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Luigi Avantaggiato
Luigi Avantaggiato
Luigi Avantaggiato

Luigi Avantaggiato

Country: Italy
Birth: 1984

Born in Zurich in 1984, Luigi Avantaggiato is a Rome based freelance photographer specialized in documentary, editorial, and cross-media project. He started working as a documentary photographer after his doctoral studies in Visual Studies, which helped him to develop a profound interest in global social and environmental issues. Because of his work he has visited several countries in the world in state of emergency: Lebanon, Iraq, Colombia, Greece, Kosovo. His images have been published in several newspapers and magazines, such as Il Corriere della Sera, D di Repubblica, Panorama, VICE, Lensculture and others. His works took part in several international exhibitions, such as Photomed Festival (Sanary-sur-Mer, 2017), FotoGrafia – International Festival of Photography of Rome XI ed. (Rome, 2012), Fotografia Europea (Reggio Emilia, 2014), Juraplaz (Bienne, 2014) Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana (Firenze, 2015) and others. He teaches at Sapienza – University of Rome and in several private academies. He is author of book essays and papers about photography, cinema and visual arts.

About Dove tramonta l’Occidente (Where the West Sets)

In the past few years, international governments, institutions, and media have used the expression “refugee crisis” to describe rising numbers of undocumented individuals and families fleeing to Europe from countries such as Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq, where they face harsh challenges, including war, poverty, persecution, and human rights violations. Hoping to start a new life in Europe and looking for a new identity, thousands of refugees have braved the Mediterranean Sea on board of inflatable boats and makeshift vessels, driven by an idea of Europe as the land where their dreams will be realized. Some of these people decide to cross the sea illegally only to become refugees and to enjoy the benefits of this status.

Where the West Sets is a documentary project that attempts to chronicle this crisis as it plays out on the northern Aegean Islands and in mainland Greece – the same territories where Western Culture and its system of values were born. The aesthetics of my work lies on an approach that had me go to those places not as a reporter looking for facts but as a documentarist trying to verify facts.

The series of photographs reflects the consequences that the refugee crisis is having on the cradle of civilization, whereas the traditional value of respecting other human beings is meeting feelings of hostility, fear, and xenophobia among the Greeks.

In the same country that gave birth to philosophy, science and anthropology, people are living among refugees in an uncertain and disordered way, holding tightly to their self- referential and contradictory values, belonging to a Europe that is now diminished but that is frantically trying to redefine its own identity.
 

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Imogen Cunningham
United States
1883 | † 1976
Imogen Cunningham is renowned as one of the greatest American women photographers. In 1901, having sent away $15 for her first camera, she commenced what would become the longest photographic career in the history of the medium.. Cunningham soon turned her attention to both the nude as well as native plant forms in her back garden. The results were staggering; an amazing body of work comprised of bold, contemporary forms. These works are characterized by a visual precision that is not scientific, but which presents the lines and textures of her subjects articulated by natural light and their own gestures. Her refreshing, yet formal and sensitive floral images from the 1920’s ultimately became her most acclaimed images. Cunningham also had an intuitive command of portraiture but her real artistic legacy was secured though her inclusion in the "F64" show in San Francisco in 1932. With a small group of photographers which included Edward Weston and Ansel Adams, she pioneered the renewal of photography on the West Coast. Awarded a Guggenheim fellowship, Cunningham’s work continues to be exhibited and collected around the world. Source: Photography West Gallery Cunningham was born in Portland, Oregon, in 1883. In 1901, at the age of eighteen, Cunningham bought her first camera, a 4x5 inch view camera, from the American School of Art in Scranton, Pennsylvania. She soon lost interest and sold the camera to a friend. It wasn’t until 1906, while studying at the University of Washington in Seattle, that she was inspired by an encounter with the work of Gertrude Käsebier, to take up photography again. With the help of her chemistry professor, Dr. Horace Byers, she began to study the chemistry behind photography and she subsidized her tuition by photographing plants for the botany department. After being graduated in 1907 Cunningham went to work for Edward S. Curtis in his Seattle studio, gaining knowledge about the portrait business and practical photography. In 1909, Cunningham won a scholarship from her sorority (Pi Beta Phi) for foreign study and applied to study with Professor Robert Luther at the Technische Hochschule in Dresden, Germany. In Dresden she concentrated on her studies and didn’t take many photographs. In May 1910 she finished her paper, “About the Direct Development of Platinum Paper for Brown Tones,” describing her process to increase printing speed, improve clarity of highlights tones, and produce sepia tones. On her way back to Seattle she met Alvin Langdon Coburn in London, and Alfred Stieglitz and Gertrude Käsebier in New York. In Seattle, Cunningham opened her studio and won acclaim for portraiture and pictorial work. Most of her studio work of this time consisted of sitters in their own homes, in her living room, or in the woods surrounding Cunningham's cottage. She became a sought after photographer and exhibited at the Brooklyn Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1913. In 1914, Cunningham's portraits were shown at An International Exhibition of Pictorial Photography in New York. Wilson's Photographic Magazine published a portfolio of her work. The next year, she married Roi Partridge, a teacher and artist. He posed for a series of nude photographs, which were shown by the Seattle Fine Arts Society. Although critically praised, Cunningham didn’t revisit those photographs for another fifty-five years. Between 1915 and 1920, Cunningham continued her work and had three children (Gryffyd, Rondal, and Padraic) with Partridge. In 1920, they moved to San Francisco where Partridge taught at Mills College. Cunningham refined her style, taking a greater interest in pattern and detail and becoming increasingly interested in botanical photography, especially flowers. Between 1923 and 1925 she carried out an in-depth study of the magnolia flower. Later in the decade she turned her attention toward industry, creating several series of industrial landscapes in Los Angeles and Oakland. In 1929, Edward Weston nominated 10 of Cunningham's photographs (8 botanical, 1 industrial, and 1 nude) for inclusion in the "Film und Foto" exhibition and her renowned, Two Callas, debuted in that exhibition. Cunningham once again changed direction, becoming more interested in the human form, particularly hands, and she was fascinated with the hands of artists and musicians. This interest led to her employment by Vanity Fair, photographing stars without make-up. In 1932, with this unsentimental, straightforward approach in mind, Cunningham became one of the co-founders of the Group f/64, which aimed to “define photography as an art form by a simple and direct presentation through purely photographic methods.” In 1934, Cunningham was invited to do some work in New York for Vanity Fair. Her husband wanted her to wait until he could travel with her, but she refused. They later divorced. She continued with Vanity Fair until it stopped publication in 1936. In the 1940s, Cunningham turned to documentary street photography, which she executed as a side project while supporting herself with her commercial and studio photography. In 1945, Cunningham was invited by Ansel Adams to accept a position as a faculty member for the art photography department at the California School of Fine Arts. Dorothea Lange and Minor White joined as well. In 1973, her work was exhibited at the Rencontres d'Arles festival in France through the group exhibition: Trois photographes américaines, Imogen Cunningham, Linda Connor, Judy Dater. Cunningham continued to take photographs until shortly before her death at age ninety-three on June 24, 1976, in San Francisco, California. Source: Wikipedia
Margo Davis
United States
1944
Margo Baumgarten Davis is a photographer, educator and author of several photographer's books. Margo was raised in Connecticut and has lived for over 30 years in Palo Alto, California. She attended Bennington College, spent time at the Sorbonne studying French literature, and graduated from University of California, Berkeley. It was at UC Berkeley where she met her first husband Gregson Davis and traveled frequently to his home country of Antigua. She has a daughter, Anika and a son, Julian. Davis has produced photography in Paris, Italy, Nigeria and in the Caribbean, and has done a significant amount of portraiture. Davis has photographed Saul Bellow, Maxine Kingston, Tillie Olsen, Ursula K. Le Guin, Diane Johnson, and Kay Boyle. In Nigeria, Davis produced a number of photographs of the Fula people. Davis has spent time lecturing at Stanford on photojournalism with the communications department. She has also taught photography at University of California, Berkeley, and University of California, Santa Cruz. In 2017, Margo's book Antigua: Photographs 1967-1973 was published by Nazraeli Press. At interview, Margo said she produced the book after hearing interest expressed at an exhibit in Antigua. Antigua As young artists, we are drawn to projects that help us understand truths about who we are and what we want to become. When we are just starting out, that process is intuitive, at times random; it is also intense and thrilling. This was my experience when I began photographing in Antigua in 1967. It was the very beginning of a long journey in photography that is evolving to this day, 40 years later. From my first days in Antigua, I was overwhelmed by the timeless beauty of the place and especially by the strength of its people. I was born on the East Coast of the United States, a few thousand miles to the north. I was welcomed into a world and culture different from my own. Starting with the Antigua photographs in this exhibit, my life's journey has been with a camera and with an eye for the landscape of the human face. Although I was often moved to photograph the beaches and sunsets, and the shapely old sugar mills and estate houses of the island, I am primarily a portraitist. Drawn to the people of the villages that dotted the island, my early inspirations came from the faces you see here. Whenever possible, I asked permission to photograph - because the power of my portrait style depended on the comfort of the people that I was photographing. Since those early years, my interest in humanistic photography has propelled me into the world of various cultures. I have exhibited those photographs internationally and produced four books. However, it was on the island of Antigua where my passion for photography first began to flourish. Antigua Black; Portrait of an Island People was created and published in 1973. I want to thank again all the Antiguans who helped make this collection possible. Margo Davis Discover All American
Ernst Haas
Austria/United States
1921 | † 1986
Ernst Haas was born in Vienna and began studying photography at the Graphische Lehr und Versuchsanstalt in Vienna six years before acquiring his first camera in 1946. After several photography-related jobs, he was offered a position at Life, and his first feature article, "Returning Prisoners of War," was published in both Heute and Life in 1949. This prompted Robert Capa to invite Haas to join the Magnum agency, the international cooperative founded by Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger and Chim (David Seymour). Also in 1949, Haas purchased a Leica and began experimenting with color photography, the medium in which his work is best known. His "Magic Images of New York," a twenty-four-page color photo essay, which appeared in LIFE in 1951 was both his and LIFE's first long color feature in print. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Haas worked in both black-and-white and color, contributing to LIFE, Look, Vogue, and Holiday. He also worked as a still photographer for films, among them The Pharaohs, The Misfits, and Little Big Man. Haas served as president of Magnum in 1959-60, and as second director for The Bible (John Huston was first director) in 1966. The Creation (1971), a book of his photographs, eventually sold more than 300,000 copies. Ernst Haas pioneered the use of color photography at a time when it was considered inferior to black-and-white as a medium for serious creative photographers. His innovative use of the slow shutter speed, which gave many of his pictures the illusion of movement, and his emphasis on audiovisual presentations (works involving sound, poetry, and pictures) opened many possibilities in color photography and in multimedia art. Although he is famous for his color photography, Haas's black-and-white images are among the most incisive, evocative, and beautiful images of postwar Europe and America, as was demonstrated in ICP's exhibition of his work in 1993. Source: ICP
Gustave Le Gray
France
1820 | † 1884
Gustave Le Gray was born in 1820 in Villiers-le-Bel, Val-d'Oise. He was originally trained as a painter. He even exhibited at the salon in 1848 and 1853. He then crossed over to photography in the early years of its development. He made his first daguerreotypes by 1847. His early photographs included portraits; scenes of nature such as Fontainebleau Forest; and buildings such as châteaux of the Loire Valley. He taught photography to students such as Charles Nègre, Henri Le Secq, Nadar, Olympe Aguado, and Maxime Du Camp. In 1851 he became one of the first five photographers hired for the Missions Héliographiques to document French monuments and buildings. In that same year he helped found the Société Héliographique, the "first photographic organization in the world". Le Gray published a treatise on photography, which went through four editions, in 1850, 1851, 1852, and 1854. In 1855 Le Gray opened a "lavishly furnished" studio. At that time, becoming progressively the official photographer of Napoleon III, he became a successful portraitist. His most famous work dates from this period, 1856 to 1858, especially his seascapes. The studio was a fancy place, but in spite of his artistic success, his business was a financial failure: the business was poorly managed and ran into debts. He therefore "closed his studio, abandoned his wife and children, and fled the country to escape his creditors". He began to tour the Mediterranean in 1860 with the writer Alexandre Dumas, père. They crossed the path of Giuseppe Garibaldi, and Dumas enthusiastically joined the revolutionary forces with his fellow travelers. His striking pictures of Giuseppe Garibaldi and Palermo under Sicilian bombing became as instantly famous throughout Europe as their subjects. Dumas abandoned Le Gray and the other travelers in Malta as a result of a conflict about a woman. Le Gray went to Lebanon, then Syria where he covered the movements of the French army for a magazine in 1861. Injured, he remained there before heading to Egypt. In Alexandria he photographed Henri d'Artois and the future Edward VII of the United Kingdom, and wrote to Nadar while sending him pictures. He established himself in Cairo in 1864; he remained there about 20 years, earning a modest living as a professor of drawing, while retaining a small photography shop. He sent pictures to the universal exhibition in 1867 but they did not really catch anyone's attention. He received commissions from the vice-king Ismail Pasha. From this late period there remain a mere 50 pictures, some of them as beautiful as ever. He probably died on July 30, 1884, in Cairo. Source: Wikipedia
Frances Benjamin Johnston
United States
1864 | † 1952
Frances "Fannie" Benjamin Johnston (15 January 1864 – 16 May 1952) was an early American female photographer and photojournalist whose career lasted for almost half a century. She is most known for her portraits, images of southern architecture, and various photographic series featuring African Americans and Native Americans at the turn of the 20th century. The only surviving child of wealthy and well connected parents, she was born in Grafton, West Virginia, raised in Washington, D.C., and studied at the Académie Julian in Paris and the Washington Students League following her graduation from Notre Dame of Maryland Collegiate Institute for Young Ladies in 1883 (now known as Notre Dame of Maryland University). An independent and strong-willed young woman, she wrote articles for periodicals before finding her creative outlet through photography after she was given her first camera by George Eastman, a close friend of the family, and inventor of the new, lighter, Eastman Kodak cameras. She received training in photography and dark-room techniques from Thomas Smillie, director of photography at the Smithsonian. She took portraits of friends, family and local figures before working as a freelance photographer and touring Europe in the 1890s, using her connection to Smillie to visit prominent photographers and gather items for the museum's collections. She gained further practical experience in her craft by working for the newly formed Eastman Kodak company in Washington, D.C., forwarding film for development and advising customers when cameras needed repairs. In 1894 she opened her own photographic studio in Washington, D.C., on V Street between 13th and 14th Streets, and at the time was the only woman photographer in the city. She took portraits of many famous contemporaries including Susan B. Anthony, Mark Twain and Booker T. Washington. Well connected among elite society, she was commissioned by magazines to do "celebrity" portraits, such as Alice Roosevelt's wedding portrait, and was dubbed the "Photographer to the American court." She photographed Admiral Dewey on the deck of the USS Olympia,[6] the Roosevelt children playing with their pet pony at the White House and the gardens of Edith Wharton's famous villa near Paris. Her mother, Frances Antoinette Johnston, had been a congressional journalist and dramatic critic for the Baltimore Sun and her daughter built on her familiarity with the Washington political scene by becoming official White House photographer for the Harrison, Cleveland, McKinley, "TR" Roosevelt, and Taft presidential administrations. Johnston also photographed the famous American heiress and literary salon socialite Natalie Barney in Paris but perhaps her most famous work, shown here, is her self-portrait of the liberated "New Woman", petticoats showing and beer stein in hand. Johnston was a constant advocate for the role of women in the burgeoning art of photography. The Ladies' Home Journal published Johnston's article "What a Woman Can Do With a Camera" in 1897[9] and she co-curated (with Zaida Ben-Yusuf) an exhibition of photographs by twenty-eight women photographers at the 1900 Exposition Universelle, which afterwards travelled to Saint Petersburg, Moscow, and Washington, DC. She traveled widely in her thirties, taking a wide range of documentary and artistic photographs of coal miners, iron workers, women in New England's mills and sailors being tattooed on board ship as well as her society commissions. While in England she photographed the stage actress Mary Anderson, who was a friend of her mother. In 1899, she gained further notability when she was commissioned by Hollis Burke Frissell to photograph the buildings and students of the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute in Hampton, Virginia in order to show its success. This series, documenting the ordinary life of the school, remains as some of her most telling work. It was displayed at The Exhibit of American Negroes of the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1900. She photographed events such as world's fairs and peace-treaty signings and took the last portrait of President William McKinley, at the Pan-American Exposition of 1901 just before his assassination. With her partner, Mattie Edwards Hewitt, a successful freelance home and garden photographer in her own right, she opened a studio in New York in 1913 and moved in with her mother and aunt. Hewitt wrote Johnston love letters over the course of their relationship, which are chronicled in "The Woman Behind the Lens: The Life and Work of Frances Benjamin Johnston, 1864–1952." Many of the early letters focused on Hewitt's admiration for Johnston's work, but as their romance progressed, they became increasingly full of words of love: "...when I need you or you need me — [we] must hold each other all the closer and with your hand in mine, holding it tight..." She lectured at New York University on business for women and they produced a series of studies of New York architecture through the 1920s. In early 1920 her mother died in New York. In the 1920s, she became increasingly interested in photographing architecture, motivated by a desire to document buildings and gardens which were falling into disrepair or about to be redeveloped and lost. As her focus in architecture grew, she became specifically interested in documenting the architecture of the American South. Johnston was interested in preserving the everyday history of the American South through her art; she accomplished this by photographing barns, inns, and other ordinary structures. She was not interested in photographing the grand homes and estates of the American South, but rather the quickly deteriorating structures in these communities that portrayed the life of common southerners. Her photographs remain an important resource for modern architects, historians and conservationists. She exhibited a series of 247 photographs of Fredericksburg, Virginia, from the decaying mansions of the rich to the shacks of the poor, in 1928. The exhibition was entitled Pictorial Survey--Old Fredericksburg, Virginia--Old Falmouth and Nearby Places and described as "A Series of Photographic Studies of the Architecture of the Region Dating by Tradition from Colonial Times to Circa 1830" as "An Historical Record and to Preserve Something of the Atmosphere of An Old Virginia Town." Publicity from the display prompted the University of Virginia to hire her to document its buildings and the state of North Carolina to record its architectural history. Louisiana hired Johnston to document its huge inventory of rapidly deteriorating plantations and she was given a grant in 1933 by the Carnegie Corporation of New York to document Virginia's early architecture. This led to a series of grants and photographs of eight other southern states, all of which were given to the Library of Congress for public use. In December 1935, she began a year long project to capture the less evolved structures of the Colonial Era in Virginia. This was effort was intended to be a one year project, but evolved into an eight year extensive project, in which she surveyed 50,000 miles and 95 counties in Virginia. Johnston was named an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects for her work in preserving old and endangered buildings and her collections have been purchased by institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Baltimore Museum of Art. Although her relentless traveling was curtailed by petrol rationing in the Second World War the tireless Johnston continued to photograph. Johnston acquired a home in the French Quarter of New Orleans in 1940, retiring there in 1945, where she died in 1952 at the age of eighty-eight.Source: Wikipedia
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