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Annick Donkers
Annick Donkers
Annick Donkers

Annick Donkers

Country: Belgium

Annick Donkers is a documentary photographer from Antwerp, Belgium. After obtaining a Master’s degree in Psychology, she decided to specialize in photography. She has received a grant from the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was selected to participate in the Seminar on Contemporary Photography at the Centro de la Imagen in Mexico City (2008). Her work has been exhibited and published internationally. She was one of the winners at the Survival International Competition (2015), won an award at the San José Photo Festival in Uruguay (2016), the Sony Awards in UK (2016), the MIFA awards in Russia (2016), the IPA awards in USA (2016), the TIFA awards in Tokyo (2016), received an honorable mention at the Px3 Prix de la Photo in Paris(2016), was selected at Latin American Photography vol.5 (2016), on the cover of Dodho magazine (2016), shortlisted for the Kolga Tbilisi Awards and Athens Photo Festival (2017). She currently lives and works as a freelance photographer in Mexico City.

About Lucha Libre Extrema
The Lucha Libre Extrema series emerged from a growing interest I had in Mexican professional wrestling. I was soon drawn towards sub-genres of the sport such as Lucha Libre Exótica and Lucha Extrema. This semi-clandestine hardcore genre is currently prohibited in Mexico City because of how dangerous it is, but events still take place outside the capital, notably at a car wash-turned-arena in Tulancingo, the village where El Santo, Mexico’s most famous pro wrestler, was born. The participants receive professional training and are paid a little bit more because of the risks they take. They perform with a variety of weapons: chairs, thumbtacks, wire, and fluorescent lights, turning the ring into a war zone. Yet the community of luchadores “extremos” is closely knit and few outsiders have gained access. Mexico has been a very violent place in recent years. As such, I found it fascinating that people were drawn to the dangerous world of Lucha Libre Extrema and turned my camera to the audience in an attempt to understand their reasons.

About Afromexican Healers
At the end of last year my attention was drawn to the coastal region of Guerrero known as Costa Chica, located to the south of Acapulco. This region is home to Mexicans descended from African slaves that identify themselves as being “black”. But outside this region they are little-known and they are currently fighting to be officially recognized by the Mexican State. The Costa Chica is also a place rooted in traditional beliefs that include appearances of trolls, the devil and spirit animals. The legend tells that when a baby is born, a member of the family brings the child to a crossroads up in the mountains where lots of wild animals pass by. The first creature to approach the child will be the child's spirit animal, or tono in Spanish, since there is now a dependency created between child and animal. This means that when the animal is hurt, wounded or dies, the person is too. In the Afromexican communities there are healers that will cure these "animal"-related illnesses, since conventional medicine will not work in these cases. The person is cured with herbs selected by the healers and also according to the needs of the animal. They call these healers curanderos del tono and there are only a small number of them left. I went to the Costa Chica region in an attempt to capture what remains of this Afromexican tradition.
 

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Monika Macdonald
Monika Macdonald was born in 1969 in Sweden. She moved to Stockholm where she studied photography after graduation. In 2001 she settled in London and worked as a freelancer, primarily making reportage for newspapers and magazines. She returned to Sweden in 2007 and ever since has focused on working on self initiated projects. In her thick photographs, plenty of souls and flesh, inhabited by strength and vulnerability, Monika Macdonald breathes an unusual eroticism into photography that provokes a vision of interiority rather than fantasy. They invite us to observe moments of abandonment as well as introspection where distant (and yet concrete) beings are grasped in their daily lives as desiring subjects rather than objects of desire. Here the intimate is suggested, and something of the neglected order of existence surfaces. Monika Macdonald shows what remains in the absence, the flesh of everyday life: meeting, abandonment, taste for solitude... The bewitchment of her images lets us penetrate beyond the visible and glimpse this intimacy that is usually killed. "I don't like the idea of taking pictures that much. But I always come back to it. There are no words to describe the feeling of being close to something. That's why I keep going. I oscillate between different worlds to which I try to link myself. My images are memories. To access a sense of loneliness and vulnerability. To be admitted beyond reason, far from what is called reality." Source: Galerie VU' "In Absence" is a series of images portraying women in their strive to find their own identity in a solitary life. "Hulls" is a photographic essay about my meeting with the man in a space, without limitation. An intimate room for losing self control. Book to be published beginning of 2020 by André Frère Éditions, France. Edited by Art Director Greger Ulf Nilson.
Helmut Newton
Germany/Australia
1920 | † 2004
Helmut Newton, a German-Jewish/Australian fashion photographer, is best known for his fashion and female nude studies. Born Helmut Neustadter in Berlin, Germany on Oct. 31, 1920, Newton attended both German and American schools. Newton's proclivity for the unusual, particularly in sexual contexts, is attributed to his early years, when his older brother showed him the "red light" (prostitute) district of Berlin. This early exposure would later lead him to create photographic studies that altered the course of fashion photography. In 1936, Newton left a floundering school career to apprentice under German photographer Else Neulander Simon (known professionally as Yva). Under political pressure, Else, also a Jew, was forced to close her studio, and in 1938, Newton himself fled Germany for Singapore. Here he worked briefly as a photographer for the Singapore Strait Times until he made another move, this time to Melbourne, Australia. During World War II Newton served with the Australian army as a truck driver, then decided to follow his dream, opening his first photography studio in 1946. Two years later he married actress June Browne and gained his Australian citizenship. Newton's initial photography work was standard of the time, primarily comprising weddings, baby portraits and mail order catalogs. But in 1952 his big break came when he began working for fashion-iconic Australian Vogue magazine. In 1956 Newton partnered with Henry Talbot and gave his studio a new name: Helmut Newton and Henry Talbot. By the late 1950s, Newton's reputation as a photographer was growing. He left for London on assignment in 1959 and eventually landed in Paris in 1961. From this new locale, his work appeared nationally and internationally in such magazines as Elle, Marie Claire, Playboy and French Vogue. During this time Newton's photography style began to emerge as covertly sexual, even hinting occasionally at the fetishistic. Throughout the 1960s Newton's celebrity status brought him increasingly exotic assignments. Then, following a heart attack in 1971, Newton's work took on new purpose. He began to openly explore sexual themes, rocking the photography world and capturing interest around the globe. Newton's wife, June, is said to have encouraged him in this new career course as he began to depict women in increasingly aggressive and sometimes menacing roles. The 1978 horror classic "The Eyes of Laura Mars" was influenced directly by Newton's work. Newton was the recipient of a number of honors, including Germany's Kodak Award for Photographic Books, the Tokyo Art Director's Club prize and an American Institute of Graphic Arts award. He was also recognized by the French and German governments. Life magazine honored Newton with the Life Legend Award for Lifetime Achievement in Magazine Photography in 1999. In 2003, Newton donated a large photo collection to the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation in Berlin, the land of his birth. The collection remains there today. Newton continued to travel during his waning years, primarily alternating between Los Angeles and Monte Carlo. He died on Jan. 24, 2004, in an automobile accident. His ashes are buried in his home city of Berlin.
Kamil Vojnar
Czech Republic
1962
Kamil Vojnar was born in the former Czechoslovakia in 1962. He studied at the School of Graphic Arts in Prague and began his career as a Graphic Designer. He left the country illegally (still Communist at the time) and moved to Vienna, and then eventually became a US citizen and finished his studies at the Art Institute of Philadelphia. He continued his career in Graphic Design which later led to illustration and imagery based on photography, working mostly for book and music publishing houses in New York City. At the same time, he continued to make his own imagery. After meeting his partner and having children, going back and forth between France and New York, they finally settled in St. Remy de Provence in South France where Vojnar has concentrated on his own work since 2005. He opened up an Atelier in St. Remy and then one in Paris in 2009, both of which carry his own work.His work consists of images digitally layered from many different photographs and textures. They are mixed-media archival prints on fine art paper or mounted on canvas. Some of his images are layered pictures printed on semitransparent Thai paper. These unique photomontages are then varnished with oil and wax, and on occasion painted with oil paints. Kamil, as a painter, points out, “In a painting, you can paint anything you want. In the photographic [medium], it must, on some level, exist first. That tension between what exists and what is made up is what interests me.” Thus, his images are often subject to very different interpretations (Source: Verve Gallery) About ElsewhereWell, … why … why "e l s e w h e r e"…?Because, … not really here, because not there or … over there, because … somewhere else, … "e l s e w h e r e"!!!In thousand years old small town in south France, I have little studio, tiny Gallery, up on the main street.People from all around the world come to this town. They walk it's ancient streets. Some see my place, some walk in and look around.And they ask … why, … the sky outside is blue, … the buildings ochre yellow, the olive trees pale green, … why are those pictures musty, sepia, dark. Why is their soul heavy? What happened? What has happened to me!And I say … I don't know, … they come to me that way. They are not really from here, they are not so much from there. They arrive from ..."elsewhere". I am just a pair of hands making them happen.I didn't look for them, I didn't choose them. They came to me, … they choose me!Artist? No. … Common' I am no Artist! I just make those little pictures. Just because they happen to me.And because … I cannot do anything else. I cannot do anything else, at least, until every last of them is out, … done.Just a pair of hands I am. Always struggling to let the image out. Always behind in my ability to execute on the paper what pours from ..."elsewhere", via my mind, my heart.It feels like, … really I have no personal connection to those pictures. I am not guilty.Don't ask me what they are, … what they mean. I don't know.Like orphaned kids, I collect them, feed them to grow.They have to be done. They have to get out there.If not me, … then who?Some are easy. Impatiently they bursting out into the openOthers play hide and seek. They leave a hint, they take me all over wrong paths, all around. They let me sweat, they let me freeze. They drag me through dry, dusty deserts, soak me in deepest seas. My shirt is bloody. My face is wet. Sometimes … sometimes I cry. Pure impossibility overwhelms me. Impossibility to make them happen as they appear to me. In their translucent light, through the tears, I see them, … I almost see them.No, I am no Artist. I just … I am just trying to do, … what I … almost … see.Yes, it's true! … I am making one picture over and over again.The same sofa, the same dress, the same image of Jesus on the wall in the background, as I have had throughout my childhood.Wings? … Yes, sometimes, there are wings. But those who carry them, they are no angels.They just want to be free. Pair of wings is like a passport to get away. To get to … elsewhere.E l s e w h e r e, … they say, it's not the destination, it's the journey, that counts.Therefore my little pictures are the humble documentation of that journey.They are the journey!Journey to … e l s e w h e r e!
Platon (Antoniou)
United Kingdom
1968
Born in London in 1968, Platon was raised in the Greek Isles until his family returned to England in the 1970's. He attended St. Martin's School of Art and after receiving his BA with honors in Graphic Design, went on to receive an MA in Photography and Fine Art at the Royal College of Art. After working for British Vogue for several years, he was invited to NY to work for the late John Kennedy Jr. and his political magazine, 'George'. After shooting portraits for a range of international publications including Rolling Stone, the New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, Esquire, GQ and the Sunday Times Magazine, Platon developed a special relationship with Time magazine, producing over 20 covers. In 2007 Platon photographed Russian Premier Vladimir Putin for Time Magazine's Person Of The Year Cover. This image was awarded 1st prize at the World Press Photo Contest. In 2008 he signed a multi-year contract with the New Yorker. As the staff photographer, he has produced a series of large-scale photo essays, two of which won ASME Awards in 2009 and 2010. Platon's New Yorker portfolios have focused on many themes including President Obama's Inauguration, the U.S Military, portraits of world leaders and the Civil Rights Movement. The following year, Platon teamed up with the Human Rights Watch to help them celebrate those who fight for equality and justice in countries suppressed by political forces. These projects have highlighted human rights defenders from Burma as well as the leaders of the Egyptian revolution. Following his coverage of Burma, Platon photographed Aung San Suu Kyi for the cover of Time - days after her release from house arrest. In 2011, Platon was honored with a prestigious Peabody Award for a collaboration on the topic of Russia's Civil Society with The New Yorker Magazine and Human Rights Watch. Platon's first monograph 'Platon's Republic', was published in 2004 by Phaidon Press. To coincide with its publication, the work was exhibited internationally, in London at the ex-Saatchi Gallery as well as the Milk Gallery in New York. His second book, 'Power' - a collection of portraits of over 100 world leaders - was published in 2011 by Chronicle and following its success was selected by Apple to be released as an app. The book includes portraits of Barack Obama, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, Dmitry Medvedev, Benjamin Netanyahu, Hugo Chavez, Mahmoud Abbas, Tony Blair, Robert Mugabe, Silvio Berlusconi, and Muammar Qaddafi. In recent years, public speaking has progressively played a major role in Platon's career as communicator and storyteller. He has been invited to be a keynote speaker at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Yale, the London School of Economics, the National Portrait Gallery in London and the International Center of Photography in NY. He has also appeared on a range of television media including Charlie Rose (PBS), Morning Joe (MSNBC), Fareed Zakaria's GPS (CNN) and the BBC World News. Between 2011-2013, Platon's work has been exhibited in galleries both domestically and abroad. He has exhibited in New York at the Matthew Marks Gallery and the Howard Greenberg Gallery, as well as internationally at the Colette Gallery in Paris, France. The New York Historical Society also exhibited a solo show of Platon's Civil Rights photographs, which remain as part of the museum's permanent collection. Other permanent collections holding Platon's photography include The Florida Museum of Photographic Arts in Tampa, Florida and The Westlicht Museum for Photography in Vienna, Austria. Platon's advertising credits include the United Nations Foundation, Credit Suisse Bank, Exxon Mobil, Diesel, the Wall Street Journal, Motorola, Nike, Converse, Verizon, Vittel, Levi's, IBM, Rolex, Ray-Ban, Tanqueray, Kenneth Cole, Issey Miyake, Moschino, Timex and Bertelsmann among others. Platon lives in New York with his wife, daughter and son. (Source: www.platonphoto.com)
Lillian Bassman
United States
1917 | † 2012
Lillian Bassman (June 15, 1917 – February 13, 2012) was an American photographer and painter. Her parents were Jewish intellectuals who emigrated to the United States from Russia in 1905 and settled in Brooklyn, New York. She studied at the Textile High School in Manhattan with Alexey Brodovitch and graduated in 1933. While there, she met the photographer, Paul Himmel, and they were married in 1935; Himmel died in 2009 after 73 years of marriage. From the 1940s until the 1960s Bassman worked as a fashion photographer for Junior Bazaar and later at Harper's Bazaar where she promoted the careers of photographers such as Richard Avedon, Robert Frank, Louis Faurer and Arnold Newman. Under the guidance of the Russian emigrant, Alexey Brodovitch, she began to photograph her model subjects primarily in black and white. Her work was published for the most part in Harper’s Bazaar from 1950 to 1965. By the 1970s Bassman’s interest in pure form in her fashion photography was out of vogue. She turned to her own photo projects and abandoned fashion photography. In doing so she tossed out 40 years of negatives and prints - her life’s work. A forgotten bag filled with hundreds of images was discovered over 20 years later. Bassman’s fashion photographic work began to be re-appreciated in the 1990s. She worked with digital technology and abstract color photography into her 90s to create a new series of work. She used Photoshop for her image manipulation. The most notable qualities about her photographic work are the high contrasts between light and dark, the graininess of the finished photos, and the geometric placement and camera angles of the subjects. Bassman became one of the last great woman photographers in the world of fashion. Bassman died on February 13, 2012, at age 94. Source: Wikipedia Lillian Bassman was born in 1917 into an immigrant family of free-thinking intellectuals, and was brought up with a mindset that allowed her to live as an independent and unconventional woman.She worked as a textile designer and fashion illustrator before working at Harper's Bazaar with Alexey Brodovitch, and ultimately becoming a photographer. Bassman's fashion images are unique, and acheieve their effect through manipulation in the dark room. Appearing in Harper's Bazaar from the 1940's to the 1960's, her work was categorized by their elegance and grace.Bassman had transformed these photographs into original works of art through her darkroom techniques in which she blurs and bleaches the images, investing them with poetry, mystery, and glamour. Source: Staley-Wise Gallery Lillian Bassman is one of the great 20th century fashion photographers along with Irving Penn and Richard Avedon. She began her career not as a photographer but as a painter at the WPA and then took courses at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. In 1945, Bassman was appointed Art Director at Junior Bazaar, giving projects to photographers such as Richard Avedon, Robert Frank and Paul Himmel (her husband). Later in 1947, she became the Art Director at Harper’s Bazaar, and her work appeared in Harper’s Bazaar throughout the 1940’s and 50’s. Her work was nearly destroyed in the 70’s by a water leak in her studio, and it was not until the 1990’s that her work was revived. With this new spotlight, Bassman received the Agfa Life Time Achievement Award and the Dem Art Directors Club Award in 1996. During the same year, Bassman began photographing again when she was asked to photograph the Haute Couture collection for New York Times Magazine, the Autumn Collection for Neiman Marcus, as well as work for German Vogue. Her work has been exhibited worldwide. Source: Peter Fetterman Gallery
Geir Tonnessen
Norway
1976
Geir Tønnessen (born in 1976) is a contemporary photographer currently based in Oslo, Norway. He studied photography by himself with some guidance from friends and the Internet. Some of his works have been exhibited in the following galleries: Cyan Studio (Oslo, Norway), Galleri MAP (Oslo, Norway), and Preus Museum (Horten, Norway). "Photography is to have fun and being smart at the same time, which for me is the perfect combination. With my creative fun shots I want to get other people to laugh and inspire them to shoot for them self. With my nature and city shots I want to create a special feeling that makes my viewers think and make them look at my shots for a long quiet time." Interview with Geir Tønnessen All About Photo: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer? Geir Tønnessen: When i very young realized i had to release my creative urges, and since i am a shitty drawer/painter, photo was my thing! And since i also like to be playful and humorous every day, i had to get it out some way! AAP: Where did you study photography? GT: I studied photography all by myself, spending many hour every day on the net looking at others pictures, by having a father reading art books to me since i was born, by going to a lot go art exhibitions home i Oslo and when visiting other countries and cities all over the world. AAP: How long have you been a photographer? GT: I got my camera when i was about five years old to my birthday from my grandmother. Something i enjoyed very much that time! AAP: What or who inspires you? GT: Other artists that with a lot of creativity and great new ideas. I love to find shoots by others that look like something i never have seen before. AAP: How could you describe your style? GT: My style is not easy to describe but i like to take creative artsy portraits, calm pictures of nature and early morning shots of cities. AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film? GT: I shoot both digital and analog. When i shoot analog, i use my Hasselblad 500cm with the standard 85mm Carl Zeiss and my Pratica LTL with a 50mm. When i shoot digital i use my Nikon d800 with Nikon NIKKOR 85mm 1:1.4G lens. AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? GT: I don`t use much time to edit on my computer, i like that my shots can be taken directly from the camera. So i general i just edit the shots just a little bit. AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)? GT: My favotite is Martin Parr. AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid? GT: Don`t think to much of technique! Just shoot and try to be creative and original! AAP: If you could have taken the photographs of someone else who would it be? GT: Martin Parr AAP: Anything else you would like to share? GT: Shoot first and ask for permission afterwards.
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