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Laura Berson
Laura Berson
Laura Berson

Laura Berson

Country: France
Birth: 1987

Laura Gwenaëlle Berson was born in Paris in 1987. She studies Applied Arts, then comedy,script-wrinting and cinema. It is a few years later that she is moving towards a more intuitive photographic, plastic and writing work, enabling her to express everything she doesn't know just as much as the others, with the aim of finding the essence of something. Her conceptualized artistic practice allows her to play on forms, bodies whatever they are, by diving into the heart of the infinitely large and the infinitely small, to try to connect the sensitive but not palpable part that binds the two . Her work oscillates between everything and nothing, here and there, where she moves, like an atom (or electron it depends) free, among others. It is through her raw and spontaneous hypersensitivity that she directs her work towards an intimate questioning, playing on the different strata of reality that accompany it to identify a multi-variable essence.

She exhibited solo in 2015 at the Maison de la Mixité in Paris and was present at Fotofever Emerging Talent in November 2016. She got an honorable mention for the Chromatics Photography awards in the landscape section. In 2018, she appeared publicly in a Science Shakers - Mixology session - around the imaging of science, organized by the Institute of Complex Systems in partnership with the CNRS, and won the Moscow Foto awards silver price for her serie Some Seeds.

In her series The Intolerante, she tries to highlight the effect of food intolerance on the body, its destructuring of the body see its modification, via its own body damaged and tired by daily pain. Through the Myth of the Endometrium, she traces the course of the disease of endometriosis from which it is reached, passing painful menstruation and infertility to the possibilities of operations in order to be able to transmit life. In her series Silentium, she tries to transcribe relationships to others, difficult, tempestuous, whose links fade or weave over time, in a carnal and organic way.
 

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Martin Stranka
Martin Stranka was born on Friday April 13, 1984 in Most, Czech Republic, where he lived with his parents and older sister until the age of three. For the next twenty years, family then moves to Litoměřice, where he attends elementary school and the Josef Jungmann Gymnasium. He went on to study economics in Prague, where he has lived and worked ever since. He never studied art, but after the loss of a close friend in 2007 he turned to photography as therapy to regain his balance in life. After completing his university studies, he worked as a human resources manager while continuing in his pursuit of photography which later became his passion. In December 2010 his passion became his profession when he accepted commissions from New York publishing houses Sterling Publishing and HarperCollins. In his seventeen-year career, Stranka won more than 90 international awards, and honorary mentions in photography, of which the most significant include Special Photographer of the Year from the International photography Awards in New York in 2022, and 1st place in the Sony World Photography Awards that he won in 2018 and 2019 in London. His works were exhibited and auctioned at Christie’s in London in early 2023. Martin Stranka exhibited his work in New York, Miami, London, Paris, Prague, and Shanghai, in galleries including Christie’s London, Saatchi Gallery, SNAP! Orlando, Somerset House in London, or the exhibition hall of Prague’s Mánes. His works already attract the attention of art collectors and can be seen on the covers of books published by HarperCollins, Sterling Publishing, and Penguin Random House. Martin has also created several photographic visuals for the National Theater, the National Theater Ballet, and the National Theater Opera. He has published four monographic books the last of which was published the retrospective book for the exhibition at the Danubiana Meulensteen Art Museum. Statement Martin wrote about his work: ''I’m always searching for beauty, but to me, the sort of beauty that is obvious seems uninteresting and empty. To the contrary, a flaw in something that is seemingly perfect adds vital meaning to the captured scene and catches my often-distracted attention. At least a small wobble of emotion to contrast the calmness of mind in a piece of art makes sense to me. As an artist, I need to strip both myself and the viewer of certainty in order to create space for the necessary multitude of questions. I look for form and content that harmonizes with people and provides them with a quiet visual refuge. At first glance, the images I capture are calm, yet under the surface, they rage and roar. I plant a sense of dismay into the same artwork, be it only with the slightest hint of something sinister lurking beneath the surface. And it never ceases to amaze me that such seemingly incompatible contrasts can be combined into one image. I constantly return to the narrative of the relationship between mankind and nature, as well as the exploration of human existence itself. Loneliness and isolation – such relevant topics today – seem to me like an endless line of poetry that I stitch through every photograph, even if only marginally. I can’t let go of the feeling that it is in isolation that I find a much-needed dialogue. A dialogue with myself, within myself, into myself. The visible silence in a photograph is contrasted by hectic thoughts that I’m unable to resist. And after all, I don’t want to defy them, I just need to accept everything as an observer. Observation and voyeurism become the best ways to learn. I repeatedly try to discover the connection between visual beauty and dramatic reality. What connects the state of oversaturation of human relationships and the state of one’s own loneliness? I need to know the answer. In my work, I continue to experiment with the portrayal of personally experienced intimacy contrasted against the more ephemeral feelings of closeness between strangers. I try to give meaning to situations and objects beyond how they are perceived. I’m driven to tear down traditional contexts, to give states and objects different meanings, and thus place ordinary experiences in extraordinary contexts. Although this process may seem complicated, to me it comes completely spontaneously every step of the way. The medium of photography allows me to materialize all these external happenings and flickering events onto paper.''
Joel Sternfeld
United States
1944
Joel Sternfeld (born June 30, 1944) is an American fine-art color photographer. He is noted for his large-format documentary pictures of the United States and helping establish color photography as a respected artistic medium. Sternfeld's work is held in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Sternfeld earned a BA from Dartmouth College and teaches photography at Sarah Lawrence College in New York. He began taking color photographs in 1970 after learning the color theory of Johannes Itten and Josef Albers. Color is an important element of his photographs. American Prospects (1987) is Sternfeld's most known book and explores the irony of human-altered landscapes in the United States. To make the book, Sternfeld photographed ordinary things, including unsuccessful towns and barren-looking landscapes. On This Site: Landscape in Memoriam (1997), is about violence in America. Sternfeld photographed sites of recent tragedies. Next to each photograph is text about the events that happened at that location. From 1991 to 1994 Sternfeld worked with Melinda Hunt to document New York City's public cemetery on Hart Island, resulting in the book Hart Island (1998). Sternfeld has also published books about social class and stereotypes in America: Stranger Passing (2001), an abandoned elevated railway in New York: Walking the High Line (2002), and Sweet Earth: Experimental Utopias in America (2006). When It Changed (2007) contains close-up portraits of delegates debating global warming at the 2005 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Montreal.Source: Wikipedia Joel Sternfeld is an artist-photographer whose work is concerned with utopic and dystopic possibilities of the American experience. Ever since the publication of his landmark study, American Prospects in 1987 his work has maintained conceptual and political aspects, while also being steeped in history, art history, landscape theory and attention to seasonal passage. It is a melancholic, spectacular, funny and profound portrait of America. The curator Kevin Moore has claimed that the work embodies the “synthetic culmination of so many photographic styles of the 1970s, incorporating the humor and social perspicacity of street photography with the detached restraint of New Topographics photographs and the pronounced formalism of works by so many late-decade colorists” (Kevin Moore, Starburst: Color Photography in America 1970-1980). On This Site (1996) examines violence in America while simultaneously raising significant epistemological questions about photographs as objects of knowledge. Sweet Earth: Experimental Utopias in America (2006) “can be seen as a generous respite from the traumatic history in On This Site... It is a survey of American human socialization, alternative ways of living, of hopeful being” (Elin O’Hara Slavik, 2018). All his subsequent work has sought to expand the narrative possibilities of still photography primarily through an authored text. All of his books and bodies of work converse with each other and may be read as a collective whole. His work represents a melding of time and place that serves to elucidate, honor, and warn. The images hold a certain urgency, as their histories survive solely through their photographic representation— they are an archive for the future. Sternfeld is the recipient of two Guggenheim Fellowships and spent a year in Italy on a Rome Prize. He teaches at Sarah Lawrence College, where he holds the Noble Foundation Chair in Art and Cultural History.Source: www.joelsternfeld.net Joel Sternfeld is well known for large-format color photographs that extend the tradition of chronicling roadside America initiated by Walker Evans in the 1930s. Sternfeld's projects have consistently explored the possibility of a collective American identity by documenting ordinary people and places throughout the country. Each project he embarks on is bound by a concept that imbues it with subtle irony, often through insightful visual juxtapositions or by pairing images with informational text. Another characteristic aspect of Sternfeld's work is that color is never arbitrary; it functions in highly sophisticated ways to connect elements and resonate emotion. Sternfeld earned a BA in Art from Dartmouth College in 1965. He began making color photographs in the 1970s after learning the color theory of Johannes Itten and Josef Albers. He initially made street photographs with small- and medium-format cameras, but by the time he produced what would become a seminal project, American Prospects (1987), he was working with an eight-by-ten-inch camera. This enabled him to achieve the crisp details his work is known for. Sternfeld's style-his careful attention to visual qualities combined with an insightful and often ironic view of his subjects was first articulated in American Prospects. One of his best-known images, for example, depicts a fireman shopping for a pumpkin as a house burns in the background. The pumpkins' vibrant oranges match the autumnal colors of the countryside, and ironically, the fire's flames.Source: The J. Paul Getty Museum
Shomei Tomatsu
Japan
1930 | † 2012
Shomei Tomatsu (東松 照明, Tōmatsu Shōmei) was a Japanese photographer, primarily known for his images that depict the impact of World War II on Japan and the subsequent occupation of U.S. forces. As one of the leading postwar photographers, Tomatsu is attributed with influencing the younger generations of photographers including those associated with the magazine Provoke (Takuma Nakahira and Daido Moriyama). Tomatsu was born in Nagoya in 1930. As an adolescent during World War II, he was mobilized to support Japan's war effort. Like many Japanese students his age, he was sent to work at a steel factory and underwent incessant conditioning intended to instill fear and hatred towards the British and Americans. Once the war ended and Allied troops took over numerous Japanese cities, Tomatsu interacted with Americans firsthand and found that his preconceptions of them were not entirely salient. At the time Tomatsu's contempt for the violence and crimes committed by these soldiers was complicated by individual acts of kindness he received from them – he simultaneously loved and hated their presence. These interactions, which he later described as among the most formative memories of his childhood, initiated his long-standing fixation on and feelings of ambivalence towards the subject of American soldiers. If I had seven lives, I’d be a photographer in every one. -- Shomei Tomatsu Tomatsu embraced photography while an economics student at Aichi University. While still in university, his photographs were shown frequently in monthly amateur competitions by Camera magazine and received recognition from Ihei Kimura and Ken Domon. After graduating in 1954, he joined Iwanami Shashin Bunko, through an introduction made by Aichi University professor Mataroku Kumaza. Tomatsu contributed photographs to the issues Floods and the Japanese (1954) and Pottery Town, Seto Aichi (1954). He stayed at Iwanami for two years before leaving to pursue freelance work. In 1957, Tomatsu participated in the exhibition Eyes of Ten where he displayed his series Barde Children’s School; he was featured in the exhibit twice more when it was held again in 1958 and 1959. After his third showing, Tomatsu established the short-lived photography collective VIVO with fellow Eyes of Ten exhibitors; these other members included Eikoh Hosoe, Kikuji Kawada, Ikkō Narahara, Akira Satō, and Akira Tanno. Towards the end of the 1950s, Tomatsu began photographing Japanese towns with major American bases, a project that would span over 10 years. Tomatsu's artistic output and renown grew significantly during the 1960s, exemplified by his prolific engagements with many prominent Japanese photography magazines. He began the decade by publishing his images of U.S. bases in the magazines Asahi Camera and Camera Mainichi and his series Home in Photo Art. In contrast to his earlier style which resembled traditional photojournalism, Tomatsu was beginning to develop a highly expressionistic form of image-taking that emphasized the photographer's own subjectivity. In response to this emergence, a dispute arose when Iwanami Shashin Bunko founder Yonosuke Natori wrote that Tomatsu had betrayed his foundations as a photojournalist by neglecting the responsibility to present reality in a truthful and legible manner. He rejected the claim that he was ever a photojournalist, and admonished journalistic thinking as an impediment to photography. Both essays were published in Asahi Camera. In addition to Asahi Camera and Photo Art, Tomatsu worked for magazines Gendai no me and Camera Mainichi. For Gendai no me, he edited a monthly series titled I am King (1964); for Camera Mainichi, he printed multiple collaborations made with Yasuhiro Ishimoto and Shigeichi Nagano in 1965 and his own series, The Sea Around Us in 1966. Tomatsu first went to Okinawa to photograph the American bases under the auspices of Asahi Camera in 1969. The images he captured formed the book Okinawa, Okinawa Okinawa which served as an explicit critique of the American air force. On the cover, an anti-base slogan verbalizing his disdain with the overwhelming U.S. presence in Okinawa reads: "The bases are not in Okinawa; Okinawa is in the bases". This sentiment was foreshadowed in Tomatsu's earlier writings, like his 1964 essay for Camera Manichi in which he stated "it would not be strange to call [Japan] the State of Japan in the United States of America. That's how far America has penetrated inside Japan, how deeply it has plumbed our daily lives." Tomatsu visited Okinawa three more times before finally moving to Naha in 1972. While in Okinawa, he traveled to various remote islands including Iriomote and Hateruma; he spent seven months on Miyakojima where he organized a study group called “Miyako University” aimed at mentoring young Miyako residents. Combined with his images taken in Southeast Asia, Tomatsu's photographs of Okinawa from the 1970s were shown in his prizewinning Pencil of the Sun (1975). Although he had come to Okinawa in order to witness its return to Japanese territory, Pencil of the Sun revealed a considerable shift away from the subject of military bases that he pursued throughout 1960s. He credited a diminishing interest in the American armed forces, in addition to the allure of Okinawa's brilliantly colored landscapes, for his adoption of color photography. In 1974, Tomatsu returned to Tokyo where he set up Workshop Photo School, an alternative two-year-long workshop (1974–76), with Eikoh Hosoe, Nobuyoshi Araki, Masahisa Fukase, Daidō Moriyama, and Noriaki Yokosuka; the school published the photo magazine Workshop. Tomatsu's dedication to nurturing the photography community in Japan was also evidenced in his role as a juror for the Southern Japan Photography Exhibition and his membership in the Photographic Society of Japan's committee to create a national museum of photography. The efforts of this group led to the establishment of photography departments at major national museums, such as Yokohama Museum of Art and the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, as well as the first photography museum in Japan, Tokyo Photographic Art Museum. In this, photography is the same thing as love. When my gaze, diving into the sea as my subject, converges with the act of photography, hot sparks fly at the point of intersection. -- Shomei Tomatsu Tomatsu took part in his first major international show, New Japanese Photography (1974) at MoMA New York, alongside workshop members Hosoe, Moriyama, Fukase, and 11 other photographers. New Japanese Photography was the first survey of contemporary Japanese photographers undertaken outside of Japan. It traveled to eight other locations in the United States including the Denver Art Museum, San Francisco Museum of Art, and Portland Art Museum. By 1980, Tomatsu published three more books: Scarlet Dappled Flower (1976) and The Shining Wind (1979) were composed of his images from Okinawa; and Kingdom of Mud (1978) featured his Afghanistan series printed earlier in Assalamu Alaykum. In the early 1980s, Tomatsu had his first international solo exhibition, Shomei Tomatsu: Japan 1952-1981 shown at thirty venues over three years. He was also included in notable international group exhibitions regarding Japanese art: in 1985, he was one of the main artists in Black Sun: The Eyes of Four first shown at the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford; in 1994, he was featured in the seminal show Japanese Art After 1945: Scream Against the Sky at the Yokohama Museum of Art, Guggenheim Museum and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. In the last decade of his career, Tomatsu embarked on a new and comprehensive series of retrospectives, dividing his oeuvre into five "mandalas" of place. Each mandala was named after the area it was exhibited: Nagasaki Mandala (Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum, 2000); Okinawa Mandala (Urasoe Art Museum, 2002); Kyoto Mandala (Kyoto National Museum of Modern Art, 2003); Aichi Mandala (Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, 2006); and Tokyo Mandala (Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, 2007). Tomatsu also had a separate retrospective, Shomei Tomatsu: Skin of the Nation, for the international museum circuit. Skin of the Nation was organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and curated by Sandra S. Phillips and the photographer and writer Leo Rubinfien. The exhibition toured three countries and five venues from 2004 through 2006: Japan Society (New York); National Gallery of Canada, Corcoran Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Fotomuseum Winterthur. In 2010 Tomatsu moved to Okinawa permanently, where he held the final exhibition during his lifetime, Tomatsu Shomei and Okinawa - Love Letter to the Sun (2011). He succumbed to pneumonia on 14 December 2012 (although this was not publicly announced until January 2013).Source: Wikipedia
Julie Blackmon
United States
1966
Born in Springfield, Missouri, Julie Blackmon studied art education and photography at Missouri State University. She has received several national awards for her photographs, including commendation in the 2004 Santa Fe Center of Photography Project Competition, a merit award from the Society of Contemporary Photography, 2005 B& W Magazine Merit Award for Single Image Contest, 2006 1st Place for Domestic Vacations from the Santa Fe Center of Photograph Project Competition, 2006 Critical Mass Book Award Winner for Domestic Vacations, and recognized as American Photo’s Emerging Photographer of 2008. Her photographs are included in the permanent collections of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Toledo Museum of Art, Portland Art Museum, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, among numerous others. About Domestic Vacations:The Dutch proverb “a Jan Steen household” originated in the 17th century and is used today to refer to a home in disarray, full of rowdy children and boisterous family gatherings. The paintings of Steen, along with those of other Dutch and Flemish genre painters, helped inspire this body of work. I am the oldest of nine children and now the mother of three. As Steen’s personal narratives of family life depicted nearly 400 yrs. ago, the conflation of art and life is an area I have explored in photographing the everyday life of my family and the lives of my sisters and their families at home. These images are both fictional and auto-biographical, and reflect not only our lives today and as children growing up in a large family, but also move beyond the documentary to explore the fantastic elements of our everyday lives, both imagined and real. The stress, the chaos, and the need to simultaneously escape and connect are issue that I investigate in this body of work. We live in a culture where we are both “child centered” and “self-obsessed.” The struggle between living in the moment versus escaping to another reality is intense since these two opposites strive to dominate. Caught in the swirl of soccer practices, play dates, work, and trying to find our way in our “make-over” culture, we must still create the space to find ourselves. The expectations of family life have never been more at odds with each other. These issues, as well as the relationship between the domestic landscape of the past and present, are issues I have explored in these photographs. I believe there are moments that can be found throughout any given day that bring sanctuary. It is in finding these moments amidst the stress of the everyday that my life as a mother parallels my work as an artist, and where the dynamics of family life throughout time seem remarkably unchanged. As an artist and as a mother, I believe life’s most poignant moments come from the ability to fuse fantasy and reality: to see the mythic amidst the chaos.
Toby Old
United States
1945
Toby Old was born in Stillwater, Minnesota in 1945. He started out majoring in biology at Hamline University, then moved on to the University of Minnesota where he trained to be a dentist. At the height of the Vietnam War he was drafted into the Army Dental Core. While serving in North Carolina, he began to explore art history and photography. After a 1976 summer workshop at Apieron Photographic Workshops in Millerton, New York, Old moved to New York City. He began working on his first extended series of the disco scene in 1976-1981. For this body of work, Standard Deviation, he was awarded a grant from the New York State Council of the Arts. In 1981 he received an NEA Survey Grant to document lower Manhattan below Chambers Street, and has continued photographing this section of the city since, includes an extended series on the boxing world. In the late 1980s he moved to upstate New York, where he began to document local events including county fairs and Civil War reenactments. He also began photographing national events such as the Kentucky Derby, Frontier Days, Mardi Gras, and spring break. Toby Old’s book, Times Squared, was offered through the 2005 Subscription Program and is still available for purchase in the Light Work Shop. Old participated in Light Work’s Artist-in-Residence Program in 1980. Toby Old captures animation in his photography, depicting both realistic and exciting observations of human life. Drawing on the inspiration of photographers of the 1960s, he has traveled the country photographing in many different environments, including street performances, beaches, fairs, fashion shows, nightclubs, boxing events, parks, and Fourth of July celebrations. His images capture extraordinary moments in human action and social and cultural experiences as they unfold. His photographs are not the kind to be taken in quickly, but images to be examined and scrutinized for details. According to Ted Hartwell, curator of photography at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, “Old’s work has always been characterized by a solid technical mastery of the medium-format camera as the tool for his wonderfully zany, insightful, and intelligent observations of the American scene.”Source: Light Work
Patrick Wack
France
1979
Patrick Wack was born in Cannes in 1979 and grew up in the Paris suburbs. A former top sportsman, he has a degree in foreign languages and a diploma from the Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Paris. His studies took him to the United States, Sweden and Germany. A self-taught photographer, he left Berlin in 2006 for China with the ambition of documenting its emergence, and the hope of living a life off the beaten track. He was based in Shanghai for eleven years as a freelance photographer alternating between commissions for the international press and institutional clients. He also worked on long-term documentary projects on themes important to the understanding of our times. These include urban change and forced modernisation in China, the Tibetan question, inter-ethnic tensions in the Balkans and the 'pioneering front' of the New Silk Road in its aesthetic, social and political dimensions. After eleven years in China, he now divides his time between Europe, China and Russia. His reports have been published in Time magazine, The Sunday Times, Géo, The British Journal of Photography and Courrier International, among others. He is one of the co-founders of the photographic cooperative Inland. DUST Dust, a monographic book by photographer Patrick Wack on the Uyghur communities. The monograph DUST gathers four years of work by French photographer Patrick Wack shot in the areas of Central Asia known as East Turkistan or Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region under the current Chinese administration. In recent years, the region has been at the centre of an international outcry following the mass-incarceration of its Uyghur population and other Muslim minorities. This body of work captures a visual narrative of the region and is a testimony to its abrupt descent into an Orwellian dystopia. In 2016 and 2017, Wack spent more than two months in Xinjiang photographing Out West, his first long-term project about the region. He decided to return in 2018, upon reading reports of the mass arbitrary detention system being set up there. In 2019, he travelled to Xinjiang on two separate occasions for another project, The Night Is Thick. This second reportage aimed at documenting life under acute repression among the Uyghur minority alongside the disturbing simultaneous increase of Han-Chinese tourism in the region. These images have been widely published and exhibited over the past four years, illustrating the situation in the region, and have received numerous accolades. Recent events in Xinjiang are now considered some of the most severe crimes against humanity currently unfolding in the world and this project is possibly the most complete photographic documentation of the region in recent years. Find out more about DUST
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