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R.J. Kern
R.J. Kern
R.J. Kern

R.J. Kern

Country: United States
Birth: 1978

R. J. Kern is a photographer whose work explores animal portraiture as it relates to ideas of home, ancestry, and a sense of place.

He majored in Art & Art History and Environmental Geography from Colgate University and holds a Master's Degree from the University of Colorado in Boulder. R. J. is the recipient of a 2016 Artist Initiative Grant awarded by the Minnesota State Arts Board. His work received critical acclaim through the 2015 Review Santa Fe, a finalist for Critical Mass 2016, and is apart of the public exhibition series, The FENCE, on display in Boston, Brooklyn, Atlanta, Houston, and Santa Fe in 2016. His work has been featured by National Geographic, PBS, and the World Photography Organization.

His work is represented by Gallery 360 in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Ecce Gallery in Fargo, North Dakota. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife, two kids, and goldendoodle, Willy.

Project Statement: The Unchosen Ones
The Unchosen Ones takes place on the sidelines of county fair animal contests in Minnesota in 2016.

One isn't born a winner or loser, but a chooser. This theme I explore in this series.

As we look at them, they look back, allowing us to think about how we choose winners and the repercussions for the ones not chosen.

The project consists of over 60 portraits made at 10 Minnesota county fairs in 2016. The photographs showcase the subject facing the camera, allowing the viewer to decide what connects and distinguishes these subjects.
 

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Ilse Bing
Germany
1899 | † 1998
Ilse Bing was one of the leading European photographers of the interwar period. She was born into a comfortable Jewish family in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1899. As a child her education was rich in music and art. In 1920 she began studying mathematics and physics at the University of Frankfurt, but soon changed to study the history of art. In 1924 she continued her studies with a doctorate on the Neo-Classical German architect Friedrich Gilly. Bing's introduction to photography was triggered by a practical need to illustrate her doctoral thesis. She bought a Voigtlander camera in 1928 and began to teach herself photography. The following year she bought a Leica, the new and revolutionary 35mm hand-held camera that enabled photographers to capture fast-moving events. As well as enabling her to photograph buildings for her thesis, Bing's newfound skill with the camera earned her an extra living as a photojournalist for a German illustrated magazine supplement, Das Illustriete Blatt. During these early days of her career, Bing was also commissioned by the Dutch modernist architect Mart Stam, who taught at the Bauhaus school of design, to visually record all of his housing projects in Frankfurt. The resulting photographs were characterized by dizzy angles, flat planes and strong shadows, which were characteristic of an emerging modernist language of art and design, pioneered by both the new architecture and the 'New Photography' movement, of which Bing was beginning to be a part. Through Stam, Bing was also introduced to Frankfurt's avant-garde artistic circles. Having found some commercial success with photography, and with her artistic horizons expanding, Bing gave up her thesis in the summer of 1929 and, in 1930, decided to move to Paris to concentrate on photography. Establishing herself in Paris as a freelance photographer, she applied elements of the photographic style she had experimented with in Frankfurt to commercial work, including photojournalism, architectural and theatrical photography, advertising, fashion and portraiture. For the first couple of years in the city, she published her work regularly with German newspapers and Das Illustriete Blat. Gradually, she also started to publish work in the leading French illustrated newspapers such as L'Illustration, Le Monde Illustré and Regards, and from about 1932, she increasingly worked for fashion magazines Vogue, Adam, Marchal, and the American Harper's Bazaar. She explored Paris' rich historic past and its worn and weathered environments as well as its modern urban scenes, photographing the exhausted grandeur of the Père Lachaise cemetery, dark apartment blocks reflected in gutters, or the layering of torn posters on a wooden fence. Her fascination with shadow, contrasts of light and dark, and basic geometrical shapes also informed her portraiture. Her photograph of a young girl (Flower Girl, 1931) staring into the distance demonstrates her skill as a portraitist. The large flowers in the background contrast with the delicate bright flowers on the girl's dress, and the shadows behind highlight the bright young face. When on assignment, Bing would take extra pictures for her own artistic interests, and she quickly built up a large body of work. During a commission to photograph the famous Moulin Rouge cabaret, for example, she made a series of photographs of dancers, which formed her first exhibition in Paris in 1931. Later that year, her photographs caught the attention of the photographer and critic Emmanuel Sougez, who praised their dynamism. Nicknaming Bing 'the Queen of the Leica', Sougez continued to be an important and influential supporter of her work throughout the 1930s. In 1931 Bing met the New York-based writer Hendrik Willem van Loon, who became her most important patron and introduced her work to American clients. Van Loon showed her work to the collector and gallerist Julien Lévy, who subsequently displayed her work in the exhibition Modern European Photography: Twenty Photographers at his New York Gallery in 1932. Bing also frequently exhibited in Parisian galleries, where her work was shown alongside that of Brassaï, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Florence Henri, Man Ray and André Kértesz. In a trip to New York, Bing met Alfred Stieglitz, a leading figure in the American photographic world and great supporter of modern photography. We can see the influence of Stieglitz's vision on the photographs Bing made of the city following their meeting. In Bing's image of a carriage in Central park, the cropped dark outline of the carriage and its driver dominate the composition, providing a stark contrast to the wispy trees and gentle cityscape in the background – stylistically reminiscent of Stieglitz's work The Terminal (1892). Bing also absorbed the styles of other contemporary American artists – some of whom she met through Stieglitz. Her street scenes, for example Barber College, New York (1936), can be likened to scenes from contemporary American realist painting. After returning to Paris in 1937, Bing married the German pianist Konrad Wolff, whom she had met in 1933 when they lived in the same block of flats. Bing kept her maiden name for her photographic activities, but also used the name Ilse Bing Wolff. She took fewer photographs during the late 1930s, though she continued to find inspiration in Paris, and explored different subject-matter, including still life work. The outbreak of the Second World War changed everything. In 1940 Bing and Wolff, who were both Jewish, were forced to leave Paris and were interned in separate camps in the south of France. Bing spent six weeks in a camp in the Pyrenees, before rejoining her husband in Marseille. The couple spent nine months there, awaiting visas for the US. Eventually, with the support of the fashion editor of Harper's Bazaar, they were able to leave for the US in June 1941. Although Bing had managed to take her negatives with her, she left all of her prints behind in Paris under the safekeeping of a friend. They were sent on to Marseille but Bing and her husband had left already France by the time they arrived. The prints remained in Marseille – in a shipping company's warehouse – miraculously missing the many bombs that fell on the port, until the end of the War, when they were finally sent to Bing in New York. Tragically, when they arrived, Bing was unable to pay the customs duty for all of them. She had to sift through the prints and decide which to keep and which to throw away – some of her most important vintage prints were lost at this time. Five years after her successful visit to New York in 1936, Bing returned to an altogether different environment. This was partly due to changing fashions in photography, and partly because of the large number of photographers who had, like Bing, fled Europe and were now seeking work. Bing found it hard to gain commissions for reportage work and worked much less as a photojournalist from this point on, though she continued to take portraits – especially of children – and exhibited her work throughout the late 1940s and early 1950s. Bing returned to Paris twice after the war, in 1947 and in 1952, and once again photographed the city that she had loved so much in the 1930s. According to Bing, these later Paris photographs are infused with a different spirit. Influenced by the war, she saw things on a more impersonal, isolated level. In the late 1950s, Bing eventually gave up photography, wanting to make more abstract work through poems and line drawings, and later, collage.Source: Victoria and Albert Museum
Herbert List
Germany
1903 | † 1975
Herbert List was a classically educated artist who combined a love of photography with a fascination for surrealism and classicism. Born into a prosperous Hamburg merchant family, List began an apprenticeship at a Heidelberg coffee dealer in 1921 while studying literature and art history at Heidelberg University. During travels for the coffee business between 1924-28, the young List began to take photographs, almost without any pretensions to art. In 1930, though, his artistic leanings and connections to the European avant-garde brought him together with the photographer Andreas Feininger, who introduced his new friend to the Rolleiflex, a more sophisticated camera that allowed a deliberate composition of images. Under the dual influence of the surrealist movement on the one hand, and of Bauhaus artists on the other, List photographed still life and his friends, developing his own style. He has described his images as "composed visions where [my] arrangements try to capture the magical essence inhabiting and animating the world of appearances.” After leaving Germany in 1936 for political and personal reasons, he turned his hobby into a profession. Working in Paris and London, he met George Hoyningen-Huene, who referred him to "Harper's Bazaar". Dissastisfied with the challenges of fashion photography, List instead focused on composing still lifes in his studio. The images produced there would later be compared to the paintings of Max Ernst and Giorgio de Chirico, and paved the way for List's role as the most prominent photographer of the Fotografia Metafisica style. Greece became List's main interest from 1937 to 1939. After his first visit to the antique temples, sculptures and landscapes, his first solo show opened in Paris in the summer of 1937. Publications in "Life", "Photographie", "Verve" and "Harper's Bazaar" followed, and List began work on his first book, Licht Ueber Hellas, which wasn't published until 1953. Working in Athens, List hoped to escape the war but was forced by invading troops to return to Germany in 1941. Because of his Jewish background, he was forbidden to publish or work officially in Germany. Several works, stored in a hotel in Paris, have been lost. Portraits of Berard, Cocteau, Honegger and Picasso during a short visit to Paris and a series on the Panoptikum in Vienna characterized List's main work before the war ended in 1945. In 1946, he photographed the ruins of post-war Munich and took the job of art editor of "HEUTE", an American magazine for the German public. In 1951, List met Robert Capa, who convinced him to work as a contributor to Magnum, but he rarely accepted assignments. He turned his interest towards Italy from 1950 to 1961, photographing everything from street scenes to contemplative photo-essays, from architectural views to portraits of international artists living in Italy. In 1953, he discovered the 35mm camera and the telephoto lens. His work became more spontaneous and was influenced by his Magnum colleague Henri Cartier-Bresson and the Italian Neo-Realism film movement. Over the next few years, he completed several books, including Rom, Caribia, Nigeria and Napoli, this one in collaboration with Vittorio de Sica. List more or less gave up photography in the early 1960s. Despite his earlier fame throughout Europe, his particular style was no longer fashionable. By the time he died in Munich in 1975, his work had been almost forgotten. Interest has revived recently, though, thanks to a fine monograph published by Monacelli Press, which features 250 of List's photographs divided into five sections: Metaphysical Photography, Ruins and Fragments, Eros and Photography, Portraits, and Moments. Herbert List died in Munich, April 4th 1975.From wikipedia.orgHerbert List (October 7, 1903–April 4, 1975) was a German photographer, who worked for magazines, including Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, and Life, and was associated with Magnum Photos. His austere, classically-posed black-and-white compositions, particularly of male nudes, taken in Italy and Greece have been highly formative for modern photography, with contemporary fashion photographers like Herb Ritts being clearly influenced by List's style. He is also noted for his erotic street photography. Herbert List was born on 7 October 1903 to a prosperous business family in Hamburg, the son of Luise and Felix List. He attended the Johanneum Gymnasium, and afterwards studied literature at the University of Heidelberg. While still a student he became apprenticed to his family coffee company. From 1924 to 1928 List continued to work at the company and to travel to Brazil, Guatemala, Costa Rica and elsewhere. During this time he began taking photographs. In 1930 he met photographer Andreas Feininger, who introduced him to the Rolleiflex camera. He began taking portraits of friends and shooting still lifes, influenced by the Bauhaus and surrealist movements. He used male models, draped fabric, and masks along with double-exposures.He has explained that his photos were "composed visions where [my] arrangements try to capture the magical essence inhabiting and animating the world of appearances.” In 1936 List left Germany and took up photography as a profession, working in Paris and London. He met George Hoyningen-Huene who referred him to Harper's Bazaar magazine, but List was unsatisfied with fashion photography. He turned back to still life imagery, producing images in a style he called "fotografia metafisica", which pictured dream states and fantastic imagery, using mirrors and double-exposures. From 1937 to 1939 List traveled in Greece and took photographs of ancient temples, ruins, sculptures, and the landscape, many of which were published in magazines and books. In 1941, during World War II, he was forced to return to Germany; but because one of his grandparents was Jewish he was not allowed to publish or work professionally. In 1944 he was drafted into the German military, despite being of partly Jewish ancestry and gay. He served in Norway as a map designer. A trip to Paris allowed him to take portraits of Picasso, Jean Cocteau, Christian Berard, Georges Braque, Jean Arp, Joan Miro, and others. After the war, he photographed the ruins of Munich, and he became art editor of Heute magazine. In 1951 List met Robert Capa, who invited him to join Magnum Photos. For the next decade he worked heavily in Italy. During this time he also started using a 35 mm film camera and a telephoto lens. He was influenced by his Magnum colleague Henri Cartier-Bresson as well as the Italian neorealism film movement. In the 1950s he also shot portraits of Marino Marini, Paul Bowles, W. H. Auden, and Marlene Dietrich in 1960. List gave up photography in the early 1960s. He died in Munich on April 4, 1975.Source: www.magnumphotos.com
Keith Carter
United States
1948
Keith Carter is an American photographer who is known for his dreamlike black and white photographs of the figure, animals, and meaningful objects. He began photographing new and unknown realities in his native East Texas environment. This setting, with heavy folklore, religious, and cultural motifs, inspired Carter to create some of his most iconic images. Since his start in Texas, his work continues to push imaginative realms in his travels within the United States and across oceans. In 1970, Carter earned a Business Management degree from Lamar University and began his career as a commercial photographer while working on personal projects. These personal projects have resulted in a long career and over twelve published monographs. Carter currently teaches photography at Lamar University as a Distinguished Faculty Lecturer. He travels worldwide providing photography lectures and workshops for artists. Carter's fine art career has made him the recipient of an array of awards such as the 2009 Texas Medal of Arts, 2009 Artist of the Year presented by the Art League Houston and, in 1991 the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University presented Carter with the Lange-Taylor Prize. His work has also been featured in print and online publications, television, and film. In 2006, the Anthropy Arts in New York filmed a documentary about Carter's photographic work, and in 1997 CBS made an art segment on Carter's work for public television. He has extensively exhibited his work throughout the world and participated in over 100 solo exhibitions. Permanent collections of his work can be found in many private and public institutions including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the George Eastman House, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Dallas Museum of Art, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Art Institute of Chicago.
Newsha Tavakolian
Newsha Tavakolian (born 1981) is an Iranian photojournalist and documentary photographer. She has worked for TIME Magazine, The New York Times, Le Figaro, and National Geographic. Her work focuses on women's issues and she has been a member of the Rawiya women's photography collective which she co-established in 2011. Tavakolian is a full member of Magnum Photos. Born and brought up in Tehran, at age 16, Tavakolian took a six-month photography course, after which she began working as a professional photographer in the Iranian press. She started at the women's daily newspaper Zan, and later worked for other nine reformist dailies, all of which have since been banned. She covered the July 1999 student uprising, using her Minolta with a 50mm lens, and her photographs were published in several publications. However, she was forced to go on hiatus from her photojournalist work following the "chaos" of Iran’s presidential election in 2009. During this time, she began other projects focusing on art using photography as well as social documentary. Tavakolian’s photographs became more artistic and involved social commentary. She got her international break in 2001 at age 21, when she met J.P. Pappis, founder of Polaris Images, New York at a photography festival in Perpignan, France. She began covering Iran for Polaris Images, in the same year, and started working as a freelancer for The Times in 2004. Tavakolian has worked internationally, covering wars, natural disasters and social documentary stories in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Yemen. Her work has been published by international magazines and newspapers such as TIME Magazine, Newsweek, Stern, Le Figaro, Colors, New York Times Magazine, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, NRC Handelsblad and National Geographic. Common themes in her work are photo stories of women, friends and neighbors in Iran; the evolving role of women in overcoming gender-based restrictions; and contrasting the stereotypes of western media. Her photo projects include Mother of Martyrs (2006), Women in the Axis of Evil (2006), The Day I Became a Woman (2010) and Look (2013). Tavakolian was part of the 2006 Joop Swart Masterclass organized by World Press Photo. In 2007 she was a finalist for the Inge Morath Award. Her work has been exhibited and collected at institutions such as the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Somerset House, London. (April 2014), where she was one of eight Iranian photographers featured in the critically acclaimed Burnt Generation exhibition. In June 2015 Tavakolian became a nominee member of Magnum Photos and in 2019 a full member. She lives and works in Tehran and is married to the Dutch journalist Thomas Erdbrink. In 2019, the Iranian authorities barred her from working in the country.Source: Wikipedia Newsha Tavakolian is known for her powerful work covering wars in Iraq and social issues in her native Iran. With clarity and sensitivity, Tavakolian has photographed female guerilla fighters in Iraqi Kurdistan, Syria and Colombia, prohibited Iranian female singers and the lives of people living under sanctions. Over the years, her practice has shifted from photojournalism to photography as art. A self-taught photographer, Tavakolian began working professionally in the Iranian press at the age of 16, at women’s daily newspaper Zan. At the age of 18, she was the youngest photographer to cover the 1999 student uprising, which was a turning point for the country’s blossoming reformist movement and for Tavakolian personally as a photojournalist; a year later she joined New York-based agency Polaris Images. In 2003, she started working internationally, covering the war in Iraq. She has since covered regional conflicts, natural disasters and made social documentary stories. Her work has been published in international magazines and newspapers such as Time Magazine, Newsweek, Stern, Le Figaro, Colors, The New York Times, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, NRC Handelsblad, The New York Times Magazine and National Geographic. Commercial clients include Qatar foundation, who commissioned her to make a book about education around the world and Shiseido, who commissioned a two-year assignment looking at the meaning of beauty in Paris, France.Source: Magnum Photos
Noell Oszvald
Hungary
1990
Noell Oszvald was born in Hungary in 1990. While preferring to be labeled as a visual artist, Noell Oszvald uses the photographic medium as the raw material through which she channels her emotions. Favoring black and white in order to avoid any distraction that may be created by colors, she strips her images to their bare essence. Her compositions rely on pure straight lines into which the subject fuses, hence rubbing off all hierarchy within the components. The resulting sobriety, reinforced by the choice of a square format, acts as a breeding ground to a complex melange of subtle feelings derived from her melancholy and loneliness. Indeed, while all facial features are deliberately kept hidden, Oszvald’s work could easily fall within the self-portrait category; “they’re reflections of who I am,” says the artist about her images. However, the spectral presence of the character merging with its surroundings, the full-fledged role played by the environment and the powerful sensitivity that exudes through, are closer to the conceptual photography of the similarly precocious Francesca Woodman. Yet, more than her self, Oszvald conveys an apparent yet suspicious sense of calmness, well guarded by a perfectly controlled composition. In addition to the lines dividing space, the impeccable geometric interactions and the sharp contrast between the various shades of black are brought into opposition with the muffled silence of her quiescent emotions. It triggers a delicate duality, which underlies a rich and complex inner world. The reassuring perfection of these images acts like a robust armor to the highly sensitive Oszvald, who despite her young age, proves herself to be an accomplished artist. “My aim is to set up concepts using the human body as a base, while not making it the main focus of the picture. The result is a still image that is built around a person, but all parts of the whole are of equal importance. I reduce my pictures to content, composition, and form because this minimalist approach allows me to put equal emphasis on the idea behind the artwork and the entirety of the image. Portraying a sense of calmness with images that are built up based on geometric shapes is a recurring theme of my work.”Source: Artpil Noell Oszvald only shoots in black and white because she finds colors to be distracting. “I feel the same way about clothes and other matters of appearance, which why I like to reduce my images to forms, composition and content.” When asked what the story is behind one of her photo, Prejudice, Noell Oszald shared this, “I had the idea of Prejudice in my mind for a long time before I finally made it. I was very unsure about it, because I wanted the picture to look absolutely the way it does now, but to achieve this composition I had to paint the bird in, in not exactly the right position. I feared people would pick on me and call me ignorant, because the image is not precise. I was afraid of being judged while working on a picture about prejudice. How ironic.” As you look through Oszvald's beautiful and sometimes haunting images, you can't help but feel a mix of emotions. They all fall in the conceptual photography field, meaning, they illustrate an idea but one that Oszald believes should be personal to the viewer. “I don't want to tell people what to see in my images,” explains Oszland, “this is the reason why I never really write any descriptions other than titles. It shows what I wish to express but everyone is free to figure out what the picture says to them. It's very interesting to read so many different thoughts about the same piece of work.”Source: My Modern Met
Jean-Daniel Lorieux
French artist, Jean-Daniel Lorieux, is one of the masters of photography of his generation, earning much respect in the realm of fashion photography. Jean-Daniel Lorieux, was born on January 21st 1937 in the 16e arrondissement of Paris. He is the great-grandson of Théodore-Marie Lorieux, vice-president of the Conseil Général des Ponts et Chaussées and Jules Goüin. He studied engineering with the Jesuits at "L'école Arts et Métiers" in Paris and then went to the "Cours Simon". (Theatre) He did his military service in Algeria alongside the spahis as a photographer/filmmaker - in charge of photographing the corpses of rebels slaughtered for identification in the region of Mostaganem. For a while he worked for the Studio Harcourt as an industrial photographer and he remembers it as being a real "photographic factory" with a Stakhanovite like tempo. He has been working as a photographer for twenty years with fashion magazines like Vogue and L'Officiel. He also worked with Andy Warhol at the Factory (Andy Warhol's New York City Studio). He launched the modeling career of Cécilia Ciganer-Albéniz (Future wife of Nicolas Sarkozy), who then became his assistant. Friend of Bernadette and Claude Chirac, he directed the poster campaign of Jacques Chirac, then Prime Minister, for the legislative elections of 1988. Lorieux worked for the advertising campaigns of Dior, Lanvin, Rabanne, Ricci, Céline and Cardin, among others. He photographed many personalities like Jacques Chirac, Nelson Mandela, Mohamed V, Frank Sinatra, James Brown, Charles Aznavour, David Lynch, Isabelle Adjani, Claudia Cardinale, Carla Bruni, Karen Mulder, Claudia Schiffer, Linda Evangelista, Milla Jovovich... In 2008, he worked on an exhibition on the theme "The Master and Marguerite" at the request of Russian billionaire Yevgeny Iakovlev, with Isabelle Adjani as Marguerite. He has also released a series of books and a documentary film, retracing the atypical path of the artist and his creative pursuits. In addition to photographic creations, Jean-Daniel Lorieux produces films and paintings that parallel his distinctive style of photography, making use of sharp lines, bold colors, and his signature highly contrasted visual compositions. His work has been exhibited worldwide but mostly in the United States and in Europe. He is also a Knight of the Order of the Arts and Letters (1997), a knight of the Legion d'Honneur (2003) and decorated of the Maintien de l'ordre for spending two years in Algeria during the war.
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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
Win an Onine Solo Exhibition in December 2021