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Sumaya Agha
Sumaya Agha
Sumaya Agha

Sumaya Agha

Country: Syria/United States
Birth: 1970

Sumaya Agha is a freelance photographer based in Portland, OR, who began documenting the Syrian refugee crisis over four years ago in Jordan and Europe. She is of Syrian descent with many aunts, uncles, and cousins still living in Damascus. Sumaya holds a BS in Applied Art and Design with a concentration in Photography from Cal Poly State University in San Luis Obispo, CA and an MPA from Middlebury Institute of International Studies. Her worked appeared in the Huffington Post, BBC Focus on Africa, Forbes Africa, and NPR.org, and she was a still photographer for the Academy Award winning film “The Fog of War.” She has lived in Syria, Liberia, and the United States.

Watching from afar as civil war ripped apart Syria, I felt compelled to help the refugees whose lives have been destroyed by the conflict. And with dozens of close relatives enduring the horrors in their hometown of Damascus, I had a personal connection to the crisis. I moved to Amman, Jordan in 2012 and began working as a photographer for humanitarian organizations helping mitigate the crisis that had spilled over from neighboring Syria.

While in Jordan, I spent many days in the refugee camps and host communities, getting to know countless families living there and documenting their substandard living conditions. I heard myriad stories of heartbreaking loss and brutality and enduring spirit, and found that hopelessness is pervasive among the young, as they cannot see a future for themselves.

In January 2016 I went on assignment to Macedonia and Serbia to photograph the refugees migrating through the Balkans. Throughout the freezing winter, 2,200 refugees per day crossed into Serbia. Up to 10,000 a day crossed in warmer months. They came from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, from a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds, including many families with young children. The typical journey went like this: flee their home country, take a perilous raft ride from Turkey to Greece, and then move onward through foreign lands in search of a peaceful home.

Now that the Balkan borders are closed to refugees, thousands are stranded in Eastern Europe, hoping to be relocated to Western Europe. More than 60,000 refugees are in camps throughout Greece, including Ritsona Refugee Camp, where I went on assignment in July to document the crisis.

With no end in sight to the conflict in Syria and elsewhere, the refugee crisis is certain to continue right along with it. That means millions of regular people continuing to seek safety and some sense of normalcy in the absence of peace.
 

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Édouard Baldus
France
1813 | † 1889
Édouard Baldus was a French landscape, architectural and railway photographer, born on June 5, 1813 in Grünebach, Prussia. He was originally trained as a painter and had also worked as a draughtsman and lithographer before switching to photography in 1849. In 1851, he was commissioned for the Missions Héliographiques by the Historic Monuments Commission of France to photograph historic buildings, bridges and monuments, many of which were being razed to make way for the grand boulevards of Paris, being carried out under the direction of Napoleon III's prefect Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann. The high quality of his work won him government support for a project entitled Les Villes de France Photographiées, an extended series of architectural views in Paris and the provinces designed to feed a resurgent interest in the nation's Roman and medieval past. In 1855, Baron James de Rothschild, President of Chemin de Fer du Nord, commissioned Baldus to do a series of photographs to be used as part of an album that was to be a gift to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert as a souvenir of their visit to France that year. The lavishly bound album is still among the treasures of the Royal Library at Windsor Castle. In 1856, he set out on a brief assignment to photograph the destruction caused by torrential rains and overflowing rivers in Lyon, Avignon, and Tarascon. He created a moving record of the flood without explicitly depicting the human suffering left in its wake. Baldus was well known throughout France for his efforts in photography. One of his greatest assignments was to document the construction of the Louvre museum. He used wet and dry paper negatives as large as 10x14 inches in size. From these negatives, he made contact prints. To create a larger image, he put contact prints side by side to create a panoramic effect. He was renowned for the sheer size of his pictures, which ranged up to eight feet long for one panorama from around 1855, made from several negatives. Despite the documentary nature of many of his assignments, Baldus was inventive in overcoming the limitations of the calotype process (described here). He often retouched his negatives to blank outbuildings and trees, or to put clouds in white skies; in his composite print of the medieval cloister of St. Trophime, in Arles (1851), he pieced together fragments of 10 different negatives to capture focus in-depth in a panoramic view of the interior space and also render detail in the brightly lit courtyard outside. He died in 1889 in Arcueil, France.Source: Wikipedia Baldus was one of the great calotypists of the 1850s, producing works of an unprecedented range and scale. He moved to Paris in 1838 to study painting alongside other future photographers such as Le Gray, Le Secq, and Nègre. He frequently retouched his paper negatives, adding pencil and ink, to add clouds or clarify details, then printing his own large-scale negatives. He was also adept at stitching several negatives together to re-create architectural views, most famously in his views of the cloisters of Saint Trophime. Famed especially for his depiction of architecture, Baldus not only documented the modernization of Paris but also traveled widely through France recording modernity and new construction - including new railways and aqueducts, as well as the building of the new Louvre. In 1851 the Commission des Monuments Historiques cited Baldus as one of the five best architectural photographers and he was commissioned to record the monuments of France for what became known as the Mission heliographic. His beginnings in photography are not well documented before his participation in the Mission héliographique, although it is known that he took photographs of Montmajour in 1849.Source: James Hyman Gallery "Everyone knows Mr. Baldus," a reviewer wrote in 1859. By the mid-1850s, Édouard-Denis Baldus was the most successful photographer in France and at the height of his career. He began as a painter, turning to photography in 1849 when paper negatives were just becoming popular. Throughout much of his life, he listed himself in city directories as "peintre photographe" (painter photographer), in reference more to his training than to his practice. In 1851 Baldus became one of the forty founding members of the Société Héliographique, the first photographic organization in the world. Baldus specialized in images of the landscape, architecture, and railways. In 1851 the Commission des Monuments Historiques (Historic Monuments Commission) asked Baldus to document architecture in France. These assignments, which were awarded to several photographers, were called missions héliographiques. In 1855 Baldus received his largest commission to document the construction of the Musée du Louvre. Photographic enlargements were not yet possible in the 1850s, so Baldus's photographs were contact prints from negatives as large as 10 x 14 inches. He often joined together several negatives to produce panoramas, creating images on an even grander scale.Source: The J. Paul Getty Museum
Alexey Titarenko
Russia/United States
1962
Alexey Titarenko is a Russian American artist. He began taking photographs at the beginning of the 1970s, and in 1978 became a member of the well-known Leningrad photographic club Zerkalo, where he had his first solo exhibition (1978). Titarenko graduated from the Department of Cinematic and Photographic Art at Leningrad's Institute of Culture in 1983. Since this was creative activity that had no connection with the official Soviet propaganda, the opportunity to declare himself publicly as an artist came only at the peak of Perestroika in 1989 with his "Nomenclature of Signs" exhibition and the creation of Ligovka 99, a photographers' exhibition space that was independent of the Communist ideology. Titarenko has received numerous awards from institutions such as the Musee de l'Elysee in Lausanne, Switzerland; the Soros Center for Contemporary Art in St. Petersburg; and the Mosaique program of the Luxemburg National Audiovisual Centre. He has participated in many international festivals, biennales, and projects and has had more than 30 personal exhibitions, both in Europe and the United States. His works are in the collections of major European and American museums, including The State Russian Museum (St. Petersburg); the Getty Museum, Los Angeles; the Philadelphia Museum of Fine Art; George Eastman House (Rochester, N.Y.); the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston); the Museum of Fine Arts (Columbus, Ohio); the Museum of Fine Arts (Houston); the Museum of Photographic Arts (San Diego); the Davis Museum and Cultural Center at Wellesley College (Mass.); the European House of Photography (Paris); the Southeast Museum of Photography (Daytona Beach, Fla.); the Santa Barbara Museum of Fine Arts (Cal.); the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University (N.J.); the Reattu Museum of Fine Arts (Arles); and the Musee de l’Elysee Museum for Photography (Lausanne). Major photo series include "City of Shadows" (1992-1994), "Black and White Magic of St. Petersburg" (1995-1997), and "Time Standing Still" (1998-1999). In those series Titarenko paints a bitter picture of a Russia (seen through the lens of St. Petersburg), where people live in a world of unrealized hopes and where time seems to have stopped. Titarenko's photographic series from the 1990s won him worldwide recognition. In 2002 the International Photography Festival at Arles, France, presented all three series at the Reattu Museum of Fine Arts in the exhibition "Les quatres mouvements de St.Petersbourg" curated by Gabriel Bauret. (Source: www.nailyaalexandergallery.com)
Mike Magers
United States
1976
Michael Magers is a documentary photographer and journalist based in New York City. He is a frequent collaborator with the highly acclaimed team at Roads & Kingdoms and served as the lead photographer on their award-winning books, "Rice Noodle Fish" and "Grape Olive Pig" (as well as contributing to the 3rd book in the series "Pasta Pane Vino") published by Harper Collins/Anthony Bourdain. His images are exhibited both internationally and in the U.S. and have appeared in a wide range of digital and print publications including TIME, Smithsonian, Vogue Italia, Huck Magazine, Outside, The California Sunday Magazine, CNN's Explore Parts Unknown, Saveur, New York Times - T Magazine (Instagram Takeover), Grantland, Barron's, The Guardian.com, and L'oeil de la Photographie. Michael's work documenting craftsmanship in Japan was named a 2016 Critical Mass Finalist. About Independent Mysteries Independent Mysteries (pub. November 2019) is the first monograph from documentary photographer Michael Magers. In it, Magers exposes the persistent tension between connection and disconnection -- a feeling of "intimate distance" -- he grappled with while traveling to places like Japan, Haiti, and Cuba for various assignments and personal projects. Drawing on nearly a decade of work, each image can be viewed as a film-still, with little context other than light brushes of human contact, fleeting intimacy, solitude and vulnerability. Every one of the grainy, black-and-white photographs in this book carries with it a secret to be discovered and explored. Read more about Independent Mysteries here
Sherrie Nickol
United States
Sherrie Nickol is a fine art photographer who captures moments in time - and in life - with an almost tangible warmth and energy. She was grew up in Osceola, Arkansas and has lived her adult life in New York City. Nickol studied photography at the University of Cincinnati and later at the International Center of Photography in New York City. Her photographs are in the permanent collection of the Bibliotheque Nationale de France in Paris, and in numerous private collections in the United States. She has mounted one-person exhibitions at Temple University and The National Arts Club in New York City. In recent years, Nickol has focused especially on exploring the relationships between people and their environments. She is interested in families as they come together to share experiences and in individuals as they navigate their space alone. Her work examines the different ways to experience public and private spaces, and she brings a sincerity to her approach that breaks down barriers and allows her to connect deeply with her subjects - a connection which is evident in the photographs themselves. Les étés en bretagne Les étés en Bretagne (Summers in Brittany) is part of my larger series By the Water which is a meditatation on the carefree days of summer. When my son turned six our family began spending a part of each summer near the seaside town of Dinard, on the north coast of Brittany, and I began a project documenting the lives of French families as they vacationed on various beaches. We always rented the same home near the seaside, a short car ride from our relatives, who lived in an old stone house on a working farm. The scenes spoke of another era, with seaside picnics and striped cabanas dotting the beaches. The photographs in this series show the intimacy among families, friends, and lovers as they break from their routines and come together at the water.
William Eggleston
United States
1939
William Eggleston was born in Memphis, Tennessee and raised in Sumner, Mississippi. His father was an engineer and his mother was the daughter of a prominent local judge. As a boy, Eggleston was introverted; he enjoyed playing the piano, drawing, and working with electronics. From an early age, he was also drawn to visual media, and reportedly enjoyed buying postcards and cutting out pictures from magazines. At the age of 15, Eggleston was sent to the Webb School, a boarding establishment. Eggleston later recalled few fond memories of the school, telling a reporter, "It had a kind of Spartan routine to 'build character'. I never knew what that was supposed to mean. It was so callous and dumb. It was the kind of place where it was considered effeminate to like music and painting." Eggleston was unusual among his peers in eschewing the traditional Southern male pursuits of hunting and sports, in favor of artistic pursuits and observation of the world. Nevertheless, Eggleston noted that he never felt like an outsider. "I never had the feeling that I didn't fit in," he told a reporter, "But probably I didn't." Eggleston attended Vanderbilt University for a year, Delta State College for a semester, and the University of Mississippi for about five years, but did not complete any degree. Nonetheless, his interest in photography took root when a friend at Vanderbilt gave Eggleston a Leica camera. He was introduced to abstract expressionism at Ole Miss by visiting painter Tom Young. Eggleston's early photographic efforts were inspired by the work of Swiss-born photographer Robert Frank, and by French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson's book, The Decisive Moment. Eggleston later recalled that the book was "the first serious book I found, from many awful books...I didn't understand it a bit, and then it sank in, and I realized, my God, this is a great one." First photographing in black-and-white, Eggleston began experimenting with color in 1965 and 1966 after being introduced to the medium by William Christenberry. Color transparency film became his dominant medium in the later 1960s. Eggleston's development as a photographer seems to have taken place in relative isolation from other artists. In an interview, John Szarkowski describes his first encounter with the young Eggleston in 1969 as being "absolutely out of the blue". After reviewing Eggleston's work (which he recalled as a suitcase full of "drugstore" color prints) Szarkowski prevailed upon the Photography Committee of MoMA to buy one of Eggleston's photographs. In 1970, Eggleston's friend William Christenberry introduced him to Walter Hopps, director of Washington, D.C.'s Corcoran Gallery. Hopps later reported being "stunned" by Eggleston's work: "I had never seen anything like it." Eggleston taught at Harvard in 1973 and 1974, and it was during these years that he discovered dye-transfer printing; he was examining the price list of a photographic lab in Chicago when he read about the process. As Eggleston later recalled: "It advertised 'from the cheapest to the ultimate print.' The ultimate print was a dye-transfer. I went straight up there to look and everything I saw was commercial work like pictures of cigarette packs or perfume bottles but the colour saturation and the quality of the ink was overwhelming. I couldn't wait to see what a plain Eggleston picture would look like with the same process. Every photograph I subsequently printed with the process seemed fantastic and each one seemed better than the previous one." The dye-transfer process resulted in some of Eggleston's most striking and famous work, such as his 1973 photograph entitled The Red Ceiling, of which Eggleston said, "The Red Ceiling is so powerful, that in fact I've never seen it reproduced on the page to my satisfaction. When you look at the dye it is like red blood that's wet on the wall.... A little red is usually enough, but to work with an entire red surface was a challenge." At Harvard, Eggleston prepared his first portfolio, entitled 14 Pictures (1974). Eggleston's work was exhibited at MoMA in 1976. Although this was over three decades after MoMa had mounted a solo exhibition of color photographs by Eliot Porter, and a decade after MoMA had exhibited color photographs by Ernst Haas, the tale that the Eggleston exhibition was MoMA's first exhibition of color photography is frequently repeated, and the 1976 show is regarded as a watershed moment in the history of photography, by marking "the acceptance of colour photography by the highest validating institution" (in the words of Mark Holborn). Around the time of his 1976 MoMA exhibition, Eggleston was introduced to Viva, the Andy Warhol "superstar", with whom he began a long relationship. During this period Eggleston became familiar with Andy Warhol's circle, a connection that may have helped foster Eggleston's idea of the "democratic camera", Mark Holborn suggests. Also in the 1970s Eggleston experimented with video, producing several hours of roughly edited footage Eggleston calls Stranded in Canton. Writer Richard Woodward, who has viewed the footage, likens it to a "demented home movie", mixing tender shots of his children at home with shots of drunken parties, public urination and a man biting off a chicken's head before a cheering crowd in New Orleans. Woodward suggests that the film is reflective of Eggleston's "fearless naturalism—a belief that by looking patiently at what others ignore or look away from, interesting things can be seen." Eggleston's published books and portfolios include Los Alamos (completed in 1974, but published much later), William Eggleston's Guide (the catalog of the 1976 MoMa exhibit), the massive Election Eve (1977; a portfolio of photographs taken around Plains, Georgia, the rural seat of Jimmy Carter before the 1976 presidential election), The Morals of Vision (1978), Flowers (1978), Wedgwood Blue (1979), Seven (1979), Troubled Waters (1980), The Louisiana Project (1980), William Eggleston's Graceland (1984; a series of commissioned photographs of Elvis Presley's Graceland, depicting the singer's home as an airless, windowless tomb in custom-made bad taste), The Democratic Forest (1989), Faulkner's Mississippi (1990), and Ancient and Modern(1992). Some of his early series have not been shown until the late 2000s. The Nightclub Portraits (1973), a series of large black-and-white portraits in bars and clubs around Memphis was, for the most part, not shown until 2005. Lost and Found, part of Eggleston's Los Alamos series, is a body of photographs that have remained unseen for decades because until 2008 no one knew that they belonged to Walter Hopps; the works from this series chronicle road trips the artist took with Hopps, leaving from Memphis and traveling as far as the West Coast. Eggleston's Election Eve photographs were not editioned until 2011. Eggleston also worked with filmmakers, photographing the set of John Huston's film Annie (1982) and documenting the making of David Byrne's film True Stories (1986). In 2017 an album of Eggleston's music was released, Musik. It comprises 13 "experimental electronic soundscapes", "often dramatic improvisations on compositions by Bach (his hero) and Haendel as well as his singular takes on a Gilbert and Sullivan tune and the jazz standard On the Street Where You Live." Musik was made entirely on a 1980s Korg synthesiser, and recorded to floppy disks. The 2017 compilation Musik was produced by Tom Lunt, and released on Secretly Canadian. In 2018, Áine O'Dwyer performed the music on a pipe organ at the Big Ears music festival in Knoxville. Source: Wikipedia William Eggleston assumes a neutral gaze and creates his art from commonplace subjects: a farmer's muddy Ford truck, a red ceiling in a friend's house, the contents of his own refrigerator. In his work, Eggleston photographs "democratically"--literally photographing the world around him. His large-format prints monumentalize everyday subjects, everything is equally important; every detail deserves attention. A native Southerner raised on a cotton plantation in the Mississippi Delta, Eggleston has created a singular portrait of his native South since the late 1960s. After discovering photography in the early 1960s, he abandoned a traditional education and instead learned from photographically illustrated books by Walker Evans, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Robert Frank. Although he began his career making black-and-white images, he soon abandoned them to experiment with color technology to record experiences in more sensual and accurate terms at a time when color photography was largely confined to commercial advertising. In 1976 with the support of John Szarkowski, the influential photography historian, critic, and curator, Eggleston mounted "Color Photographs" a now famous exhibition of his work at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. William Eggleston's Guide , in which Szarkowski called Eggleston's photographs "perfect," accompanied this groundbreaking one-person show that established his reputation as a pioneer of color photography. His subjects were mundane, everyday, often trivial, so that the real subject was seen to be color itself. These images helped establish Eggleston as one of the first non-commercial photographers working in color and inspired a new generation of photographers, as well as filmmakers. Eggleston has published his work extensively. He continues to live and work in Memphis, and travels considerably for photographic projects. Source: The Getty Museum
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