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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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More Great Photographers To Discover

Kourtney Roy
Canada
1981
Roy (b.1981) was born in the wilderness of Northern Ontario, Canada. She holds a degree in media studies specializing in photography from the Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver, Canada. Roy is currently based in Paris, France, where she has been exhibiting her work nationally and internationally for over 10 years at such events and venues as Le Bal, Paris, the Musée Elysée, Lausanne, The Head On Photo Festival in Sydney and the Moscow International Photo Biennale. Kourtney Roy's work is bound up in an ambiguous and cinematic image-making that borders the real and the fantastic. Her approach to photography provokes contemplation and reconfiguration of common place subjects via playful revelation of the bizarre and the uncanny. She is fascinated with exploring the boundaries of liminal spaces; whether spatial, temporal or psychological. By using herself as the principal subject in her work, the artist creates a compelling, intimate universe inhabited by a multitude of diverse characters that explore these enigmatic themes. She has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants, including the Prix Picto (2007), Emily Award (2012), Carte Blanche PMU (2013), The Prix Elysée Nomination (2014) and The Canadian Council for the Arts artist grant (2015). Several books have been published on her work, including Ils pensent déjà que je suis folle (Editions Filigranes, 2014), California (Editions Louis Vuitton, 2016) and The Tourist (Editions La Pionnière, 2020). Source: www.kourtneyroy.com Roy has produced several series which all share the artist’s bold and cinematic aesthetic. Staged in laundrettes, motels, supermarkets and various other banal locations Roy creates hyper-realistic images that resemble film stills. Throughout her work Roy plays with ideas of the bizarre and the uncanny, whether it be a lone female figure walking along a deserted road in a vast landscape or a woman photographed through the wing mirror of a car, Roy’s photographs are permeated with an unsettling air. In her work Roy creates familiar still images of stereotyped heroines, using herself as the model Roy invents numerous characters for herself. This is a crucial element to her work, Roy has stated “It’s usually the male gaze, and the woman is the object to be looked at. So the idea was becoming the person who objectifies, but also objectifying myself. I just thought it was interesting to play the dual role.” Source: Huxley-Parlour The Canadian photographer Kourtney Roy was born in Northern Ontario in 1981. Intrigued by the possibility of creating a tragic mythology of the self, she conjures an intimate universe pervaded by both wonder and mystery. Kourtney Roy's photographer’s eye is drawn to places and settings whose lyrical qualities underscore the sublime banality of everyday life. Roy’s studies in photography, at Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver and later at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, inspired her to develop her finicky aesthetic, which lends itself particularly well to both glossy paper and film. Roy works extensively as an independent photographer/filmmaker in the art world. Instilled with a dark sense of humor, taking their clues as much from the grotesque nature of seemingly placid settings as from the tensions simmering just under the surface, her photographs have garnered many prizes, including the Prix Picto in 2007, The Emily Award in Canada in 2012 and the Prix Carte Blanche PMU/Le Bal in 2013 and the Pernod Ricard Carte Blanche in 2018. In 2019 she won best experimental film at the Brest European Short Film Festival with her dark and dreamy piece, Morning, Vegas. Roy’s work has been exhibited widely in France, but also abroad. She has been seen at the Planche(s) Contact Festival in Deauville in 2012, The Portraits Festival in Vichy in 2015 and at Le Bal in 2014 and a solo show at Paris Photo in 2018, among other events and venues. Internationally Kourtney Roy’s photography has been featured at exhibitions in China, as well as Italy, Switzerland, The United States, Australia, the Moscow Photo Biennale in 2017 and at the Incadaqués International Photo Festival in Spain in 2019. Roy has also released several publications on her work including an accompanying artist book to Le Bal’s exhibition Ils pensent déjà que je suis folle and an artist’s book Enter as Fiction, both published by Filigrane Editions, as well as Northern Noir published by Editions La Pionnière. California is edited by Editions Louis Vuitton and was released in 2016 and her latest publication, The Tourist, is published by André Frère Editions and was released in November 2020.Source: Jackson Fine Art
Ryotaro Horiuchi
Ryotaro Horiuchi was born in Tokyo in 1969. When he was a teenager, he started to work at the furniture studio as an assistant. During his time at the studio, he was asked to take photographs of furniture as its records. And that was the first time he felt his intention to focus on a thing in front of his eyes ''Through The Lends''. And that ''intention'' turned him into ''photo-holic'' by realizing the potential of photographs. Since then, he has been working on his works from Osaka University of Arts and while he was in Germany and till now. Now he is working with ''Descendants of Samurai'' and ''Roma Gypsy'' by taking their portraits. To do so, he keeps focusing on ''the identity'' of them and himself. Falling Waters When I faced the waterfall, my eyes were riveted on the falling waters. The waters kept changing and never became the same figure. I saw the vitality in its overwhelming energy. The waters looked so alive that I felt as if I were photo shooting creatures. These are not scenic photos but portraits of waterfalls. The waters kept moving vigorously with a roaring sound, however, I loved the silence behind it. Quiet Existence I have relatives who emigrated to a foreign country under a state-led migration policy during the pre-war period. They live as minorities in the country. Hearing stories about them as I grew up made me fascinated with people who are defined as minorities. When I was staying in Germany, I later learned that the people who had been closed to me were Roma. I had absolutely no knowledge about Roma at that time and their lifestyle looked just so mysterious to me. Since then, I had been drawn to their strong identity and I visited the area where many Romani people live. I met many other ethnic groups of people who live as minorities there. When I faced their lifestyles, I could see their quiet yet strong identity behind them, which strongly resonated with me. It might be impossible for minorities to maintain their culture without keeping their strong identity. What is identity? The question always makes me ask myself what kind of individuality I retain. Discover Descendants of Samurai
Lu Nan
China
1962
Lu Nan is a contemporary photographer who was born in Beijing, China in 1962. After working for National Pictorial for 5 years, he decided to become an independent photographer. From 1989 to 1990, he shot a series of images of the living conditions of patients in Chinese mental hospitals. From 1992 to 1996, he shot a series of images about Catholicism in China. From 1996 to 2004, he shot a series of images of the daily life of Tibetan farmers. Lu Nan is known as "the most legendary photographer in China". He is also the only Chinese contemporary photographer chosen by Aperture magazine as a topic colon. Lu Nan is constantly invited to participate in numerous exhibitions; however, he is extremely selective about the exhibitions he is involved with. Lu also refused to have his portrait taken by others, so it’s very rare to see any photo documentations of him. For fifteen years, Lu has been leading a life that is almost like a monk, spending his time working and studying, as he believes that “good stuff comes out of reticence.” Since 1989, Lu Nan has spent 15 years completing his trilogy of photographic series: The Forgotten People, China's Catholicism and Four Seasons in Tibet. These images have allowed Nan to place himself in the international spotlight. But perhaps more importantly, he became one of the first people who exposed another side of Chinese society; people often considered outcasts. “I just respect them and care about them… They are the same as us,” said Lu as a reminder that all human beings are equal and deserve dignity. His black and white photographs depict people within their own environment by using a rather straight glance, which is yet associated with delicate contrasts and elegant compositions.Source: Wikipedia Correspondent for the prestigious international cooperative Magnum Photos since the 1990s, Lu Nan 呂楠 (born in 1962 in Beijing) is an independent photographer who has been documenting marginalized people in China. His pivotal series started in 1989 with The Forgotten People: The Condition of China’s Psychiatric Patients. Pursing his intentions to document Chinese people from the margins of society, his subsequent series captured members of the Catholic Faith (On The Road: The Catholic Faith in China, 1992-1996), peasants’ life in Tibet (Four Seasons: Everyday Life of Tibetan Peasants, 1996-2004), and prisoner’s conditions (Prisons of North Burma, 2006).Source: photographyofchina.com “In 15 years, not a day went by when I didn’t question my own work,” says Chinese photographer Lu Nan, in an interview included in his new book Trilogy. “That’s why I scrutinize what I was doing by means of reading. This mode of assessing action through thought and assessing thought through action helped me to complete these projects." “The trilogy is concerned with human beings. I hope that by looking into real life, I’ll find something fundamentally and enduringly human.” Lu Nan isn’t well known outside China but this book, his first in English, should change all that. It collects together three projects he shot over 15 years – The Forgotten People, a look at the lives of Chinese psychiatric patients, shot from 1989-1990; On the Road, a look at the lives of Catholics in China, shot from 1992-96; and Four Seasons, a look at the lives of rural Tibetans, shot from 1996-2004. These microcosms are apparently very different and yet, to Lu Nan, they’re intimately interrelated. Inspired by image-makers such as Josef Sudek and Sebastiao Salgado and extremely well-read, Lu Nan says the three projects represent the three states of life – The Forgotten People is about suffering and adversity, On the Road purification, and Four Seasons about a blessed, serene state.Source: British Journal of Photography
Oleg Dou
Russia
1983
As his mother was a painter and his father was a dress designer, in his childhood Oleg Dou used to gather with the artists and to spend a lot of time reading is father’s fashion magazines. At the age of 13, his parents offered him his first computer set up with an old version of Photoshop with which he already began to transform his schoolfriends or teachers faces. After studying design, he worked as a web designer. In 2005, he buys his first professional camera. Discovered in 2006 by Liza Fetissova, Oleg Dou is represented today by galleries in France, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain, Russia and United States. His worked has been published in a lot of international reviews. He is one of the most promising artist of his generation. In 2011, the Artprice company, leader of the information on art value, has graded Oleg Dou in the top 3 of the under 30 years old photographers the best saled in public auctions. One of his images will make the cover of an extensive " Frozen Dream, contemporary art from Russia" book, from TransGlobe Publishing and Thames & Hudson. Oleg Dou lives and works in Moscow. From Art and Haze Oleg Dou grew up in an artistic environment, with a mother and a father as artists. With 13 years, the young man gets a computer with Photoshop. He then begins to transform photographs, especially the faces of his classmates and teachers. After studying design in 2005 he bought his first professional camera. In a very short time, the artist attracted professionals from the world of art and collectors with a specific and recognizable universe. It is also noticed in 2006 by Liza Festissova, gallery to the Russian Tea Room. Between 2007 and 2008, he won the 1st prize of the International Photography Awards with his Toy Story series, doing portraits of children with extreme whiteness and exposed during the FIAC in 2008. Represented by galleries around the world, Oleg Dou is surely one of the most promising young Russian artists . In 2011, the company information on the art market on Artprice ranks him as one of the top three photographers under 30. “A game,” said Oleg Dou, 28, while summarizing his new exhibition titled “Another Face”. Very comfortable, this Muscovite in silhouette – editing pictures with a software to sublimate his thoughts. And these faces cover a multitude of dressings graceful as a plastic surgeon on acid looking for indulgence. These digital collages, quite confusing when watched closely, causing some embarrassment.Source: RTR Gallery
Katerina Belkina
Katerina Belkina was born in Samara, a city in the South-East of the European part of Russia. She grew up in an artistic atmosphere; her mother is a visual artist and, in herplace of birth, she got an education in the art of painting at the Art Academy. She continued her education in 2000 at an Academy for Photography also in Samara and exhibitions of her mysterious self-portraits ensued in Moscow and Paris. Katerina Belkina was nominated for the prestigious Kandinsky Prize (comparable to the British Turner prize) in Moscow in 2007. At the moment, Katerina Belkina is living and working in Moscow and Berlin.AAP: Where did you study photography?I started in a studio of photography and then I decided to study photography in an Art College. After several years I learned photography at the Photo Academy in Samara, Russia.AAP:How did you become a photographer?I think of myself as an artist in the broad sense of the word. For me photography is just a medium like a painting, drawing etc. However I like to use photography as a basis for my works. This form of art was always interesting for me. As well as drawing. I was influenced by my family in my childhood to like both mediums.AAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it?When I was in fifth grade I took my school photo-group. Otherwise everything around me: school friends, street dogs, home yard.AAP:What was your first paid assignment/job?It was for an inexpensive portrait. The client was a girl who looked very similar to Marilyn Monroe. I found out that only when I looked at her in the viewfinder.AAP: What or who inspires you?Other people working in my field. When I see good results and when I see how they work. AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? For what purpose?Yes, a lot. At first I like the process of editing. In my case it is a combination of photo elements and then layer by layer drawing or correcting and making post-productions. I like when any art work include skills and labor. Every good idea should be perfectly executed.AAP: How do you choose your subjects?I always choose a topic that could be interesting for me at that moment. Then comes the process of thinking about. In the beginning ideas are always abstract. After a while it takes a shape: I choose a subject, composition, color combinations and details. AAP: Can you explain the process that you use to set up a portrait?When the idea takes shape in my mind, I draw a sketch, prepare all the necessary things for shooting and then start. Despite the fact that I know very exactly what I want for my future composition, I like to allow improvisation in the process. Because the result can be interesting and unexpectable. To take self-portraits I use a stative and make it by myself or I ask an assistant.AAP: Your worst souvenir as a photographer?Oh yes I remember! A meeting with a client who paid me and thought the world should rotate around him just because of that.AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer?Shoot a lot, take everything that could be interesting for you. Try new things, make discoveries. This is the most important thing. Don’t listen to anybody when they want to teach you something especially when it is in a critical way. AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid?Don’t try to be or to do like someone else. Your photography style will become unique over time. You need to be interested by what you are doing even if other photographers or artists can inspire you.
Axel Breutigam
Germany/Canada
Axel Breutigam is a German-born Canadian Fine Art Black and White Photographer, located in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Breutigam started photography at an early age, with an Agfa Box Camera, gifted to him by his father. His interest in photography developed into a serious practice around the age of sixteen, when he purchased his first SLR camera and turned his bathroom into a darkroom to self-develop his b&w photos. However, his photographic practice was cut short as his career as an attorney and CPA as well as family took precedence for much of his adult life. Although he practiced photography during any spare moment available, from family vacations to business trips around the world, it was not until he sold his law firm in 2002 and moved with his family to Vancouver, BC that he was able to devote his time fully to his art. In 2013/14 Breutigam got the chance to study with Alan Ross (Ansel Adams' former assistant and the exclusive printer of Adams' Yosemite Special Edition Negatives). Under Ross Breutigam enhanced his technical skill and was taught how best to use digital processing techniques that emulate the darkroom prints of earlier decades. Both Ansel Adams and Alan Ross have been influential artists for Breutigam, and although he emphasizes that he deliberately does not replicate their styles, he is inspired by the exquisite tonality and quality of their works. Breutigam shoots in black & white exclusively; rather than dictate the colors of a particular image to his audience, monochrome encourages them to imagine, from their own unique perspective, how the scene may have appeared at the time of the photograph; also, monochrome photographs give room for the viewers' own interpretations of his photographs. Breutigam, meanwhile an award-winning photographer, hopes that his compositions inspire people to reflect upon their surroundings, and enable them to appreciate the often overlooked beauty found in urban environments and nature. His attention to detail, visual aesthetics, and unique perspective indeed empowers his viewers with this opportunity. Since 2014 Breutigam's work has been exhibited at seven Solo- and eight Group-Shows. Breutigam has published three Photography Books.
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