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Matthew O'Brien
Matthew O'Brien
Matthew O'Brien

Matthew O'Brien

Country: United States

Matthew James O’Brien is a photographer from San Francisco whose work celebrates humanity and the natural world. He studied zoology at the University of California at Berkeley. His understanding of the natural world informs his photography and his understanding of humanity.

Across all of his work, regardless of the medium, there is one unifying theme— finding beauty, in any circumstance. That could be in the inner-city schools of Oakland, rural Sinaloa, Mexico caught up in narco violence, the dying ranching community across the bay from San Francisco, or war-ravaged Colombia.

His work has been exhibited and collected by various institutions including the Library of Congress, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, the California Museum of Photography, the Fries Museum (Netherlands), the Art Science Museum (Singapore) and el Museo de Arte Moderno de Cartagena (Colombia). Among the awards he has received are a Mother Jones International Fund for Documentary Photography Award, a Community Heritage Grant from the California Council for the Humanities, and a Fulbright Fellowship.

He was a Creative Uses Consultant for Polaroid, and has worked extensively with Polaroid films, including No Dar Papaya, his eleven-year exploration of Colombia, which became a book (Icono Editorial/Placer Press).

O’Brien also works with video, and teaches photography in English and Spanish. He has taught at UC Berkeley, the Universidad de Antioquia and the Universidad de Medellín in Colombia, among other places. His work has appeared in publications from The Washington Post to Camera Arts. His favorite clients to work with are NGO’s that work to make the world a better place.
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More Great Photographers To Discover

Jared Ragland
United States
1977
Jared Ragland is a fine art and documentary photographer and former White House photo editor. He currently teaches and coordinates exhibitions and community programs in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and is at work on a long-term documentary on methamphetamine users living in northeast Alabama. He is the photo editor of National Geographic Books' "The President's Photographer: Fifty Years Inside the Oval Office," and has worked on assignment for NGOs in the Balkans, the former Soviet Bloc, East Africa and Haiti. His photographic work is rooted in his lifelong exposure to the landscapes, people, aesthetics, and storytelling traditions of the American South, and his work has been exhibited internationally and featured by The Oxford American, The New York Times, and TIME Magazine. Jared is an alumni of LaGrange College and a 2003 graduate of Tulane University with an MFA in Photography. He resides in his hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. Statement: The rise in use of methamphetamine across the United States over the last decade has led to increased cultural anxiety about the drug and those who use it, while the general perception of the meth-head is perpetuated by popular television programs and pervasive anti-meth campaigns. These limited representations typically paint one-dimensional, demonized characters whose chronic drug use is epitomized by obsessiveness, paranoia, and monstrous physical side effects. But while there are certainly deleterious consequences to meth use and stereotypes often ring too true, existing cultural narratives too often fall short of more complex, individually considered realities. Photographed over 18 months in collaboration with University of Alabama at Birmingham sociologist Heith Copes, Ph.D., GOOD BAD PEOPLE documents the tumultuous lives of meth users from Sand Mountain, a sandstone plateau in northeast Alabama infamous for extreme poverty, poultry processing plants, Pentecostal snake-handlers, and meth production. The images simultaneously reinforce and undermine assumptions of what it means to be a methamphetamine user and present an intimate look into the lives of those who struggle amidst drug use and diminished social status.
Bruce Davidson
United States
1933
Bruce Davidson began taking photographs at the age of ten in Oak Park, Illinois. While attending Rochester Institute of Technology and Yale University, he continued to further his knowledge and develop his passion. He was later drafted into the army and stationed near Paris. There he met Henri Cartier-Bresson, one of the founders of the renowned cooperative photography agency, Magnum Photos. When he left military service in 1957, Davidson worked as a freelance photographer for LIFE magazine and in 1958 became a full member of Magnum. From 1958 to 1961 he created such seminal bodies of work as “The Dwarf,” Brooklyn Gang,” and “Freedom Rides.” He received a Guggenheim fellowship in 1962 and created a profound documentation of the civil rights movement in America. In 1963, the Museum of Modern Art in New York presented his early work in a solo show. In 1967, he received the first grant for photography from the National Endowment for the Arts, having spent two years witnessing the dire social conditions on one block in East Harlem. This work was published by Harvard University Press in 1970 under the title East 100th Street and was later republished and expanded by St. Ann’s Press. The work became an exhibition that same year at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 1980, he captured the vitality of the New York Metro’s underworld that was later published in a book, Subway, and exhibited at the International Center for Photography in 1982. From 1991-95 he photographed the landscape and layers of life in Central Park. In 2006, he completed a series of photographs titled “The Nature of Paris,” many of which have been shown and acquired by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Davidson received an Open Society Institute Individual Fellowship in 1998 to return to East 100th Street His awards include the Lucie Award for Outstanding Achievement in Documentary Photography in 2004 and a Gold Medal Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Arts Club in 2007. Classic bodies of work from his 50-year career have been extensively published in monographs and are included in many major public and private fine art collections around the world. He continues to photograph and produce new bodies of work.Source: Magnum Photos
Larry Towell
Canada
1953
Larry Towell (born 1953) is a Canadian photographer, poet, and oral historian. Towell is known for his photographs of sites of political conflict in the Ukraine, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Standing Rock and Afghanistan, among others. In 1988, Towell became the first Canadian member of Magnum Photos. Towell was born in Chatham-Kent, Ontario and grew up in a large family in rural Ontario, attending local schools. At college, he studied visual arts at York University in Toronto, where his interest in photography first began. In 1976 Towell volunteered to work in Calcutta, India, where he became interested in questions about the distribution of wealth and issues of land and landlessness. Returning to Canada, Towell taught folk music and wrote poetry during the 1980s. He became a freelance photographer in 1984. His early work included projects on the Contra war in Nicaragua, the civil war in El Salvador, relatives of the disappeared in Guatemala, and American Vietnam War veterans who worked to rebuild Vietnam. His first magazine essay looked at the ecological damages from the Exxon Valdez oil spill. In 1988, Towell joined the Magnum Photos agency, becoming the first Canadian associated with the group. He has had picture essays published in The New York Times, Life, Rolling Stone, and other magazines. His work has included documentation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Mennonite migrant workers in Mexico, and a personal project on his family's farm in southern Ontario. He works in both film and digital photography formats. He has said "Black and white is still the poetic form of photography. Digital is for the moment; black and white is an investment of time and love." He has also worked with panoramic cameras to documents the impact of natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina. From 2008 to 2011, Towell traveled five times to Afghanistan to photograph the social effects of the Afghan civil war. Between 2013 and 2015, Towell photographed the above and underground construction work in Toronto's Union Station. In 2015 his photo Isaac's first swim was published by Canada Post as a stamp. In 2016 Towell photographed the Standing Rock protest in Standing Rock, North Dakota. Towell has published books of photographs, poetry, and oral history. He has also recorded several audio CDs of original poetry and songs. Towell lives in rural Lambton County Ontario and sharecrops a 75-acre farm with his wife Ann and their four children.Source: Wikipedia Larry Towell is Canada's most decorated photojournalist and is the country's first photographer to be made a member of Magnum, the world's most prestigious photo agency that was founded by Henry Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa in 1947. Larry served as Vice-President of Magnum's New York office for several years between 2007 and 2016. After completing a Visual Arts degree at York University, Toronto, he began photographing and writing in Calcutta. He then went on to complete book projects in Central America on the Nicaraguan Contra War and on the relatives of the disappeared in Guatemala. In 1996, Towell completed a monograph based on ten years of reportage in the brutal civil war in El Salvador, followed by a major book on the Palestinians. His fascination with landlessness also led him to the Mennonite migrant workers of Mexico, an eleven-year work he completed in 2000. After receiving the inaugural Henri Cartier-Bresson Award, Larry finished a second critically acclaimed book on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict (No Man's Land, 2005), followed by The World From My Front Porch (2008) and most recently, Afghanistan (2014). Towell's photo stories have been published in many international magazines including; LIFE, The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, Elle, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, Geo, and Stern. His international photo awards include: The Henri Cartier-Bresson Award (first recipient); several first place World Press awards including the 1994 Photo of the Year; a Hasselblad Award; The Alfred Eisenstadt Award; The Oskar Barnack Award; the first Roloff Beny Book prize, a Paul de Hueck and Norman Walford Career Achievement Award, the Prix Nadar of France, and a British Design and Art Direction (D&AD) Award. Larry is also a gifted writer and musician and is known for his innovative live performances incorporating original music, video, poetry, and stills. He is the author of four music albums, fourteen books, as well as Indecisive Moments (2008), an award-winning short film. Towell has had numerous one person and group exhibitions around the globe and is represented in many international public and private collections. His current projects include the war in Ukraine and Central American migrants crossing Mexico. Larry lives in rural Ontario where he sharecrops a 75-acre farm.Source: www.bulgergallery.com
Shelby Lee Adams
United States
1950
Shelby Lee Adams is an American environmental portrait photographer and artist best known for his images of Appalachian family life. Adams has photographed Appalachian families since the mid-1970s. He had first encountered the poor families of the Appalachian mountains as a child, travelling around the area with his uncle, who was a doctor. His work has been published in three monographs: Appalachian Portraits (1993), Appalachian Legacy (1998), and Appalachian Lives (2003). Adams was the subject of a documentary film by Jennifer Baichwal in 2002 - The True Meaning of Pictures: Shelby Lee Adams's Appalachia. This was shown at the Toronto International Film Festival, and at the Sundance Festival in 2003. The film critiques and defends Adams' method in photographing Appalachian people for his previously published books.Source: Wikipedia Born in Kentucky in the town of Hazard, and later living with his grandparents in Hot Spot, Shelby Lee Adams discovered photography and the arts in high school. It was during this time that the Peace Corps sent a film crew to his town to document the poverty of Appalachia, which sparked Adams' interest in the documentary style. He attended the Cleveland Institute of Art, where in his sophomore year he was exposed to the photographs of the Farm Security Administration. These pictures document the debilitating effects of the Depression in the South during the 1930s. Adams was able to relate to the images and the subjects, inspiring him to make the pictures for which he is now best known, his photographs of the people and culture of Appalachia. He began this project in 1973 and although he has done editorial work for publications like Fortune, GQ, New York Magazine, and the New York Times, he primarily focuses on portraits of the people of Appalachia. Shelby Lee Adams works primarily in black and white. He began with a 35mm camera and then switched to a 4x5. His crisp, poignant images show the people of Appalachia in their simple environments, revealing both the heroic and grotesque side to secluded mountain life. Adams photographs his subjects with an emphasis on the unpretty beauty of their immediate surroundings and their worn faces and clothes, their rudimentary living conditions starkly contrasted against the backdrop of a sublime landscape. But they are not depicted as victims; they confront the camera proudly and matter-of-factly. Shelby Lee Adams considers his subjects his friends, which no doubt lends a level of comfort to the shooting sessions, as they face his large camera. In his most recent work, Adams documents the infiltration of progress and media into the folkways of the Appalachian people, capturing the displacement of an agrarian economy. Drawn to the attractions of pop culture and modern life, the Appalachian people are losing interest in living off the land. Adams' work has received a great deal of recognition. He is the recipient of a survey grant and photography fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (1978, 1992), along with an artist support grant four years running from the Polaroid Corporation (1989-92). His photographs are held in the permanent collections of many museums, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art, both in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., the Harvard Fogg Museum in Cambridge, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.Source: International Center of Photography
Nelli Palomäki
Finland
1981
Nelli Palomäki was born 1981 in Forssa, Finland. At the moment she lives and works in Karkkila and Helsinki, Finland. Her timeless portraits of children and young people reveal the fragility of the moment shared with her subject. Palomäki’s photographs deal with the growth, memory and our problematic way of seeing ourselves. One of the crucial themes in her portraiture is our mortality. She describes: “We fight against our mortality, denying it, yet photographs are there to prove our inescapable destiny. The idea of getting older is heart-rending.” She is a graduate of Aalto University School of Art, Design and Architecture in Helsinki. Palomäki’s works have been exhibited in numerous international solo and group exhibitions. Selected solo shows: Shared (Galerie Les Filles du Calvaire, Paris 2018), Shared (Gallery Taik Persons, Berlin 2017), Jaettu (Forum Box, Helsinki 2016), Breathing the Same Air (Ordrupgaard Art Museum, Copenhagen 2013), Nelli Palomäki (The Finnish Museum of Photography, Helsinki 2013), Sons of Nakhimov (The Wapping Project Bankside, London 2012), As time consumes us (Les Rencontres d’Arles, Discovery Award 2012), As time consumes us (Kulturhuset, Stockholm 2011), Elsa and Viola (Next Level Projects, London 2011), Elsa and Viola (Gallery TAIK, Berlin 2009), I, Daughter (Turku Art Museum, Turku 2008). Her photographs have been shown in several group shows including Helsinki City Art Museum, Hasselblad Foundation in Gothenburg, Bruce Silverstein Gallery in New York, Daegu Photo Biennale in South Korea, The National Museum of Photography in Copenhagen, Purdy Hicks Gallery in London and Aperture Gallery in New York. Palomäki’s photography has been featured in several publications such as TIME magazine, British journal of photography, Independent magazine, New York Magazine, Zoom and Exit. Her book Breathing the Same Air was published spring 2013 by Hatje Cantz. In spring 2010 Palomäki placed 2nd in Sony World Photography Awards in portraiture category and the same year Hasselblad Foundation awarded her the Victor Fellowship Grant for the studies in London. She has been selected as one of the young emerging artist for the reGeneration2–Tomorrow's Photographers Today project. In summer 2012 Palomäki was nominated for the Discover Award at the Rencontres d’Arles in France. Permanent collections include: Moderna Museet in Stockholm; The Hague Museum of Photography, Hasselblad Foundation in Gothenburg and Helsinki Art Museum. Palomäki is represented by Gallery Taik Persons (Berlin), Galerie Les filles du calvaire (Paris) and Jackson Fine Art (Atlanta). Source: nellipalomaki.com About The Work Seen and captured by someone else’s eyes reminds us that the image we have of ourselves is not absolute, it is not truthful. In many senses the mirror lies more than a photograph. We learn to see ourselves in such a one-dimensional way, that hardly any image can satisfy us anymore. While time gnaws away at the faces of us and our close ones, we return to look at the pictures from our past. As beautiful or poignant as an image may be; as much as we could garner from it emotionally, the feeling for which we search remains intangible and elusive. We will never fully comprehend or recreate the moment, it died at the moment of its’ birth. Sadly, the portrait is just a shadow of our meeting, a small stain of the time we spend together. Each and every portrait I have taken is a photograph of me too. What I decide to see, or more likely, how I confront the things that I see, inevitably determines the final image. But more than that, the intensity of the moment shared with the subject, controls the portrait. As we stand there, with our grave faces, breathing the same heavy air; never so aware of each other’s details. One blind and lost without seeing his own appearance, one desperately trying to reach the perfect moment. The complexity of portraiture, its greatest trap, eventually always lies on its power relationships. What I desire to find and to reveal might be someone’s secret. These secrets, finally shown to the viewers, as they were mine. A portrait remains forever. It is a desperate way to stay connected to someone who, though possibly a stranger, remains so familiar. It is my way of preserving a part of that person, embalming them. Through the portrait I build a relationship with my subject. I carry my subject’s memories with me, memories, as they are, being so intimately connected with photographs. Secretly I study their faces. This is how I remember them. I wonder how they remember me. As the time eats slowly away at us, I still hold these images of them, like they are the only way I ever knew, or will know these people. And that ever pervasive feeling; I met them. They will die and eventually I too will die.
Lynn Karlin
United States
Lynn Karlin's move to Maine after 13 years as a successful commercial photographer in New York City brought her back to her love of fine-art photography. Growing up in Queens, New York, Lynn graduated from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Her career took off when she was chosen as the first woman staff photographer for Women's Wear Daily and W, where, day and night, she photographed the rich and famous. Back then, her portraits featured everyone from trendy fashion designers to celebrities. She went on to freelance for the New York Times Magazine, House Beautiful, New York Magazine, Country Living, and other major publications. When Lynn left NYC in 1983 for a new life on a farm in Maine, she helped run a market garden while co-authoring, with Stanley Joseph, the now-classic Maine Farm: A Year of Country Life (Random House, 1991). She also took on assignments for garden magazines, winning awards world-wide. Her life after the farm led her down yet another road photographing the best-selling Gardens Maine Style (Down East Books, 2001), with writer Rebecca Sawyer-Fay. Then, in 2008, after seeing an amazingly beautiful cauliflower at a local farmers' market, Lynn began photographing and styling a series of still-lifes called The Pedestal Series which celebrate vegetables by elevating them to a place of honor-on a pedestal. Thirteen years later she moved from produce back to people after spotting a remarkable young man named Paul, whose ruffled hair and strong features led her in an entirely new direction: Stories in Profile, a series of portraits that have won international competitions and currently show in galleries and private collections from New York to Paris. Stories in Profile Lynn chooses her Stories in Profile subjects for their distinctive features. In these portraits, she celebrates the contours of the face, the qualities of hair, and other prominent traits that render each subject simultaneously elegant and mysterious. Lynn uses natural directional lighting in her studio to highlight topography, creating texture and dynamics and giving her work the painterly feel of 17thcentury master painters. This soft, directional light has an unpredictability that is energizing and keeps her alert and focused. While shooting, Lynn concentrates on design, form, light, and negative space as she reaches for a story to emerge through the profile of her human subjects. As a photographer, the more limited constraints of a profile are challenging. One senses a person's courage and vulnerabilities. She seeks to capture a personality distilled to its strongest form. Rarely do we look at others, or ourselves, from this side view. Each profile is a discovery as she sets out to record the moment when her subject's inner self emerges, direct and stunning.
Filippo Venturi
Filippo Venturi is an Italian documentary photographer working on editorial, corporate, commercial assignments and personal projects. His works have been published in different newspapers and magazines such as The Washington Post, Financial Times, Vanity Fair, Internazionale, La Stampa, Geo, Marie Claire, Die Zeit, Gente, D di Repubblica, Io Donna/Corriere della Sera. He cooperates with several agencies in Italy and abroad for advertisement projects. He also pursues many personal stories and projects on the critical issues that he finds interesting. In 2016 his work, "Made in Korea" about South Korea, has been hosted at the Italian Center for Fine Art Photography in Bibbiena, at Modena's Foro Boario as New Talent selected by the Modena Foundation Photography, at Rome's Museum of Contemporary Art (MACRO) as selected Emerging Talent and at Somerset House in London by the Sony World Photography Awards. In 2017 he was the photographer sent by Vanity Fair in North Korea. In 2018 he is Testimonial Photographer for Fujifilm.I work as a multi-disciplinary photographic artist specialising in conceptual documentary and reportage Photography. I look at identity, displacement and the human condition. I also work as a photojournalist, documentary filmmaker and freelance commercial photographer.About Korean Dream Between 1905 and 1945 Korea was dominated by the Japanese, thus becoming a colony of the Empire. In 1945, after Japan's defeat, Korea was involved in the Cold War and became an object of interest for the USA, the URSS and lately for China as well. This brought to the division of the country in two along the 38th parallel and to the Korean War between 1950 and 1953. On the 27th of July of 1953, an armistice was signed but a declaration of peace never followed, leaving the country in a permanent state of conflict. North Korea is officially a socialist State with formal elections but in fact, it is a totalitarian dictatorship based on the cult of the Kim dynasty, practically an absolute monarchy. Since 1948 the country was ruled by Kim Il-Sung, the "Great Leader"; in 1994 his son, Kim Jong-II the "Dear Leader" succeeded him and until in 2011 Kim Jong-Un, his son, the "Brilliant Comrade" became Supreme Leader. North Korea is one of the most secluded countries in the world, we know little about it and the citizens' rights are subdued to the country's needs. Citizens have no freedom of speech, media are strictly controlled, you can travel only with authorization and it is not allowed to leave the country. The few foreign travellers who get the visa can travel the country only with authorized Korean guides, who have also the task of controlling, censoring and finding spies. Pyongyang, the capital, is the centre of all the resources and the country's ambition to boast a strong and modern façade (the rest of North Korea is composed of countryside, rice-fields and villages usually with no water, electricity or gas). The continuous and incessant propaganda against the USA portraits the South Korean population as a victim of the American invasion; young generations live in a constant alert state as if the USA could attack any day. At the same time, the propaganda aims at instilling a great sense of pride for the country's technical progression, fueled by the Supreme Leader and culminating in the atomic bomb and the subsequent tests. Pyongyang youngsters have been educated to be learned and knowledgeable people, especially in the scientific field, to foster the development of armaments and technology, chasing the dream of reuniting Korea in a whole and free state.
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AAP Magazine #22: Streets
AAP Magazine #22: Streets
Solo Exhibition December 2021

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Call for Entries
Solo Exhibition December 2021
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