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Robi Chakraborty
Robi Chakraborty
Robi Chakraborty

Robi Chakraborty

Country: United States/India
Birth: 1959

Originally from India, Robi Chakraborty studied photography under the prestigious O.P. Sharma at Triveni Kala Sangam Photography in New Delhi. He began his career doing both commercial and press photography in the early 1980s, but through wanderlust and with a spirit to explore, Robi became drawn to photographing the people in the cities and villages of his native India. Taking roads less traveled, Robi sought out cultures and ways of life that were quickly becoming lost in the contemporary, more homogenized world of today.

With his knack for finding people and places where tradition survives in the face of modernity, Robi delves below the surface and succinctly and eloquently captures moments in time that wonderfully illustrate the connection forged with the peoples and cultures that he encounters on his journeys. His work tells his subjects' stories in a way that is relatable and invites the viewer directly into their worlds.

Having lived in India, Nepal, Africa and the US, Robi portrays his global view of the world through his photography by celebrating both the diversity of his subjects yet beautifully revealing the striking similarities and capturing the humanity that we can all relate to.

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Gregory Crewdson
United States
1962
Gregory Crewdson (born September 26, 1962) is an American photographer who is best known for elaborately staged scenes of American homes and neighborhoods. Crewdson was born in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY. He attended John Dewey High School, graduating early. As a teenager, he was part of a punk rock group called The Speedies that hit the New York scene in selling out shows all over town. Their hit song "Let Me Take Your Photo" proved to be prophetic to what Crewdson would become later in life. In 2005, Hewlett Packard used the song in advertisements to promote its digital cameras. In the mid 1980s, Crewdson studied photography at SUNY Purchase, near Port Chester, NY. He received his Master of Fine Arts from Yale University. He has taught at Sarah Lawrence, Cooper Union, Vassar College, and Yale University where he has been on the faculty since 1993. He is now a professor at the Yale University School of Art. In 2012, he was the subject of the feature documentary film Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters. Gregory Crewdson is represented by Gagosian Gallery worldwide and by White Cube Gallery in London. Crewdson's photographs usually take place in small-town America, but are dramatic and cinematic. They feature often disturbing, surreal events. His photographs are elaborately staged and lit using crews familiar with motion picture production and lighting large scenes using motion picture film equipment and techniques. He has cited the films Vertigo, The Night of the Hunter, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Blue Velvet, and Safe as having influenced his style, as well as the painter Edward Hopper and photographer Diane Arbus. Crewdson’s photography became a convoluted mix between his formal photography education and his experimentation with the ethereal perspective of life and death, a transcending mix of lively pigmentation and morbid details within a traditional suburbia setting. Crewdson was unknowingly in the making of the Pleasures and Terrors of Domestic Comfort exhibition of the Museum of Modern Art, earning him a following both from his previous educators and what would become his future agents and promoters of his work. The grotesque yet beautifully created scenes were just the beginning of Crewdson’s work, all affected with the same narrative mystery he was so inspired by in his childhood and keen eye for the surreal within the regular. Fireflies, has become a standout amongst his collections known for their heightened emotion and drama compared to its simplicity of color and spontaneity. the exploration of form within his own work was evident within his transformation of how the photo was taken rather than just focusing on the subject. Source: Wikipedia
 JR
France
1983
JR has the largest art gallery in the world. Thanks to his photographic collage technique, he exhibits his work free of charge on the walls of the whole world - attracting the attention of those who do not usually go to museums. Originator of the 28 Millimeters Project which he started in and around Clichy-Montfermeil in 2004, continued in the Middle East with Face 2 Face (2007), in Brazil and Kenya for Women Are Heroes (2008-2011), the documentary for which was presented at the Cannes Film Festival in 2010 (Critics' Week). JR has created "Infiltrating art". During his collage activities, the local communities take part in the act of artistic creation, with no stage separating actors from spectators. The anonymity of JR and the absence of any explanation accompanying his huge portraits leave him with a free space in which issues and actors, performers and passers-by meet, forming the essence of his work. In 2011 he received the Ted Prize, giving him the opportunity to make a vow to change the world. He created Inside Out, an international participatory art project that allows people from around the world to receive a print of their portrait and then billboard it as support for an idea, a project, an action and share that experience. In 2014, working with the New York City Ballet, he used the language of dance to tell his version of the riots in the Clichy-Montfermeil district. He created The Groves, a ballet and short film, the music for which was composed by Woodkid, Hans Zimmer and Pharrell Williams, and which was presented at the Tribeca Film Festival. At the same time, JR worked in the abandoned hospital of Ellis Island, an important place in the history of immigration - and made the short film ELLIS, with Robert De Niro. In 2016, JR was invited by the Louvre, whose pyramid he made disappear the with the help of an astonishing anamorphosis. The same year, during the Olympic Games in Rio, he created gigantic new sculptural installations throughout the city, to underline the beauty of the sporting gesture. JR & Agnès Varda - Faces, Places. In 2017, he co-directed with Agnès Varda "Faces, Place"s, screened the same year in the official selection out of competition for the Cannes Film Festival. The film won the Golden Eye (for best documentary) and was nominated for a Caesar and an Oscar in the same category in 2018. He has received other awards around the world. In 2013, the first retrospectives of JR's work took place in Tokyo (at the Watari-Um Museum) and the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center, followed by exhibitions at the Frieder Burda Museum in Baden Baden in 2014, and at the HOCA Foundation in Hong Kong in 2015. He exhibited in 2018 at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris, and in 2019 at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) and the Brooklyn Museum. Source: jr-art.net
Laura El-Tantawy
Laura El-Tantawy is an Egyptian photographer living between Cairo and London. She is represented by VII Mentor. She was born in Worcestershire, England to Egyptian parents & grew up between Saudi Arabia & Egypt. In 2002, El-Tantawy started her career as a newspaper photographer with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel & Sarasota Herald-Tribune (USA). In 2006, she became freelance so she could focus on pursuing personal projects. In 2008, she was nominated & accepted as one of 15 young photographers from around the world to participate in Reflexions Masterclass, a two-year photography seminar directed by renowned Italian photographer Giorgia Fiorio and French curator Gabriel Bauret. In 2010, she was awarded a six-month fellowship at the University of Oxford (UK) to write about freedom of expression in Egypt and the role played by Internet of expression in Egypt and the role played by Internet blogging and independent newspapers in pushing the boundaries of free speech in Egypt. In 2005 she started work on her first book exploring the identity and change facing her native Egypt. Her work has been published & exhibited in the United States, Europe, Asia & the Middle East and she has been recognized across several international awards. In 2013, she will be taking part in the 4th edition of the Northern Lights MasterClass, an educational program for documentary photographers powered by the Noorderlicht Foundation in the Netherlands. El-Tantawy is a graduate of the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia (USA) with a dual degree journalism and political science. Source: www.lauraeltantawy.com
Gordon Parks
United States
1912 | † 2006
Gordon Roger Alexander Buchanan Parks (November 30, 1912 – March 7, 2006) was an American photographer, musician, writer and film director. He is best remembered for his photographic essays for Life magazine and as the director of the 1971 film, Shaft.At the age of twenty-five, Parks was struck by photographs of migrant workers in a magazine and bought his first camera, a Voigtländer Brillant, for $12.50 at a Seattle, Washington, pawnshop. The photography clerks who developed Parks' first roll of film, applauded his work and prompted him to seek a fashion assignment at a women's clothing store in St. Paul, Minnesota, that was owned by Frank Murphy. Those photographs caught the eye of Marva Louis, the elegant wife of heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis. She encouraged Parks to move to Chicago in 1940, where he began a portrait business and specialized in photographs of society women. Over the next few years, Parks moved from job to job, developing a freelance portrait and fashion photographer sideline. He began to chronicle the city's South Side black ghetto and, in 1941, an exhibition of those photographs won Parks a photography fellowship with the Farm Security Administration (FSA). Working as a trainee under Roy Stryker, Parks created one of his best-known photographs, American Gothic, Washington, D.C.,[5] named after the iconic Grant Wood painting, American Gothic. The photograph shows a black woman, Ella Watson, who worked on the cleaning crew of the FSA building, standing stiffly in front of an American flag hanging on the wall, a broom in one hand and a mop in the background. Parks had been inspired to create the image after encountering racism repeatedly in restaurants and shops in the segregated capitol city.Upon viewing the photograph, Stryker said that it was an indictment of America, and that it could get all of his photographers fired. He urged Parks to keep working with Watson, however, which led to a series of photographs of her daily life. Parks said later that his first image was overdone and not subtle; other commentators have argued that it drew strength from its polemical nature and its duality of victim and survivor, and so has affected far more people than his subsequent pictures of Mrs. Watson.After the FSA disbanded, Parks remained in Washington, D.C. as a correspondent with the Office of War Information. Finally, disgusted with the prejudice he encountered, however, he resigned in 1944. Moving to Harlem, Parks became a freelance fashion photographer for Vogue. He later followed Stryker to the Standard Oil Photography Project in New Jersey, which assigned photographers to take pictures of small towns and industrial centers. The most striking work by Parks during that period included, Dinner Time at Mr. Hercules Brown's Home, Somerville, Maine (1944); Grease Plant Worker, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (1946); Car Loaded with Furniture on Highway (1945); and Ferry Commuters, Staten Island, N.Y. (1946). Parks renewed his search for photography jobs in the fashion world. Despite racist attitudes of the day, the Vogue editor, Alexander Liberman, hired him to shoot a collection of evening gowns. Parks photographed fashion for Vogue for the next few years and he developed the distinctive style of photographing his models in motion rather than poised. During this time, he published his first two books, Flash Photography (1947) and Camera Portraits: Techniques and Principles of Documentary Portraiture (1948).A 1948 photographic essay on a young Harlem gang leader won Parks a staff job as a photographer and writer with Life magazine. For twenty years, Parks produced photographs on subjects including fashion, sports, Broadway, poverty, and racial segregation, as well as portraits of Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael, Muhammad Ali, and Barbra Streisand. He became "one of the most provocative and celebrated photojournalists in the United States."Personal life:Parks was born in Fort Scott, Kansas, the son of Sarah (née Ross) and Jackson Parks. He was the last child born to them. His father was a farmer who grew corn, beets, turnips, potatoes, collard greens, and tomatoes. They also had a few ducks, chickens, and hogs. He attended a segregated elementary school. The town was too small to afford a separate high school that would facilitate segregation of the secondary school, but blacks were not allowed to play sports or attend school social activities,[17] and they were discouraged from developing any aspirations for higher education. Parks related in a documentary on his life that his teacher told him that his desire to go to college would be a waste of money. When Parks was eleven years old, three white boys threw him into the Marmaton River, knowing he couldn't swim. He had the presence of mind to duck underwater so they wouldn't see him make it to land. His mother died when he was fourteen. He spent his last night at the family home sleeping beside his mother's coffin, seeking not only solace, but a way to face his own fear of death. At this time, he left home, being sent to live with other relatives. That situation ended with Parks being turned out onto the street to fend for himself. In 1929, he briefly worked in a gentlemen's club, the Minnesota Club. There he not only observed the trappings of success, but was able to read many books from the club library.[20] When the Wall Street Crash of 1929 brought an end to the club, he jumped a train to Chicago, where he managed to land a job in a flophouse.Parks was married and divorced three times. Parks married Sally Alvis in Minneapolis during 1933 and they divorced in 1961. He married Elizabeth Campbell in 1962 and they divorced in 1973. Parks first met Genevieve Young in 1962 when he began writing The Learning Tree. At that time, his publisher assigned her to be his editor. They became romantically involved at a time when they both were divorcing previous mates, and married in 1973. They divorced in 1979. For many years, Parks was romantically involved with Gloria Vanderbilt, the railroad heiress and designer. Their relationship evolved into a deep friendship that endured throughout his lifetime.Parks fathered four children: Gordon, Jr., David, Leslie, and Toni (Parks-Parsons). His oldest son Gordon Parks, Jr., whose talents resembled his father, was killed in a plane crash in 1979 in Kenya, where he had gone to direct a film. Parks has five grandchildren: Alain, Gordon III, Sarah, Campbell, and Satchel. Malcolm X honored Parks when he asked him to be the godfather of his daughter, Qubilah Shabazz. Gordon Parks received more than twenty honorary doctorates in his lifetime.He died of cancer at the age of 93 while living in Manhattan, and is buried in his hometown of Fort Scott, Kansas.(Source: en.wikipedia.org)
Vee Speers
Australia
Vee Speers, an Australian artist, has lived and worked in Paris since 1990. After moving to Paris from Sydney, she began exhibiting her first series Bordello , followed by Parisians, The Birthday Party, Immortal, Thirteen and most recently Bulletproof, engaging viewers with the dramatic tension of her portraits and her unique pallet of colour.Speers has exhibited in London, Paris, Miami, NYC, Los Angeles, Atlanta, China, Ireland, Singapore, Japan, Italy, Tunisia, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, Sweden, Norway and the United States, and her work has been published on the covers of Fotomagazin Germany, Zoom, Public Art, Photo International, Images Magazine, A Conceptual Magazine, The British Journal of Photography, The Sunday Times UK, Russian Photo and Video, Swedish Photo with features in Zoom, Art Investor, Germany, Shots UK, Photo District News NYC, Photographica Tokyo, EYEMAZING, American Black + White, Milk, Fotomagazin, Chinese Photography, Reponses Photo, French Photo, Bloom, Arte Al Limite, etc.Her books ‘Bordello’ and ‘The Birthday Party’ are available worldwide.All about Vee Speers:AAP: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?I’ve always thought photography was magical as my father had his own darkroom. When I went to art school, I realized that the instant way of capturing an image suited my impatient personality.AAP: Where did you study photography?QCA, Brisbane, Australia AAP:Do you have a mentor or role model?Not really. I don’t like to follow.AAP: What or who inspires you?The cinema is a constant source of inspiration. A story is told, and the way it is filmed can transport you to another time or place. Still images can be the same.AAP: How could you describe your style?Playful, beautiful, strange, melancholic, obvious and unexpected.AAP: Do you have a favorite photograph or series?The Birthday Party and Bulletproof This is two series photographed 6 years apart using the same children.AAP: What kind of gear do you use?Polaroid film and medium format cameras.AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? For what purpose?No, I know right away when I’ve taken a good shot. Or if I haven’t.AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer?Know what you want and don’t be distracted from your goal. Don’t listen to what anybody else says.AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid?Accepting to shoot anything that will compromise his or her personal journey.AAP: An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share?Don’t be afraid.AAP: What are your projects?Portraits, portraits and more portraits.AAP: Your best memory as a photographer?There are so many. Every time I take a great image, I feel so excited, like everything has lined up perfectly. These are the best memories.AAP:The compliment that touched you most?A woman once told me that my work had changed her life. AAP:If you were someone else who would it be?Diane Arbus, with all those wonderful and strange people to photograph.AAP: Your favorite photo book?Lord of the Flies by William Golding.AAP: Anything else you would like to share?Always be kind. You can change the world, one smile at a time.
Deborah Turbeville
United States
1938 | † 2013
Deborah Turbeville was born in 1938, in Boston. Summers were spent in Ogunquit, Maine. 'Beautiful Place by the Sea' is the oceanside township's motto. 'Very bleak, very stark, very beautiful,' was Turbeville's description of it. Life was comfortable - she went to private school. Yet her mother described her as a 'shy and scary child'. Which is as it should be. The uneasy shuffle of ambiguity is the essence of Turbeville and her work - which itself shuffles between fashion magazine and art gallery, never fully at peace in either place. Like her near contemporaries, Helmut Newton and Guy Bourdin, she rethought and recast fashion photography in the 1970s. Perhaps even more than those two louche Europeans, though, she injected narrative and mystery into what is, after all, an unabashedly commercial process. Her pictures are as much riddles as they are images. Consciously damaged goods, they are blurry, grainy, tormented into painterly colours, scratched, marked, sellotaped - post-production work often done with her long-term assistant and collaborator Sharon Schuster. 'I destroy the image after I've made it,' said Turbeville. 'Obliterate it a little so you never have it completely there.' It's a quite un-American world, a view through the rear window, fascinated by the beaten, worn and forgotten. She has photographed her own house in Mexico as if she were a time-travelling visitor in her own intimate landscape, slightly drunk in exploration and contemplation of the rooms and their objects - tin retablos, wooden boxes, a painted carving of the Virgin Saint Maria Candelaria. She has photographed old Newport and the lost St Petersburg. One of her books was called 'Les Amoureuses du Temps Passe' - (female) lovers of times past. 'The idea of disintegration is really the core of my work.' When Jackie Onassis commissioned her to photograph the unseen Versailles, the late president's wife urged the photographer to 'evoke the feeling that there were ghosts and memories.' Turbeville began by researching the palace's 'mistresses and discarded mistresses', then photographed not just the palace's grand chambers and vistas but its store rooms and attics. She came to photography late. Arriving in New York at 19, with dreams of a stage career, she worked as a model and assistant to Claire McCardell - the fashion designer who brought wool jersey and denim to the catwalk. She joined Harper's Bazaar in 1963, working with its fashion editor, Marvin Israel, and his crew of photographers which included Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon and Hiro. She took her first pictures in Yugoslavia in 1966. They were blurry. She showed them to Avedon. He liked them, blurs and all. So he taught her technique. In 1972, she became a photographer. Like other adventurous photographers of the era, she worked for Nova magazine. She took some pictures for Vogue of girls in bikinis at a cement works. 'The most revolutionary pictures of the time,' said Conde Nast's editorial director Alexander Liberman. The work that made her name was the 'bathhouse' series she took for American Vogue in 1975 - fashion photographs of barely dressed women, wet and languid, almost kitsch. The oddest thing, though, is the sense that the women are prisoners - of what is not clear, of course. It's been said they look like they're in gas chambers. 'I go into a women's private world, where you never go,' Turbeville said. 'It's a moment frozen in time. I like to hear a clock ticking in my pictures.' If one of photography's most honourable impulses is to subvert - or flee from - the medium's inherent voyeurism, Turbeville collapses this paradox by succumbing to it. Victorian academic paintings presented unclothed women in bathing pools as if the painter were not there - the illusion of pornography. Turbeville's naked, wet women are under no such illusion. They know the photographer is there. They acknowledge her presence. They maybe even watch us, the viewer. The bathouse pictures were collected, with others, in her 1978 book 'Wallflower' - arrestingly and sympathetically designed by her mentor, Israel. In it are all the essentials of her work: a feeling that you are somewhere in the past; a languid, barely sexual sexuality; white, willowy women; distressed prints; a luminous quality; a sense of a narrative interrupted. Yet she's a jobbing photographer, too. She's worked for American Vogue and its British, French, Italian, and Russian counterparts. She's done ads for Ungaro, editorial photographic essays for Harper's Bazaar and portraits of Julia Roberts for the New York Times Magazine. She wears black, mostly. She has reddish hair. She has homes in Mexico, New York and Russia. She teaches in Russia. She's been married at least once. When she lived in Paris, at the turn of the 1980s, she'd rummage through the streets every evening, between 6 and 8 o'clock. 'I'm a voyeur,' she said. (Source: Pete Silverton - www.professionalphotographer.co.uk)
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