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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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Argus Paul Estabrook
South Korea
1977
I'm a biracial Korean-American photographer who works in both South Korea and the USA. Frequent travel between these two countries has provided me a unique perspective of Korean identity and its relationship to both global and regional communities. As an artist, I'm interested in creating work that gives voice to others and I often volunteer my efforts to marginalized communities. My work has been awarded by the Magnum Photography Awards, Sony World Photography Awards, LensCulture, IPA, MIFA, TIFA, as well as exhibited at the Aperture Summer Open: On Freedom. I've also been twice selected as a Critical Mass Top 50 artist by Photolucida and a three-time recipient of PDN's Annual Exposure Award. Additionally, I am an alumnus of the prestigious Eddie Adams Workshop and was named the 2017 Dorothy Liskey Wampler Eminent Professor in the School of Art, Design and Art History at James Madison University. Losing Face "Losing Face," documents the energy and emotions surrounding the impeachment protests of South Korean President Park Geun-hye. In October 2016, her relationship with a shadowy advisor from a shaman-esque cult was revealed to extend to acts of extortion. Protests were then held every weekend until Park was formally removed from office in early March 2017. This is what it looks like when the South Korean President loses face. This Is Not an Exit "This Is Not an Exit," bears witness to my father's unexpected struggle with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer as well as documents my mother's grief after his passing. Tying my photography to my mother's narration of events, we weave an intimate family record- one of vision and voice. Bound together through a personal process of grief, I hope "This Is Not an Exit" creates an emotional map, one that reveals our connectedness to each other while also furthering an understanding for all those navigating the loss of a loved one. More about Losing Face
Li Zhensheng
China
1940
Li Zhensheng (born September 22, 1940) is a Chinese photojournalist who captured some of the most telling images from the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, better known as the Chinese Cultural Revolution. His employment at the Heilongjiang Daily, which followed the party line, and his decision to wear a red arm band indicating an alliance with Chairman Mao Zedong, allowed him access to scenes otherwise only described in written and verbal accounts. His recent publication of the book, "Red-Color News Soldier" exhibits both the revolutionary ideals and, more notably, many of the atrocities that occurred during the Cultural Revolution. The Heilongjiang Daily newspaper had a strict policy in accordance with a government dictate that only "positive" images could be published, which consisted mostly of smiling revolutionaries offering praise for Chairman Mao. The "negative" images, which depicted the atrocities of the time, were hidden beneath a floorboard in his house before he brought them to light at a photo exhibit in 1988.Early lifeLi Zhensheng was born to a poor family in Dalian, which is located in the northeastern province of Liaoning, China. At the time of his birth this was Kwantung Leased Territory, where Japan maintained the puppet regime, Manchukuo. His mother died when he was three, and his older brother, who was a member of the People's Liberation Army was killed during the Chinese Civil War. Zhensheng helped his father, who was a cook on a steamship and later as a farmer, until Zhensheng was 10-years-old. Zhensheng quickly rose to the top of his class despite starting school late. He later earned a spot at the Changchun Film School, where he acquired much of his photographic knowledge. In 1963, he briefly achieved a job at the Heilongjiang Daily, however the Socialist Education Movement soon intervened and he ended up back in the countryside for nearly two years, living with peasants and studying the works of Chairman Mao.Cultural RevolutionZhensheng returned to Harbin just months before the outbreak of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in the spring of 1966. A lack of photographic film, marauding Red Guards, and a political dictate against photographing the negative aspects of the revolution restricted what he was able to portray. He soon realized that only people wearing the red-colored arm band of the Red Guards could photograph without harassment. To achieve this, he founded his own small rebel group at the newspaper. Zhensheng then captured some of the most horrific acts of the Cultural Revolution. His collection includes photos depicting dehumanizing tactics used by the Red Guards to humiliate or degrade alleged counterrevolutionaries. Some of the images depict public displays of "denunciations," where the hair of prominent individuals is shaved. Other images show people bearing "dunce" hats; people with black paint spread over their faces; others wearing signs around their necks with writings that criticize their profession or names. Zhensheng also captured scenes of public executions of counterrevolutionaries who were never given a trial for their alleged crimes. At the height of the Cultural Revolution, Zhensheng was once more sent back to the countryside in September 1969. He was sent to the May 7th Cadre School in Liuhe, a labor camp where he and his wife, Zu Yingxia, spent two years performing hard labor. Zhensheng had taken meticulous care of the documented "negative" images he captured while at the newspaper, hiding them beneath a floorboard of his one-room apartment. The dry atmosphere and mild temperatures of Harbin aided the preservation of the photographic negatives. While he was sent away, Zhensheng entrusted a friend to care for the apartment, and instructed him to never reveal the secrets it contained. Zhensheng returned to the newspaper in 1972 as the head of the photography department, and later became a professor at Peking University in 1982.Red-Color News Soldier"Red-Color News Soldier" is a literal translation of the Chinese characters written on the armband Li Zhensheng wore during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Although, he says he never gave his alliance to Chairman Mao, wearing the arm band gave him unprecedented access to historic events, which have since shaped Chinese culture. [4] The book covers the period from just before the Cultural Revolution in 1965 to just after in 1976. It is separated into five chronological sections: 1964-1966 titled "It is right to rebel"; 1966 titled "Bombard the Headquarters"; 1966-1968 titled "The Red Sun in our hearts"; 1968-1972 titled "Revolution is not a dinner party"; and 1972-1974 titled "Die Fighting." The veteran China analyst John Gittings was among the reviewers who welcomed Li's book. He noted that Li was a Red Guard as well as a photographer and did not deny that he also led "struggle sessions" against innocent victims; but his pictures reflect a deeper desire to record and understand. Li's book was "unique" for a simple reason: "Although the post-Mao Chinese government has labelled the cultural revolution '10 years of chaos,' it still tries to suppress any real inquiry into the countless human tragedies it caused..." The book, which has not been published in China, took many years to publish. Zhensheng's "negative" pictures (those that depicted the atrocities of the cultural revolution) were first revealed publicly in March 1988 at a Chinese Press Association's photography competition in Beijing. The show, entitled "Let History Tell the Future" consisted of twenty images from his collection, which were deemed "counterrevolutionary. " In December of that year, Zhensheng met Robert Pledge, an American who was director of Contact Press Images, an international photo agency, who had come to Beijing. They agreed to work together on a book of Zhensheng's photos, but to wait until the political climate was right. Seven months later, in June 1989, the brutal events of Tiananmen Square made worldwide headlines, and Zhensheng became determined to produce a book to show the world the images from the Cultural Revolution. Work on the book began in 1999. Since Pledge did not speak Chinese, and Zhensheng did not speak English, the two had to coordinate work through the use of translators — many of whom became integral parts of their relationship. Zhensheng sent over 30,000 brown envelopes to Pledge's office in New York City, each containing photographic negatives. A number of the images are self-portraits of Zhensheng. This was the result of always returning to the paper with one extra frame on the film roll; a photojournalism technique of always being prepared to cover a breaking news event at the last minute. Zhensheng would "burn off" the last image with a photo of himself shortly before developing the film. Often the poses were humorous and playful. One such image of Zhensheng exposing his bare chest was published in the book He said he was attempting to recreate the old expression of "baring one's chest in the face of adversity," or in his case, communism. During book tours Zhensheng makes a point to speak of his love for China. He says while he disagrees with the government, he still loves his country and hopes democracy will perhaps prevail in the long-term future. He does not believe his images or the book should be considered anti-Chinese, rather a reminder of the painful past many countries endure during their evolution.Source: Wikipedia
Evelyn Bencicova
Slovakia
1992
Evelyn Bencicova is a visual creative specialising in photography and art direction. Informed by her background in fine art and new media studies (University for Applied Arts, Vienna), Evelyn's practice combines her interest in contemporary culture with academic research to create a unique aesthetic space in which the conceptual meets the visual. Evelyn's work is never quite what first appears to be. Her photographs depict meticulously-controlled compositions characterised by an aesthetic sterility, tinged with poetic undertones of timeless desire and longing. Evelyn constructs compelling narrative scenarios that blur the lines between reality, memory and imagination — "fictions based on truth". Depicting multifaceted representations as illusions, Evelyn plays with the viewer's perception to entice them into the secret labyrinth of her imagination. Her disturbingly beautiful visual language and washed-out colour palette, set within curiously symbolic environments, allow for a deep exploration of the themes that take her images far beyond what they reveal at first glance. Evelyn's client repertoire includes fashion and luxury brands such as Gucci, Cartier and Nehera, as well as cultural institutions such as Frieze, Berghain, Kunsthalle Basel, Royal Opera House, Slovak National Theatre and Ballet and Museums Quartier Vienna. In 2018, Bencicova was invited to create visuals for the Institute of Molecular Biology in Austria, and to perform at the closing ceremony for Atonal Berlin. Evelyn's commercial and artistic projects have been featured in the likes of Vogue Portugal, Vogue Czechoslovakia, ZEIT Magazine, ELLE, Dazed & Confused, GUP, HANT and Metal Magazine. Her work has been published in prestigious international photography books and on several online platforms (Juxtapoz, iGNANT.com, Fubiz media) and she has participated in solo and group exhibitions across Stockholm, London, Tokyo, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Milan, Amsterdam, Brussels, Prague and Rome to mention few. In 2016, Bencicova received the prestigious Hasselblad Masters and Broncolor GenNext awards. She was shortlisted and awarded by Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, LensCulture, Independent Photographer, Gomma Grant, Life Framer, Photo IS:RAEL, Young Guns 17, Tokyo International Photo Award and Photo Vogue and OFF Festival. Her fashion film "Asymptote" (2016), co-created with Adam Csoka Keller, received the "Best New Fashion Film" award at the Fashion Film Festival Milano 2017, and was featured at SHOWstudio Fashion Film Awards, the Austrian American Short Film Festival and at Diane Pernet's A Shaded View on Fashion. Evelyn was selected as one of 30 under 30 Female photographers by Artpil.
Wendi Schneider
United States
1955
Wendi Schneider is visual artist illuminating impressions of grace and vanishing beauty in our vulnerable environment with photography and precious metals. Her work is influenced by the lush landscapes of Memphis and New Orleans and a background in painting and art history - in particular Whistler and Steichen, and other Pictorialists and Tonalists. She turned to photography in the early 1980s to create references for her paintings. Mesmerized by the alchemy of the darkroom, yet missing the sensuousness of oils, she layered glazes on her prints to create a heightened reality. She moved to New York in 1988, where she also photographed for advertising, book covers and Victoria Magazine, and to Denver in 1994, later sidelining her fine art practice while raising her son and working in commissioned photography, art direction, and design. Inspired to return to fine art photography in 2010, she soon began her ongoing series 'States of Grace' - engaging digital to capture, layer and print her images, then applying gold or silver on verso to infuse the artist's hand and suffuse her subjects with the spirituality and sanctity of the precious metals - insuring each print is a unique object of reverence. Her photographs have been shown in numerous solo and group exhibits internationally and are held in permanent collections at the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Memphis Brooks Museum, the Center for Creative Photography, Auburn University Library, and the Try-Me Collection. Statement My work is rooted in the serenity I find in the sinuous elegance of organic forms. It's a celebration of the senses anchored in the visual. I'm transfixed and transformed in the art of capturing the stillness of the suspended movement of light and compelled to preserve the visual poetry of these fleeting moments of vanishing beauty in our vulnerable environment. I photograph intuitively - what I feel, as much as what I see. Informed by a background in painting, art history and design, I layered oils on silver gelatin prints in the '80s and '90s to find balance between the real and the imagined. My images are now layered digitally with color and texture, often altered within the edition, honoring the inconsistency. Printed on translucent vellum or kozo, these ethereal impressions are illuminated with white gold, moon gold, 24k gold or silver on verso, creating a luminosity that varies as the viewer's position and ambient light transition. My process infuses the artist's hand and suffuses the treasured subjects with the implied spirituality and sanctity of the precious metals - insuring each print is a unique object of reverence. 'States of Grace' has evolved organically into series within series that can be curated by subject, theme, treatment or feeling.
Stanley Greene
United States
1949 | † 2017
During the early years of his career, Stanley Greene (USA, 1949-2017) produced The Western Front, a unique documentation of the San Francisco’s punk scene in the 1970s and 80s. An encounter with W. Eugene Smith turned his energies to photojournalism. Stanley began photographing for magazines, and worked as temporary staff photographer for the New York Newsday. In 1986, he moved to Paris and began covering events across the globe. By chance, he was on hand to record the fall of the Berlin Wall. The changing political winds in Eastern Europe and Russia brought Greene to a different kind of photojournalism. He soon found himself photographing the myriad aspects of the decline of communism and the break-up of the Soviet Union. Stanley was a member of the Paris-based photo agency Agence VU from 1991 to 2007. Beginning in 1993, he was based in Moscow working for Liberation, Paris Match, Time, The New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, Le Nouvel Observateur, as well as other international news magazines. In October 1993, Stanley was trapped and almost killed in the White House in Moscow during a coup attempt against Boris Yeltsin. He was the only western journalist inside to cover it. Two of his resulting pictures won World Press Photo awards. In the early 1990s, Stanley went to Southern Sudan to document the war and famine there for Globe Hebdo (France). He traveled to Bhopal, India, again for Globe Hebdo, to report on the aftermath of the Union Carbide gas poisoning. From 1994 to 2001, Stanley covered the conflict in Chechnya between rebels and Russian armed forces. His in-depth coverage was published in the monograph Open Wound: Chechnya 1994-2003 (Trolley 2003) and in the 1995 publication Dans Les Montagnes Où Vivent Les Aigles (Actes Sud). The work also appeared in Anna Politkovskaya’s book, A Dirty War: A Russian Reporter in Chechnya (2001). In 1994, Stanley was invited by Médecins sans Frontières to document their emergency relief operations during the cholera epidemic in Rwanda and Zaire. He has covered conflict and aftermath in Nagorno-Karabakh, Iraq, Sudan, Darfur, Afghanistan, Kashmir, and Lebanon. Stanley was awarded a Katrina Media Fellowship from the Open Society Institute in 2006. In 2010, to mark the fifth commemoration of Hurricane Katrina - together with Dutch photographer Kadir van Lohuizen - Stanley made “Those who fell through the cracks”, a collaborative project documenting Katrina's effects on Gulf coast residents. The same year, Stanley’s book Black Passport was published (Schilt). In 2012, Stanley was the guest of honor of Tbilisi Photo Festival and began his project on e-waste traveling to Nigeria, India, China and Pakistan. Stanley has received numerous grants and recognitions including - the Lifetime Achievement Visa d’Or Award (2016), the Aftermath Project Grant (2013), the Prix International Planète Albert Kahn (2011), W. Eugene Smith Award (2004), the Alicia Patterson Fellowship (1998) and five World Press Photo awards. Stanley presented the Sem Presser keynote lecture at the 2017 World Press Photo Award Festival. Stanley Greene is a founding member of NOOR. Stanley passed away in Paris, France on May 19th, 2017. Source: NOOR Greene was born to middle class parents in Brooklyn. Both his parents were actors. His father, who was born in Harlem, was a union organizer, one of the first African Americans elected as an officer in the Screen Actors Guild, and belonged to the Harlem Renaissance movement. Greene's father was blacklisted as a Communist in the 1950s and forced to take uncredited parts in movies. Greene's parents gave him his first camera when he was eleven years old. Greene began his art career as a painter, but started taking photos as a means of cataloging material for his paintings. In 1971, when Greene was a member of the anti-war movement and the Black Panthers, his friend, photographer W. Eugene Smith offered him space in his studio and encouraged him to study photography at the School of Visual Arts in New York and the San Francisco Art Institute. Greene held various jobs as a photographer, including taking pictures of rock bands and working at Newsday. In 1986, he shot fashion in Paris. He called himself a "dilettante, sitting in cafes, taking pictures of girls and doing heroin". After a friend died of AIDS, Greene kicked his drug habit and began to seriously pursue a photography career. He began photojournalism in 1989, when his image ("Kisses to All, Berlin Wall") of a tutu-clad girl with a champagne bottle became a symbol of the fall of the Berlin Wall. While working for the Paris-based photo agency Agence Vu in October 1993, Greene was trapped and almost killed in the White House in Moscow during a coup attempt against President Boris Yeltsin. He has covered the war-torn countries Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iraq, Somalia, Croatia, Kashmir, and Lebanon. He has taken pictures of the genocide in Rwanda in 1994 and the US Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Since 1994, Greene is best known for his documentation of the conflict in Chechnya, between rebels and the Russian armed forces, which was compiled in his 2004 book, Open Wound. These photos have drawn attention to the "suffering that has marked the latest surge in Chechnya's centuries-long struggle for independence from Russia". In 2008, Greene revealed that he had hepatitis C, which he believed he had contracted from a contaminated razor while working in Chad in 2007. After controlling the disease with medication, he traveled to Afghanistan and shot a story about "the crisis of drug abuse and infectious disease". Greene has lived and worked in Paris since 1986. He said: "My wife has left me but instead of becoming an alcoholic, I would go and shoot war." Source: Wikipedia Wars and Victims February 18, 2008 "It remains essential for journalists to scour the ground, unimpeded, using the only weapons we know. Our cameras, notebooks and voices make us the unwelcome pests of aggressors around the world. Witnesses are inconvenient. Yet as most of my colleagues will agree, countries such as Irak, Chad, The Caucasus, and Chechnya, are becoming harder to cover. In the world of spot news, publications don't want to pay for long engagements in complicated zones because its getting much harder to afford it. Authorities block access. And the lack of access, infrastructure and personal security makes logistics a nightmare. Despite the odds, sometimes the effort can make a difference, and those rare moments never cease to satisfy in a profession that is otherwise lonely, demanding and thankless. Journalism rewards you with long days and even longer nights. There is no such thing as taking pictures from a place of safety, and you often pack your feelings in a suitcase until you can return to ‘reality.’ Some colleagues living in this perpetual emotional yo-yo are able to maintain a relationship, money in the bank, and perhaps even their sanity. If you're like the rest of us not born under that star, you never stop trying to find it. For the last fifteen years I have bore witness to long histories of invasions, mass migrations, conflicts, wars and destructions. This group of images is to provide a body of work that is about war and victims but also, it's about photojournalism and the importance of those photo-correspondents that are passionate about shining the light in dark places. The resultant series of black and white and color photographs are more than a mere documentation of the darkness which exists in the world. Journalists today are like disaster tourists going from one hot place to the next. It has never been my intention to be such a photographer. I think it is better to build a full body of work which demonstrates the longevity of a working photojournalist, today and yesterday. I think that this should be taken into consideration when looking at this work. It is a fragment, taken from longer and larger photo-essays." -- Stanley Greene (Sometimes We Need Tragedies) Source: fragments.nl
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