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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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Mitch Epstein
United States
1952
Mitchell Epstein (born 1952) is an American fine-art photographer, among the first to make significant use of color. Epstein's books include Sunshine Hotel (2019), Rocks and Clouds (2018), New York Arbor, (2013) Berlin (2011); American Power (2009); Mitch Epstein: Work ( 2006); Recreation: American Photographs 1973-1988 (2005); and Family Business (2003), which won the 2004 Kraszna-Krausz Photography Book Award. Epstein's work has been exhibited and published extensively in the United States and Europe, and collected by numerous major museums, including New York's Museum of Modern Art and Whitney Museum of Art, The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Tate Modern in London. He has also worked as a director, cinematographer, and production designer on several films, including Dad, Salaam Bombay!, and Mississippi Masala. Epstein was born and raised in a Jewish family in Holyoke, Massachusetts. He graduated from Williston Academy, where he studied with artist and bookmaker Barry Moser. In the early 1970s he studied at Union College, New York; Rhode Island School of Design, Rhode Island, and the Cooper Union, New York, where he was a student of photographer Garry Winogrand. By the mid-1970s, Epstein had abandoned his academic studies and begun to travel, embarking on a photographic exploration of the United States. Ten of the photographs he made during this period were in a 1977 group exhibition at Light Gallery in New York. In 1978, he journeyed to India with his future wife, director Mira Nair, where he was a producer, set designer, and cinematographer on several films, including Salaam Bombay! and India Cabaret. His book In Pursuit of India is a compilation of his Indian photographs from this period. From 1992 to 1995, Epstein photographed in Vietnam, which resulted in an exhibition of this work at Wooster Gardens in New York, along with a book titled Vietnam: A Book of Changes. “I don’t know that Mitch Epstein’s glorious photographs record all of what is salient in end-of-the-twentieth century Vietnam,” wrote Susan Sontag for his book jacket, “for it’s been more than two decades since my two stays there. I can testify that his images confirm what moved and troubled me then… and offer shrewd and poignant glimpses into the costs of imposing a certain modernity. This is beautiful, authoritative work by an extremely intelligent and gifted photographer.” Reviewing an exhibition of the Vietnam pictures for Art in America, Peter Von Ziegesar writes, “In a show full of small pleasures, little prepares one for the stunning epiphany contained in Perfume Pagoda… Few photographers have managed to make an image so loaded and so beautiful at once.” Having lived and traveled beyond the United States for over a decade, Epstein began to spend more time in his adopted home of New York City. His 1999 series The City investigated the relationship between public and private life in New York. Reviewing The City exhibition at Sikkema Jenkins in New York, Vince Aletti wrote that the pictures “[are] as assured as they are ambitious.” In 1999, Epstein returned to his hometown of Holyoke, Massachusetts, to record the demise of his father's two businesses—a retail furniture store and a low-rent real estate empire. The resulting project assembled large-format photographs, video, archival materials, interviews and writing by the artist. The book Family Business, which combined all of these elements, won the 2004 Krazna-Kraus Best Photography Book of the Year award. In 2004, his work was exhibited during evening screenings at Rencontres d'Arles festival, France. From 2004 to 2009, Epstein investigated energy production and consumption in the United States, photographing in and around various energy production sites. This series, titled American Power, questions the meaning and make-up of power—electrical and political. Epstein made a monograph of the American Power pictures (2009), in which he wrote that he was often stopped by corporate security guards and once interrogated by the FBI for standing on public streets and pointing his camera at energy infrastructure. The large-scale prints from this series have been exhibited worldwide. In his Art in America review, Dave Coggins wrote that Epstein “grounds his images… in the human condition, combining empathy with sharp social observation, politics with sheer beauty.” In the New York Times, Martha Schwendener wrote: “What is interesting, beyond the haunting, complicated beauty and precision of these images, is Mr. Epstein's ability to merge what have long been considered opposing terms: photo-conceptualism and so-called documentary photography. He utilizes the supersize scale and saturated color of conceptualism, and his odd, implied narratives strongly recall the work of artists like Jeff Wall.” In 2008, Epstein won the Berlin Prize in Arts and Letters from the American Academy in Berlin. Awarded a 6-month residency, he moved to Berlin with his wife and daughter from January to June 2008. The photographs he made of significant historical sites were published in the monograph Berlin (Steidl and The American Academy in Berlin, 2011).Source: Wikipedia In 2013, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis commissioned and premiered a theatrical rendition of Epstein’s American Power photographic series. A collaboration between Epstein and cellist Eric Friedlander, the performance combined original live music, storytelling, video, and projected photographs and archival material. Epstein and Friedlander also performed at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio (2014), and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (2015). His new series, Property Rights, was exhibited at Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York and Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne in the fall of 2019 and at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, Texas in 2020-2021. Recent solo exhibitions include: Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow (2020), Museum Helmond, Netherlands (2019), Andreas Murkudis, Berlin; Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York; Galerie Les Filles du Calvaire, Paris (2016-17); as well as Fondation A Stichting in Brussels (2013); Sikkema Jenkins & Co., NY (2012); Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne (2012); Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, Paris (2011); Kunstmuseum Bonn (2011); and Musee de l'Elysee in Lausanne (2011). In 2020, Mitch Epstein was inducted as an Academician to the National Academy of Design. In 2011, Epstein won the Prix Pictet for American Power. Among his other awards are the Berlin Prize in Arts and Letters from the American Academy in Berlin (2008), and a Guggenheim Fellowship (2003).Source: mitchepstein.net At Cooper Union, Epstein was a student of photographer Garry Winogrand and was influenced both by Winogrand and William Eggleston's use of color. Epstein helped pioneer the redefinition of color photography as art form, as he was one of the earlier practitioners of fine-art color photography. He is well known for documenting his projects as books, which he feels allows him to form a narrative structure for his photographs. Epstein shoots film, as he believes he would not get the tonal rendering and detail for his large prints if he were to use digital.Source: International Center of Photography
Nobuyoshi Araki
Nobuyoshi Araki is a Japanese photographer and contemporary artist. He is also known by the nickname Arākī. He was born in Tokyo, studied photography during his college years and then went to work at the advertising agency Dentsu, where he met his future wife, the essayist Yōko Araki. After they were married, Araki published a book of pictures of his wife taken during their honeymoon titled Sentimental Journey. She died in 1990. Pictures taken during her last days were published in a book titled Winter Journey. Having published over 350 books by 2005, and still more every year, Araki is considered one of the most prolific artists alive or dead in Japan and around the world. Many of his photographs are erotic; some have been called pornographic. Among his photography books are Sentimental Journey (1971, but later reissued), Tokyo Lucky Hole (1985), and Shino. He also contributed photography to the Sunrise anime series Brain Powered. In 1981, Araki directed High School Girl Fake Diary a Roman Porno film for Nikkatsu studio. The film proved to be a disappointment both to Araki's fans, and to fans of the pink film genre. The Icelandic musician Björk is an admirer of Araki's work, and served as one of his models. At her request he photographed the cover and inner sleeve pages of her 1997 remix album, Telegram. More recently, he has photographed pop singer Lady Gaga. Araki's life and work were the subject of Travis Klose's 2005 documentary film Arakimentari. His works are held in numerous museum collections including the Tate and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.Source: Wikipedia Nobuyoshi Araki is a prolific photographer who has produced thousands of photographs over the course of his career. He became famous for Un Voyage Sentimental (1971), a series of photos depicting both banal and deeply intimate scenes of his wife during their honeymoon. A number of his works feature young women in sexualized situations: Kinbaku, a series from 1979, features 101 photographs of women in rope bondage. He typically works in black-and-white photography, and his hallmark style is deliberately casual. “Rather than shooting something that looks like a professional photograph, I want my work to feel intimate, like someone in the subject’s inner circle shot them,” he says. More recently, Araki has been working on a series titled Faces of Japan (2009-) in which the artist photographs 500 to 1,000 people in each of Japan’s prefectures.Source: Artsy Nobuyoshi Araki is a contemporary Japanese photographer known both for his prolific output and his erotic imagery. While sometimes focusing on quotidian subject matter, including flowers or street scenes, it is Araki’s sexual imagery that has elicited controversy and fascination. Similar to the work of Helmut Newton, Araki often addresses subversive themes—such as Japanese bondage kinbaku—in his provocative depictions of female nudes. “Women? Well, they are gods. They will always fascinate me. As for rope, I always have it with me. Even when I forget my film, the rope is always in my bag,” he said of his subject matter. “Since I can't tie their hearts up, I tie their bodies up instead.” Born on May 25, 1940 in Tokyo, Japan, he studied photography at Chiba University, before pursuing a career as a commercial photographer upon his graduation in 1963. In 1970, while working as a freelance photographer, he began to publish numerous photography books, including Sentimental Journey (1971), a visual narrative of the honeymoon with his wife Aoki Yoko. Araki currently resides in Tokyo, Japan, a city that has served as a constant source of inspiration throughout his career. Today, his works are held in the collections of the Institute of Design in Chicago, the Goetz Collection in Munich, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among others.Source: Artnet
Cao Luning
China
1990
Cao Luning is a street photographer who lives in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China, a city of 8 million people. He only started to do photography 3 years ago and all learnt by himself. For Cao Luning, photography is a means of getting to know and expressing himself. Just like the saying "You are what you read", he also believes "You are what you shoot". He's extremely crazy about Street, Travel and Documentary photography, and the uncertainty and infinite possibilities of them fascinate him. They are just similar to life, you never know what you are going to get tomorrow. You may capture some nice shots, or you might come back empty-handed. Street photographer is his identity. Cao Luning is a street wanderer and likes to watch people. He can linger on the streets all day long without feeling tired or fed up. When he shoots, he focuses on the serendipity of specific colors, light and shadows, gestures and the implied humor of scenes. Cao Luning reckons framing is crucial to a good photograph, and he's been greatly influenced by Henri Cartier-Bresson and his "The Decisive Moment Theory", which He thinks is something that every photographer should pay attention to. His mentors are Mangum Photographer Alex Webb and his wife Rebecca Norris Webb, and they both helped him a lot in developing his own vision. In his opinion, given different situations and scenarios, a good street photographer should swiftly apply different compositions that best suit the scenes, instead of using one or two methods for all situations, because that's not a creative process, it's just mechanical repetitions. Statement I'm a street photographer who started to do photography 3 years ago. For me, photography is a means of getting to know and expressing myself. Just like the saying "You are what you read", I also believe "You are what you shoot". I'm extremely crazy about Street, Travel and Documentary photography, and the uncertainty and infinite possibilities of them fascinate me. They are just similar to life, you never know what you are going to get tomorrow. You may capture many nice shots, or you might come back empty-handed. I'm a street wanderer and I like to watch people. I can linger on the streets all day long without feeling tired or fed up. When I shoot, I focus on the serendipity of specific colors, light and shadows, gestures and the implied humor of scenes. I reckon framing is crucial to a good photograph, and I've been greatly influenced by Henri Cartier-Bresson and his "The Decisive Moment Theory", which I think is something that every photographer should pay attention to. In my opinion, given different situations and scenarios, a good street photographer should swiftly apply different compositions that best suit the scenes, instead of using one or two methods for all situations, because that's not a creative process, it's just mechanical repetitions. Most of the works I submitted were shot during the pandemic in China.. On January 2020, The New Coronavirus Pneumonia (or COVID-19) outbroke in Wuhan, Hubei Province in China and soon spread all over the country. As a result, the Chinese government locked down the whole country, stopped all production activities, restricted intercity transportation, and people were advised not to go outside. I live in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, a city of 8 million people, and when it was shut down, it was a bit like a ghost town in the beginning, not completely empty, but hard to find people on the streets. However, I found out by the Yangtze River and some parks, there are some citizens. People would go fishing, do sports, exercise or simply relax. So I often go to those places with my camera, trying to capture their life under the influence of Coronavirus. The virus has pressed the pause button for most of us, though it's not a good thing, objectively speaking, it gives us a good opportunity to look inside and review our living states. It offers us a window to slow down and appreciate all the good and beautiful things around us as well. In the meantime, we are also given the possibility to do the things that we always wanted to do. We should cherish it and live in the moment, despite how dreadful the epidemic situation might be, life has to go on. I hope you'll enjoy my works and get to know me better by them.
Thomas Hackenberg
Thomas Hackenberg was born in 1963 and lives in the German city of Braunschweig. With first strong influences going back to the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson and German photojournalist Thomas Hoepker, he describes himself as a street photographer today. In the language business by profession and design, in street photography with his heart, Hackenberg characterizes himself as a classical flaneur-with-a-camera – though sometimes definitely more of a long-distance-runner, as he states. For him, a good picture must have a thought-provoking note, some humorous or quirky details, some kind of storyline. He likes pictures that pose questions rather than provide answers, and all of his photos are taken candidly. "What I like so much about street photography is the fact that you step out of the door, and you're right in it: no clumsy gear, you don't have to travel anywhere, you're always there. That's why it is so magical for me, many have said this before: It's positively an obsession! The big theater of life is always open with no closing hours." He also mentions the documentary aspect of street photography: The two old grannies he captured in 1991 in San Gimignano, Italy, one with the Hanimex 110 pocket camera: a time document today. As all the millions of smartphones today will be at some point in the future… Else, he feels drawn to social photography and photojournalism and likes to take photos at demonstrations. Thomas Hackenberg's work was featured by resources and hubs such as EYESHOT, Lensculture, Street Photographers Foundation, and Street Sweeper Magazine. He received Finalist awards in the 2017 edition of the Street Foto San Francisco Festival, Siena International Photo Awards 2020, London Street Photography Festival 2020, Miami Street Photography Festival 2020 and won 3rd Prize in the Fujifilm Moment Street Photo Awards 2020 organized by the Center for the Promotion of Culture in Częstochowa, Poland. Weekly interview at UP Photographers
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