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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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Edward Henry Weston
United States
1886 | † 1958
Edward Henry Weston was a 20th century American photographer. He has been called "one of the most innovative and influential American photographers…" and "one of the masters of 20th century photography."Over the course of his forty-year career Weston photographed an increasingly expansive set of subjects, including landscapes, still lifes, nudes, portraits, genre scenes and even whimsical parodies. It is said that he developed a "quintessentially American, and specially Californian, approach to modern photography"because of his focus on the people and places of the American West. In 1937 Weston was the first photographer to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship, and over the next two years he produced nearly 1,400 negatives using his 8 × 10 view camera. Some of his most famous photographs were taken of the trees and rocks at Point Lobos, California, near where he lived for many years. Weston was born in Chicago and moved to California when he was 21. He knew he wanted to be a photographer from an early age, and initially his work was typical of the soft focus pictorialism that was popular at the time. Within a few years, however, he abandoned that style and went on to be one of the foremost champions of highly detailed photographic images. In 1947 he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and he stopped photographing soon thereafter. He spent the remaining ten years of his life overseeing the printing of more than 1,000 of his most famous images. Source: Wikipedia Edward Henry Weston was born March 24, 1886, in Highland Park, Illinois. He spent the majority of his childhood in Chicago where he attended Oakland Grammar School. He began photographing at the age of sixteen after receiving a Bull’s Eye #2 camera from his father. Weston’s first photographs captured the parks of Chicago and his aunt’s farm. In 1906, following the publication of his first photograph in Camera and Darkroom, Weston moved to California. After working briefly as a surveyor for San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad, he began working as an itinerant photographer. He peddled his wares door to door photographing children, pets and funerals. Realizing the need for formal training, in 1908 Weston returned east and attended the Illinois College of Photography in Effingham, Illinois. He completed the 12-month course in six months and returned to California. In Los Angeles, he was employed as a retoucher at the George Steckel Portrait Studio. In 1909, Weston moved on to the Louis A. Mojoiner Portrait Studio as a photographer and demonstrated outstanding abilities with lighting and posing.) Weston married his first wife, Flora Chandler in 1909. He had four children with Flora; Edward Chandler (1910), Theodore Brett (1911), Laurence Neil (1916) and Cole (1919). In 1911, Weston opened his own portrait studio in Tropico, California. This would be his base of operation for the next two decades. Weston became successful working in soft-focus, pictorial style; winning many salons and professional awards. Weston gained an international reputation for his high key portraits and modern dance studies. Articles about his work were published in magazines such as American Photography, Photo Era and Photo Miniature. Weston also authored many articles himself for many of these publications. In 1912, Weston met photographer Margrethe Mather in his Tropico studio. Mather becomes his studio assistant and most frequent model for the next decade. Mather had a very strong influence on Weston. He would later call her, “the first important woman in my life.” Weston began keeping journals in 1915 that came to be known as his "Daybooks." They would chronicle his life and photographic development into the 1930’s. In 1922 Weston visited the ARMCO Steel Plant in Middletown, Ohio. The photographs taken here marked a turning point in Weston’s career. During this period, Weston renounced his Pictorialism style with a new emphasis on abstract form and sharper resolution of detail. The industrial photographs were true straight images: unpretentious, and true to reality. Weston later wrote, “The camera should be used for a recording of life, for rendering the very substance and quintessence of the thing itself, whether it be polished steel or palpitating flesh.” Weston also traveled to New York City this same year, where he met Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand, Charles Sheeler and Georgia O’Keeffe. In 1923 Weston moved to Mexico City where he opened a photographic studio with his apprentice and lover Tina Modotti. Many important portraits and nudes were taken during his time in Mexico. It was also here that famous artists; Diego Rivera, David Siqueiros, and Jose Orozco hailed Weston as the master of 20th century art. After moving back to California in 1926, Weston began his work for which he is most deservedly famous: natural forms, close-ups, nudes, and landscapes. Between 1927 and 1930, Weston made a series of monumental close-ups of seashells, peppers, and halved cabbages, bringing out the rich textures of their sculpture-like forms. Weston moved to Carmel, California in 1929 and shot the first of many photographs of rocks and trees at Point Lobos, California. Weston became one of the founding members of Group f/64 in 1932 with Ansel Adams, Willard Van Dyke, Imogen Cunningham and Sonya Noskowiak. The group chose this optical term because they habitually set their lenses to that aperture to secure maximum image sharpness of both foreground and distance. 1936 marked the start of Weston’s series of nudes and sand dunes in Oceano, California, which are often considered some of his finest work. Weston became the first photographer to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship for experimental work in 1936. Following the receipt of this fellowship Weston spent the next two years taking photographs in the West and Southwest United States with assistant and future wife Charis Wilson. Later, in 1941 using photographs of the East and South Weston provided illustrations for a new edition of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. Weston began experiencing symptoms of Parkinson’s disease in 1946 and in 1948 shot his last photograph of Point Lobos. In 1946 the Museum of Modern Art, New York featured a major retrospective of 300 prints of Weston’s work. Over the next 10 years of progressively incapacitating illness, Weston supervised the printing of his prints by his sons, Brett and Cole. His 50th Anniversary Portfolio was published in 1952 with photographs printed by Brett. An even larger printing project took place between1952 and 1955. Brett printed what was known as the Project Prints. A series of 8 -10 prints from 832 negatives considered Edward's lifetime best. The Smithsonian Institution held the show, “The World of Edward Weston” in 1956 paying tribute to his remarkable accomplishments in American photography. Edward Weston died on January 1, 1958 at his home, Wildcat Hill, in Carmel, California. Weston's ashes were scattered into the Pacific Ocean at Pebbly Beach at Point Lobos. Source: www.edward-weston.com
Hiroshi Sugimoto
Hiroshi Sugimoto was born in Tokyo, Japan, in 1948, and lives and works in New York and Tokyo. His interest in art began early. His reading of André Breton’s writings led to his discovery of Surrealism and Dada and a lifelong connection to the work and philosophy of Marcel Duchamp. Central to Sugimoto’s work is the idea that photography is a time machine, a method of preserving and picturing memory and time. This theme provides the defining principle of his ongoing series, including "Dioramas" (1976–), "Theaters" (1978–), and "Seascapes" (1980–). Sugimoto sees with the eye of the sculptor, painter, architect, and philosopher. He uses his camera in a myriad of ways to create images that seem to convey his subjects’ essence, whether architectural, sculptural, painterly, or of the natural world. He places extraordinary value on craftsmanship, printing his photographs with meticulous attention and a keen understanding of the nuances of the silver print and its potential for tonal richness—in his seemingly infinite palette of blacks, whites, and grays. Recent projects include an architectural commission at Naoshima Contemporary Art Center in Japan, for which Sugimoto designed and built a Shinto shrine, and the photographic series, "Conceptual Forms," inspired by Duchamp’s "Large Glass: The Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors, Even." Sugimoto has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts; in 2001, he received Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography. He has had one-person exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; and Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; among others. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC, and Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, were joint organizers of a 2005 Sugimoto retrospective. Source: PBS Hiroshi Sugimoto was born in Japan in 1948. A photographer since the 1970s, his work deals with history and temporal existence by investigating themes of time, empiricism, and metaphysics. His primary series include: Seascapes, Theaters, Dioramas, Portraits (of Madame Tussaud’s wax figures), Architecture, Colors of Shadow, Conceptual Forms and Lightning Fields. Sugimoto has received a number of grants and fellowships, and his work is held in the collections of the Tate Gallery, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, and the Metropolitan Museum of New York, among many others. Portraits, initially created for the Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin, traveled to the Guggenheim New York in March 2001. Sugimoto received the Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography in 2001. In 2006, a mid career retrospective was organized by the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C. and the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo. A monograph entitled Hiroshi Sugimoto was produced in conjunction with the exhibition. He received the Photo España prize, also in 2006, and in 2009 was the recipient of the Paemium Imperiale, Painting Award from the Japan Arts Association. During the 2014 Venice Biennale, Sugimoto unveiled his “Glass Tea House Mondrian” at Le Stanze del Vetro on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore. Source: Fraenkel Gallery
Samantha VanDeman
United States
1982
Samantha was born in Chicago, IL. She received a BFA in Fine Art from Columbia College Chicago and an MFA in Visual Arts from The Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University. During the summer of 2003, Samantha studied drawing at Santa Repararta International School of Art in Florence, Italy. Her work has been published and exhibited in the United States and abroad. Samantha lives and works in Chicago, IL. Born in 1982, Samantha VanDeman grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. She studied fine arts at Columbia College Chicago, receiving a BFA in 2005. During her last year in college, she took a B+W photography class and found her passion. From that point on, she started to actively documenting everything around her. In 2007, she returned to college, this time to earn a MFA in photography from the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University in 2009. It was during her time at the low residency program at AIB, that she was able to have independent studies with artists such as Anne Wilson, Mayumi Lake, Jeanne Dunning, and Laura Letinsky. Samantha has exhibited her work nationally. Her work has been exhibited at Emory Visual Arts Gallery, Atlanta, GA; Finch and Ada, NY; New Orleans Photo Alliance Gallery, New Orleans, LA; Las Manos Gallery, Chicago, IL; Gallery 263, Cambridge, MA; Midwest center for Photography, Wichita, KS; Gallery 808, Boston, MA; Change Artist Space, San Francisco, CA; Perspective Gallery, Evanston, IL; Barrett Art Center Galleries, Poughkeepsie, NY; Fourth Wall Projects in Boston, MA; The Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins, CO; Newspace Center for Photography in Portland, OR; Black Box Gallery, Portland, OR; Texas Photographic Society, San Antonio, TX ; Wright Museum of Art in Beloit, WI and Review Santa Fe 100. Samantha VanDeman is adjunct faculty at The Art Institute of Illinois in Tinley Park, IL. All about Samantha VanDeman:AAP: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?My last year as an undergraduate at Columbia College Chicago, I took a Black and white photography class. It was then I knew I wanted to be a photographer. Up until that point, I wanted to be a painter. AAP: Where did you study photography? I studied photography at The Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University. During my time at The Art Institute of Boston, I had independent studies with Laura Letinsky, Jeanne Dunning, Anne Wilson and Mayumi Lake.AAP:Do you have a mentor?Laura Letinksy has been a friend/mentor since 2008 AAP: How long have you been a photographer?10 yearsAAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it?My first shot was of rotten fruit.AAP: What or who inspires you?I’m inspired by silence, decay, kindness and long road trips. Artists who inspire me are Jenny Saville, Edward Hopper, Sally Mann and Fiona Apple.AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film?Canon 5DAAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images?I do minimal editing.AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)?Sally Mann, Angela Strassheim, Nan Goldin and Corrine DayAAP: What advice would you give a young photographer?Find your own voice and follow your gut. Your best work will come from the projects you are most passionate about.AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid?Trying too hard to be different or copying another photographer’s styleAAP: An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share?I’m currently working on a project called “Died Alone”. This project explores abandoned living spaces of people that died alone in their home.AAP: Your best memory has a photographer?My fondest memory: The first time I explored the abandoned – now demolished Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago. I had never explored an abandoned place before Michael Reese Hospital, so it opened up a whole new world for me.AAP: If you could have taken the photographs of someone else who would it be?Weegee or Walker Evans
Azim Khan  Ronnie
Bangladesh
1986
Azim Khan Ronnie was born in Dhaka and brought up in Bogra, Bangladesh. He has an utter passion for photography and photography has been his passion. As a photographer, his essential aim is to capture the moments of life and give them significance by making them static in time. He loves to travel and be in different places, meet new people, and enjoy the experience that photography offers, which is to capture Earth's beautiful and awe-inspiring moments. He also loves to experiment with his photography. He is working news channel as a senior camera person in Bangladesh. More than 15 years Azim Khan Ronnie working in TV Channel back to camera. That's why he was gain lot of photographic knowledge. He is completed foundation course from Pathshala South Asian Media Institute. He has taken part in many National and International Photography contest and till now he has won many national and international photography awards, including HIPA Merit Medal Award 2018, Andrei Stenin Press Photo Contest Winner, SIENA International Photography Award 2019, Two awards from Drone photo contest 2019, Asahi Shimbun award from Japan, Winner Agora images, Won Merit Awards from prestigious All About Photo Awards 2020, 2nd prize from HERITAGE for PLANET EARTH® travel photo competition 2018, BBC Wildlife Photo Contest winner 2017, Won the 1st prize in Securing Water For Food Global Water-Agriculture Photo Contest 2017, FIAP Bronze Medal from 15th Adana Rotary Club International Photography Contest. 3rd Place winner from Wiki Loves Monuments 2017 international photo contest organized by Wikipedia. PSS – Dr. Gibson Hill Memorial Gold Medal (Best of Section) from Singapore International Photography Awards (SIPA) 2017, 1st prize winner from COMPAS photo competition 2017, 1st Prize winner from 35AWARDS 2016 Russia, 2nd prize winner from The 4th Student Photography Contest, organized by Global Photography, China, Grand Prize winner of Endless Summer Photo Contest from Skylum, Two times MARUMI Photo Contest Silver Prize winner from Japan, Honorable mention award from ND Awards 2017, Top 10 Winners of Click India Photography Contest 2017, 3 awards winner from "Golden Orchid International Photo Awards" 2017, 1st & 3rd Prize winner from International photo contest & exhibition in China 2015, Achieve 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 8th & 9th total 5 awards from Bangladesh's Wiki Loves Earth 2017 Photo Contest, Achieve 1st, 2nd & 7th winner from Bangladesh's Wiki loves monuments 2017 photo contest, 3rd Prize from Dhaka-Kolkata International Photo Contest 2017, The Nature Conservancy's 2017 Top 100 Photo Contest, Anjan Kumar Majumder Memorial Trophy for Best Local Nature" from MahfuzUllah Memorial International Photo Contest 2017, Honorable Mention Award from Tokyo International Photo Award (TIFA). Honorable Mention Winner from IPA-The International Photo Awards. Gold Medal Award winners in the San Francisco Bay International Photo Show. Grand prize winner from Chania Photo Festival, Greece. Awards froms VOUBS are: 1st Prize in best Landscape, 1st Prize in best Lifestyle, 1st Prize in best Travel Photo, 1st Prize in best Eyes Photo, 1st Prize in best Pet Photo, 1st Prize in best Reflection Photo, 1st Prize in best Flower Photo, 1st Prize in best Sunrise/Sunset Photo, 1st Prize in best Spring photo, 1st Prize in best Travel photo 2018, 1st Prize in best People Photo, 1st Prize in best Waterfall Photo, 1st Prize in best Baby Photo. Finalist HIPA 2018, Finalist Smithsonian 15th annual photo contest, Finalist Siena International Photography Awards 2017 & 2018, Finalist dotART Urban 2017 photo awards, Hourly Winner of CBRE Urban Photographer of the Year Photo Competition 2018, Landscape Diversity' Expert Judge Winner from Photocrowd, Won Bursa PhotoFest Medal for Contest Special Award Winning Photographs from Bursa International Photo Festival,Turkey, 1st Prize Winner of We Said Go Travel Photo contest 2018, Grand prize winner in Chania Photo Festival, Greece. First place prize in the Social Life category in Ikei Photo Contest, Spain, 2019. Award Highly Commended CBRE Urban Photographer of the Year 2016, one of my photograph has been selected for the 2019 New Internationalist Almanac and many more. His photographs was published Switzerland, France, UK, Russia, Korea, Iran, China and many national & international newspaper & magazine include The Times, The Sun, The Guardian, Daily Mirror, The Telegraph, Daily Mail, New Atlas, BBC Wildlife Magazine, National Geographic Magazine, Smithsonian magazine, F-Stop Magazine (also cover photo), Edge of Humanity Magazine, Swiss newspaper Blickamabend, France daily newspaper (LaDépêche, 20minutes), France magazine Le Figaro, Le Parisien, View magazine in Germany, in China CCTV, Global Times, Beijing Television (BTV), Russian magazine Вокруг света (One of the oldest popular magazines in the world), GEO Magazine, The People, Popular news magazine Newsweek, SangSaeng Magazine, Korea, Canon (France, UK, Europe), Politiko, Iconstyle in Tirana, Albania, The Week Junior etc.
Anka Zhuravleva
Russia
1980
Anka (born Anna Belova) was born on December 4, 1980. She spent her childhood with books on art and her mothers’ drawing tools, covering acres of paper with her drawings. In 1997 she entered the Moscow Architectural Institute deciding to follow in her mothers’ footsteps. But at the end of 1997 her mother was diagnosed with cancer and died in less that a year. Then her father died in 1999. After that Anka’s life changed dramatically. In attempt to keep sane, she plunged into an alternative lifestyle – working as a tattoo artist, singing in a rock-band, sometimes looking for escape in alcohol. In order to make a living while studying, Anka worked at several modeling agencies. Thanks to the drawing lessons she wasn’t afraid to pose nude, and her photos appeared in the Playboy and XXL magazines and at the Playboy 1999 photo exhibition. But she was not looking for a modeling career – it was just a way to make some money. In 2001 Anka was working in the post-production department at the Mosfilm StudiosThat same winter one of her colleagues invited her to spend a week-end in Saint-Petersburg with his friend, composer and musician Alexander Zhuravlev. In less than a month Anka said farewell to Moscow, her friends, her Mosfilm career and moved in with Alexander in Saint-Petersburg. Living with her loved one healed her soul, and she regained the urge for painting. She made several graphic works and ventured into other areas of visual arts. In 2002 Gavriil Lubnin, the famous painter and her husband’s friend, showed her the oil painting technique, which she experimented with for the following several years. During that period she made just a few works because each one required unleashing of a serious emotional charge. All those paintings are different as if created by different people. Anka’s first exhibition took place on a local TV channel live on the air - the studio was decorated with her works. Several exhibitions followed. Private collections in Russia and abroad feature her paintings and sketches. In 2006 Anka noticed that her inspiration often came from photos and decided to take up photography. Since that time Anka took part in numerous projects - magazine's publications and covers, book and CD covers, exhibitions. She engage digital photo art and analog film photography as well. In 2013 Anka with her husband moves to live in Porto, Portugal. Source: anka-zhuravleva.com Interview With Anka Zhuravleva: All About Photo: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer? Anka Zhuravleva: "I always was about visual arts so I can't name exact date or year.. But I turned to photography completely in 2010." AAP: Where did you study photography? AZ: "I am self-educated. I took some individual workshops dedicated to analog processes but it was technical things." AAP:Do you have a mentor? AZ: "No." AAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it? AZ: "I was 6 years.. I shot horses with small film lomo-camera." AAP: What or who inspires you? AZ: "Life, everything I got around me, my dreams, interesting people, my husband's music." AAP: How could you describe your style? AZ: "I have no special style. Different series in different styles." AAP:Do you have a favorite photograph or series? AZ: "No, I love them all!" AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film? AZ: "A lot... And they are changing all the time. Digital 35mm, film medium format, vintage cameras and cameras made by my husband. About 20 different lens, modern ones and vintage brass ones as well." AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? For what purpose? AZ: "It depends. I always edit digital a lot to reach exactly that tone and mood wich I need. And I also do analog process in darkroom without any computer at all." AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)? AZ: "This is a difficult question..." AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer? AZ: "To keep eyes wide open." AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid? AZ: "I don't know... Everybody make mistakes. I suppose it's important not "not making" mistakes, but learn after doing mistakes." AAP: The compliment that touched you most? AZ: "When people telling me that my pictures bring their mind, fantasy and soul to childhood or let them think about miracles.. Or making a good mood..." AAP: If you were someone else who would it be? AZ: "Hum... Maybe a baker? Just joking, I don't know..."
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