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Stephen Wicks
Stephen Wicks
Stephen Wicks

Stephen Wicks

Country: United States

Stephen Wicks' attraction to photography began during his childhood. He says he was inspired by the photo essays in LIFE Magazine. Each week when a new issue arrived it seemed like the world beyond his home was in his hands and he had feelings for and wanted to meet the people who appeared in the pictures and visit the places he saw on the pages in the magazine.

Wicks has always had a deep interest in all forms of communication. He says his attraction to the visual world and belief in the power of images triggered his imagination, cultivated his intuition, awakened within him a natural curiosity and an instinct to questioning everything. These qualities have been the inspiration for Wicks to follow parallel careers as an imagemaker and visual educator.

As an artist Stephen Wicks has been using photography, videography, monologues and soundscapes to tell stories about the things he see's, questions and values. His motivation has been to create picture stories, in print and now also on the screen, to share with others what he has experienced, discovered and captured.

During his early career Wicks created traditional B&W photo essays with up close and personal photographs made, often while living with his subjects over a long period of time, and returning many years later to see and capture changes in their lives.

More recently, Wicks has been making digital color photographs of landscapes, places and objects found in spaces shared by the natural landscape and built environment. Although these photographs are void of people, he believes a human trace is visible in each picture and, with this in mind, he see's his Nature/Culture images as social landscapes. It is precisely the absence of people along with a sense of their presence, as seen in the marks and artifacts left in the environment, he now finds most fascinating.

Stephen Wicks is currently developing two presentation/performance/storytelling projects:

PICTURE STORIES: a series of live presentations based on thematic video vignettes, photographs and monologues about American people, places, experiences and events; including a dialogue with the audience (in development / launch: September 2019)

BEING THERE: his YouTube Channel - a video magazine about American Culture - including picture stories, video journals and commentary on education, art, communication, politics, economy, media (in development / launch: October 2019)
 

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John Kenny
United Kingdom
In 2006 I developed my style of portrait photography within traditional communities, heavily influenced by the dramatic pictures of chiaroscuro artists. Chiaroscuro is an Italian term which literally means light-dark. Back then, at the very start of my Africa journey, I was buzzing with energy having met people of real magnetism just days into my trip. I was excited by extraordinary people and fascinating cultures and wondered how I could possibly communicate and express these feelings of excitement to friends and family back home.The solution, I imagined, would involve abstracting the remarkable from the not so remarkable: put simply, I felt that the vibrant and intense individuals that I had met in traditional communities would best show their magnetism on camera when they were removed from the (often) dull and dusty backgrounds of their immediate environment. After a few days I started to imagine each of these people in front of me emerging from the nothingness of darkness, with no distractions, hoping that this would provide a real feeling of proximity between the viewer and the person in the picture. I made a conscious decision at that time to leave a more documentary style of environmental portraiture to others. Practicing this new technique in remote African villages in 2006 I had nothing but sunshine and a hut available as a great ‘open studio': so I used these parameters and started experimenting (I've never really liked flash anyway). So it's simply the illumination of natural sunlight, and sun on dry earth, that reaches into the darkness of huts and lights up these remarkable people. Sun and dry earth are the only ingredients required for the lighting in my prints. And of course, you also need to find exceptional people!Falling in love with photography, and the origins of this series:I first fell in love with photography around 2003. I had not been fortunate enough to receive an art or photography education, but I knew back then, when I picked up my first SLR camera, that I had found the perfect way to express myself. Every time I had the camera in my hand I was looking to improve, needing to know what everything and anything looked like once it had been through the photographic process. It was a bit like a mad pursuit of alchemy - throwing everything into the mix to see if any magic came out of the other side. The process of photographic learning is very rarely a simple one, but to me it remains beautiful: discoveries, experimentation and seeing for the first time how a camera distorts and enhances the world.In Africa I seem to have made it my goal to travel through some of the remotest areas of the continent where the reaches of urbanisation and 21st century living are barely detectable. Looking back, this wasn’t my intention when I first arrived there in 2006, but somehow I keep returning to Africa to photograph because I'm fascinated to encounter societies that are able to survive in some of the most arid, isolated and difficult environments that people have settled in. If you haven’t visited these places then the reality of living is not nearly as romantic or idealised as one might imagine. Life takes place against a backdrop of very uncertain resources and enormous hardships, but traditions and hospitality towards outsiders remain intact.I specifically chose to photograph the individuals that you see in these galleries because I had a very real sense of wonder when I met them. Each one of these people had something that attracted me, sometimes a piercing intensity, or an uncommon beauty, that I felt compelled to try and capture. It’s true that I photograph for myself, first and foremost, but a close second is my desire to show others this magnetism that draws one into the eyes of these fascinating people.I have usually travelled alone or with a guide on these journeys, along the way walking and hopping onto overloaded vehicles of every kind to head to remote settlements. Often the destination is a transient, weekly market where hundreds of vibrant, colourful people assemble somewhat incongruously against a dull, dusty backdrop for a few hours. Later in the day they will all melt away with their animals and traded possessions, until the location is again a patch of bone-dry ground with almost nothing to separate it from the rest of the featureless land that typifies much of the African Sahel. It is fascinating to observe this process play out in almost exactly the same way across countless African countries, many of which are separated by hundreds or thousands of miles across this huge continent’s surface.My favourite tools are sharp prime lenses and cameras that let you capture the tiniest pieces of detail: whilst these details may be insignificant alone, when aggregated I feel they help paint the picture of the environment and how each person adapts to theirs.My favourite series of work remains the Northern Kenya series which involved 6 weeks of intense travelling with my guide, Mo, across remote areas without a vehicle and often without any semblance of an idea how to get to the next tiny settlement. The trip was full of unique encounters in locations that seemed to be famous, to me at least, as places where no transport seemed to be heading. On one particular occasion we came across a lone Moran (warrior) emerge into the dawn light, miles from anywhere. He seemed like a mirage: a vibrant vision in pink cloth and bright colourful jewellery, and more acutely so when set against the hazy yellow monotone of land that he emerged from. Even for Northern Kenya, I thought he seemed to be in a remote, featureless location: devoid of any water, and within an hour it would again be blistering hot. Despite these uncomfortable realities - which clearly weighed more heavily on my mind than his - the warrior seemed confident of his bearings and stopped for a moment to exchange pleasantries with Mo and I. A couple of minutes later, after sharing cigarette with my guide, he purposefully set off walking again, to God knows where. This place that looked barren and foreboding, to me at least, was clearly his home.
Lauren Semivan
United States
1981
Lauren Semivan (b. 1981) was born in Detroit, Michigan. She received a BA in studio art from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, and an MFA in photography from Cranbrook Academy of Art. Her work has been exhibited at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Detroit Center for Contemporary Photography, The Griffin Museum of Photography, The Hunterdon Art Museum, Cranbrook Art Museum, Paris Photo, and The AIPAD Photography Show among others. She has taught photography at College for Creative Studies, The Ohio State University, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Wayne State University. Semivan has received numerous awards for her work including Photolucida Critical Mass Top 50, and The Griffin Museum of Photography’s Griffin Award. In 2014, she was a finalist for The John Gutmann Photography Fellowship, and SF Camerawork’s Baum Award for Emerging Photographers. Her work was recently published in Series of Dreams (Skeleton Key Press, 2018) and has appeared in The New Yorker, Artforum, Harper's Magazine, Interview Magazine, The Village Voice, and Photograph magazine. Semivan’s work is part of permanent collections at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Cranbrook Art Museum, The Wriston Art Galleries at Lawrence University, and The Elton John Photography Collection. She lives in Appleton, WI and is represented by Benrubi Gallery in New York, and David Klein Gallery in Detroit, Michigan. Artist Statement "The staged photograph exists as a document of a pre-conceived, imagined event. It can be compared to a scientific apparatus, utilizing both control and the unknown. My ongoing body of work, Observatory, combines drawing, an archive of objects, and the human presence as a narrative tool. In scientific disciplines, a line is classified as an event. Something as primitive as a scrawl on a surface reveals an aggregate of events, intersecting and changing course. Drawings made on the seamless backdrop describe an emotional space. Science is inherently experiential, as is art making. Knowing and feeling are not separate, and the whole of the environment can be used as a pedagogic instrument. Observatory elegantly draws upon a tension that exists between irrational and physical worlds. Within each image, ghosts of previous drawings create a sense of time suspended, evoking gesture, atmosphere and memory. Photographs allow me to access the extraordinary, to keep a record of dreams, and to employ the unknown. My interest in photography is interdisciplinary and synergistic, informed by the written word, painting, drawing, sculpture, and the raw material of human experience. All images are made using an early 20th century 8x10" view camera. Large format negatives are scanned and printed without digital manipulation in editions of 5 (40"x50") and 10 (24"x30")."Source: www.laurensemivan.com Her ongoing body of work, Observatory, combines drawing, an archive of objects, and the human presence as a narrative tool. Within each image, ghosts of previous drawings create a sense of time suspended, evoking gesture, atmosphere and memory. "Photographs allow me to access the extraordinary, to keep a record of dreams, and to employ the unknown. Science is inherently experiential, as is art making. Knowing and feeling are not separate, and the whole of the environment can be used as a pedagogic instrument. Observatory elegantly draws upon a tension that exists between irrational and physical worlds". Semivan’s work resides in the collections of the Nelson Atkins Museum, Cranbrook Art Museum, and the Wriston Art Center at Lawrence University, and has been featured in Wall Street International Magazine, the New Yorker, Artforum, and Photograph magazine.Source: Benrubi Gallery
Stefano Azario
Born in Paris, July 31 1966, Stefano Azario is a photographer and director now living between Milan and New York. Stefano began taking photographs at the age of 11 in 1977, shortly after the loss of his father. His family moved from Italy to London in 1979, where he studied photography at the London College of Printing from 1984 to 1987. Having developed a reputation as one of the best-known commercial photographers of children and babies, Stefano is currently concentrating more in documentary and fine art photography. A turning point in Stefano's career came in 1992 when Vogue Bambini began commissioning him regularly until the magazine's demise in 2018. In 2013, Stefano was asked to plan and photograph an entire issue of the magazine. In 1994, Stefano started shooting Gap Kids and BabyGap global advertising campaigns and continued uninterrupted for over 25 years. Major publications, advertising agencies, and globally known brands have worked with him. Benetton, Uniqlo, and Armani are just a few of the brands he has collaborated with. In his photography, Stefano tries above all to lead from the heart. With the likes of Dorothea Lange, Irving Penn and Luigi Ghirri as inspiration, Stefano is nimble in his working ways; at home directing on large video sets or shooting solo. Whether accessing his intimate and tender vision of children and babies or shooting in the Indonesian forest, he enjoys using a whole gamut of different cameras, films and technology, constantly challenging his way of seeing. His last exhibition "In Cerca Della Retta Via" at the No Gallery in Pontremoli, was put together with the patronage of the Italian Ministry of Culture as part of the Lunigiana Land Art festival in 2022. Statement Through the viewfinder I aim to capture fleeting, heartfelt moments that tell compelling human stories. I seek to make order of the world around me, to share an intuitive perspective, in the hope that my images can evoke emotions and memories, connecting viewer and subject. Throughout my career I have been drawn to projects that explore themes of childhood and relationships, seeking to convey experiences that shape us in these formative years. More recently I have roamed other areas from landscape to portraiture to expand and challenge my photographic practice and storytelling ability. In Search of a Path
Michael Joseph
United States
1977
Michael Joseph is a street portrait and documentary photographer. Raised just outside of New York City, his inspirations are drawn from interactions with strangers on city streets and aims to afford his audience the same experience through his photographs. His portraits are made on the street, unplanned and up close to allow the viewer to explore the immediate and unseen. Michael's project “Lost and Found” has been featured on CNN.com, AllAboutPhoto.com and published in magazines internationally. He has been exhibited nationally, notably at Daniel Cooney Fine Art (New York, NY), the Aperture Gallery (New York, NY), Project Basho Gallery (Philadelphia, PA) as well as the Rayko Gallery (San Francisco, CA). He has lectured for Amy Arbus at the International Center of Photography (New York, NY) in portraiture classes at the New England School of Photography (Boston, MA) and taught at the Light Factory (Charlotte, NC). His portraits are held in the permanent collection at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art in Indiana and private collections. He is a 2016 Photolucida Top 50 winner, LensCulture Portrait Award Finalist and a recipient of the fellowship in photography from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Statement about the "Lost and Found" "We have secrets about traveling you wouldn't believe and we share with no one but ourselves."Huck Lost and Found is a portrait series that examines the individual souls of lost youth who abandon home to travel around the country by hitchhiking and freight train hopping. Within their personal journey driven by wanderlust, escapism or a search for transient jobs, they find a new family in their traveling friends. They are photographed on public streets using natural light, in the space in which they are found. Like graffiti on the walls of the city streets they inhabit and the trains they ride, their bodies and faces become the visual storybook of their lives. Their clothing is often a mismatch of found items. Jackets, pants and vests are self-made like a patchwork quilt, using fabric pieces of a fellow traveler's clothing embellished by metal bottle caps, buttons, safety pins, lighter parts, syringe caps, and patches. The high of freedom however, does not come without consequence. Their lifestyle is physically risky and rampant with substance abuse. Each traveler's story is different, but they are bound by a sense of community. Often unseen and mistaken by their appearances, they are some of the kindest people one might meet. Their souls are open and their gift is time. As one states, “They will give you their time because time is all they have.” And in some cases, in the family they have lost, they have found each other. Find out more about Michael Joseph in this article
Ray K. Metzker
United States
1931 | † 2014
Ray K. Metzker (10 September 1931 – 9 October 2014) was an American photographer known chiefly for his bold, experimental B&W cityscapes and for his large "composites", assemblages of printed film strips and single frames. His work is held in various major public collections and is the subject of eight monographs. He received awards from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts and Royal Photographic Society. Metzker was born in Milwaukee and lived in Philadelphia from the 1960s until his death. He was married to the photographer Ruth Thorne-Thomsen. He was a student of Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind at the Institute of Design in Chicago. He taught for many years at the Philadelphia College of Art and also taught at the University of New Mexico. After graduate studies at the Institute of Design in Chicago, Metzker travelled extensively throughout Europe in 1960-61, where he had two epiphanies: that "light" would be his primary subject, and that he would seek synthesis and complexity over simplicity. Metzker often said the artist begins his explorations by embracing what he doesn't know.Source: Wikipedia After a career that spanned five decades and saw him pioneer a new and singular visual idiom, Ray K. Metzker has been recognized as one of the great masters of American photography. Characterized by composites, multiple-exposures, solarization, the superimposition of negatives, and the juxtaposition of images, Metzker’s work pushed the boundaries of what seemed formally possible in black and white photography. Metzker enrolled at the Institute of Design, Chicago in 1956, a school which at that time was being referred to as the New Bauhaus, where he studied with fellow modernist photographers Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind. After obtaining a master’s degree from the Institute in 1959, Metzker’s work began to garner increasing attention and critical regard, first and foremost from Edward Steichen, who, at that time, was the curator of photography at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Metzker’s first solo show would happen at the Museum of Modern Art in 1967. Retrospectives of his work were organized in 1978 by the International Center of Photography in New York and in 1984 by the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, a show which then traveled to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, the International Museum of Photography, Rochester, and the National Museum of American Art, Washington, DC. In 2011 a major career retrospective of Metzker’s work was organized by the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, which traveled to the The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles and the Henry Art Museum in Seattle. Ray K. Metzker died in October of 2014, at 83 years of age, in the city of Philadelphia.Source: Howard Greenberg Gallery Metzker has dedicated his career to exploring the formal potentials of black-and-white photography, but they are not his exclusive concern. "When you look at the multiples, you are aware of patterning and so forth," he says, "but there is still identifiable subject matter; frequently there are people there; there is a rhythm to those people." Metzker's 1959 thesis project, My Camera and I in the Loop, takes downtown Chicago as its subject, but renders it in experiments that tell more about photography than they do about the city. The pictures from this project were exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago (1959-1960), and included in the issue of Aperture devoted to the students and professors of the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago (1961). Ray Metzker's images question the nature of the photograph and photographic "reality." Through cropping, multiple imagery, and other formal inventions, his work explores options for transforming the vocabulary of the photograph. Untitled from 1969 illustrates the simple method of manipulating objective information through juxtaposition: two distinct women on the beach enter into a yin-yang relationship of line and gesture. The photograph is part of a series of pictures made from 1968 to 1975 of beach-goers in New Jersey. "The more fashion conscious probably go to other beaches, but what Atlantic City has – and what attracted me to it – is diversity," Metzker said. Of the content of the pictures and his working method, Metzker added, "What appears in the pictures was the subject's decision, not mine. I took what they presented – delicate moments – unadorned and unglamorous, yet tender and exquisite." Metzker used a 1975 National Endowment for the Arts fellowship to pull the series together as Sand Creatures, later published as a book in 1979. There are no diptychs in the book, though the woman in sunglasses at the bottom of Untitled (1969) is included as a solo picture. In a July 1992 letter, Metzker wrote the following about two untitled Sand Creatures pictures from 1969: "The photograph of the double image is from the series entitled Couplets and predates the single image by a number of years. Both pictures were made at beaches along the New Jersey coast: the couplet at Atlantic City, the single frame at Cape May. With both, my camera was an Olympus half-frame, a small amateurish piece of equipment that let me move about freely. The choice of the camera was essential to the development of the series."Source: Museum of Contemporary Photography
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