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Melissa Lazuka
Melissa Lazuka
Melissa Lazuka

Melissa Lazuka

Country: United States
Birth: 1977

I am an artist and mother living in rural Ohio with my three teenage sons, 8 year old daughter, and husband. I always thought I would be a writer and studied English Literature at Ohio State University, but at the age of 30 I discovered the art of photography when my husband gifted me a camera. My earliest inspiration came from literature and my work has been described as "emotional, full of stories, and feminine." I am also inspired by the simple beauty of nature which is woven into my images. I am acutely aware of how time is passing and my children are growing up and from that awareness stems much of my work. I use techniques such as free lensing and multiple exposures to give my work a dreamlike, layered feeling, much the way the years passing in our lives feels. My series "Fly Away" and "Song of the Cicadas" have been exhibited nationally and I am now making handmade artist books of this work.
 

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Natalie Christensen
United States
1966
Natalie Christensen is a photographer based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is a frequent contributor to online contemporary and fine art photography magazines. She has won several regional awards, shown work internationally and has over 25,000 Instagram followers. In addition to pursuing her interests in art and design, Natalie has worked as a psychotherapist for over 25 years and has been particularly influenced by the work of depth psychologist, Carl Jung. This influence is evidenced in her photographs, as shadows and archetypal images are favored subjects. 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.
Patrick Morarescu
Statement:Due to the natural dynamic and complexity of the individual, I have always been drawn to portraiture. I photograph persons to whom I feel an initial attraction and try to reflect this force in images. A power that you cannot describe in words or in rational concepts but it captures the attention and creates a strong curiosity, a sort of addiction not only to body shapes, eyes, skin tonalities, but to what is behind: the thoughts and the mental state of that persons. And I feel a sort of instinct of possession, a desire to materialize the moment that this person is living. The human presence, with it’s emotionality, is some times too strong; it is almost insulting, shouting to get all the attention: Like a red dot in the green, like a flash in the darkness. To balance that force I need the background, the space that as a negative form defines the contour of the figure. Through that supplementary space I create a whole story. The key of my research lies in the dialogue between the person and its background; sometimes I think I am not portraying a person with a background, but the background with a person; sometimes it is the opposite. The background speaks about fear, happiness, peace, desperation; it speaks about the circumstances through an atmosphere. There is one basic element that is crucial to bring all the elements together: The light. Like a thread that creates structure and consistence in a tissue; the magical substance of photography. It is a physical condition that contains many extraordinary qualities. The photography is a chemical reaction in which the light is transcripted in a plain surface, creating a code that by the eyes suggest reality; but photography is not reality itself but an abstraction of it. And this is the point that fascinates me; the possibility of recreating the reality through the chemical process.
Sean Perry
United States
1968
Sean Perry is a fine-art photographer living and working in New York City and Austin, Texas. His photographs and books center on architecture, space and light - expressing the ambiance felt within built environments. He is currently completing three series/books on New York City entitled Monolith, Gotham and Fotopolis, as well as exhibiting a recently completed body of work on the dreamscape of temporary environments, Fairgrounds. Perry attended Berklee College of Music and was a working musician before turning to photography in 1996. His photographs and books have been acquired by notable private collectors including Manfred Heiting and Alan Siegel in addition to being held in the permanent collections of the Museum Fine Arts Houston, the Amon Carter Museum, Wittliff Gallery of Southwestern & Mexican Photography, and the Harry Ransom Center. Cloverleaf Press published Perry's first limited edition book, Transitory in 2006, and followed with a second title, Fairgrounds in the Fall of 2008. In 2009 he was selected as a finalist for the Hasselblad Masters award for his work and book Fairgrounds. His photographs have been published widely including the New York Times Sunday Magazine, Graphis, Camera Arts, New York Magazine, Billboard and American Photography. He has served as an adjunct Professor of Photography in Austin since 2001 as well as an adjunct Professor for the School of Visual Arts in New York City since 2006. Perry frequently contributes his photographs to auctions that benefit photographic and social concerns. His work is represented by the Stephen L. Clark Gallery, Austin. Interview with Sean Perry All About Photo: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer? Sean Perry: When I was younger I didn't know or have access to any professional photographers, but I really loved movies and looked at a lot of books. At that time I got into music and everything else was just secondary. As a musician I always thought about pictures and the visual atmosphere great songs provoke and in my thirties I started photographing and haven’t stopped. AAP: Where did you study photography? With whom? SP: I don’t have a formal background studying photography but it’s not quite right to say I'm self taught either. One of my old bandmates, Jeff Miller is a brother to me, a great photographer and my first teacher - I learned about cameras, making good pictures and printing in the darkroom. That experience was also my first big introduction to contemporary artists like Joel-Peter Witkin and The Starns. I later had important mentors in a photographer I assisted for, Frank Curry and a sculptor who has had a tremendous influence on me as an artist and photographer, John Christensen. AAP:Do you have a mentor? SP: I have a few friends and colleagues who I admire and trust that I ask for insight and guidance with various things... Elizabeth Avedon, Jace Graf, Stephen Clark - there are others. I ask different people, different questions for different reasons if that makes sense. I think it's important to deeply consider who you ask and why. I've been a client of Mary Virginia Swanson for many years and her savvy is always invaluable, I truly owe her a great deal. I'm always learning and seeking out the chance to improve and grow. AAP: How long have you been a photographer? SP: I have been making pictures consistently since 1996 and started working professionally in 1998. AAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it? SP: What I remember most are the pictures that when I saw the film, they made me feel that the image was somehow better, or more than my capability at the time. It would lead to months of chasing and trying to catch up to the image. The first time that happened was of a barren tree in the wintertime, backlit. I remember making the other pictures from that time, but the experience of seeing something unexpected back on the contact sheets always sticks with me as meaningful. AAP: What or who inspires you? SP: Music always. Also the discovery and study of people that give themselves to their pursuits with the discipline and heart to be excellent. New York City. Late fall leading to snow and cold weather makes me happy. AAP: How could you describe your style? SP: A little romantic but not sentimental - sci-fi but not overtly conceptual. I always work to make beautiful images and objects that don’t apologize for their consideration of aesthetic and design. My experience has taught me there is a strange, small line between beautiful and pretty, arbitrary and yet often substantial. I think my favorite word or aim for my work is earnest, and hopefully elegant. I try to be consistent and to quote someone I deeply respect, Paul Rand – "Don’t try to be original, just try to be good." AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film? SP: I’m fluent in digital tools and use them to manage images online etcetera, but I have used the same camera gear for over twelve years. Hasselblad 501CM with a 120mm lens and 25A Red filter. Tri-X film in A12 backs. Processed in D76, 1 to 1. Silver gelatin prints bleached and then toned in combinations of sepia and selenium or platinum–palladium prints from enlarged negatives. AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? SP: I tend to run film and then not look at it for a while.... I then go through the contact sheets and make work prints of the things that seem to have promise. As the series and work evolves the process of editing, sequencing and design kicks in. After the edges of a project are more or less in place, I’ll go back again and see what I may have missed on the contact sheets. AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)? SP: If I am only allowed one, Irving Penn – hands down, no one else. I love books and too many favorites to list, but in no particular order others would be Saul Leiter, Ted Croner, Robert & Shana Parke-Harrison, Tom Baril, Louis Faurer, Edward Burtynsky, Albert Watson, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Berenice Abbott and Matt Mahurin. AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer? SP: Fearlessly make all the bad pictures you need to in order to get to the good ones. Not thoughtlessly in the number of images, but without hesitation in the intent to chase your ideas. When you are disappointed, try to understand why specifically – was it a technical mistake your effort and experience will resolve over time or was it about vision in what you could or could not see at that moment. The technical things are usually easier to improve upon, I have found the other takes additional perseverance and courage. For myself there is always the confrontation of closing the distance between the potency I’m after and the many challenges at hand while guiding it there. I think the biggest secret is simply not to quit. AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid? SP: Everyone is different, so very hard to say. I believe one truth for myself has been it’s more valuable to invest time in what your pictures, your life, your point of view are all about and less energy worrying about the urgency sometimes encouraged in technology and shorter term concerns. Play long ball. AAP: An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share? SP: I am currently administrating an ambitious project that connects college students with high school students, creating mentorship and the development of visual language. For the college students it is to illustrate the value of mentorship from both sides, as well as create meaningful dialogue about photography and image making. It provides a mechanism for high school students to share and express their photographic work with a new audience and has direct, tangible advantages for everyone involved – accenting the importance of communication and emphasizing the photography community's tradition of portfolio review. Visit The Picture Review. AAP: Your best memory has a photographer? SP: All of my favorite memories are darkroom related. My first darkroom was in John Christensen's studio, I deeply miss those days and that place. I would often print all day and all night - it's where I learned about photo-chemistry and the subtleties of split-toning and other irresistible alchemy. AAP: Your worst souvenir as a photographer? SP: My checking account. AAP: If you could have taken the photographs of someone else who would it be? SP: It's an interesting question but it reminds me of a rock & roll story, urban legend I remember as a kid and recently retold in Esquire Magazine. When Van Halen was touring in the late 70’s they were opening for Ted Nugent who admired Eddie Van Halen's guitar tone. Among other things, Eddie would hide one of his effect pedals (a tape echo) in an old bomb casing, adding to the mystery of his great tone and why he sounded the way he did. Everyone believed he had a "magic" black box. During sound check, Ted Nugent got the chance to play through Eddie’s rig and was disappointed to discover his guitar tone was unchanged – he sounded like he always did and whatever he loved about Eddie's tone was in his hands and not in the gear. I think photographs are like that, there are many pictures I would be thrilled if I had produced but in the end I can only make what is in my hands and heart. The images I love that others have made don't represent my life and could never belong to me. I remain a fan and audience to my heroes, happily so.
Carol Beckwith
United States
Thirty years of work on the African continent have carried Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher across 270,000 miles and through remote corners of 40 countries in exploration of more than 150 African cultures. In the process, this team of world-renowned photographers has produced fourteen widely acclaimed books and made four films about traditional Africa. They have been granted unprecedented access to African tribal rites and rituals and continue to be honored worldwide for their powerful photographs documenting the traditional ceremonies of cultures thousands of years old. As an intrepid team of explorers, they are committed to preserving sacred tribal ceremonies and African cultural traditions all too vulnerable to the trends of modernity. The Beckwith-Fisher images are the result of a long, enduring and deeply respectful relationship with African tribal peoples. This, combined with their photographic skills, creates an intimate portrayal of ceremonies long held secret that might have never been recorded. Their work preserves and presents the power, complexity and celebration found within the rituals of African tribal life. Their extraordinary photographs are recorded in fourteen best-selling books and in their films. Their new book “Painted Bodies” (2012) follows “Maasai” (1980), “Nomads of Niger” (1983), “Africa Adorned” (1984), “African Ark” (1990), “African Ceremonies” (1999), “Passages” (2000), “Faces of Africa” (2004), “Lamu: Kenya’s Enchanted Island” (2009), and “Dinka” (2010). The special limited-edition books, hand printed in Santiago, Chile, are titled “Surma,” “Karo,” “Maasai,” and “Dinka.” “African Ceremonies,” their defining body of work, is a double volume, pan-African study of rituals and rites of passage from birth to death, covering 93 ceremonies from 26 countries. This book won the United Nations Award for Excellence for “vision and understanding of the role of cultural traditions in the pursuit of world peace.” Honored twice with the Annisfield-Wolf Book Award in race relations for “outstanding contributions to the understanding of cultural diversity and prejudice,” Angela and Carol are also winners of the Royal Geographical Society of London’s Cherry Kearton Medal for their contribution to the photographic recording of African ethnography and ritual. The photographers have made four films about traditional Africa, including Way of the Wodaabe (1986), The Painter and the Fighter, and two programs for the Millennium Series Tribal Wisdom and the Modern World. Numerous exhibitions of their photography and films have been shown in museums and galleries around the world. In 2000 their Passages exhibition opened at the Brooklyn Museum of Art featuring 97 mural photographs, six video films and a selection of African masks, sculpture and jewelry. This exhibition has traveled to seven museums on three continents. Aware that traditional cultures in Africa are fast disappearing, Carol and Angela are working with an urgency to complete the third volume of their ongoing study of African Ceremonies with the goal of covering the remaining traditional ceremonies in the 13 African cultures in which they have not yet worked.Source: carolbeckwith-angelafisher.com
Peter Allert
Peter Allert co-founded Munich-based Allert&Hoess Photography in 1989, specializing in still life , technical and scientific photography. This brought him while his study of biology before, to start as self-taught photographer. After setting up its own studio in 1991 and establishing its own light, lab and print facilities, the company made its breakthrough in 1992 with a photo series for the portfolio „Joop! – women’s shoes“. Its subsequent client list is long and prestigious: Mercedes Benz, Audi, VW, BMW, Ford, Philip Morris, McDonalds, Ballantines, Wrigleys, Veltins, Wella, Miele, Bosch, Dresdner Bank, Deutsche Bahn AG, Siemens, LogiTech, MAN, Microsoft, GREENPEACE... to name a few. Today his photography actually is artistic. His works now are altogether advanced elaborations. He is working with multiple-exposures and different focus adjustments within a photograph. Additionally he highlights his subjects with spotlights (DEDO Lights) for every individual exposure in different adjustments and configurations.Source: www.peterallert.de Interview with Peter Allert All About Photo: Where did you study photography? Peter Allert: At the age of 7, I've been fascinated by photography. I got my first camera for his birthday and it went right now with this new adventure. During the whole period of schooling and youth I was obsessed with the possibilities of this medium... it was back then to my great passion. My love of nature and my subsequent study of biology, were another fertile ground for the expansion of my photographic works in new and fascinating areas. Later, I got access to advertising photography. I worked very successfully for 17 years in advertising, primarily for the automotive industry and in fashion. Ten years ago, then started my burnout, I was too other-directed and under constant pressure. Finally I lost my soul - I fell emotionally in a Coma, which never ended and I lost all my passion for photography! Only after many painful and difficult years, then a miracle, my miracle! In September 2013, I suddenly felt a new and ever expectant strength in me. She became stronger and stronger and I got my second chance! I quickly realized that I may never work externally determined with photography again - so I had a strong desire to completely new and original ways to go in photography. And so the desire as an artist within the photograph was made to work. AAP: Do you have a mentor? PA: I am self-educator and have teach me everything completely yourself. I have been doing all learned to make all analog laboratory processes such as color negative films and slide films to develop or color enlargements and edit. But also all black & white I have processes teach me ... Method as bromoil print have inspired to my digital workflow in today's time to orient myself to it. I grew up with analog photography and this has shaped me first of all. Thus, I am now very well be able to touch this analog in my image processing to achieve! AAP: How long have you been a photographer? PA: I have worked for over 20 years as a professional photographer. Before that, I financed my studies in Biology with smaller photo jobs. My first photos were nature photography, macro photography of animals and plants. After this the portrait photograph was added. AAP: What or who inspires you? PA: Edward Steichen & Robert Mapplethorpe! Both have always touched my soul in a special way!But in general I consider myself away from These kinds of inspiration! It would be too manipulative and determined by others, to allow more of it than I do this currently... AAP: How could you describe your style? PA: My style has only an analog touch, which often is derived from the early days of analog photography. I am fascinated by this authenticity that has shaped this wonderful photography. The soul of this unique works is always a great motivator for my own photography! AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film? PA: I'm using a Canon EOS mark II and a zoom ED 21-70 mm and a 100 mm lens for portraits. Lately I have been photographing with the camera of my Gallaxy S4 smartphones .. just for trying new. AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? For what purpose? PA: My image processing is very complex and requires a lot of time, which I'm taking. Often I need this more than a week! It is a process, similar to an adventure through your own soul. I have to feel all this, sometimes in a painful way - they are pure emotions of myself, which I will in this work with integrate into my images. There is no motivation necessary because it is the pure passion, if the appropriate moment has arrived! It's all about that moment, that when my emotions are ready and my soul opens up entirely! AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)? PA: Edward Steichen & Robert Mapplethorpe! AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer? PA: My main advice is: Stay always hear and feel your self-determined and soul in your work! Everything should come from your heart and your soul and feed into your work. AAP: An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share? PA: Photography is the dierekte wire to my soul - my pictures are the direct reflection of my soul .. this my pictures tell of my feelings and my emotions. Each photo tells its own to profound story. Each image is thus a profound adventure of a portion of my own soul! This means to me that photography today! AAP: Anything else you would like to share? PA: As a little boy I dreamed of good spirits and fairies - I was intrigued by this mystical world! And so this dream accompanied my life ... When I felt my soul again in September 2013, I knew very quickly with this message deal. I was aware that puts a special soul in some, few people! And this I felt ever again. So this new photography had to include this topic. "Ghosts & Fays" and "Souls"!
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