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Richard Murai
Richard Murai
Richard Murai

Richard Murai

Country: United States
Birth: 1952

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes." --Marcel Proust, 1923, La Prisonierre

The world's sacred sites are visually rich and historically significant and provide sanctuary for spiritual reflection and creative exploration and discovery. They're striking archeological sites but first and foremost, they serve as vital and revered centers of pilgrimage, prayer and meditation.

These images are excerpts of my visits to these sacred spaces and are evidence of an ongoing journey that examines intense spiritual devotion and religious fervor, past and present, within unique and distinctive cultures. They are multi-dimensional and compelling for both the photographer and the viewer and document golden ages of past millennia and cultures seeking to reconcile ancient traditions with conflicting modern values. Devotees seek serenity and escape from centuries of conquest and political upheaval, or the effects of poverty, global climate change and modernization.

As we confront a perplexing, irrational and precarious world situation ongoing geo-political unrest and violence has caused fractious dissension and a difficult emotional time for all. Reluctance to accept diverse cultural, political, religious attitudes both here and abroad adds to the fear, cynicism and confusion. Becoming sensitive to unfamiliar cultures can quell much of this anxiety and may encourage tolerance and compassion.

After transitioning from thirty-five rewarding years in photographic education, Richard lives in Monterey, CA, and continues to passionately pursue his creative artmaking. His ongoing fascination with world religion and culture has generated repeated visits to locations within India, Asia, South America, the Middle East, Russia and Europe.

His work has been exhibited widely, has garnered awards from All About Photo, Center for Photographic Art, Spider Awards, and Travel Photographer of the Year, and have been featured in respected publications including B&W Magazine, Silver Shots International, Shots, Photographer's Forum and multiple issues of Lenswork print and special editions. His photographs are included in various private and corporate collections and is represented by the Weston Gallery, Carmel, CA
 

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- Testify to the variety of cultures on our planet.Education: Interior architect. I travelled on all continents, camera in hand, to testify of the diversity of countries on our planet. Over the years I have experienced different cultures, landscapes, encounters … The cultures of the entire world are in constant evolution. My work is to serve the memory of the people and their countries all around the world.- Creation of photo montage : imagine a universe of possibilities, elaborate the encounter of the unlikely. Mixing elements, transforming scale relations, rejecting logical constructions... Today I give a new life to the thousands of negatives taken, recreating imaginary worlds where poetry, dreams and surrealism alternate.- Permanent exhibition : Marseille : galerie Massalia; Vaison la Romaine, in the old town : atelier ANSATU & MAILOAll about Marie Laure Vareilles:AAP: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?It was not my dream.AAP:Do you have a mentor?I remember about the first exhibition I have visited : it was Salgado with beautiful works in black and white. The subject he had worked on was men working by hand, all over the world... Beautiful.AAP: How long have you been a photographer?I took my first photo in 1985, while traveling in Turquey. It was my first trip alone abroad and I wanted to share my impresion with my family. Taking photos seemed to be the best medium for sharing places I had visited, people I had met.AAP: What or who inspires you? Since I am travelling and taking photos, I have realised how fast our world is changing. Faster and faster. Shooting is a way to keep testimony from a time which doesn’t exist any more : the more I travel, the more I realise that our differences are less and less visible.AAP: How could you describe your style?I shoot what I see, very quickly. But as soon as light is changing I shoot again ! Landscape, architecture, sky, people... many subjects can be interesting for the montages I create when I come back in my studio.AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film?Since the begining, I am working with Nikon cameras. During the last few years, I have definitly adopted digital camera. My last one is the D-800.AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images?Not enough : after shooting, I spend a lot of time creating montages. For this reason I keep each photo, just in case ! But it might be a problem in the futur with hardware !AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)?They are so many. Editing a list would be a nightmare. Especially if I forgot to mention some of them.AAP: Your best memory has a photographer?I will never forget my experience in Bangladesh. I had never seen so many people working by hand, what ever they do, transport, create, make… they do not use use any machine. They work hard in bad conditions but they keep smiling!AAP: Your worst souvenir has a photographer?I had a bad time in Guinea. Working for an editor who wanted me to take photos from the Niger river and the every day life. The problem is I had to deal with blackmail from the people who were supposed to help me.
Alexandro Pelaez
Venezuela
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Alexandro Pelaez is a Caracas-born analogue photographer based in London with a BA in Communication (Advertising) at Jacksonville University in Florida and was headhunted as an art director in the advertising agency BVK Meka in Miami. Having moved to London in 2001, where he completed his second BA (Hons) in Graphic at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, Alexandro has worked over the years on various photography projects with different clients in the UK, Latvia, Germany, Italy, France, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Shanghai and USA. In 2014 Alexandro received the Highly Commended Award by the London Photographic Association for his "HEROES & VILLAINS". In 2017 Alexandro was the finalist with the "Londoners" series at the ACCI "Art of Living" Photography Competition in California, and won two Honourable Mentions by International Photographer of the Year for both categories of Fine Art: Conceptual and People: Portrait; and by Density Neutral Photography Awards for the category Fine Art: Conceptual. Recently, Alexandro received three Honourable Mention Awards by the IPA International Photography Awards in New York (2019) with the OneShot Street Photography competition New York (single image) Category: Specials; also received the Finalist Award by the Fine Art Photography Awards (2019) Category: Cityscape (series). Alexandro received the 2nd place award by the IPA International Photography Award 2019 in New York in the category of: Analogue/ Film, Other. Artist Statement "When I am shooting in double exposure with my 35mm film camera, in my way and style, I am trying to capture the true essence of a city or an area. What I want to convey is my perspective of “what you see is what you get" by capturing those unique moments when I catch an image. The double exposure allows me to capture all that but can take my images to a different level where I can be more creative by holding double layered scenarios that will give the viewer a magical, almost surreal perspective and sense of unnatural futurism." Alexandro Pelaez and the Magical in the Realism
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Arnold Odermatt was a Swiss police photographer whose work spanned more than 40 years. Originally trained as a baker, he was a photographer for the Nidwalden cantonal police from 1948 until his retirement in 1990. He is best known for his eerily beautiful black and white photographs of the aftermath of motor vehicle accidents. Odermatt joined the police in 1948 and rose to become a lieutenant, chief of the transport police, and deputy chief inspector of the Nidwalden Police before he retired. At the beginning of the 1990s, Odermatt's photography was discovered by his son, Urs Odermatt during research for his film Wachtmeister Zumbühl, and this work became a central theme in the film's plot. Urs brought his father's works together in the working groups entitled Meine Welt, Karambolage, Im Dienst, and In zivil and has published Odermatt's work ever since, working in collaboration with the Frankfurt art historian Beate Kemfert and a gallery in Berlin - Galerie Springer & Winckler. In 2001, Odermatt's photography was selected by Harald Szeemann to be exhibited at the 49th Venice Biennale. In 2002 James Rondeau exhibited Odermatt's work in its own right at the Art Institute of Chicago, as did Urs Stahel at the Fotomuseum Winterthur in 2004. Odermatt was born in Oberdorf, canton Nidwalden, Switzerland. He joined the Nidwalden Police in 1948. He was forced to give up his original career as a bakery and pastry chef on health grounds. As the policeman Odermatt first appeared with his Rolleiflex at the scene of an accident - to provide photos to complement the police report, people found this rather disconcerting. At that time, photography was anything other than an independent means of providing the police with evidence. A colleague observed Odermatt as he took pictures for the force and was suspicious. He was ordered to report to his commander immediately. Odermatt managed to convince his superiors of the pioneering work he was doing. They allowed him to convert an old toilet in an observation post in Stans into a makeshift darkroom. When the observation post was moved into another building several years later, Switzerland’s first police photographer was given his own laboratory. Odermatt's biggest role model was the famous Magnum photographer Werner Bischof. He met him once by chance, as he was on security duty on the Bürgenstock and wanted to photograph Charlie Chaplin. Odermatt's own style was characterized by sobriety and authenticity. The spartan linguistic expression of his police reports can also be found in Odermatt’s images. His craftsmanship is beyond question, nothing of note is missed by his photographic eye. In Karambolage, his most famous series of work, you can’t see the maimed victims but you do see the ethereal, surreal sculptures of scrap metal. With the softness and melancholy of Jacques Tati, he looks at the consequences of speed and the hectic nature of modern times. For 40 years, Odermatt captured the daily work of the Nidwalden police force. It was only rarely that the local press, the court or an insurance company were interested in his photos. It was only when his son, the film and theatre director Urs Odermatt, showed the photos for the first time at a solo exhibition in Frankfurt am Main that the art scene first became interested in his work. After the inspiring exhibition, the photo book Meine Welt followed. Suddenly the everyday observations from the central Swiss province had gained the same status as those of his well-traveled predecessor, Werner Bischof. At an early stage in his police career, when Arnold used the camera to catalog traffic accidents, this was a revolutionary innovation in the Swiss police. If Odermatt were to turn up at a crime scene with his camera today, he could expect to be told that photography was not for him, but was instead the job of a specially trained police photographer.Source: Wikipedia
Brett Weston
United States
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Brett Weston (originally Theodore Brett Weston; December 16, 1911, Los Angeles–January 22, 1993, Hawaii) was an American photographer. Van Deren Coke described Brett Weston as the "child genius of American photography." He was the second of the four sons of photographer Edward Weston and Flora Chandler. Weston began taking photographs in 1925, while living in Mexico with Tina Modotti and his father. He began showing his photographs with Edward Weston in 1927, was featured at the international exhibition at Film und Foto in Germany at age 17, and mounted his first one-man museum retrospective at age 21 at the De Young Museum in San Francisco in January, 1932. Weston's earliest images from the 1920s reflect his intuitive sophisticated sense of abstraction. He often flattened the plane, engaging in layered space, an artistic style more commonly seen among the Abstract Expressionists and more modern painters like David Hockney than other photographers. He began photographing the dunes at Oceano, California, in the early 1930s. This was a favorite location of his father Edward and a location that they later shared Brett's with wife Dody Weston Thompson. Brett preferred the high gloss papers and ensuing sharp clarity of the gelatin silver photographic materials of the f64 Group rather than the platinum matte photographic papers common in the 1920s and encouraged Edward Weston to explore the new silver papers in his own work. Brett Weston was credited by photography historian Beaumont Newhall as the first photographer to make negative space the subject of a photograph. Donald Ross, a photographer close to both Westons, said that Brett never came after anyone. He was a true photographic equal and colleague to his father and "one should not be considered without the other." "Brett and I are always seeing the same kinds of things to do - we have the same kind of vision. Brett didn't like this; naturally enough, he felt that even when he had done the thing first, the public would not know and he would be blamed for imitating me." Edward Weston - Daybooks - May 24, 1930. Brett Weston used to refer to Edward Weston lovingly as "my biggest fan" and there was no rivalry between the two photographic giants. Brett and his wife Dody loyally set aside their own photography to help Edward after he was unable to print his own images due to Parkinson's disease, which claimed Edward's life in 1958. Brett Weston married and divorced four times. He had one daughter, Erica Weston. Brett Weston lived part time on the Big Island of Hawaii and in Carmel, California for the final 14 years of his life. He maintained a home in Waikoloa that was built by his brother Neil Weston, and later moved to Hawaii Paradise Park. He died in Kona Hospital on January 22, 1993 after suffering a massive stroke. Works by Brett Weston are included in collections of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, the Oklahoma City Museum of Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. In November of 1996, Oklahoma City collector Christian Keesee acquired from the Brett Weston Estate the most complete body of Weston’s work. Source: Wikipedia
Thomas Struth
Germany
1954
Thomas Struth was born 1954 in Geldern, Germany and currently lives and works in Berlin. He is best known for his genre-defying photographs, though he began originally with painting before he enrolled at the Kunstakademie, Düsseldorf in 1973. Struth has developed his individual photographic practice, often penetrating places of the human imagination in order to scrutinize the landscape of invention, technology, and beyond (as in his recent CERN and Animal images). Celebrated for his diverse body of work-Unconscious Places, Familienleben (Family Life), Museum Photographs, New Pictures from Paradise and Nature & Politics-Struth continues to advance his vocabulary with each new series, while maintaining the same principles core to his practice. Recent comprehensive exhibitions of Struth's work include the major touring exhibition Thomas Struth: Nature & Politics exhibited at the Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany; the Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, Germany, the High Museum, Atlanta, Georgia; the Moody Center for the Arts, Houston, Texas; the St. Louis Museum of Art, Missouri and the MAST Foundation Bolgna, Italy (2016-2019) as well as Figure Ground which opened at the Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany and traveled to the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain (2017-2019). Other recent exhibitions have been shown at: Hilti Art Foundation, Vaduz, Lichtenstein (2019); Aspen Museum of Art, Colorado (2018); the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2014); and a major traveling retrospective which traveled from the Museu Serralves, Portugal to the K20 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf, the Whitechapel Gallery, London, and the Kunsthaus Zurich, Switzerland (2010-2012). In 2018 Struth received the Honorary Magister Artium Gandensis from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (KASK), Ghent, Belgium. In 2016 he was elected Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and received the Centenary Medal and Honorary Membership from The Royal Photographic Society, London. In 2014 he was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the Royal Institute of British Architects. He is the winner of the Spectrum-International Prize for Photography of the Foundation of Lower Saxony (1997) and the Werner Mantz Prize for Photography, The Netherlands (1992). He has participated in numerous international group exhibitions including Common Ground, Venice Architecture Biennale (2012), Future Dimension, the Venice Biennial (1990) and Documenta IX (1992). Source: Marian Goodman Gallery
Karen Knorr
United States
1954
Karen Knorr was born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany and was raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico in the 1960s. She finished her education in Paris and London. Karen has taught, exhibited and lectured internationally, including at Tate Britain, Tate Modern, The University of Westminster, Goldsmiths, Harvard and The Art Institute of Chicago. She studied at the University of Westminster in the mid-1970s, exhibiting photography that addressed debates in cultural studies and film theory concerning the ‘politics of representation’ practices which emerged during the late 1970s qnd early 1980s. She is currently Professor of Photography at the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham, Surrey. Karen Knorr produced Belgravia (1979-1981) a series of black and white photographs with ironic and humorous texts that highlighted aspirations, lifestyle and the British class system under the neo liberalist Thatcher era in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Her most well known work called Gentlemen (1981-1983) was photographed in Saint James’s clubs in London and investigated the patriarchal conservative values of Britain during the Falklands war. Karen ’s work developed a critical and playful dialogue with documentary photography using different visual and textual strategies to explore her chosen subject matter that ranges from the family and lifestyle to the animal and its representation in the museum context. In 1986 her work Connoisseurs used colour to explore connoisseurship regarding authenticity, heritage and art in England. Here she introduced elements and staged events in the architectural interiors of Chiswick House, Osterley Park House and the Dulwich Picture Gallery. The use of text and captioning appeared as a device to slow down consumption of the image and to comment on the received ideas of fine art in museum culture. These strategies still appear in her photography today with digital collage of animals, objects and social actors in museums and architecture challenging the authority and power of heritage sites in Europe and more recently in India. Academies (1994- 2001), a series of colour photographs taken in academies and museums across Europe, reflects on the relationship between the production of western fine art, its transmission and consumption. The work continues a critical dialogue with conceptual art, visual culture, feminism and animal studies reflecting an engaged interest in theory and its relation to photographic practice. In 1995 the Academies project included video and installation with wall text transfers in order the explore the relationship between art and science in the staging of transgressive performative events and gestures in museums. Being for Another (1995), an 18 minute video records a young man caressing an 18th century sculpture by Canova in the Victoria and Albert Museum and three lifeclass models enact the lifeclass on the dissecting table of the anatomy theatre of Uppsala University in Lessons (2002). The introduction of a sound glass sculpture with recorded birdsong responded to the furniture and art collection of The Wallace Collection in 2001 synthesizing a 1960’s Pete Seeger song with an actual blackbird’s sound. In her series Fables (2004-2008) photographs mixes analogue and digital photography playfully reconfiguring tales (Ovid, Aesop La Fontaine) with popular culture (Disney and Attenborough) in museums and heritage sites which include Carnavalet Museum, the Museum of Hunt and Nature in Paris, Chambord Castle and the Conde Museum in Chantilly Castle. The visuality of these photographs is rich with reference to the baroque. In the last section of the work, Knorr interrogated the free flowing space of modern architecture in Corbusier’s Villa Savoye reintroducing life into the modernist aesthetic of a building. Since her life changing journey to Rajasthan, India in 2008, Karen Knorr’s work continues to explore Rajput and Mughal cultural heritage and its relationship to questions of feminine subjectivity and animality. India Song, a series of carefully crafted photographs explores the past and its relation to India’s contemporary heritage sites across Rajasthan. Since 2012 Knorr has been visiting Japan to reflect on tradition within contemporary Japan referencing Ukiyo-e prints and folktales connected to Shinto and Buddhist heritage sites.Her first series entitled Monagatari, places animals and humans in temple sites found in Nara, Kyoto, Tokyo and Ohara. Her second related series Karyukai is inspired by the Kano’s 36 portraits of poets also referencing “bijinga” prints of the 17th century. Women photographed by Karen Knorr were asked to compose waka and haiku reflecting on their life and dreams. Source: karenknorr.com About India Song Karen Knorr’s past work from the 1980’s onwards took as its theme the ideas of power that underlie cultural heritage, playfully challenging the underlying assumptions of fine art collections in academies and museums in Europe through photography and video. Since 2008 her work has taken a new turn and focused its gaze on the upper caste culture of the Rajput in India and its relationship to the "other" through the use of photography, video and performance. The photographic series considers men's space (mardana) and women's space (zanana) in Mughal and Rajput palace architecture, havelis and mausoleums through large format digital photography. Karen Knorr celebrates the rich visual culture, the foundation myths and stories of northern India, focusing on Rajasthan and using sacred and secular sites to consider caste, femininity and its relationship to the animal world. Interiors are painstakingly photographed with a large format Sinar P3 analogue camera and scanned to very high resolution. Live animals are inserted into the architectural sites, fusing high resolution digital with analogue photography. Animals photographed in sanctuaries, zoos and cities inhabit palaces, mausoleums , temples and holy sites, interrogating Indian cultural heritage and rigid hierarchies. Cranes, zebus, langurs, tigers and elephants mutate from princely pets to avatars of past feminine historic characters, blurring boundaries between reality and illusion and reinventing the Panchatantra for the 21st century.
C.E. Morse
United States
1952
"I was born in Camden, Maine and loved vintage cars since I can remember; I bought my 1936 Pontiac at age 15 as soon as I had my driver's license. I didn't pick up a camera until I was in college at Rhode Island School of Design. I remembered all the incredible images that I used to see in vintage auto boneyards while I was sourcing parts for my '36 Pontiac and various other classic cars that I had collected,including a '29 Essex, a'41 Packard & 'a 54 Nash, so I started to bring my camera to the boneyards instead of my wrenches and shot abstract details of dented car fenders, old safety glass, rusty doors, and old chrome. I was so excited by this photography that I switched majors from sculpture to photography and was fortunate enough to study with Aaron Siskind; graduating with a BFA in photography in 1974. I also attended The Maine Photographic Workshops (now Maine Media Workshops), where I mentored with Paul Caponigro, Arnold Gassen and John Loengard. later on I took courses in digital printing at MECA (Maine College of Art). I hunt "Wild Art" : abstract details of found objects. I particularly like the contradictions of what I capture: the images are abstract, yet they are real the images are painterly, yet they are photographs the images are beautiful, yet come from discarded deteriorating derelict objects the images are from seemingly permanent subjects yet the are prone to disappear overnight (often my photographs are all that is left). I also appreciate the mystery of the unknown history of my various discoveries as well as acknowledging their wabi sabi nature. When people view my work they have to reach deep into personal experience and imagination. Being abstract and virtually unrecognizable my images may evoke a memory, an emotion, or a reminder of something visually similar and are sure to beg the question: 'what is it?', thereby starting the conversation..." -- C.E. Morse "It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see." -- Henry David Thoreau
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