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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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Harry Gruyaert
Belgium
1941
Originally dreaming of becoming a film director, Harry Gruyaert studied at the School of Film and Photography in Brussels from 1959 to 1962. Shortly after he left Belgium at the age of 21, fleeing the strict catholic environment in which he was raised. Gruyaert travelled extensively across Europe, North Africa, Asia and the United States and lived in cities with a vibrant film and photography scene like Paris and London. During his first trip to New York in 1968, he discovered Pop artists like Roy Lichtenstein and Robert Rauschenberg. This encounter made him appreciate the creative potential of colour and encouraged him to search for beauty in everyday elements for the rest of his career. Around the same time Gruyaert befriended the American artists Richard Nonas and Gordon Matta-Clark and photographed their work. Further inspired by the visual impulses on his first trip to Morocco in 1969, he decided in the second half of the 1970s as one of the first photographers in Europe to commit himself entirely to colour photography. Gruyaert's cinematographic background instilled in him an aesthetic conception of photography. Rather than telling stories or documenting the world through his lens, he searches for beauty in everyday elements. His images are simply snapshots of magical moments in which different visual elements, primarily colour, form, light and movement, spontaneously come together in front of his lens. In his search for strong graphical images, Gruyaert focuses his camera on objects as much as on people, who are often reduced to silhouettes or rendered to plain colour fields. Unsurprisingly the countries he photographs are mostly identified by means of the subtle differences in colour palette and light, inherent to the local atmosphere, culture and climate, more than by the depicted subjects or scenes. Among his most well-known series are 'Rivages/Edges', featuring coastal views from around the world, that Gruyaert photographed out of a fascination for the rapidly changing light in these places. In the early 1970s, while he was living in London, Gruyaert worked on a series of colour television screen shots later to become the 'TV Shots' and now part of the Centre Pompidou collection. Around that time he regularly returned to his home country Belgium. This resulted in the series 'Roots', that perfectly reflects the Belgian Zeitgeist of the 1970s and 1980s. In 1982 Gruyaert joined Magnum Photos. More about Irish Summers
Astrid Reischwitz
Astrid Reischwitz is a lens-based artist whose work explores storytelling from a personal perspective. Using keepsakes from family life, old photographs, and storytelling strategies, she builds a visual world of memory, identity, place, and home. Her current focus is the exploration of personal and collective memory influenced by her upbringing in Germany. Reischwitz has exhibited at national and international museums and galleries including Newport Art Museum, Griffin Museum of Photography, Danforth Art Museum, Photographic Resource Center, The Center for Fine Art Photography (CO), Rhode Island Center for Photographic Arts, Center for Photographic Art (CA), FotoNostrum, and Gallery Kayafas. She was a Top 50 photographer at Photolucida's Critical Mass in 2020, 2019 and 2016, and a Finalist for the 2017 Lens Culture Exposure Awards. She is the recipient of the Griffin Award 2020 and was awarded solo exhibitions at Soho Photo Gallery and The Center for Fine Art Photography. Reischwitz is a Category Winner at the 14th and 15th Julia Margaret Cameron Award for Women Photographers and at the 14th and 15th Pollux Awards. Honors also include Gold and Silver Medal Awards, a Portfolio Award and the Daylight Multimedia Award at the San Francisco International Photo Show. Her work was featured in Fraction Magazine, Lenscratch, LensCulture, What Will You Rembember?, Wired Japan, Il Post Italy, P3 Portugal, Aint-Bad Magazine, The Boston Globe, NRC Handelsblad Amsterdam, as well as other media outlets. Reischwitz is a graduate of the Technical University Braunschweig, Germany, with a PhD in Chemistry. Spin Club Tapestry An exploration of memory I grew up in a small farming village in Northern Germany. A village that is bound to its history and that stands out through its traditions even today. Long ago, village women met regularly in "Spinneklumps" (Spin Clubs) to spin wool, embroider, and stitch fabrics for their homes. I imagine their conversations as they worked, the beautiful stories that lifted their spirits, as well as the stories of sadness, sorrow and loss. In modern times, village women continued to meet in this tradition, but shared stories over coffee and cake instead of needlework. These close-knit groups of women often stayed together until their death. In this series, my composite images take the form of tapestries, combining images of embroidered Spin Club fabrics with new and old photographs from the village. I connect the present and the past by recreating and re-imagining pieces of the embroidery. Spin Club tablecloths, napkins and wall hangings (some dating back to 1799) have been passed down from generation to generation. By following the stitches in these fabrics, I follow a path through the lives of my ancestors - their layout of a perfect pattern and the mistakes they made. Along the way, I add my own mistakes. The fabrics also reveal the passage of time, stained and distorted after sometimes decades of use. The patterns I have stitched myself into the paper are only abstractions of the original Spin Club designs, fragments of memory. After all, memory is fleeting, and changed forever in the act of recollection. Sometimes the stitching is incomplete, creating an invitation for future generations. Every decision we make is influenced by our history, our environment, and the society we live in. The tapestry of my life belongs to me but is stitched through with the beauty and heartache of past generations. Discover the Spin Club Tapestry Solo Exhibition
Eugenio Recuenco
Eugenio Recuenco was born in Madrid in May of 1968, in the middle of student protests that had spread out from Paris. As he himself would say: " I heard all that to-do, and was in a rush to be born and see what was going on."He studied fine art, graduating with a degree in painting from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Without a space in which to create his large-scale paintings, he began to collaborate with fashion magazines - first in Spain and later in Paris, where he habitually spent long periods - while waiting to be able to devote himself to painting. Vogue Espana, Madame Figaro, Wad, Vogue UK, Spoon, Planet, Vanity Fair, Stern, Kult, Twill, GQ, and Zink are some of the magazines he's worked with.It was in Paris that he produced his first advertising piece for Boucheron. From that moment, many brands would begin to call him to create their images, including Nina Ricci, Diesel, Shanghai Tang, Yves Saint Laurent, Sony Playstation, Custo, Le Bon Marché, BSI Lugano and Pernod Ricard.In 2007 he was invited to create the Lavazza Calendar and from the US he was called to conceive, together withe Eric Dover, the set design and staging the opera, Les Huguenots, at the Richard B. Fisher Center in New York City.Paris became the city that established his rhythm. It is there where he also created his first advertising spot. This time it was for "Nina" by Nina Ricci. This newly-opened avenue quickly lead to opportunities with other brands such as Loewe, Freixenet, Mango, Codormiú,Chivas Regal, Regione Campania, Vanderbilt, and Motorola among others.In 2008 his video, Essence of a Seduction, won the award for best advertisement of the year in Spain and the award for best short film at the Mexico City International Film Week. From that moment, he continued to create short films and video clips, such as Rammstein's Mein Herz Brennt, for example. He is now preparing his first full length film.Although his photographs had already been shown at the Reina Sofia museum in Madrid, the BAC (Barcelona Arte Contemporáneo), the Naardeen Photo Festival, the FEM (Festival Edición Madrid), Les Rencontres d'Arles, PhotoEspana, Art Toronto, and the Spanish National Library, it was once again in Paris where he would have his first solo exhibit, "Dream and Storm" at the Bertin-Toublanc Gallery.In 2004 he was given the ABC National Photography Award, in 2009 he won Gold and Bronze Awards at the Sol Festival, and in 2006 and 2013 his photographs won Gold Lions at the Cannes Lions Festival.In 2013 teNeues approached him to create his first solo book, Revue, whose launch will coincide with an exhibit at Camera Work Contemporary in Berlin.Eugenio Recuendo currently lives behind a camera.All about Eugenio Recuendo:AAP:Do you have a mentor or role model?To be honest I only have my intuition.AAP: How long have you been a photographer?I think since I was born. Another question is from what moment afterwards and I began taking pictures. Light and its effects have a great influence on me; I was always conscious of what was happening around me. I think that’s the first need a photographer must have.AAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it?They were some household pictures that I took after my dad finally let me borrow his camera. It was during a school-trip. Those pictures were horrible; and, however they were really symbolic and full of emotions. That’s what magic is all about.AAP: What or who inspires you?Life inspires me.AAP: How would you describe your style?I have no clue. I don’t frown upon a specific style; I just go along doing what I feel is best. I don’t tell myself that things have to be a certain determined way. I start building and end up doing it in a certain way. But it’s all about circumstances, your vibes and needs and priorities when it comes down to transmitting them that end up paving a style for each series.AAP: Do you have favorite pictures or series?I’ve hated all of them at one point or another for not being loyal to what I expected them to be like; and all of them are favorites because there is something from me in all.AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film?It depends on each cases. Now more digital, Canon and with Hasselblad; always old ones and which treat the image with honesty. That is why I like old ones, ones that have a less forced definition.AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? For what purpose?It depends. It's all in the take. After that it's all a question of taking out defects and over all working on the texture and what it looks like in the end.AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)?A lot of them. For example I love Paolo Ventura.AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer?Shoot and shoot. Above all to shoot what you feel; not what is in fashion.AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid?Trying to go too fast and do what is currently succesful. Because when doing that, success will be in another type of photography.AAP: An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share?(W)Hole time. A project I would like to take to movie-making. AAP: What are your projects?A book with 365 pictures, it is a poetry about the world we live in and the full-length film that I mentioned before.AAP: Your best memory as a photographer?When I stumble upon a photograph I didn't mean to do.AAP: Your worst souvenir as a photographer?Deal with creative managers who don't have a clear concept of their idea. It happens quite often.AAP:If you were someone else who would it be?I don't know. You can be creative in any activity that humans do.AAP: Your favorite photo book?I have a huge library because I actually love photo books as an object as a whole; regardless of its content.
Philippe Fatin
France
1962
Philippe Fatin is a photographer and a great traveller: after first stays in Mexico and South America, he discovered Asia (Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Japan, Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Korea) and fell in love with China and more particularly with the region of Guizhou. After an interlude with the Wayanas Indians in French Guyana and the publication of his first book Guyane terre d'espace, he multiplies his travels to the Miao people of Guizhou and ends up residing there for more than twenty years. He published a book Randonnée d'un photographe voyageur in China and exhibits at the Guiyang museum, he also publishes in the national and international press. He is also a collector, organized various exhibitions of his personal collections in French museums: Gold and lacquers from Burma, tribal textiles from southwest China, Nuo masks from the exorcism theatre of China accompanied by publications. In The Mounts of the Moon When I got off the Trans-Siberian Railway in 1985, I knew nothing about China. The blue of the heater set the tone on a red background. I spent the first two years getting to know this culture, before discovering a province in the southwest that was still untouched by any contact with the outside world. The last Westerners present in the region were missionaries, who were driven out of it in 1949 by the communists. The province of Guizhou is one of the poorest, along with that of Gansu. "There are never three days of good weather in a row, the inhabitant does not have three sapeques in his pocket, and there are not three lilies of the flat country." That sets the tone. This province is rich in the diversity of its ethnic minorities, who had managed to maintain an authentic way of life. The villages still lived in autarky, protected by the mountain rampart. Ninety percent of the territory is karst peaks. My camera equipment consists of two Leica M6 cameras and four lenses: 28, 35, 50, and 90mm. With 270 days of rain per year and a constant fog, I use 400 ASA B/W silver film. The access of this province being forbidden to tourism, the task was not easy. The game of cat and mouse with the local authorities was not a perennial solution to penetrate these misty mountains concealing so many secrets. My approach was to establish a base in the provincial capital. I made "Guangxi" connections, and gained the trust of the people and the local authorities. I worked hard to make them understand my work of investigating ethnic groups, especially the Miaos. I obtained special permits to stay in various valleys and villages. After years, I was able to set up different bases in villages that were completely self-sufficient. Sharing the intimacy of the people and building trust, I was able to open the doors to them. My curiosity allowed the rest It would absorb twenty years of my life, during which I photographed a way of life that surged from festivals governed by the gods and the seasons. The evolution of the country a galloping modernization was going to change the situation. Obeying the three priorities of the government: water, electricity and roads, the opening up of the province would radically shape a new face of the population and its environment. In fifteen intervals, my photographic work has thus taken on a patrimonial status. A massive folklorization of ethnic groups (amusement park, pilot village,) their acculturation by the Han mass, the race for enrichment, have contributed to a new mode of integration of these ethnic minorities. This modernization of China and its brutal change of vision of society, over a short period of time, swept away ancestral cultures. Few Westerners have lived in this province, which is now crossed by highways connecting Shanghai, or Guangzhou. My photos are a testimony acquired over the long term, on a way of life that is disappearing in favour of a strong nationalism. It seems to me essential to show the cultural richness of this people, (Nine million people). The province of Guizhou is the home of the Miao diaspora (more than three hundred clans), a threatened melting pot of traditions and rituals mostly ignored by the Han. Indeed, in this rapidly changing society, the peasant populations, known as "floating", have been the cheap labour of China's economic departure.
Manuel Álvarez Bravo
Mexico
1902 | † 2002
Manuel Álvarez Bravo, One of the founders of modern photography, is considered the main representative of Latin American photography in the 20th century. His work extends from the late 1920s to the 1990s. Álvarez Bravo was born in downtown Mexico City on February 4, 1902. He left school at the age of twelve in order to begin making a contribution to his family’s finances after his father's death. He worked at a textile factory for a time, and later at the National General Treasury. Both his grandfather (a painter) and his father were amateur photographers. His early discovery of the camera awakened in him an interest that he would continue to cultivate throughout his life. As a self-taught photographer, he would explore many different techniques, as well as graphic art. Influenced by his study of painting at the Academy of San Carlos, he embraced pictorialism at first. Then, with the discovery of cubism and all the possibilities offered by abstraction, he began to explore modern aesthetics. He had his initiation into documentary photography in 1930: when she was deported from Mexico, Tina Modotti left him her job at the magazine Mexican Folkways. He also worked for the muralists Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros. Álvarez Bravo is an emblematic figure from the period following the Mexican Revolution—often called the Mexican Renaissance. It was a time of a creative fertility, owing to the happy—though not always tranquil—marriage between a desire for modernization and the search for an identity with Mexican roots, in which archaeology, history and ethnology played an important role, parallel to the arts. Álvarez Bravo embodied both tendencies in the field of visual arts. Between 1943 and 1959, he worked in the film industry doing still shots, which inspired him to realize some of his own experiments with cinema. While he was alive, he held over 150 individual exhibitions and participated in over 200 collective exhibitions. According to several critics, the work of this "poet of the lens" expresses the essence of Mexico. However, the humanist regard reflected in his work, the aesthetic, literary and musical references it contains, likewise endow with a truly universal dimension. He died on October 19, 2002, at the age of one hundred.Source: www.manuelalvarezbravo.org
Vee Speers
Australia
Vee Speers, an Australian artist, has lived and worked in Paris since 1990. After moving to Paris from Sydney, she began exhibiting her first series Bordello , followed by Parisians, The Birthday Party, Immortal, Thirteen and most recently Bulletproof, engaging viewers with the dramatic tension of her portraits and her unique pallet of colour.Speers has exhibited in London, Paris, Miami, NYC, Los Angeles, Atlanta, China, Ireland, Singapore, Japan, Italy, Tunisia, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, Sweden, Norway and the United States, and her work has been published on the covers of Fotomagazin Germany, Zoom, Public Art, Photo International, Images Magazine, A Conceptual Magazine, The British Journal of Photography, The Sunday Times UK, Russian Photo and Video, Swedish Photo with features in Zoom, Art Investor, Germany, Shots UK, Photo District News NYC, Photographica Tokyo, EYEMAZING, American Black + White, Milk, Fotomagazin, Chinese Photography, Reponses Photo, French Photo, Bloom, Arte Al Limite, etc.Her books ‘Bordello’ and ‘The Birthday Party’ are available worldwide.All about Vee Speers:AAP: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?I’ve always thought photography was magical as my father had his own darkroom. When I went to art school, I realized that the instant way of capturing an image suited my impatient personality.AAP: Where did you study photography?QCA, Brisbane, Australia AAP:Do you have a mentor or role model?Not really. I don’t like to follow.AAP: What or who inspires you?The cinema is a constant source of inspiration. A story is told, and the way it is filmed can transport you to another time or place. Still images can be the same.AAP: How could you describe your style?Playful, beautiful, strange, melancholic, obvious and unexpected.AAP: Do you have a favorite photograph or series?The Birthday Party and Bulletproof This is two series photographed 6 years apart using the same children.AAP: What kind of gear do you use?Polaroid film and medium format cameras.AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? For what purpose?No, I know right away when I’ve taken a good shot. Or if I haven’t.AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer?Know what you want and don’t be distracted from your goal. Don’t listen to what anybody else says.AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid?Accepting to shoot anything that will compromise his or her personal journey.AAP: An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share?Don’t be afraid.AAP: What are your projects?Portraits, portraits and more portraits.AAP: Your best memory as a photographer?There are so many. Every time I take a great image, I feel so excited, like everything has lined up perfectly. These are the best memories.AAP:The compliment that touched you most?A woman once told me that my work had changed her life. AAP:If you were someone else who would it be?Diane Arbus, with all those wonderful and strange people to photograph.AAP: Your favorite photo book?Lord of the Flies by William Golding.AAP: Anything else you would like to share?Always be kind. You can change the world, one smile at a time.
Anita Conti
France
1899 | † 1997
Anita Caracotchian was born in Ermont in Seine-et-Oise to a wealthy Armenian family. She spent her childhood being educated at home by different tutors and travelling with her family, gradually developing a passion for books and the sea. After moving to Paris, she concentrated on writing poems and the art of book binding. Her work got the attention of celebrities and she won different awards and prizes for her creativity in London, Paris, New York and Brussels. In 1927, she married a diplomat, Marcel Conti, and started traveling around the world, exploring the seas, documenting and reporting what she saw and experimented. Spending time on the fishing boats for days and even months on certain occasions gave her a deeper understanding of the problematic faced by the fishermen. In between the two world war, she developed the technique of fishing maps apart from the already used navigational charts. For two years, from one vessel to another, she observed the French fishermen along the coast and Saharan Africa discovering fish species unknown in France. She published many scientific reports on the negative effects of industrial fishing and the different problems related to fishing practices. From 1943 and approximately for 10 years, she studied in the Mauritian islands, Senegal, Guinea and Ivory Coast, the nature of the seabed, different fish species and their nutritional values in regards of protein deficiency for the local populations. Gradually, she developed better preservation techniques, fishing methods and installed artificial dens for further studies. She even founded an experimental fishery for sharks. She became more and more conscientious of the misuse of natural resources by the fishing industry and the major waste that could be prevented. In 1971 she published L’Ocean, Les Betes et L’Homme, to denounce the disaster that men create and its effects on the oceans. Through many conferences and forums and for the rest of her life, she advocated for the betterment of the marine world. She died on 25 December 1997 in Douarnenez.Source: Wikipedia Born in 1899, Anita Conti was recruited in 1935 by French Fisheries Authorities to conduct scientific experiments at sea and to assess fish resources. In 1941 she embarked on a trawler bound for Western Africa and spent the next ten years exploring the mangrove swamps between Senegal and the Ivory Coast, observing and assessing the techniques of traditional fishermen, meeting with local elders, establishing new fisheries... The hair-raising account of her attempts at catching the "Giants of the warm seas", such as sawfish and sharks, bears witness to her intrepid nature. Yet one can also feel her strong desire to contribute to a worthwhile cause. Exploring the swamps is not seen as an unilateral exploitation of African resources by Europeans : it is a genuine attempt at sharing knowledge. Source: aflit.arts.uwa.edu.au Born just before the 20th century started, Anita Conti represents a piece from the past. During her teenage years, she developed a passion for books and sea and started photography in 1914. Indeed, for almost a hundred years, she has been gathering more than 40,000 photographies. Anita was what we can call today an engaged pioneer. Recruited by French Fisheries Authorities to conduct scientific experiments at sea and to assess fish resources, she was the first french female oceanographer. In 1939, she's been the first woman to embark in the service of the National French Navy, and, thus, became the first woman to work on a military ship in wartime. In charge of developing a new technique for fishing maps, she embarked on a trawler bound for western Africa in 1941. During 10 years, she explored the West African coasts, from the Mauritian islands to Senegal and from Guinea to Ivory Coast. She insured a resupply program for the population and the French army. Her goal was to save population from hunger and find nutritional solutions in regards of their protein deficiency. During a decade, she travelled the world, explored the seas, documented and scientifically reported the negative effects of industrial fishing. "To be able to exploit the sea, you must enter into the sea" she used to say. Her African experience helped her to denounce the impacts of plundering the oceans and the major waste of marine resources. "Seas are under threat" she claimed. She tried to find fishing methods like fish farming to avoid overfishing.Source: Panthalassa
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Call for Entries
Solo Exhibition
Be Featured in our Apr 2021 Online Juried Solo Exhibition!