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David Oliete Casanova
David Oliete Casanova
David Oliete Casanova

David Oliete Casanova

Country: Spain

Documentary photographer and filmmaker born in Tarragona (Catalonia, Spain) who lived in Cardiff and Barcelona. His latest works have been published on international media such as National Geographic Magazine, Red Bull TV, Daily Telegraph, The Times, The Sunday Times, Traveler Magazine of China, The Guardian, GEO Magazine and Daily Mail, among others. His projects have been also awarded at the International Photography Awards, the Travel Photographer of the Year and the Seoul International Short Film Festival, in Korea, among others. David is currently based in Catalonia working on personal and commissioned projects and is available for assignments worldwide.

Statement:

"It is a pleasure for me that a picture that represents such an important cultural tradition in my country, as the Human Towers in Catalonia are, could be awarded in this contest. I hope it could help people around the world to know this stunning and beautiful spectacle".
 

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Erich Hartmann
Germany / United States
1922 | † 1999
Erich Hartmann was a German-born American photographer. Hartmann was born July 29, 1922 in Munich, Germany, the eldest child of Max and Irma Hartmann who lived in Passau, a small city on the Danube near the Austrian border in which they were one of a five Jewish families. Erich Hartmann's family belonged to the middle class, and his father, a social-democrat who served during World War I and been imprisoned by the British, was highly respected. In 1930, only eight years old, Erich took his first photographs. Life became increasingly difficult after the Nazi takeover in 1933, including personal, financial, business, and family restrictions and the beginning of deportations of Jews to the first so-called 'labor camp' in the village of Dachau. The Hartmann family moved to Munich that year, in search of a more tolerant and cosmopolitan environment. The situation only worsened, however, and the family determined that they had to leave Germany. In August 1938, they accepted the opportunity to emigrate to the United States, having received the necessary affidavit of support from distant relatives there. They sailed from Hamburg to New York, staying initially in Washington Heights, before settling outside Albany, New York. The only English speaker in the family, Erich Hartmann worked in a textile mill in Albany, New York, attending evening high school and later taking night courses at Siena College. On December 8, 1941, the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the US entered the war, and Erich enlisted in the US Army. Trained in Virginia and at Ohio State University, he had to wait until 1943 before serving in England, Belgium (Battle of the Bulge) and France, and with the liberating forces as a court interpreter at Nazi trials in Cologne, Germany. At the end of the war he moved to New York City where, in 1946, he married Ruth Bains; they had two children, Nicholas (born in 1952) and Celia (born in 1956). During these years, he worked as an assistant to portrait photographer George Feyer, and then as a freelancer. He studied at the New School for Social Research with Charles Leirens, Berenice Abbott, and Alexey Brodovitch. His portrait subjects over the years included architect Walter Gropius, writers Arthur Koestler and Rachel Carson, musicians Leonard Bernstein and Gidon Kremer, actor Marcel Marceau, fellow photographer Ed Feingersh, and many other literary and musical personalities. Music played a great role in his life and work: "Music captured me before photography did," he recalled. "In my parents' house there was not much music except for a hand-cranked gramophone on which I surreptitiously and repeatedly played a record of arias from Carmen. This was before I could read!″ In the 1950s Erich Hartmann first became known to the wider public for his poetic approach to science, industry and architecture in a series of photo essays for Fortune magazine, beginning with The Deep North, The Building of Saint Lawrence Seaway and Shapes of Sound. He later did similar essays on the poetics of science and technology for French, German and American Geo and other magazines. Throughout his life he traveled widely on assignments for the major magazines of the US, Europe and Japan and for many corporations such as AT&T, Boeing, Bowater, Citroën, Citibank, Corning Glass, DuPont, European Space Agency, Ford, IBM, Johns Hopkins University, Kimberly-Clark, Pillsbury Company, Nippon Airways, Schlumberger, TWA, and Woolworth, for all of which he used color. In 1952 he was invited to join Magnum Photos, the international photographers’ cooperative founded in 1947 by Robert Capa, David Seymour, George Rodger and Henri Cartier-Bresson, he served on the board of directors from 1967 to 1986, and as President in 1985–1986. For more than eight weeks in 1994, Erich and Ruth Hartmann undertook a winter journey to photograph the remains of the Nazi concentration and extermination camps, and places of deportation, throughout Europe. He was determined to take only black and white photographs and to capture only what he saw, immediately when arriving, no matter whether days looked like nights. He returned to New York with 120 rolls of film, from which he made a first edit of 300 photographs and a final selection of only 74 frames. These, together with text by Ruth Bains Hartmann, formed the book and exhibition In the Camps, published in 1995 in English, French, and German and exhibited in more than twenty venues in the US and Europe in the years since. In all of his travel, for work and pleasure, Hartmann carried a small camera with a few rolls of black and white film, prepared for every visual opportunity. He also deliberately pursued a series of imaginative projects including experiments with ink in water, stroboscopic light effects, beach pebbles constrained in boxes, and others. In the late 1990s, with an eye to a future retrospective exhibition, Hartmann began making a definitive selection from fifty years of this personal work in black and white. Just a few months before his death he began discussions with a gallery in Austria about organizing an exhibition called Where I Was. On February 4, 1999 Erich Hartmann died unexpectedly from a heart attack in New York. Source: Wikipedia In the late 1960s and 1970s he lived in London. He documented the construction of the Britannia aircraft for the Bristol Aeroplane Company and he photographed for the leading colour magazines: the Sunday Times, the Observer and the Telegraph, notably on such stories as Shakespeare's Warwickshire and The Norman Conquest Descendants. For the Weekend Telegraph he made sensitive colour pictures of Styles of English Architecture, in a series of photo-essays for which Sir John Betjeman wrote the words, and he also travelled with Betjeman to the Faeroe Islands. Later Hartmann returned to Germany where he had lived in the shadow of the Nazis until he was 16, and chose a project for himself: the death camps. He made an unforgettable book, In the Camps (1995). He said, "I simply felt obliged to stand in as many of the camps as I could reach, to fulfill a duty that I could not define and to pay a belated tribute with the tools of my profession." The book is a magnificent tribute. There is hardly a person in it. So solitary is it, so desolate, that we people the pages with our own ghosts, we bring to it our own fears and imagery. These imaginings have the feeling of poetry. We see a room full of broken shoes; another room of battered satchels; another of torn children's clothes; the windowless barracks in four tiers in which multitudes tried to survive; or a square in which a gallows hangs in the wind. The railway tracks which many took into the camp; a single gas chamber in Auschwitz. It is hard to go from examining the book to describe all Erich Hartmann did for the Magnum co-operative when he served on the board or was vice-president (1975 and 1979) or president (1985). Burt Glinn describes how he and Hartmann came to Magnum at the same time, almost 47 years ago: "We have photographed together and met together and consulted together about ethics and journalism, and we have attended 46 Magnum General Meetings, the first with only eight other photographers and the last with more than 50, but all of them passionate, contentious and personal." He goes on: "Through all these years Erich, more than anyone else, has been my moral compass. No matter how knotty the problem he never settled for the facile compromise. He was always wise, judicious, and ferocious to find the right answer rather than the easy one. When I suspected that I was pursuing my self-interest rather than the common good I would glance over at Erich and if I encountered his quizzically cocked eyebrow I would shut up."Source: Independent
Milos Nejezchleb
Czech Republic
1978
The Czech photographer Miloš Nejezchleb was born in 1978. He lives in the Czech Republic and has got three children. He has only been involved in conceptual photography since 2016; however, he has already won several prestigious international awards. He is the absolute winner of the Fine Art Photography Award in London (2021), where he won the FINE ART PHOTOGRAHER OF THE YEAR title. He is the winner of the Malta International Photo Award (2020), two-time gold medalist in the Trierenberg Super Circuit competition in Linz and he is also, among others, silver medalist in IPA 2021 - International Photography Award. The most characteristic features of his photographs are noticeably colorful elements with a clear focus on the art of photography. Miloš often chooses current social topics, which he processes as stories using photographic series. These stories are narrated by people. He works on such series on his own and ensures the entire Art direction. He himself designs styling, looks for locations and carries out post-production. Besides conceptual art, where he points out currently discussed topics, Miloš has 2long-term thematic photographic cycles which document stories of real people. The most famous of them is photographic cycle "Stronger", in which Milos takes photos of people who have gone through hard times in their lives, and thanks to this experience they have become stronger personalities. Milos is at the beginning of his photographic career. He was fascinated by art photography when he bought his first camera. It happened before the birth of his first daughter. He is currently working on other production-intensive projects.
 Jonk
France
1985
Jonk discovers photography at the age of 11 when his parents send him for a language exchange to the USA, where each of the ten children forming the group lives with a different host family. The few souvenir pictures shot with the famous disposable orange cameras were his firsts. For the following six years, he travels each winter to a new family in a different state, and in the meantime upgrades his gear with a basic analogue camera. After having swapped it for a pocket numeric device, he realizes his first solo trip, at the age of 19. This trip to Barcelona changes his life, and he comes back with two passions that won't leave him: travels (he has since visited more than 70 countries) and urban art (street art and graffiti), whose discovery gave him his first photographic subject that still occupies him today. Living in Paris, he discovers urban exploration at the end of years 2000 through rooftops, subways and the city's unofficial catacombs. At that time, he finds another subject: documenting the unseen side of the city and invest in his first digital reflex camera, an APS-C. Climbing roofs to see her from the top, going at night in subway tunnels or spending whole days underground in the catacombs exploring the tens of kilometers of galleries looking for beautiful carved rooms: he finds in that activity a thrill, the adrenaline that he looks for in his life. These urban explorations, and his search for unseen graffiti, bring him to abandoned places, where graffiti artists often go to paint, to be alone and able to take time to make bigger and better paintings. After some time frequenting these artists, he starts himself to paint there and adopts the nickname “Jonk”. At that time, he also sticks his travel pictures on the walls in the streets. Visiting abandoned places looking for graffiti, he realizes the intensity of the atmospheres and the beauty of the spectacle of time passaging: rust, decaying and peeling painted walls, broken windows, Nature taking over create unbelievable, highly photogenic sceneries. For him, such sceneries feel like infinite poetry. Traveling, painting, sticking, photographing, roaming on roofs, metros and catacombs, a very time-consuming job don't leave him enough time to do everything. At the hour of choices, he drops the spray, the pot of glue, the height and the undergrounds to stay with the photography of lost places, even if he could not get rid of his nickname, symbol of his graffiti artist times, highly important to him. He then continues to travel, almost exclusively looking for abandoned locations to shoot, with or without graffiti. He upgrades his gear again with one, then two, full-frame reflex. Today, he has visited more than one thousand and five hundreds of them in around fifty countries on four continents. With time, his interest focuses on what appears to him to be the strongest in this vast subject of abandonment: Nature taking over. It is poetic, even magic, to see this Nature retaking what used to be hers, reintegrating through broken windows, cracks on the walls, spaces built by Man and then neglected, until sometimes guzzling them up entirely. This topic naturally imposed itself to him due to the ecologic consciousness that moves him since his youngest age and to the strength of the message it carries: the question of the place of Man on Earth and its relationship with Nature. She is stronger, and whatever happens to Man, She will always be there. In March 2018, he releases the book Naturalia on the topic and currently works on volume II for which Yann Arthus-Bertrand wrote the preface. In June 2018, at age 33, he quits his job in the finance to fully dedicate himself to this project. With this series, as a photographer Jonk tries to humbly contribute to make people aware of the critical ecological situation we are all in. Since, four other books were released. His work has been featured in prestigious paper publications (Der Spiegel, Corriere della Sera, Lonely Planet, Le Monde, GQ, Telerama…) as well as on prestigious web platforms (National Geographic, New York Post, Smithsonian, ArchDaily, AD, BBC, The Guardian…). He received various distinctions in recognized international contests with Honorable Mentions (International Photography Awards, ND Awards), nominations (Fine Art Photography Awards), Silver Awards (Tokyo International Foto Awards, Moscow International Foto Awards), places in shortlists (Arte Laguna Prize, Environmental Photographer of the Year, Royal Photography Society, Felix Schoeller Photo Award, Siena International Photo Awards), places of finalist (InCadaquès International Photo Festival, Nature Photographer Of The Year, Umbra Awards) and winner of the Chelsea International Photography Competition and the Earth Photo 2020 Photo Competition. His work has been part of many group shows across the world (Paris, London, Lisbon, Rome, Athens, Budapest, Moscow, Seoul, Tokyo, Singapore, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, New York…) as well as many solo shows in Paris, the main ones being in Paris 20th district City Hall “Salon of Honor”, at the OECD, the Forum des Halles and the Nicolas Hulot Foundation for Nature and Man. In October 2020, Jonk realizes his first solo shows abroad. The first one is the central show of Home Expo in Luxembourg, the most important Fair of the country. Consisting of 91 photos, this exhibition is also his biggest show to date. He simultaneously conducts five solos show in China for the Franco-Chinese Environmental Month. They take place at the Park View Gallery of the magnificent Design Society in Shenzhen, the French Institute of Beijing, the Kingold Century Center of Guangzhou, the Westred Art Museum of Harbin and the Parc Hongmei of Shenyang. Jonk had set a first foot in China the year before by giving a conference on his Naturalia series in Shenzhen. It was his second after a TEDx given in Paris in 2018. Several exhibitions of Naturalia are planned for 2021 and 2022. Naturalia: Chronicle of Contemporary Ruins As a child, I saw a wildlife documentary that marked my life. It focused on the melting of the ice caps and its consequences on polar bears' life. I still remember this bear that struggled to swim and find a piece of ice floe. It seems that "children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them makes an impression." (Dr Haim Ginott). This vision marked me so much that during all my childhood, every time any of my parents did anything that seemed bad for the environment, it told them this sentence: «Watch out, you kill the bears!!" This ecological consciousness, that moves me since my youngest age, has little by little focused my interest on abandoned places reclaimed by Nature. She is stronger, and whatever happens to Man, She will always be there. Moreover, Naturalia: Chronicle of Contemporary Ruins asks a fundamental question: that of the place of Man on Earth and his relationship with Nature. Far from being pessimistic, and at a time when Man's domination of Nature has never been so extreme, it aims to wake our consciousness. Man builds, Man abandons. Every time for his own peculiar reasons. Nature does not care about those reasons. But one thing is for sure, when Man leaves, She comes back and She takes back everything. In his poem Eternity of Nature, brevity of Man, Alphonse de Lamartine writes "Triumph, immortal Nature! / Whose hand full of days / Lends unlimited strengths / Times that always rise again!" In her inexorable progression, She starts reclaiming the outsides of a Taiwanese reservoir (Picture 1) before infiltrating the insides of a Croatian castle (2) or a Belgian greenhouse (7). Then, She grows in the atrium of a Polish palace (8) or a Cuban theater (9) before invading a Montenegrin castle (10). Then, given more time, imprisons a Taiwanese mansion with her strong roots (20). The next steps? Collapse and burial. French poet Léo Ferré said "With Time goes, everything goes". So, when Nature and Time will have taken back what Man abandons, what will be left of our civilization?
Flokje Van Lith
Netherlands
1969
Flokje van Lith (1969, Leiden, NL) studied photography at the Royal Academy of Arts, the Hague. Van Lith belongs to the first generation of artists to make full use of the newest Photoshop techniques. With apparent ease, she plays with the different realities that have developed independently of one another within the media of painting and photography. But appearance deceives; the making of the photograph is merely the first in a long line of decisions. The task of achieving the right result takes Van Lith weeks and sometimes months. In her work she explores childhood and its underlying traumas and issues as well as the beauty of innocence and adolescence. The final results, complex portraits of children and young adults, not only have a very aesthetic quality but also seem to tell the story of the subject.The influences of the Flemish Primitives, which can be found in the serenity of the works, but also the personal experience of the artist, resonate from the artworks. Van Lith won several awards for her work, such as the Silver Award (International Photography Awards), Silver Award (PX3 - Prix de la Photographie) and Third Place (Kontinent Awards). In addition her works have been exhibited at photo festivals nationally and internationally, such as Photo Festival Naarden and Photoville, New York. Awards: Kontinent Awards: Third Place, Fine-Art/ Single Image/ Professional, International Photography Awards: 8 x Honorable Mention, Fine-Art/ Portrait/ Professional, Fine Art Photo Awards: Professional Nominee, Portrait/Professional, International Color Awards 2015: Honorable Mention, Portrait/ Professional - International Photography Awards 2014: Silver Award, Fine-Art/ Professional - PX3-Prix de la Photographie, Paris, 2014: Silver Award, Fine-Art/ Professional - International Photography Award 2014: 8 x Honorable Mention, Fine-Art/ Professional - New Dutch Photography Talent 2013 - International Photography Award 2013: 4 x Honorable Mention, Fine-Art/ Professional - Photography Masters Cup 2011: 4 x Honorable Mention, Fine-Art/ Professional - International Photography Award 2011: 7 x Honorable Mention, Fine-Art/ Professional. Exhibitions: (Selection), 2015: Aqua Art Miami (USA), Art Fair COLOGNE (Germany), PAN Amsterdam, KunstRai, Rotterdam Contemporary Art Fair, LXRY (the Netherlands), 2014: Affordable Art Fair Hamburg (Germany), PAN Amsterdam, LXRY, Affordable Art Fair, Raw Art Fair, Realisme (the Netherlands), 2013: LXRY, PAN Amsterdam, Affordable Art Fair, (the Netherlands), 2012, Art Miami Context, Photoville New York, Art Wynwood (USA), PAN Amsterdam (the Netherlands), 2011: PAN Amsterdam, Photofestival Naarden (the Netherlands). Publications: 2015: LXRY Magazine, PF Magazine, 2014: Art Photo Feature (USA), 2013: Gooi en Eemlander (the Netherlands) 2012: Volkskrant Magazine, De Telegraaf, Haarlems Dagblad (the Netherlands)
Michael Nguyen
Germany
1958
Michael Nguyen is a photo artist and documentary photographer living near Munich, Germany. He takes photographs since 1988. He has been living in Munich since 2007 and moved to Gauting near Munich in 2015. After a long break in the cultural sector and after a sickness he has dedicated himself 2018 entirely to art again. He is an artist and a photographic poet who moves away from the mainstream, at the same time blurs genres. Most of the time, he focuses on small, ordinary things but through the subjective lens, he give them new perspectives, a new soul. I found my way to photography when I was a journalist for art and culture. One of my main subjects was "Greece", and there was a lot to do with photography. Then, in close cooperation with Dr. Matthias Harder (now Director of the Helmut Newton Foundation, Berlin), we laid the foundation for understanding the photographs of Herbert List and Walter Hege. Since then, photography has opened up a whole new world to me. Michael Nguyen roamed various cities in Bavaria during the Corona pandemic. A focus of his works since COVID-19 are urban landscapes as well as urban spaces in different cities. Urban spaces can all enrich a life between buildings. Since Covid-19, social interaction in the Urban landscapes with their spaces has lain fallow. Michael Nguyen conveys this sensitively in his mostly "deserted pictures“. Nguyen enters the motifs of his urban landscapes with a great deal of empathy. He makes the city, urban landscapes and architecture visible and documents them for posterity. With his artistic documentary photography he refers to a reality that we all know, but interprets this reality with his images. Everywhere I go, my eyes and senses are in motion. With my camera I capture little things that we often don't notice in everyday life. At the BIFA Budapest International Foto Awards 2020 his artwork "Antimatter" was awarded in December 2020 with Gold. In addition to his artistic activities, Michael Nguyen is in Editor-in-chief of the online magazine for photography and art: Tagree. End of March 2021 Michael Nguyen is nominated for the Tassilo Culture Prize of the Süddeutsche Zeitung. Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) is a German national daily newspaper. It is published in Munich. SZ is the second largest daily newspaper in Germany (as of October 2020). Promoting the cultural sector in the Munich area and motivating creative artists (these are the goals of the Tassilo Culture Prize), which the Süddeutsche Zeitung is offering for the eleventh time this year. The SZ Prize is named after the Bavarian Duke Tassilo. Statement Our head is round so that thinking can change direction - a sentence by the writer and artist Francis Picabia, who inspired me as a young man interested in art and the art scene. Art broadened my perspectives and saved my soul. In the 1980s and 1990s I was a journalist, poet, photographer and event manager. After almost two decades, I found my way back to art in the dark times of my life in early 2018. Yes, once again art has saved my soul. Everywhere I go, my eyes and senses are in motion. With my camera I capture little things that we often don't notice in everyday life. The power of design and the contradictions between art and life Munich's most colorful shopping center facade by Prof. Dr. Rainer Funke When will the containers be loaded? Such a question comes to mind when approaching the shopping mall built in 2008 from a distance. But stop! The intense colors of the seemingly stacked cubes and their sophisticated composition immediately give rise to other associations. As if someone had created a special order out of building blocks. One wonders whether this is already the perfect final state, as one tries to create with the Magic Cube, for example. The variety of combinations seems too great for this. Both that of the colors and that of the surface structures. Added to this are the manifold reflections and the astonishing visual dynamics. One does not seem to move past the building itself, but its facades begin to run, to turn, to flow. One is almost reminded of the dancing of the facades and interiors of baroque courtly buildings in downtown Munich. Instead of baroque figurativeness, however, here it is geometry. The closer one gets, the more details become visible. No, these are neither containers nor building blocks. The prismatic shape of the colored and reflective metal plates gives the building shell pronounced plasticity. One would not have expected so much sophistication from a shopping center, especially not here, where Munich hardly has anything typically Munich anymore and is fraying into the landscape. Whether red voluptuousness with bold blue, pastel sweetness, noble gold, lush, or pale green: the overwhelming power of color is, of course, the basic theme of the series of images, always in powerfully soaring, a contrast-rich vertical sequence of seemingly endless parallels. Michael Nguyen's imposing photographs take us very close to this color organ. They make us stand at attention on the parade ground of the verticals. Especially the severity of the composition in detail becomes a theme. This gesture appears once again mercilessly emphasized by Nguyen's camera, as refractions and disturbances emerge from close up. Two framed, square blue lockers, for instance, according to their dimensions probably placed on a blue ground with metallic fittings not colored blue - the attempt to hide them has failed. Nguyen places them in the center. The wonderful striped pattern is disturbed in this way, less perfect and also a bit more lifelike. We experience something similar with the door locks (here the hinges additionally form a counter-rotating rhythm), the intercom, and the stickers on two other images. As a photographer, Michael Nguyen is as uninhibitedly consistent as the facades depicted want to be but cannot be in the storm of life and entropy. The mirrored surfaces evoke almost poetic associations when nature and urban space gently and carefully combine in them (in one picture, the soft shapes of the snow remains are added). Here, too, Nguyen is provocative. One picture is intended to irritate through eight seemingly irregular horizontal cuts in the surrounding colour surfaces. And, of course, dirt and trash. Such a design focused on geometric color perfection is highly moralistic. It points its moral finger in full size at the viewers, admonishing us not to disturb order, to preserve perfection and cleanliness. When we then perceive small discarded things and in addition a dirty floor or even dirty facade surfaces, it hits us with full force. At the same time, we are referred to the particularity and artistic rapture of the facade. Even a traffic sign, placed somewhat askew and in turn, defaced with remnants of a sticker, emphasizes the distance of the art object from life. Even the clash of different grid dimensions of the facade strips and the paving of the sidewalk draws attention and distances. Here nothing has grown out of the ground, where it has been landed. This impression is further emphasized by the filigree grid structure of the surfaces pointing to the left. If then still objects stand before the work of art, like a somewhat demolished container for the clothes collection, an ashtray (nevertheless in strict vertical-orthogonal high-grade steel form and exactly aligned), or admittedly color-coordinated garbage can one wished a ban mile for objects around the building. People appear in two photos. They make us breathe a sigh of relief: yes, the whole thing is made for people. The two people in a picture, shot somewhat voyeuristically behind a lamppost, could, however, already be a bit tighter, more upright, and perhaps defilade past the facade in step! The man with his shopping cart, on the other hand, seems to want to save himself from the austerity of the backdrop into the organic world of the leafy settlement. In an impressive way, Michael Nguyen presents us with this photo series of a building as a work of art and thus points us to the power of design but also to the contradictions between art and life. Prof. Dr. Rainer Funke researches and publishes on design-theoretical issues from a semiotic, cultural-theoretical and philosophical perspective and works as a design consultant for companies. He teaches design theory at the Potsdam University of Applied Sciences. After studying philosophy at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, he earned his doctorate in semiotics and subsequently worked in design-theoretical research at Burg Giebichenstein - University of Art and Design Halle. In 1992, he was appointed to Potsdam as the founding dean of the Department of Design. Rainer Funke was the owner of a design agency, chairman of the board of the Brandenburg Design Center, and visiting professor at the University of Art and Industrial Design Linz. Design theory is supposed to motivate in an enlightening way by conveying methods for the analysis of design, especially for the manifold relations between perceptible forms of artifacts and their meanings in the context of the process of use. Design theory explicates modes of action and historically founded developmental relationships of design and their various influencing factors. (Prof. Dr. Rainer Funke) Exclusive Interview with Michael Nguyen
Natalie Christensen
United States
1966
Photographer Natalie Christensen has an inimitable, and enchanting, focus on the exploration of the more banal peripheral landscapes that often go unnoticed by the casual observer. "I quickly became aware that these isolated moments in the suburban landscape were rich with metaphor. Closed and open doors, empty parking lots and forgotten swimming pools draw me to a scene; yet it was my reactions to these objects and spaces that elicited interpretation and projection." Based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States, she has exhibited her photographs in the U.S. and internationally, including Santa Fe, New York, Brooklyn, Los Angeles, London, Berlin and Barcelona. She was recently honored as an invited guest of the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Washington, D.C. and joined a select delegation of architects, architectural photographers and curators for a one-week cultural tour of the UAE. Christensen had worked as a psychotherapist for over 25 years and was particularly influenced by the theories of depth psychologist Carl Jung. This influence is evident in her photographs, as shadows and psychological metaphors are favored subjects. "The symbols and spaces in my images are an invitation to explore a rich world that is concealed from consciousness, and an enticement to contemplate narratives that have no remarkable life yet tap into something deeply familiar to our experience; often disturbing, sometimes amusing...unquestionably present." In Santa Fe, her work is inspired by commonplace architecture and streetscapes. She realizes that the places she frequents for her images are probably not what people visualize when they think of Santa Fe, a major tourist destination with a carefully cultivated image. "I don't have to go anywhere special to make my photography; instead I find my images around shopping centers, apartment complexes and office parks." Choosing to shoot in locations that may be viewed as uninteresting or even visually off-putting, Christensen finds this challenging, to "see" something hidden in plain sight, noting "it is our nature to ignore what is unpleasant, but sometimes I get a glimpse of the sublime in these ordinary places. When I find it, it feels like I have discovered gold." Christensen is repeatedly drawn to the swimming pool as a metaphor for the unconscious. In American culture, pools symbolize the luxury of leisure. Yet she also sees a darker interpretation - evoking repressed desires, unexplained tension and looming disaster. "These photographs of a manufactured oasis suggest a binary connection between the world above and the world below, linking submersion in water with the workings of the subconscious." She dismantles all of these scenes to color fields, geometry and shadow. She shoots every day and is almost never without a camera. The Royal Photographic Society recently presented her artwork in a traveling museum exhibition throughout the United Kingdom, and had her as a guest lecturer. She led a photography workshop there, as well at Meow Wolf in Santa Fe. Christensen has participated in collaborative site-specific projects at Iconic Standard Vision Billboard, Los Angeles; El Rey Court, Santa Fe; University of New Mexico, Albuquerque; and Peckham Levels, London. She has been named one of "Ten Photographers to Watch" by the Los Angeles Center of Digital Art. As one of five invited photographers for "The National 2018: Best of Contemporary Photography" at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Indiana, her work was purchased for the permanent collection. Christensen was also the Purchase Prize recipient of the 33rd Annual International Exhibition at the University of Texas at Tyler. Christensen's photographs are in private and corporate collections. Her work has received awards, including top finalist of 48,000 entries for the Smithsonian's 15th Annual Photo Contest and Honorable Mentions for the Julia Margaret Cameron Award and the Chromatic Awards. Global media have taken notice, with features in, among others, Xi Draconis Books; LandEscape Art Review, United Kingdom; Better Photography Magazine, India; Art Reveal Magazine; Magazine 43, Philippines, Germany and Hong Kong; Site Unseen; Lens Culture; All About Photo and Women in Photography. Statement I live in Santa Fe New Mexico where my work is inspired by commonplace architecture and streetscapes. I shoot every day and am almost never without my camera. I don't have to go anywhere special to make my photography; instead I find my images around shopping centers, apartment complexes and office parks. I dismantle these scenes to color fields, geometry and shadow. The places I frequent for my images are probably not what people visualize when they think of the city I live in, a major tourist destination with a carefully cultivated image. I choose to shoot in locations that may be viewed as uninteresting or even visually off-putting. This is exciting and challenging for me, to "see" something hiding in plain sight. Much of my professional life has been spent as a psychotherapist, and my photography as an extension of that work. Both have called me to explore what is hidden from view, those aspects of the self or the environment that we want to turn away from or simply avoid. I suspect it is our nature to ignore what is unpleasant, but sometimes I get a glimpse of the sublime in these ordinary places. When I find it, it feels like I have discovered gold.
Philippe Halsman
Latvia/United States
1906 | † 1979
Philippe Halsman (1906-1979) was born in Riga, Latvia and began his photographic career in Paris. In 1934 he opened a portrait studio in Montparnasse, where he photographed many well-known artists and writers — including André Gide, Marc Chagall, Le Corbusier, and André Malraux, using an innovative twin-lens reflex camera that he designed himself. Part of the great exodus of artists and intellectuals who fled the Nazis, Halsman arrived in the United States with his young family in 1940, having obtained an emergency visa through the intervention of Albert Einstein. Halsman’s prolific career in America over the next 30 years included reportage and covers for every major American magazine. These assignments brought him face-to-face with many of the century’s leading statesmen, scientists, artists and entertainers. His incisive portraits appeared on 101 covers for LIFE magazine, a record no other photographer could match. Part of Halsman’s success was his joie de vivre and his imagination — combined with his technological prowess. In 1945 he was elected the first president of the American Society of Magazine Photographers (ASMP), where he led the fight to protect photographers’ creative and professional rights. In 1958 Halsman’s colleagues named him one of the World’s Ten Greatest Photographers. From 1971 to 1976 he taught a seminar at The New School entitled “Psychological Portraiture.” Halsman began a thirty-seven year collaboration with Salvador Dali in 1941 which resulted in a stream of unusual “photographs of ideas,” including “Dali Atomicus” and the “Dali’s Mustache” series. In the early 1950s, Halsman began to ask his subjects to jump for his camera at the conclusion of each sitting. These uniquely witty and energetic images have become an important part of his photographic legacy. Writing in 1972, Halsman spoke of his fascination with the human face. “Every face I see seems to hide – and sometimes fleetingly to reveal – the mystery of another human being. Capturing this revelation became the goal and passion of my life.”
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Solo Exhibition January 2022

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