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Aaron Siskind
© Jonathan Williams · Portrait of Aaron Siskind
Aaron Siskind
Aaron Siskind

Aaron Siskind

Country: United States
Birth: 1903 | Death: 1991

Aaron Siskind was born on December 4, 1903 in New York. He was the son of Russian Jewish immigrants and the fifth of six children. After receiving his Bachelor of Social Science degree from the College of the City of New York in 1926, he went on to teach high school English in the New York public school system for 21 years. His first loves were music and poetry, but he took an interest in photography after his 1929 wedding, when he received his first camera as a honeymoon present. He began his career in photography as a documentarian in the New York Photo League in 1932. From 1936 to 1940, he oversaw the League’s Feature Group as they created documentary photo essays of political importance, fueled by a desire for social change.

On the invitation of Harry Callahan, Siskind joined the faculty of the Institute of Design in Chicago in 1951, taking over as head of the photography program in 1961, when Callahan left. Siskind and Callahan, famous for their synergy as teachers and photographers, reunited in 1971 when SIskind left the Institute of Design for the Rhode Island School of Design where Callahan then taught. Siskind continued to teach at RISD until his retirement in 1976. He traveled broadly, making multiple trips to Mexico and Italy, including a stint in Rome, funded by his 1966 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship.

Siskind died at age 87 in Providence, Rhode Island. The Aaron Siskind Centennial Celebration took place in 2003 and 2004, with exhibitions at more than a dozen institutions across the country, each devoted to a different period or theme of his life and work.
 

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More Great Photographers To Discover

Tamara Dean
Australia
1976
Tamara Dean (b. 1976, Sydney, Australia) is a photographic artist whose works explore the informal rites of passage and rituals of young people within the natural world.Her solo shows include Ritualism, Divine Rites, This too Shall Pass and Only Human.Dean has received numerous awards including a $10,000 High Commendation prize in the 2013 Moran Contemporary Photographic Award, the 2011 Olive Cotton Award and 2009 Sydney Life: Art & About.Dean’s works have been widely exhibited both nationally and internationally. Her works have featured in ‘Dangerous Beauty’ curated by Stephan Stoyanov, Bulgaria 2013, the 2013 Aspettando FotoLeggendo festival in Rome, Fotofever Brussels Art Fair, 2012 and Pingyao Photography Festival, China, 2012 as well as at leading Australian galleries including Inheritance 2009 and Hijacked 2 – New Australian & German Photography 2010, both at the Australian Centre for Photography; Sydney Now – New Australian Photojournalism, Museum of Sydney 2007; Terra Australis Incognita at Monash Gallery of Art.Dean has been awarded artist residencies with ArtOmi, New York (2013), and previously Taronga Zoo, Montsalvat and repeatedly in the remote gold-mining town of Hill End, NSW.For a decade Dean was a member of Oculi photographic collective.Dean’s work is held in a number of public and private collections including Artbank, Sydney; The Francis J. Greenburger Collection, New York; the Mordant Family Collection, Australia; and is represented by Olsen Irwin Gallery Sydney and James Makin Gallery Melbourne.Source: www.tamaradean.com
Jaromír Funke
Czech Republic
1896 | † 1945
Jaromír Funke (1896–1945) was a Modernist photographer and a leading figure in Czech photography during the 1920s and 30s. He was born in Skute? to a wealthy family. He studied medicine, law, and philosophy at the Charles University in Prague and the University of Bratislava but did not graduate and instead turned to photography. Funke was recognized for his play of “photographic games” with mirrors, lights, and insignificant objects, such as plates, bottles, or glasses, to create unique works. His still life’s created abstract forms and played with shadows looking similar to photograms. His work was thought to be logical, original and expressive in nature. A typical feature of Funke’s work would be the "dynamic diagonal." By the 1920s, Funke had become an amateur photographer and began to experiment with constructivism, surrealism, poeticism, and expressionism. He created unconventional works as a form of “pure” photography instead of the traditional reminiscing of other mediums such as painting or sculpture. During his photography profession, Funke published editorials and critiques about photography. By 1922, Funke had become a skilled freelance photographer and two years later he, Josef Sudek and Adolf Schneeberger created the Czech Photographic Society. From 1931-1935, Funke headed the photography department at the School of Arts and Crafts in Bratislava. Soon after, Funke taught at the School of Graphic Art in Prague until 1944. Alongside Ladislav Sutha, the director of the previous school, Funke published Fotografie vidí povrch in 1935. While travelling, Funke became interested in politically engaged photography. Bad living was created during the time period of 1930-1931 and was a photographic series that dealt with the issues of poverty. Funke later became an editor of the journal Fotografický obzor (Photographic Horizons) for several years. He published a number of works including Od fotogrameuk emoci which is understood to be his manifesto. As travelling was limited during World War 2 in 1939, Funke photographed close to home in Louny, Prague and sometimes Kolin. On March 22, 1945 in Kolin, Funke required an immediate operation for intestine damage but the procedure could not be executed as it was during an air raid alarm and he died.Source: Wikipedia Jaromír Funke (1896–1945) studied medicine, law and philosophy at Charles University in Prague but did not graduate. Instead he concentrated on becoming a professional freelance photographer. By 1922 he was a leader of the young opposition movement in photography and a founder of the Czech Society of Photography (1924) whose mission was to create photography that would fulfil new social functions. In his work Funke managed to combine some of the leading trends in modernist European photography, uniting constructivism and functionalism with surrealism and social commentary, with traditional Czech aesthetics. His interest in modernist ideas led him to make clearly focused studies of simple objects. As the decade progressed, he turned to the production of carefully arranged still lifes emphasizing abstract form and the play of light and shadow. During this time he also produced several important series of photographs, including two inspired by the images of Eugène Atget: Reflexy (Reflections, 1929) and as trvá (Time Persists, 1930-34). Funke was also influential as a teacher, first at the School of Arts and Crafts, Bratislava (1931-34/35), which followed a Bauhaus-inspired curriculum, and then at the State School of Graphic Arts, Prague (1935-44). While in Bratislava, he became interested in social documentary photography and joined the leftist group Sociofoto, which was concerned with recording the living conditions of the poor. Throughout his career Funke published articles and critical reviews dealing with photography. From 1939-41 he worked with Josef Ehm to edit the magazine Fotografik obzor (Photographic Horizon).Source: Howard Greenberg Gallery
Imed Kolli
France/Algeria
1995
Imed Kolli is a 24-year-old photographer based in Algeria. By the time I was 16, my real eduction came from observing what is happening around me and observing that richness don't comes without struggle, and I was looking for a way to translate what I was seeing through my eyes and photography became my voice in this very big confusing world. I started to realize that photography has the power to change prescriptive on life and surprise people with something they don't usually see and sometimes they don't have any idea existed, and it began to push my life in such dramatic direction towards telling the larger story of what it means to be a human, so I bought my first camera , and that was the beginning. To say that my work is evocative would be something of an understatement. Specializing in harrowing, monochrome photos of people living on the fringes of society. I have been doing photography for the last 7 years, I specialized in street documentation photography toward telling the larger story of what it means to be a human and capturing the human condition. In the last 5 years, I had what you would call much a formal eduction by getting my Bachelor degree majoring photography at the highest institute of perfuming arts and audio visuals here in Algeria, I also had the chance to follow my main passion by continuing my master of fine art online degree program at the Academy of Art University in San-Fransisco. My passion for photography has actually never been stronger than it is today and it's 6 years that I've been making pictures that I've involved in visual storytelling. Most of what I know about the world has come through this medium, through practicing it through, learning about it. I've often said that photography is sort of like a condition that you catch and I caught it when I was 18 years old within about three months of learning about photography and I would say that today 7 years later that condition has never been more severe. During years I became obsessed with the idea of combining photography and documenting the human condition and that maybe that could be a way to bring these theories to the audience and perhaps get to learn and tell about the stories that need to be tell. My practice has always been predicated on international work mostly documenting work, documenting the human condition, but I've also done probably the largest project of my career so far ETERNAL FACES was obviously a domestic project, I spent 3 years on that and actually even since that project, I've continued to look at the issue of aging more so through film and multimedia and as time goes on and this is kind of connected to the question about my passion for photography. I feel like my repertoire for the kinds of stories that I want to do, the kinds of issues that I'm interested in are actually expanding, they're not narrowing, so I'm much more open to working on stories that in the past I might have considered you know softer or irrelevant. I'm talking about the world that is grinding out a lot of a critical issues that humanity is facing today, social issues political issues resource, issues you know climate change, how to deal with a permanent underclass of homelessness, I believe there's so many issues in the world that are critically important to look at. Statement This work is being classified as a Street-Portrait Photography which could actually offer a new way of prescriptive of people's portraits in black and white. I tried to reach the authenticity of people who had contracted the bitterness or resentfulness through their lives. The idea comes from street photography and how to shoot homeless, poor people in a beautiful manner from basic. It was all about dramatic situations and the spirituality of portraiture. To me, the most important characteristic was having a sharp eye and being aware of the environment around me. This means looking out for, not just colors, shapes, lights, shadows and so on, but observing my subjects and how they appear and act as well. I exposed the hardships and poor conditions of life of the deprived people through face expression. I did this in an attempt to assuage these problems. Vividly I wanted to expose the realities of squalid living and misery faced by homelessness every day. Harrowing street-portraits photography combined with emotion storytelling, were intended to engage and inform the audience and exhort them to act. What I accomplished by taking these photographs from the streets was to inform the world, How people are suffering every day. I wanted to show the life of these people lived, I had experimented with illustrations that dramatized the devastating human cost of the emotional expressions. I realized finally that only photographs seemed to capture the reality with sufficient resolution to change hearts. The singular emphasis in others on subjects, divested of a story, is all the more remarkable for this reason. In this project, I emphasized the reflective mode over the nature of my body of work envisaging,.The images chosen for The -Eternal Faces- did privilege the inventorial, world of observation and artistic classification as it reflects reality, with the objects taken out of context. There is no doubt that my body of work has profoundly shifted the way that we perceive these people in reality, the sensual appeal of reflection outcome intents in the real world has proved irresistible to photographers including my project Eternal Faces. Beginning with the intent to reflect these people's realities and finding expression in practitioners of widely differing outlooks and goals. Photographing these kind of subjects acquire an aura by being taken from their casual, often overlooked, position and put under intense scrutiny. The outcome intent tool which should look upon my project dispassionately is capable of creating images, filtered through the imagination, which compellingly engages the viewer's imagination and emotions. It wasn't empathy, It wasn't sympathy, it was more of a forced, intrinsic, and integral self-reflection. What I did is photograph emotions, I was photographing the initial moment when I laid eyes on the human being beautiful face shape that reflects the whole story of what it means to be broke, Injured, homeless, beggar and poor underprivileged and sometimes even hopeless. I gave with the often willing and knowing collaboration of my subjects, a metonymic typology of people who lived in dark side of society, representing for us the poor, homelessness, the other half. I was after the general truth of a general category, and the finer truths of individuals necessarily caught my inspiration to pick up this precise subject matter to photograph. The center of each picture was the subject matter: a person and his or her experience at that moment in time. To me and many other progressives, the rock bottom status added them from personal contact with the impoverished even when Christianity and the Social Gospel created a burden to extent charity to the disfranchised and discarded in society. I came imbuing them with the iconic soul of humanity and left almost engaging a subject in eyes contact. All of my photographs with human subjects refer to not where the subject is located, but the person before the lens and how did I visualize their emotions and feelings in a humanitarian neutral way. My images are intended to resonate with the viewer on a spiritual and human level and I try to pack in the metaphysical…attributes which tell their own story. I try to provoke an imaginative and intelligent response from the viewer with a purely visual reference.
Dan Budnik
United States
1933
Dan Budnik (b.1933, Long Island, NY) studied painting at the Art Students’ League of New York. After being drafted, he started photographing the New York school of Abstracts Expressionist and Pop Artists in the mid-fifties, making it a primary focus for several decades. He made major photo-essays on Willem de Kooning and David Smith, among many other artists. It was his teacher Charles Alston at the Art Students’ League of New York, the first African American to teach at the League, who inspired his interest in documentary photography and the budding Civil Rights Movement. In 1957 he started working at Magnum Photos, New York, assisting several photographers, notably Cornell Capa, Burt Glinn, Eve Arnold, Ernst Haas, Eric Hartmann and Elliott Erwitt. In March 1958 Budnik travelled to live with the underground in Havana for 6 weeks during the Cuban revolution. Budnik continued to work with Magnum for half of his time, until joining as an associate member in 1963. In 1964 he left Magnum and continued specializing in essays for leading national and international magazines, focussing on civil and human rights, ecological issues and artists. Since 1970 Budnik has worked with the Hopi and Navaho traditional people of northern Arizona, and received for this work a National Endowment for the Arts Grant in 1973 and a Polaroid Foundation Grant in 1980. In 1998 he was the recipient of the Honor Roll Award of the American Society of Media Photographers. He lives and works in Tucson and Flagstaff, Arizona. Source: danbudnik.com
Joakim Eskildsen
Denmark
1971
Joakim Eskildsen was born in Copenhagen in 1971 where he trained with Royal Court photographer, Mrs. Rigmor Mydtskov. In 1994, he moved to Finland to learn the craft of photographic book making with Jyrki Parantainen and Pentti Sammallahti at the University of Art and Design in Helsinki, graduating with an MA degree in photography in 1998. He often collaborates on projects with writer Cia Rinne, and his publications include Nordic Signs (1995), Blue-tide (1997), iChickenMoon (1999), which was awarded Best Foreign Title of 2000 in the Photo-Eye Books & Prints Annual Awards, the portfolio al-Madina (2002), which was made in collaboration with Kristoffer Albrecht and Pentti Sammallahti, and the book The Roma Journeys (Steidl 2007), which a.o. has been awarded with the Amilcare Ponchielli Award in 2008, Deutscher Fotobuchpreis (Gold) 2009, the Otto Pankok Promotion Prize, and the David Octavius Hill-medal awarded by Deutsche Fotografsche Akademie in 2009. Joakim lives and works in Berlin.Source: www.joakimeskildsen.com Joakim Eskildsen (born 1971 in Copenhagen) is a Danish art photographer. Eskildsen was a pupil of Rigmor Mydtskov in Copenhagen and went to Finland in 1994 to study photographic book making with Pentti Sammallahti at the University of Art and Design Helsinki. He lives near Copenhagen and has shown some of his works in Europe (including Germany, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, France, England, Italy), China, and South Africa. From 2000-2006, together with the writer Cia Rinne, Eskildsen sought out Roma in various (mainly Eastern European) countries and other ethnic groups in India who are possibly related to the Roma. The fruits of this work have found their way into the book The Roma Journeys, which delivers insight into the life of the Roma by its text and more than 200 photographs. Source: Wikipedia
Erwin Blumenfeld
Germany/United States
1897 | † 1969
Born in Berlin in 1897 to Jewish parents, Blumenfeld began his career working as an apprentice dressmaker to Moses and Schlochauer in 1913. He opened his own company in Amsterdam in 1923, the 'Fox Leather Company', a leather goods store specialising in ladies handbags. After moving to new premises in 1932, Blumenfeld discovered a fully equipped dark room and began to photograph many of his -predominantly female- customers. The company went bankrupt in 1935, just as Blumenfeld's photographic career was beginning to take an upward turn. Following a move to Paris in 1936, Blumenfeld was commissioned to take the portraits of personalities including George Rouault and Henri Matisse and secured his first advertising work for Monsavon. Blumenfeld quickly captured the attention of photographer Cecil Beaton who helped him secure a contract with French Vogue. After World War II in 1941, Blumenfeld moved to New York where he was immediately put under contract by Harper's Bazaar and after three years, he began freelance work for American Vogue. Over the next fifteen years, Blumenfeld's work was featured on numerous Vogue covers and in a variety of publications including Seventeen, Glamour and House & Garden. During this period, he also worked a photographer for the Oval Room of the Dayton Department Store in Minneapolis and produced advertising campaign for cosmetics clients such as Helena Rubinstein, Elizabeth Arden and L'Oreal. In the late 50s, he also began to create motion pictures, hoping to use them commercially and began work on his biography and his book 'My One Hundred Best Photos' which, despite being a renowned fashion photographer, only included four of his fashion images. Following Blumenfeld's death in 1969, numerous books on his work have been published, namely 'The Naked and the Veiled' by his son, Yorick Blumenfeld, and his photographs have been exhibited at international galleries including the Pompidou Gallery in Paris, The Barbican in London and The Hague Museum of Photography in the Netherlands. In the 1960s, he worked on his autobiography which found no publisher because it was considered to be too ironic towards society, and was published only after his death.Source: Wikipedia Erwin Blumenfeld is considered to be one of the early pioneers of fashion photography alongside George Hoyningen-Heune, Cecil Beaton, and Horst P. Horst. It was not only his employment of experimental techniques in the darkroom, Dada and Surrealist influences, and groundbreaking street work, but Blumenfeld’s unique and masterful combination of elegance and eroticism that transformed fashion into high art and paved the way for Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Herb Ritts, and other photographers who enjoyed such prominence and recognition in the history of art. In addition to holding the record for the most covers of Vogue, Blumenfeld’s works were abundantly reproduced within the pages of Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Life and Vogue during the 1930s, '40s and '50s. Many of the images from these shoots will be featured in this exhibition and have since become icons of the history of fashion photography. Some have never been seen before. But all of the prints showcase not only Blumenfeld’s innovation as a photographer of fashion but also his spectacular skill as a printmaker. In his retrospective examination of Blumenfeld’s work, William Ewing writes, “His highly original and visionary work was a seamless blend of the negative and positive: taking the picture in the studio and making it in the darkroom.” In the studio, Blumenfeld often employed mirrors, glass, and backgrounds reproduced from paintings, images of cathedrals, or mosaics of magazine covers. He often used veils, which could distort or elongate the figure, confident that a woman partially concealed was more erotically charged that one seen fully nude. He also believed the printing of the image was as every bit as important as the process of capturing it, and like Man Ray, he was tirelessly inventive in the darkroom, deploying a variety of optical and chemical tricks, including multiple exposures, solarization and bleaching.Source: Edwynn Houk Gallery
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