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Mattia Vacca
Mattia Vacca
Mattia Vacca

Mattia Vacca

Country: Italy

Mattia Vacca is an award-winning photojournalist focused on social issues and the aftermath of war.

His first book, A Winter's Tale came out in 2014. His photographs have been featured on The New Republic, The Guardian, The Independent, ZEIT, L'Oeil de la Photographie, VICE, Corriere della Sera, La Repubblica, La Stampa and France Soir among the others. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including Sony World Photography Awards, Royal Photographic Society Awards, Renaissance Prize and NY Photo Awards.
 

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Hossein Fardinfard
Netherlands-based Iranian documentary photographer Hossein Fardinfard (born 1985) took an unconventional path to his profession. After majoring in cartography, geomorphology, and IT, ultimately he discovered his aptitude for visual storytelling at the age of 30. Fardinfard came to see photography as a means for observing society more intimately, and for knowing himself more deeply in turn. He has thus come to specialize in photography that explores social observation, human rights, and identity. "I like storytelling not only as a process of documenting but also as a means for exerting a constructive influence on society, something like what Lewis Hine, the pioneer of photojournalism, did in his era in the USA. My relationships with photography subjects enhance my understanding of concepts like human rights. To understand this keyword, I need to know people first. Through knowing them, my spiritual investment in human rights has grown remarkably." In the second phase of Fardinfard's artistic life -- at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague -- he had the chance to reflect more intently on the meaning and philosophies of photography and the pictorial arts. This experience also equipped him with principles of psychology and sociology that he readily applied to his photographic gaze. "It's more thrilling when I can find a scientific explanation of the social behaviors and interactions I'm capturing. I believe we can talk about Human Rights in scientific terms. There should be a point where the hard and soft sciences meet. I try to connect them and then visualize that point."
Shoji Ueda
Japan
1913 | † 2000
Shoji Ueda was a photographer of Tottori, Japan, who combined surrealist compositional elements with realistic depiction. Most of the work for which Ueda is widely known was photographed within a strip of about 350 km running from Igumi (on the border of Tottori and Hyogo) to Hagi (Yamaguchi). Ueda was born on 27 March 1913 in Sakai (now Sakaiminato), Tottori. His father was a manufacturer and seller of geta; Shoji was the only child who survived infancy. The boy received a camera from his father in 1930 and quickly became very involved in photography, submitting his photographs to magazines; his photograph Child on the Beach, Hama no kodomo) appeared in the December issue of Camera. In 1930 Ueda formed the photographic group Chugoku Shashinka Shudan with Ryosuke Ishizu, Kunio Masaoka, and Akira Nomura; from 1932 till 1937 the group exhibited its works four times at Konishiroku Hall in Nihonbashi, Tokyo. Ueda studied at the Oriental School of Photography in Tokyo in 1932 and returned to Sakai, opening a studio, Ueda Shashinjo, when only nineteen. Ueda married in 1935, and his wife helped him to run his photographic studio. His marriage was a happy one; his wife and their three children are recurring models in his works. Ueda was active as an amateur as well as a professional photographer, participating in various groups. In 1941 Ueda gave up photography, not wanting to become a military photographer. (Toward the end of the war, he was forced to photograph the result of a fire.) He resumed shortly after the war, and in 1947 he joined the Tokyo-based group Ginryusha. Ueda found the sand dunes of Tottori excellent backdrops for single and group portraits, typically in square format and until relatively late all in black and white. In 1949, inspired by Kineo Kuwabara, then the editor of Camera, Ueda photographed the dunes with Ken Domon and Yoichi Midorikawa. Some of these have Domon as a model, far from his gruff image. The photographs were first published in the September and October 1949 issues of Camera and have been frequently anthologized. Ueda started photographing nudes on the dunes in 1951, and from 1970 he used them as the backdrop for fashion photography. The postwar concentration on realism led by Domon, followed by the rejection of realism led by Shomei Tomatsu, sidelined Ueda's cool vision. Ueda participated in "Japanese Photography" at the New York Museum of Modern Art in 1960 and had solo exhibitions in Japan, but had to wait till a 1974 retrospective held in the Nikon Salon in Tokyo and Osaka before his return to popularity. Ueda remained based in Tottori, opening a studio and camera shop in Yonago in 1965, and in 1972 moving to a new three-storey building in Yonago. The building served as a base for local photographic life. From 1975 until 1994, Ueda was a professor at Kyushu Sangyo University. Critical and popular recognition came from the mid seventies. A succession of book-length collections of new and old appeared. Ueda weathered the death in 1983 of his wife, and continued working well into the 1990s. He died of a heart attack on 4 July 2000. The Shoji Ueda Museum of Photography (Ueda Shoji Shashin Bijutsukan), devoted to his works, opened in Kishimoto (now Hoki, near Yonago) Tottori Prefecture in 1995. Source: Wikipedia
Michael Knapstein
United States
1956
Michael Knapstein (born 1956, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, USA) is a fine-art photographer who has earned international recognition for his insightful and nuanced visual exploration of the American Midwest. He now lives in Middleton, Wisconsin. Michael's photographs began attracting national attention while still in high school. At the age of 17, his work earned its way into the permanent collection of the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, NY. After graduating from the College of Fine Arts and Communication at the University of Wisconsin, Knapstein began a 30+ year career in the world of advertising. He sold his ad agency in 2010 and returned to his first love of photography. Since this reemergence, Michael's work has been recognized with hundreds of awards in some of the world's most prestigious photography competitions. He is a four-time Critical Mass Finalist, Pollux Award Winner and was named International Landscape Photographer of the Year at the 5th Barcelona Foto Biennale in Barcelona, Spain. He was also named one of "14 Inspiring American Artists" by Skillshare and Feature Shoot. His work has been widely exhibited in museums and galleries around the world. About Midwest Memoir There is a certain magic to the American Midwest. Honest. Modest. Understated. Sometimes unappreciated. Often overlooked. I created Midwest Memoir as a way to help others see the Midwest in a whole new light. The Midwest in which I was raised. The Midwest that shaped my experiences and my artistic aesthetic. The Midwest the way I will always remember it, even though it continues to change and disappear around me. I think of the Midwest as being classic and timeless in nature. Therefore, I approached this project from a time-honored "straight photography" perspective in the spirit of Group f/64 and gave the work a modernist character with a strong formalist dimension. My approach was informed by the work of mid-century modernist photographers such as Adams, Weston, White, Strand and Evans. My work was also strongly influenced by the American Regionalism movement and the work of artists who portrayed the American heartland, including Wood, Benton, Curry, Wyeth and Hopper. If you pause for a moment, perhaps you'll feel the humid air of an approaching thunderstorm, or catch the smell of fresh laundry as it dries in the summer breeze. That is my Midwest Memoir.
David Seymour (Chim)
United States
1911 | † 1956
David Szymin was born in 1911 in Warsaw into a family of publishers that produced works in Yiddish and Hebrew. His family moved to Russia at the outbreak of the First World War, returning to Warsaw in 1919. After studying printing in Leipzig and chemistry and physics at the Sorbonne in the 1930s, Szymin stayed on in Paris. David Rappaport, a family friend who owned the pioneering picture agency Rap, lent him a camera. One of Szymin's first stories, about night workers, was influenced by Brassaď's Paris de Nuit (1932). Szymin - or 'Chim' - began working as a freelance photographer. From 1934, his picture stories appeared regularly in Paris-Soir and Regards. Through Maria Eisner and the new Alliance agency, Chim met Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa. From 1936 to 1938 Chim photographed the Spanish Civil War, and after it was over he went to Mexico on an assignment with a group of Spanish Republican émigrés. On the outbreak of the Second World War he moved to New York, where he adopted the name David Seymour. Both his parents were killed by the Nazis. Seymour served in the US Army (1942-45), winning a medal for his work in intelligence. In 1947, along with Cartier-Bresson, Capa, George Rodger, and William Vandivert, he founded Magnum Photos. The following year he was commissioned by UNICEF to photograph Europe's children in need. He went on to photograph major stories across Europe, Hollywood stars on European locations, and the emergence of the State of Israel. After Robert Capa's death he became the new president of Magnum. He held this post until 10 November 1956, when, traveling near the Suez Canal to cover a prisoner exchange, he was killed by Egyptian machine-gun fire. Source: Magnum Photos
Wang Qingsong
China
1966
Born in Daqing, Heilongjiang Province, China 1966 1993: Oil Painting Department of Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts, Sichuan, China Lives and works in Beijing since 1993 Awards: 2006 Outreach Award from Rencontres de la Photographie, Arles, France Wang Qingsong graduated from the Oil Painting Department of the Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts and currently lives and works in Beijing. After starting his career as an oil painter engaged in the Gaudi movement, he began taking highly staged photographs that explore the influence of Western consumer culture in China. In more recent works he has explored political and social themes including the struggles of the migrant population and Chinese diplomacy. His photographs are known for their massive scale, deep symbolism and careful staging, which can sometimes take several weeks and involve up to 300 extras. Although photography is his main medium, he has explored performance and video art in more recent years. Qingsong’s work has been presented at prestigious galleries, museums and art fairs across the globe including the 55th Venice Biennale China Pavillion (Venice), the International Centre of Photography (NY), the Hammer Museum (Los Angeles), the Victoria and Albert Museum (London), the 42nd Rencontres de la Photographie (Arles), the Daegu Art Museum (Seoul), MOCA (Taipei), the Rockbund Art Museum (Shanghai) and the Mori Art Museum (Tokyo). Wang Qingsong is a contemporary Chinese artist whose large-format photographs address the rapidly changing society of China. His photographs, appearing at first humorous and ironic, have a much deeper message. Critical of the proliferation of Western consumerism in China, his, Competition (2004), depicts the artist standing with a megaphone in front of a city hall covered in advertisements for brands such as Citibank, Starbucks, and Art Basel. "I think it is very meaningless if an artist only creates art for art's sake," he said. "I think it would be absurd for an artist to ignore what's going on in society." Born in 1966 in Heilongjiang Province, China, Wang studied at the Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts. Although he was trained as a painter, Wang began taking photographs in the 1990s as a way to better document the tension of cultural shifts. The artist's works have been in exhibitions at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne. Wang currently lives and works in Beijing, China. Source: Artnet
Robert Rutöd
Robert Rutöd was born 1959 in Vienna, Austria. Early pursuit of painting; from 1978 on photography. Works from these years later appeared with some of his absurd texts in the book grayscales. early b&w photographs 1978-1988. Between 1979 and 1993, Robert Rutöd wrote screenplays and directed short films. In the mid-90s, he increasingly devoted himself to the design of books and applications for digital media. In 2004 he returned to photography; since 2009, he presents these images to a wider audience. In his projects, Robert Rutöd investigates the paradox Human with its sometimes tragicomic aspects. In 2009 the photo book Less Is More resulted from that and three years later, the series Right Time Right Place has been finished. For this he received several awards including the New York Photo Award 2012, the Special Prize of the Czech Center of Photography, and most recently Artist of the Year at Dong Gang International Photo Festival in South Korea. In 2017 he completed his series Fair(y) Tales, retelling an almost ten-year expedition through the burlesque realm of trade fairs and exhibition areas. Rutöd’s photographs have been shown worldwide at numerous photography festivals and exhibitions; his work has been widely published in magazines and on blogs. Robert Rutöd lives and works in Vienna. (Source: Robert Rutöd Website) Right Time Right PlaceBeing at the right place at the right time is usually associated with happiness and success. But what happens when we are at the right place at the wrong time? Do we even know that this is the right place? And what if it turns out that it is the wrong place after all? But the right time! “Right Time Right Place” is a collection of photographs I made in the last five years on my travels through Europe. The images revolve around the question of whether it is possible for a person to be in the right place at the right time. Is the ideal state of space and time something we are awarded or is it a state we have long been living in without being aware of our good fortune? I hope I have not succeeded in answering this question. Nothing fails more pathetically than an artist’s attempt to explain the world and its relationships. Rather, my work leads to the conclusion that the world cannot be explained. Once an exhibition visitor in New York told me that, when viewing my photos, she felt that the protagonists seemed to be kind of disobedient. I really liked that interpretation. "What Robert Rutöd brings to the contemporary photographic dialogue is that intangible ability to see the world with a skewed lens - a lens that is compassionate and at the same time, unkind. It is a lens that is the stuff of operas and nightmares, comedies and slapstick. Robert finds that split second of humor or truth telling and that instant of social documentation or absurdity that makes us not only laugh at ourselves, but also laugh and feel embarrassed all at the same time. Or should I say, at The Right Time." (Aline Smithson, from the foreword to the book „Right Time Right Place“) “Right Time Right Place” was awarded the Special Prize of the Czech Center of Photography at the Photo Annual Awards 2012. A photo from the series won the New York Photo Award 2012 in the category Fine Art. Exclusive Interview with Robert Rutöd:AAP: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?At a certain point I can't remember. I guess, at the moment when I was pleased with my photographs.AAP: Where did you study photography?I'm self-taught...AAP: How long have you been a photographer?In total, maybe twenty years, with shorter and a long breaks and also a hiatus for more than ten years.AAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it?Tough question, my very first photographs were still largely staged. That reminds me of the corpse of a young man, with countless clothespins on the upper body, or a self-portrait in which I am seen with a pair of shoes on my shoulders.AAP: How could you describe your style?Style is not something that you choose; it happens, to a certain extent, over time. In photography, a signature style is often more difficult to discover, sort of like in painting. A graphologist might interpret my works thusly: "Easy to read, no scrawling, he's going on rapidly and purposefully in problem-solving and asks the right questions at the right moment." I could then add: "Regarding the content, rather puzzling over long distances."AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film?One digital camera, one good lens.AAP: What or who inspires you?Since my work is not staged, I'm only inspired when the photographic event unfolds before my eyes, a reverse brainstorming so to speak.AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images?Yes, to edit my own photographs is sometimes a lengthy process. The pictures have to go through some tests to be integrated into an ongoing project. This decision-making is sometimes damn hard to reach; it helps to let a few weeks or even months pass.AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer?Not to listen to any advice...AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid?None! Because there is no such thing as error, in fact, and consequently no recipe for success.AAP: Your best memory as a photographer?A fair for undertakers and the fashion show taking place there, including a coffin on the stage.AAP: Your worst souvenir as a photographer?The cluelessness of so many "experts."AAP: If you could have taken the photographs of someone else who would it be?I am satisfied so far with my work, as I want to get into the skin of others. Of course there's truly great work that I would like to see in my portfolio, "Royal Harare Golf Club" by Martin Parr for example, one or two pictures by Helen Levitt.AAP: An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share?First the bad news: The publication date of my book "Milky Way" has been moved to next year. Now the good: I'm very happy about the positive echo that my series "Right Time Right Place" caused since its release about a year ago, including my participation in festivals in Los Angeles, Copenhagen, Delhi, or recently at the Miami Street Photography Festival. In January 2014, my project will be a solo exhibition to be seen. “eigensinnig“ (stubborn) is the name of the new gallery in Vienna, whose founder Toni Tramezzini, is aiming to show something that is rarely seen in this city: something that's not serial, not conceptual, not staged photography.
John Novis
United Kingdom
1950
John Novis is photographer and story teller working on environmental issues, particularly climate change for the last 30 years. Climate Change is the biggest global threat ever known to mankind, yet it is the most challenging and difficult subject to visualize to any great effect. Any image presented, be it extreme weather events, scientific evidence or global protests can be argued against by a sceptic media, governments and industry. It is precisely this challenge that drives concerned photographers to push ever more creative photos into the image pool to drive home the importance of this emergency of our times. We are getting somewhere thanks to Greta Thunberg and Environmental groups such as Greenpeace, Extinction Rebellion etc. which provide scope for compelling pictures. Social media has also provided a valuable platform for citizen journalism reporting climate related events as they unfold in real time. How I got there I stared my career in photography in London during the 'swinging 60's 'years working with high profile photographers in Vogue, Apple Corp (Beatles), top Fashion and Industrial photo studios Adrian Ensor Labs up until 1977 when I enrolled on a 3 year 'Creative Photography' course in Nottingham University under the guidance of Thomas Joshua Cooper and Raymond Moore. In 1980 I received a grant from UK South East Arts to make a 30 minute, 16mm film called 'Our trip to the Zoo' analysing the family snapshot with the old Kodak slogan – 'to capture life'. Throughout most of the 80's I worked as a freelance commercial photographer and then in 1989 I joined Greenpeace as an in –house photographer where I was employed until 2015. Just before I joined Greenpeace, I was becoming disillusioned with photography as an instrument for advertising and generating profit. It was though Greenpeace I was able to employ my expertise in photography to produce images that would serve as a wake-up call to the critical state of our environment. As photography became more important to the organisation I became Head of Photography at the international headquarters in Amsterdam, directing major photo projects such as: - Ocean and whaling expeditions, Amazon – Illegal logging, Yunnan, China campaigning against the introduction of GMO rice to the rice growing communities, Climate in Crisis - Yellow River drying up, the Disappearing Glaciers on Everest, Climate and Poverty along the Silk Road in Gansu Province, China - Palm oil production in Riau, Indonesia and 'Forest Solutions' global communities living from the forest management towards a sustainable solution. In addition, I have also worked on numerous successful publications including the nuclear industry of Russia with Dutch photographer Robert Knoth, (Panos) and Bhopal – '' with Raghu Rai (Magnum). My professional services outside Greenpeace have included, organizing and hosting the Beijing Photo Master Classes with World Press Photo winners, member of the jury for the 2007 CHIPP (China International Press Photo Contest) and Member of the Jury and visiting lecturer to Fotopub, Slovenia July 2008. Directing a major exhibition and slide show at 1999 Perpignan, Visa Pour L'image with an interview with Jean Francois Leroy on stage. In 2012 I ran a photo workshop and curated a renewable energy exhibition at the Angkor Photo Festival in Siem Reap, Cambodia and was invited as guest speaker for Wild Photos at the Royal Geographic society in 2011. I am currently working on Climate Emergency events and supporting on line publications with consultancy and archive picture material.
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Call for Entries
AAP Magazine #17: Portrait
Publish your work in our printed magazine and win $1,000 cash prizes