, and there have been retrospective exhibits of his work in New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and London. As a guitarist, he is most noted for support work to his friends David Crosby and Graham Nash, both individually and on their Crosby & Nash records. He has acted as co-producer and archivist with Nash for Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and is responsible with Nash for the compilation and production of the box sets Voyage for Crosby, Reflections for Nash, Carry On for Stephen Stills, and CSNY 1974 for the band's tour of that year.Source: Wikipedia Joel Bernstein is an acclaimed rock photos photographer whose work, spanning four decades, chronicles the inner lives and public moments of some of the most important singer-songwriters, performers and musicians of our time. They include Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, Prince, Jackson Browne, Laura Nyro, Tom Petty and many others. Bernstein also became a close friend and musical collaborator with many of his other subjects, playing and singing on their albums and concert tours. But his most important work remains his up-close-and-personal photographs of these singular artists. His preferred method has been to spend as much time as possible with his subjects until the right instant–the perfect moment of intimacy–reveals itself. Bernstein’s many album covers are commonly listed among the most influential in rock's visual history. His first, at age 18, was Neil Young's After the Gold Rush, often cited in Best Album Covers Of All Time lists. His work was featured in the album cover for Joni Mitchell's Hejira, nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Album Cover. Bernstein’s work was also the inspiration for the look of Cameron Crowe's well-received rock film Almost Famous, in which many scenes were precise re-creations of Bernstein's photographs. In 2018, Bernstein received a Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award by the International Photography Hall of Fame.Source: Morrison Hotel Gallery Bernstein's work is well known within the world of music, and is included in the permanent collection of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. His work was a key inspiration for the look of Cameron Crowe's well-received rock film Almost Famous, in which many scenes were precise re-creations of Bernstein's photographs. His many album covers are commonly listed among the most influential in rock's visual history. He has been published in a wide spectrum of books on music, musicians, and the music business, as well as in Time, The New York Times and Rolling Stone. He was profiled in MOJO, the esteemed British music publication, which extensively featured his photos of Neil Young. Bernstein maintains that his unique perspective on these artists is the result of spending so much time with them that he was there to observe and capture those unique “perfect moments of intimacy” when they revealed themselves, not by some preconceived set-up. He is currently based in Oakland, California.Source: San Francisco Art Exchange
David LaChapelle
United States
1963
David LaChapelle (born March 11, 1963) is an American commercial photographer, fine-art photographer, music video director, and film director. He is best known for his photography, which often references art history and sometimes conveys social messages. His photographic style has been described as "hyper-real and slyly subversive" and as "kitsch pop surrealism". Once called the Fellini of photography, LaChapelle has worked for international publications and has had his work exhibited in commercial galleries and institutions around the world. David LaChapelle was born in Hartford, Connecticut to Philip and Helga LaChapelle; he has a sister Sonja and a brother Philip. His mother was a refugee from Lithuania who arrived at Ellis Island in the late 1960s. His family lived in Hartford until he was 9. He has said to have loved the public schools in Connecticut and thrived in their art program as a child and teenager, although he struggled with bullying growing up. Then he moved to Raleigh, North Carolina, with his family, where they lived until he was 14, before moving back to Fairfield, Connecticut. He was bullied in his North Carolina school for his sexuality. When he was 15, he ran away from home to become a busboy at Studio 54 in New York City. Eventually, he returned to North Carolina to enroll in the North Carolina School of the Arts. His first photograph was of his mother Helga on a family vacation in Puerto Rico. LaChapelle credits his mother for influencing his art direction in the way she set up scenes for family photos in his youth. LaChapelle was affiliated in the 1980s with 303 Gallery which also exhibited artists such as Doug Ait. After people from Interview magazine saw his work exhibited, LaChapelle was offered work with the magazine. When LaChapelle was 17 years old, he met Andy Warhol, who hired him as a photographer for Interview Magazine. Warhol reportedly told LaChapelle "Do whatever you want. Just make sure everybody looks good." LaChapelle's images subsequently appeared on the covers and pages of magazines such as Details, GQ, i-D, The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, The Face, Vanity Fair, Vogue Italia, and Vogue Paris. LaChapelle's work has been called "meticulously created in a high-gloss, color-popping, hyper-realistic style", and his photos are known to, "crackle with subversive – or at least hilarious – ideas, rude energy and laughter. They are full of juicy life." In 1995 David LaChapelle shot the famous 'kissing sailors' advertisement for Diesel. It was staged at the peace celebration of World War II and became one of the first public advertisements showing a gay or lesbian couple kissing. Much of its controversy was due it being published at the height of the Don't ask, Don't tell debates in United States, which had led to the U.S. Government to bar openly gay, lesbian, or bisexual persons from military service. In a long article published by Frieze in 1996, the advertisement was credited for its "overarching tone of heavy-handed humor and sarcasm". In September 2011 when the Don't ask, Don't tell law was finally removed by President Barack Obama, Renzo Rosso, the founder and president of Diesel, who originally had approved and pushed for the advertisement, said "16 years ago people wouldn't stop complaining about this ad. Now it's finally accepted legally." Themes in LaChapelle's art photography, which he has developed in his Maui home, include salvation, redemption, paradise, and consumerism. It is clear that LaChapelle's moving in this, "new direction highlights his interest and understanding of both contemporary practice and art history". LaChapelle's images "both bizarre and gorgeous have forged a singular style that is unique, original, and perfectly unmistakeable." His photographs have been collected in a number of books. LaChapelle Land (1996) was selected as one of 101 "Seminal Photographic Books of the Twentieth Century" and is "highly valued by collectors". His second book, Hotel LaChapelle (1999), was described as a "garish, sexy, enchanting trip". Heaven to Hell (2006) featured "almost twice as many images as its predecessors", and "is an explosive compilation of new work by the visionary photographer." LaChapelle, Artists and Prostitutes (2006), a limited-edition, signed, numbered book contains 688 pages of photographs taken between 1985 and 2005. Artists and Prostitutes was published by Taschen and includes a photograph of the publisher Benedikt Taschen in a sadomasochism scene.Source: Wikipedia David LaChapelle is a celebrated American photographer and video artist. He is perhaps best known for his commercial fashion portraits of celebrities and models, including photos of Amanda Lepore and Angelina Jolie. LaChapelle’s signature blend of colorful, conceptual imagery bears the influence of both Surrealism and Pop Art. Often humorous or provocative, his use of full or partial nudity in numerous advertisements and editorial shoots prompted Helmut Newton to remark, “A lot of the nudity is just gratuitous. But someone who makes me laugh is David LaChapelle. I think he's very bright, very funny, and good.” An avid consumer of pop culture, LaChapelle is also inspired by the breadth of art history, frequently evoking the compositions or poses of Renaissance paintings. Born on March 11, 1963 in Fairfield, CT, LaChapelle’s early work was noticed by Andy Warhol, who then offered him a job at Interview Magazine in the 1980s. His photographs are included in the collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the National Portrait Gallery in London, and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, among others. He currently lives and works in New York, NY.Source: Artnet
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Call for Entries
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