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Aaron Blum
Aaron Blum
Aaron Blum

Aaron Blum

Country: United States
Birth: 1983

Aaron Blum is an eighth generation West Virginian, and creates art deeply linked to his home. Most of his work centers around a single question, what does it mean to be Appalachian? Through this question he address many different artistic concepts from idealized memory vs. stereotypes to ideas of folk taxonomy. His creation process is a diversified approach of image-based media to create a glimpse into his own concepts of Appalachia, and the social fabric of a very large and misrepresented people and place. He pays close attention to the quality of light and the landscape as well as cultural markers to produce a unique version of life in the hills. After graduating with degrees in photography from West Virginia University and Syracuse University, Aaron immediately began receiving recognition for his work including Center of Santa Fe, Silvereye Center for photography, Critical Mass, and FOAM.

About The Prevailing Winds of Hills and Heritage
Appalachia pulls at me like a haunted memory. There is an ineffable force that compels me to suspend reality and embrace superstition and myth. It is a longing to hold on to my culture and history in spite of the modern world. The nebulous forests, enveloping moss and dark corners seem to tell a purer truth.

Storytelling in Appalachia has a long-standing tradition, and it infuses the region with mystery. Using lore, pseudo-scientific study, and personal experiences as a compass I see this place through idealized eyes of wonder, and these images become my personal folklore. They bring to life the fantasies and memories I carry with me. This is a place where you can wash away sin in cool stream waters, where corpse birds come to ferry away souls to the next life, rocks burn and kudzu conceals. This is the place where the prevailing winds whisper old stories to those who know how to listen.
 

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Sandra Tamos
Lithuania
1989
Since my childhood I was attracted to visual arts, painting mostly. I had a dream to become a fashion costume designer when I grow up. When I was 14 things changed. I didn’t lose my passion for painting, but the camera my dad gave me drew me into photography. Since then I started taking self-portraits and gained some photography experience. Later I started reading books about photography and wasn’t taking any pictures for the time being. When I was 18 I bought my first digital camera and started taking pictures of nature. I became addicted to macrophotography, as the camera revealed worlds unseen by a naked eye. When I graduated from school I studied, Technology of photography at Vilnius University of Applied Engineering Sciences, and obtained a Photo Journalist bachelor degree. In photography my most beloved avenues are portrait and dance photography, especially ballet. Ballet for me is something above reality, something spiritual, fantastic. In photos I try to show ballet, the way I see and feel it. I try to create pictures which remind fairy tales or dreams, which look out of this world.All about Sandra Tamos:AAP: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?Before graduating, as I remember. It's hard to say what led me to like it. it simply drew me. I never wanted to, but I suppose it was my destiny to become a photographer.AAP: Where did you study photography?Vilnius College of Technologies and Design, Lithuania.AAP:Do you have a mentor?NoAAP: How long have you been a photographer?Since my first shot, five years aproximatelyAAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it?The first digital photo was a dandelion fluff with water drops. However my absolutely first picture was self-portrait, photographed with old russian film camera, when I was 14.AAP: What or who inspires you?Little bits of everything, I would have to write a book to metnion everything what inspires me, so I will save your time and will only mention few key sources of inspiration. Life, from germination/birth to blossom and so on. Water, in all forms. Fog, tiny drops on leaves or spider web, rain, ponds, rivers.AAP: How could you describe your style?Sensual, mystical, darkly romantic.AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film?I use Pentax K-5 digital camera, and my favorite lenes are SMC Pentax A 50 f/1,7 and Sigma 30 f/1,4.AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images?Yes, it takes skill and time to turn diamonds into brilliants, same with photos. But I enjoy the process so I dont mind if it takes time.AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)?Too many to mention all of them. Lately especially admire Gregory Colbert creation.AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer?Learn how to operate the camera perfectly, theres nothing worse than perfect moment slipping away, or when a moment that was felt right for a perfect picture, ends in dissapointment of failing to freeze it in camera, when it simply doesnt look the way it had to and the way it was perceived.AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid?Loosing faith, should be avoided.
Ian Teh
United Kingdom
1971
Ian Teh has published three monographs, Undercurrents (2008), Traces (2011) and Confluence (2014). His work is part of the permanent collection at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) and the Hood Museum in the USA. Selected solo shows include the Jack Shainman Gallery in New York in 2004, Flowers in London in 2011 and the Kunsthal Museum in Rotterdam in 2012. Teh has received several honours, in 2018 he was awarded a travel grant from the Pulitzer Centre for Crisis Reporting and presented his work on climate change at the prestigious 2018 National Geographic Photography Seminar. He is also the recipient of the International Photoreporter Grant 2016 the Abigail Cohen Fellowship in Documentary Photography 2014 and the Emergency Fund 2011 from the Magnum Foundation. In 2013, he was elected by the Open Society Foundations to exhibit in New York at the Moving Walls Exhibition. In 2015, during the COP21 Paris climate talks, large poster images of his work were displayed on the streets of Paris as a collaborative initiative by #Dysturb and Magnum Foundation. He is a co-exhibitor in Coal + Ice, an environmental group show of acclaimed photographers and curated by Susan Meiselas. It was exhibited at the Official Residence of the US Ambassador to France during COP21. Teh’s work has been published internationally in magazines such as National Geographic, The New Yorker, Bloomberg Businessweek and Granta. Since 2013, he has exhibited as well as conducted masterclasses at Obscura Festival of Photography, Malaysia’s foremost photo festival. He is a tutor at Cambodia's Angkor Photo Festival since 2014. Teh is a member of the British agency, Panos Pictures.Source: www.ianteh.com Artist Statement: "Much of my artistic creativity stems from my interests in social, environmental and political issues. I imagine my work as a series of short films made out of stills. They are narratives that are built on moments of time collected over extended periods. Each story is a woven fabric of compositional and colour threads that come together to create a particular ambience intended to both emphasize my perspective on the subject matter and to, hopefully, encourage the viewer to take the narrative beyond the limits of my frame, into a direction that makes the experience of those images more vivid. My photographs have been widely exhibited and featured in several international publications such as, Time, Newsweek, The New Yorker and The Independent Magazine. I was recently awarded the 2011 EF grant from the Magnum Foundation and also received a high commendation for the 2009 Prix Pictet award. In 2001 I was part of the Joop Swart Masterclass. With some friends I founded Deep Sleep Magazine an online publication and recently we founded our own imprint Deep Sleep Editions to have more control of the publishing process. I have published two monographs, Undercurrents (2008) and Traces (2011)."
Nicolas Dhervillers
Nicolas Dhervillers is a French artist who works in the field of photography. After multimedia and photography studies, he made a name for himself after an historic commission from the Centre Pompidou in Metz. Inspired by cinematic, theatrical and pictorial writing, Nicolas Dhervillers's approach decompartmentalizes the photographic medium.He works with French Galleries, collaborates with Art Centers and International Museums. He was invited to show his work in many countries like Switzerland, Germany, Korea, China, Netherlands, Usa and to Paris Photo for the past 5 years.In 2014 and 2015 he will have a solo exhibition at the Helmond Gemeente Museum (NL) then he will be in Australia for an International Festival and in Belgium for the "triennale de Photographie et d’architecture".All about Nicolas Dhervillers:AAP: Where did you study photography?I studied cinema first, then theater, and then I came to Paris to make a master in Photography and mixed media. I studied with Mr Jean Claude Moineau, my "chief" in terms of theory.AAP:Do you have a mentor or role model?No, but Jeff Wall influence me off course. AAP: How long have you been a photographer?10 years, but not a Photographer, maybe an artist is more correct, in a way.AAP: What or who inspires you?History of art in generalAAP: How could you describe your style?It is a mix between the painting spirit (about the white page), the cinematographic light and the pose of theater.AAP: What are your projects?Retrospective exhibition in Netherlands.
Piotr Zbierski
Piotr Zbierski - Studied photography at National Film School. Author of three individual exhibitions (White Elephants, Here, Love has to be reinvented), participant in collective exhibitions and publications including Photokina and Lab East. He presented his works in many countries like Poland, Germany, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia. As well as magazines (Shots Magazine, Ninja Mag, Archivo Zine, Die Nacht, Gup Magazine). In 2012 he won the prestigious prize for young photographer Leica Oscar Barnack Newcomer Award. His work was nominated to Deutsche Börse Photography Prize and has been shortlisted in many other prizes (Les Nuits Photographiques 2012, Terry O’Neill Award) for his series Pass by me. His works has been shown at festival in Arles 2012 and are in collection of Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts. He lives and works in Lodz.About Love has to be reinventedThe series "Love has to be reinvented" began in 2012 and its starting point was not an image but my personal experience, which changed my view and redefined my opinion on many issues. At the same time, it is neither my diary nor any personal document; recently such a name is given to whatever cannot be named. Titles of my series are just mottos for my creative works at their particular stages. Words are created by letters in the alphabet, which is a matter of convention depending on culture. I build my series out of emotions, which are a biological fact, they are unquestionable. The key objective I identify for myself is availability of a feeling. I really want the person looking at my photographs to experience something more and not just say whether photographs are good or bad. Photography does not begin with an image, it does not end with an image, either; I put on authenticity, and not on originality. An image is a form of communication of a higher art form, which is life itself. I took the title from the French poet, Artur Rimbaud, who wrote these words and expressed criticism of France and times he lived in about a hundred years ago. I returned to these words because I think the world has not changed so much, and I criticize a contemporary world, which has gone in the wrong direction, in my opinion. And I do not mean people but structures built around the castle, which the book hero has never reached. A major objective of my work is to get through to the essence of human emotions, to their purest form with no additions, no gadgets. To show a man in the way he has been created, a man from a primeval village. In a contemporary world, such an image may be created using a certain type of imagination because we are very far away from such a status quo; therefore, my work is reality-based but it is not the reality itself. It is an attempt to invoke and depict certain human impulses with full acceptation of their inherent contradictions. Like love: it is as full of adoration as hatred; a day could not exist without a night. I will finish this three-year's series in spring 2015 during the total sun eclipse, which can be observed in Iceland. It is a characteristic clamp for my creative work in which I start from a personal, private and single experience at the very beginning, and come through an image to a part, which is common for us all, and independent of me. A macro scale has its reflection in a micro scale while a normal scale, in which we live in, is its pulsating reflection. To follow theories of contemporary scientists, only a ballet-dancer may be smaller, and in macro scale - a multiple universe. Life is a film directed by the universe while the world is the largest accumulation of sensually available metaphors, a secret in secret or a metaphor in a metaphor. Rimbaud has also written that eternity is skies mixed with water; quite right: black and white, grey on grey; in a child's drawing huge blue and objectively sacred transparency. In my opinion, there is one reality and infinitely many visions. To sum it up as simple as I can: if the world is a tree growing more and more branches (metaphors), then life is the fruit. While love is juice of various tastes in the same way as resin is what a tree uses for weeping. All this happens in the surroundings of eternal gases where toxic ones come away leaving space to healthy ones. Rootstocks and roots grow expanding in the same way. Who are people then?Undoubtedly, they are savages from a primeval village who have learnt what a real taste of love is: they adored each other at the expense of "god's" hatred, they are Adam and Eve. It is only owing to such a full image of love that new generations could come into existence. I also invite to see the video work titled "Lodz", in which I develop motifs I have earlier discussed. Another continuing video is in progress. Bottomless source is RGB without DNAPiotr Zbierski
Maureen Ruddy Burkhart
United States
1954
My creative quest has always been about the 'journey' as opposed to the 'destination'. The first is experiential, alive, organic; that latter seems rushed. I grew up in places that I now see as exotic, but at the time I just thought it was terribly inconvenient and definitely too far from friends back 'home'. In 1971, at age 17, I left Iran, after three years, in tears and some relief. I immediately thought 'why didn't I take any pictures there?'. I fell in love with that country and its people, but I would not be going back (at least, not yet!). Holding onto what memories I had taken with me, I vowed this would not happen again. So I enrolled in the SFAI. Many years have unfolded since then, and I've been a filmmaker (when 'film' was film), a writer/director, an I.Q. tester, stock photographer, and a documentary and fine art photographer. My most seminal work to date, in terms of how it changed my worldly perceptions, came after spending some three years on and off working for a documentary project in the Kibera slum of Kenya. "Kibera: A Slice of Heaven" earned numerous international awards and press, but my favorite was a local 'Artist of the Year' in Longmont, Colorado. The Firehouse Art Center curator, Jessica Kooiman Parker, called it an 'act of bravery'. Reflecting on that, I realized that bravery is a way to change the world AND the photographer, one heart at a time. The power of photography is truly unlimited. Amidst a crazy world (and always being on the move), I developed a love of landscape photography. Most people acknowledge that nature can be a place of solace and inspiration. While it is definitely the same for me, I've been creating 'scenes' from nature. I often photograph the same landscape over and over, taking my favorite parts of the series and compositing them into a singular landscape that mimics my relationship to it. It's fantasy, whimsy, and hope. In my darker landscapes, there's a moody melancholia…but I never lose sight of the hope. Exclusive Interview with Maureen Ruddy Burkhart
Philippe Fatin
France
1962
Philippe Fatin is a photographer and a great traveller: after first stays in Mexico and South America, he discovered Asia (Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Japan, Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Korea) and fell in love with China and more particularly with the region of Guizhou. After an interlude with the Wayanas Indians in French Guyana and the publication of his first book Guyane terre d'espace, he multiplies his travels to the Miao people of Guizhou and ends up residing there for more than twenty years. He published a book Randonnée d'un photographe voyageur in China and exhibits at the Guiyang museum, he also publishes in the national and international press. He is also a collector, organized various exhibitions of his personal collections in French museums: Gold and lacquers from Burma, tribal textiles from southwest China, Nuo masks from the exorcism theatre of China accompanied by publications. In The Mounts of the Moon When I got off the Trans-Siberian Railway in 1985, I knew nothing about China. The blue of the heater set the tone on a red background. I spent the first two years getting to know this culture, before discovering a province in the southwest that was still untouched by any contact with the outside world. The last Westerners present in the region were missionaries, who were driven out of it in 1949 by the communists. The province of Guizhou is one of the poorest, along with that of Gansu. "There are never three days of good weather in a row, the inhabitant does not have three sapeques in his pocket, and there are not three lilies of the flat country." That sets the tone. This province is rich in the diversity of its ethnic minorities, who had managed to maintain an authentic way of life. The villages still lived in autarky, protected by the mountain rampart. Ninety percent of the territory is karst peaks. My camera equipment consists of two Leica M6 cameras and four lenses: 28, 35, 50, and 90mm. With 270 days of rain per year and a constant fog, I use 400 ASA B/W silver film. The access of this province being forbidden to tourism, the task was not easy. The game of cat and mouse with the local authorities was not a perennial solution to penetrate these misty mountains concealing so many secrets. My approach was to establish a base in the provincial capital. I made "Guangxi" connections, and gained the trust of the people and the local authorities. I worked hard to make them understand my work of investigating ethnic groups, especially the Miaos. I obtained special permits to stay in various valleys and villages. After years, I was able to set up different bases in villages that were completely self-sufficient. Sharing the intimacy of the people and building trust, I was able to open the doors to them. My curiosity allowed the rest It would absorb twenty years of my life, during which I photographed a way of life that surged from festivals governed by the gods and the seasons. The evolution of the country a galloping modernization was going to change the situation. Obeying the three priorities of the government: water, electricity and roads, the opening up of the province would radically shape a new face of the population and its environment. In fifteen intervals, my photographic work has thus taken on a patrimonial status. A massive folklorization of ethnic groups (amusement park, pilot village,) their acculturation by the Han mass, the race for enrichment, have contributed to a new mode of integration of these ethnic minorities. This modernization of China and its brutal change of vision of society, over a short period of time, swept away ancestral cultures. Few Westerners have lived in this province, which is now crossed by highways connecting Shanghai, or Guangzhou. My photos are a testimony acquired over the long term, on a way of life that is disappearing in favour of a strong nationalism. It seems to me essential to show the cultural richness of this people, (Nine million people). The province of Guizhou is the home of the Miao diaspora (more than three hundred clans), a threatened melting pot of traditions and rituals mostly ignored by the Han. Indeed, in this rapidly changing society, the peasant populations, known as "floating", have been the cheap labour of China's economic departure.
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