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Robert Hecht
Robert Hecht
Robert Hecht

Robert Hecht

Country: United States
Birth: 1941

For over fifty years, Robert Hecht has been a dedicated fine art photographer. He is largely self-taught, having learned his craft primarily by studying the prints and books of many of the medium's greats, and then by attempting to apply what he absorbed from them in the darkroom (and later in the digital darkroom). In addition, he studied briefly with photographer and teacher Ruth Bernhard in the 1970's, and considers that experience meaningful for giving him direct contact and exchange of ideas with a master. His work has been exhibited internationally, purchased for both private and public collections, and showcased in many of the leading photography periodicals. Professionally, he has worked primarily as a producer-director of educational film and video programs, first at Stanford University and then in his own video production business for the past several decades. He and his wife live in Portland, Oregon.

Statement I consider photography a way, if you will, to bring my experience of the visual world into clearer focus. Practicing the art of photography, which I consider a way of life in and of itself, has heightened my awareness of how in our everyday lives we are constantly surrounded by interesting subject matter. In contrast, during my early years of doing this work, I looked mainly to the classic landscape for inspiration, often pursuing dramatic vistas with large-format cameras. However, over time I came to see that I do not necessarily have to "go out shooting" or travel to impressive locales to find subjects—rather, I merely have to keep my eyes open to what is right here around me in my immediate environment and, without actually searching for a picture, simply be prepared should a picture jump out of the random visual chaos and present itself to me. This shift in focus has led me to a more spontaneous approach to making images, often enabling me to find great beauty in the most mundane materials at hand.
 

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Fritz Liedtke
United States
Fritz began photographing as a teen, carrying his Kodak 110 Instamatic around on a US tour with his father at age 14, in their little blue Datsun B210. Twenty-five years later, he continues to explore the world, camera in hand. In the intervening years, Fritz acquired a BFA in Photography; won numerous awards and grants for his work; enjoyed artist residencies in various places; had photographs published, collected, and shown in galleries and museums; wrote articles and essays for various publications; lectured and taught workshops on photography and the artistic life; and balanced both commercial and fine art practices. He also loves to travel. He is constantly looking for new ways to approach the world through art. Portland, Oregon is his home, along with his wife and daughter and their bright orange house.About Astra Velum: April, a freckled woman in this series, told me a story from her childhood: One day after playing outside, her grandmother asked her to go wash up. She went to the bathroom and did so, but grandma wasn’t satisfied. “Your face isn’t clean! Go scrub it some more!” The young girl was distraught, for all that was left on her skin were her freckles, and no amount of scrubbing would make them go away. In a world that flaunts flawlessness as the ideal, can we find real beauty in the blemishes? More than once, while photographing for this series, women thanked me for making something beautiful out of what they often viewed as an imperfection. At its essence, Astra Velum explores the beauty of flawed human skin, with its freckles and scars, overlaid upon us like a thin veil of stars. This series is hand-printed by the artist as a limited edition set of photogravures.
Yasmine Chatila
Yasmine Chatila was born in Cairo in 1974, growing up between Cairo, Italy, France, and Canada. She graduated with a Bachelor in fine Arts from Parsons School of Design in New York, and Masters in Fine Arts from Columbia University School of Arts in 2002. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Tag Heuer scholarship for eight consecutive years, and a Columbia fellowship. Her work has been exhibited worldwide, including locations like Centre Pompidou in Paris, The Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, and Ludwig Museum in Cologne. Stolen Moments have been published by Rizzoli press in the book New York: A Photographer's City and World Atlas Street Photography published by Yale Press. She has been featured in international publications including Vogue Italia, NBC News, IO Donna, Interview Magazine, Foam Magazine, Art in America, Exit Art, New York Post, Wired Magazine, Blackbook, and many more. Her website has attracted millions of viewers, making her work synonymous with voyeurism in art and conceptual photography. All about Stolen Moments On a quiet winter night, I looked out a window. I could see a building far away, the windows were illuminated, and I could vaguely make out people inside their apartments. When I imagined what they might be doing, my mind fluttered between wild fantasies and mundane clichés. I was curious to compare my expectations to the reality of their lives. After months of continuous observation in different parts of the city, I collected hundreds of photographs of strange, comical, and often haunting moments. At times, I was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of human nature when it was not guarded, not self-conscious, and completely uninhibited. This provided me with a stage where it was possible to observe myself in the most secret and vulnerable moments of others. In order to render the subjects unrecognizable, and in an attempt to render them more archetypal, they are taken out of context and displaced from their original habitat.
Ruud van Empel
Netherlands
1958
Ruud van Empel (born 21 November 1958 in Breda) is a Dutch photographer and visual artist. Ruud van Empel was born in Breda in 1958. He studied at the Academie voor Beeldende Kunst St. Joost (St Joost Academy of Art) in Breda in the 1970s, and began making independently produced videotapes in the eighties. He moved to Amsterdam in the late eighties to work on his career as a visual artist. His first photographic series were The Office (1995-2001), Study for Women (1999-2002) and Study in Green (2003). The Groninger Museum presented his first solo exhibition in 1999. He made his international breakthrough with his series World-Moon-Venus, which was shown in the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, New York State. Until mid-1995, Van Empel’s art was primarily generated by a process of assembling analogue photographic images. At that point, he exchanged this traditional collage technique – cutting, pasting and retouching in the darkroom – for image processing on the computer, working in an idea-driven manner. The first series created with this method was The Office (1995). In a technical sense, The Office displays a handicraft-like quality, missing the perfectionist character of his later work. Nevertheless, Ruud van Empel clearly demonstrated that his approach differed from other disciplines such as staged photography. In certain aspects, The Office offered a somewhat surrealistic character and referred to photomontages from the 1920s in terms of style and design. On the basis of this art-historical reference, Van Empel created a new genre within photography – without a ready-to-wear label. The artist himself speaks of the ‘construction of a photographic image’. Although he does make use of pure photomontage – he never applies so-called morphing techniques – the final result strives for content aligned to natural reality rather than to surrealism. The artificiality is visible but the final image is a convincing, autonomous reality. As a consequence, the work does not seem grotesque or absurd but could theoretically actually appear in reality. In that respect, Van Empel’s images are independent. They do not manifest themselves as ‘symbolic’ and have been stripped of all ‘pictorial’ associations. He does not deploy photography as a substitute for painting but rather uses it as an independent form of depiction. Every image consists of photographic sources that are digitally assembled on the computer. The work of Ruud van Empel exists by grace of the camera by means of which he records his building blocks. After The Office, he created the Study for Women series, which comprises a number of female portraits that refer to the magic realism art movement. In this series, produced in the period 2000-2002, he displayed the form language with which he would soon gain worldwide recognition. The Study in Green series from 2003-2004, the Untitled series from 2004, and the three closely related series World, Moon and Venus, which he began in 2005, represented Van Empel’s true international breakthrough. Curator Deborah Klochko invited him to participate in the exhibition entitled Picturing Eden in the George Eastman House. In the book Ruud van Empel Photoworks 1995-2010, she wrote: ‘Van Empel’s virtuosity lies in his capacity to combine in photography the kind of ideas anchored in painting (historical references, the power of a glimpse, use of colour) and cinema (structure with multiple images and the power of a narrative), and to do so on a large scale. To understand his work you must ask yourself: ‘Is it science or art? Is it real or imaginary? Is innocence or decadence?’ Particularly the World series, which explores the theme of innocence, made a deep impression. These works were inspired by photos taken by his father. Van Empel placed neatly dressed, black boys and girls in paradisical settings of unspoiled, non-existent natural surroundings. Great interest in and appreciation of this series are expressed worldwide to this day. The breakthrough in America also led to renewed attention in Dutch museums. Van Empel has had solo exhibitions in Museum Het Valkhof in Nijmegen, the Groninger Museum and the NoordBrabants Museum in ’s-Hertogenbosch. Since the international recognition of his work gave Ruud Van Empel the status of an artist with an own independent form language, he has progressively extended his oeuvre with the Theatre series from 2010-2013, and Souvenir, which provided a charged picture of his youth in Breda. This series was purchased by the NoordBrabants Museum. A typical feature of the work of Ruud van Empel is the composition of a perfected and idealized representation right down to the finest details. But this always has a darker side, albeit not always evident. Ruud Schenk, curator of the Groninger Museum, wrote about that aspect with reference to the Study for Women series (2000-2002): ‘As a spectator you feel that there is something not quite right about the depiction of the women: they are not completely lifelike, but tend to be a mixture of real women and window dummies. This generates a certain discomfort, an uneasiness that touches upon what was described as 'das Unheimliche' (the uncanny) at the beginning of the 20th century.’ Although the photographic images seem to capture an epoch, you can hardly assign a date to any of them. This timeless element of Van Empel’s work has taken on a different significance in his recent work, as he deals with themes such as transience and Vanity in his Still Life series from 2014, and also portrays older people as in the portrait of an older woman in the Sunday series (2012), or in the Nude series (2014), in which he questions the pose of the model and the aesthetics of nudity. In the Solo Work series, on which Ruud van Empel has been working since 2011, he consistently deals with just one topic in an isolated work. The moral, ethical and aesthetic dilemmas of society and art are presented to us in a photographic form language. The significance of these is shown in the countless publications and international exhibitions of this work, not only in institutions specialized in photography but also in renowned museums for modern visual art.Source: Wikipedia
Réhahn
France
1979
Referred to as someone who "captures the souls of his models", (Wanderlust Travel Magazine, 2018) Réhahn is more than just a man behind a camera. Behind each click is a story. Whether the photograph shows a child with startling blue eyes, a woman pulling a needle through indigo fabric or a man walking alone down a brightly painted street, these are more than just images to Réhahn. They are the culmination of an experience. The stories of his subjects as well as his passion to learn more about their culture, diversity and changing traditions are what drives Réhahn's work. Réhahn's unique combination of fine art photography and documentary styles results in images that both inform and mesmerize. His portraits of Vietnam, Cuba, and India are particularly well-known for exactly this reason. They take the viewer along on the voyage to catch a glimpse of authentic interactions with people, their smiles, their wisdom, their daily lives. For Réhahn, photography is a way to approach people, to document what is happening in the present while also learning about the traditions and heritage of their past. Réhahn visited over 35 countries before making Hoi An, Vietnam his home in 2011. His first book "Vietnam, Mosaic of Contrasts” has been a bestseller since 2014. He followed this success with four subsequent books: “Vietnam, Mosaic of Contrasts, Volume ll” in 2015; “The Collection, Réhahn - 10 Years of Photography” in 2017; “100 Iconic Portraits” in 2019; and “Vietnam Mosaic of Contrasts, Volume III” in 2020. In 2016, for International Women's day, Réhahn's portrait of Madam Xong was placed in the permanent collection at the Hanoi Women's museum. The resulting media coverage amassed more than 80 articles and 10 television interviews. Now just over two years later, Réhahn has been featured in international media totalling more than 500 articles and interviews and over 50 television appearances. One memorable career moment took place in 2018. Réhahn was honored during an official ceremony, which was organized to celebrate 45 years of friendship between France and Vietnam. Vietnam's Secretary of the Party, Nguyen Phu Trong, who has since become the President of Vietnam, gifted Réhahn's portrait "Madam Xong" to French President Emmanuel Macron. In addition to his four COULEURS BY RÉHAHN galleries, Réhahn opened the PRECIOUS HERITAGE museum located in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Hoi An ancient town in 2017 to showcase his portraits of Vietnam's diverse ethnic groups, their traditional costumes, stories, music, and artifacts. The museum is free to the public.
Valerie Laney
United States
1964
Valerie Elizabeth Laney was born in sunny San Diego, California, and was raised in rural North Carolina, where she spent endless summers catching tadpoles and chasing fireflies and exploring the surrounding woods, creeks and tobacco fields. Growing up in and around nature inspired her to spread her wings, and she has spent years exploring and photographing our wondrous planet. Valerie holds a degree in Visual Design from North Carolina State University, College of Design which, when combined with a career as a Graphic Designer, enhances her skill in composition as well as visual story telling. Photography was a natural outcome of her love of nature and her skill as an artist; and it has become her passion to capture images of unique places, diverse landscapes and fascinating cultures. A love of adventure sends her on photo expeditions to places like Iceland, Madagascar and the steppes of Mongolia, where her photographs capture majestic landscapes, native cultures, wildlife and underwater marine life. Valerie loves sharing her photography and hopes it inspires dreams, travel and memories for her growing audience. Statement Photography allows one to capture the world in a way that is unique to the beholder. Photos are visual story telling, but yet, everyone is left to their own interpretation of the story that is being told. So in that way, photography allows both the photographer and the onlooker to take part in the creative process. I compose photos to give a sense of what is happening in the shot: viewers should feel the cold, smell the air, and feel like they can anticipate the moments that followed as if they were present.
Alain Laboile
France
1968
I was born on the 1st of May, 1968, in Bordeaux. After an half-hearted schooling, I live of odd jobs until 1990, the year I met Anne. It was the time of my opening to art.I accompanied Anne, student in Art History, to her lectures.It is in the darkness of the crowded amphitheatres that I witnessed heatedly the dissection of the Italian Renaissance artworks. Drawing being my ally since childhood, I can let myself drift into this third dimension by making plaster portaits in a corner of the studio we share. Then came, through a random reading, my fascination for insects. Jean-Henri Fabres's Souvenirs entomologiques will inspire me and accompany me for several years.Plaster and stone slowly fade away to let the rusty iron turn into shaggy insects.On the top of a hill near Bordeaux ,in Gironde, our house fills up with kids.My activity is taking off, and I need to take some photos of my sculptures. That's precisely at that moment, in 2004, that I accidently dive into photography, or more accurately macrophotography, were insects are predominant.Three years later, insects went into hiding under the leaves, my six children are born, and we have left the hill for the stream on the edge of the world. My photo-diary was established without my really noticing, It now seems vital and everlasting. About "La famille" I'm a father of six. Through my photographic work I celebrate and document my family life:A life on the edge of the world, where intemporality and the universality of childhood meet. Day to day I create a family album that constitues a legacy that I will pass on to my children.My work reflects our way of life,revolving around their childhood. My photographs will be the testimony of that. In a way my approach can be considered similar to the one of an ethnologist. Though my work is deeply personal, It's also accessible,addressing human nature and allowing the viewer to enter my world and reflect on their own childhoods. Fed everyday and shared with the world via the internet, my photographic production has became a mean of communication, leading to a questionning about freedom, nudity, being and having. Exclusive Interview with Alain Laboile: All About Photo: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?I was working as a sculptor. In 2004 I bought my first camera to photograph my sculptures and my passion for insects drove me to practice macrophotography. After the birth of my last two daughters I raised little by little my lens towards my family. The passion was born and did not leave me any more since 9 years.Where did you study photography?I am totally self-taught. When I began, I had a very limited photographic culture, no technique. I learned by sharing my photos on forums on the web, by receiving critics which allowed me to progress.Do you have a mentor or role model?I met the famous American photographer Jock Sturges during the summer 2012. He became a good friend, a kind of spiritual father who accompanies me in my artistic route. I owe him a lot. Do you remember your first shot? What was it? I think It was a macrophotography showing a mating of slugs. What or who inspires you? My work is extremely personal because it concerns my family life and our little offbeat lifestyle. I try to be inspired by nobody. It is the spectators of my work, that sometimes establish comparisons. Sally Mann’s work is often mentioned. How could you describe your style? An Internet user compared one day my photographic style with street photography. I think that if indeed I lived in town I would practise street photography. But living in the countryside, I photograph my family in its close environment, on the deep. Do you have a favorite photograph or series? I like very much the work of joseph-Philippe Bevillard, His series of portraits of Irish gypsies is fascinating. What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film? I worked for a long time with a Canon 5 D Mark III camera and 35 mm f1,4 lens. I now own a Leica M monochrom which I use with a 35 mm f1,4 Leica lens. Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? For what purpose?I am very selective. I do not hesitate to delete all the photos which do not satisfy me totally. What advice would you give a young photographer?I would say to him that he should not focus on the equipment nor to be intimidated by the lack of technique, all this is secondary. It is necessary to let speak its instinct, accept the criticism. What are your projects?I will publish a book with Steidl Verlag in 2014. An exciting project! Your best memory as a photographer?My publication in the NY times in 2012. I had made several interviews before and I made a lot since but that this has a real symbolic value ! AYour worst souvenir as a photographer?In 2009, I had to stop photography for several months. I needed money and I sold my photographic stuff. A nightmare! The compliment that touched you most?One day Jock Sturges let this comment on one of my photos: "It's wonderful images like this that reinforce my realization that you are my favorite living photographer. Amen " If you were someone else who would it be?I am not certain to want to be somebody else but I would have liked to began to practise photography 20 years earlier. An anecdote?I won a big Canon competition. I left exploring the canopy in the rainforest of kakamega in Kenya. I was accompanied by a crew managed by Peter Webber the director of the movie “Girl with a pearl earring” and “Hannibal Lecter”. We ate spaghetti bolognese together in the middle of the jungle. Fabulous memories a little bit crazy! Anything else you would like to share?I published my first book "Waiting for the postman" in november 2012 . My next exhibition will take place in Santa Monica (California) at dnj Gallery from november 2nd ( 2013) to January 4 th( 2014)
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