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Alexis Pichot
Alexis Pichot
Alexis Pichot

Alexis Pichot

Country: France
Birth: 1980

In 2011, I made the bold decision to redirect my professional life into my self-guided passion, photography. I worked as an interior designer in Paris for more than ten years. Throughout that time I was very focused on the use of space and acquired a sensitivity that has greatly influenced my approach to volume in photography.

At night, light and space are my sources of inspiration, experimentation and confrontation - but above all, of fulfilment.

I pierce the night using physical movement, as well as using light in order to see beyond what is visible, to a place where the blackness has not yet absorbed everything.

I have accomplished various large-scale artistic projects, often in partnership with private and public institutions. Notably, my project with the Hotel National des Invalides - which granted me access to all of the military sites in Ile de France - enabled me to bring to light this fragment of history in a large exposition in the moat of the Invalides.

I also had the opportunity to work with the RATP, who commissioned me to enter a disused marshalling yard where their entire collection of rolling stock is preserved, covering 100 years of history. The images created were exhibited during "Les Journées du Patrimoine" (the Heritage Days) within their workshop-museum.

The cities and their nocturnal vestiges have been sacred fields of investigation for me, as much for their architectural lines as for the histories to which they bear witness.

Arising from an awareness of and sensitivity to modern society - alongside the fact that I live in a city - nature has become my source of regeneration.
 

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Maynard Switzer
Maynard Switzer was born in Los Angeles and is a professional freelance travel and documentary photographer. He is a graduate of the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and a former assistant to legendary photographer Richard Avedon. He has taught at the International Center of Photography in New York City and has written many magazine articles about travel photography. His love of foreign cultures and their fascinating customs has been the main catalyst for Maynard’s photography around the globe. Maynard has had his photography published in National Geographic Traveler Magazine, Geo Magazine, Afar Magazine and the prestigious Fine Art Spanish Magazine Art Fotografico. Statement There are approximately 195 independent countries in the world and an estimated 6,800 different languages spoken, and often times there is a breakdown in communication. Some caused by language barriers, other times lost or inadequate translation and sometimes a woeful attempt at hand signals. However, images are universally understood. The cliché "a picture is worth a thousand words" certainly rings true. Pictures speak a thousand words to a thousand different people in a thousand different ways. This global understanding has been the main reason that I have been documenting various cultures around the world. Over the past 20+ years I have concentrated on photographing people and their various ways of life that seem to have been left behind by the world's rush to modernize. Certain aspects of these various cultures seem to be in a time warp, many within their own country. The photographs presented here are part of a long-term project photographing some of these people that live and work in challenging environments that time seems to have forgotten and whose way of life may never be seen again.
Benjamin Dimmitt
United States
Benjamin Dimmitt photographs wetlands and forests using film and a medium format camera. He uses his camera to investigate interdependence, competition, survival and mortality in the natural world. Benjamin was born and raised on the Gulf Coast of Florida. He graduated from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL and also studied at the International Center of Photography in NYC, NY, Santa Fe Photographic Workshop in Santa Fe, NM, Santa Reparata Graphic Arts Centre in Florence, Italy and City and Guild Arts School in London, England. He moved to New York City after college and held an adjunct professor position at the International Center of Photography from 2001-2013. He now lives and works in Asheville, NC and teaches workshops throughout the Southeast. Benjamin's photographs have been exhibited at Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX, School of International Center of Photography, NYC, NY, American Academy of Arts & Letters, NYC, NY, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans, LA, Griffin Museum, Boston, MA, Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, Tampa, FL, Center for Fine Art Photography, Ft. Collins, CO and Midtown Y Photography Gallery, NYC, NY. In November, 2019, his work will be included in a three person climate change exhibit at Southeast Museum of Photography in Daytona Beach, FL. His work is represented by Clayton Galleries in Tampa, FL and is in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts and Eckerd College among many others. Ain't Bad, Architectural Digest, Black & White, Don't Take Pictures, Lenscratch, Oxford American, Orion, Photo District News, The New Yorker Photo Booth and others have featured Benjamin's photographs. He was a finalist in Photolucida's Critical Mass Award in 2014, 2017 and 2018 and in New Orleans Photo Alliance's Clarence John Laughlin Award in 2014 and 2015. An Unflinching Look The Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge is a very fragile, spring-fed estuary on Florida's Gulf Coast, north of Tampa. I was overwhelmed by its lush, primeval beauty on my first visit over 30 years ago and have photographed there extensively since 2004. The dense palm hammocks and hardwood forests were festooned with ferns and orchids and the fresh water creeks were a clear azure. There are other similar estuaries nearby but the Chassahowitzka River and the surrounding wetlands are protected as part of the federal National Wildlife Refuge system and the river itself is designated as an Outstanding Florida Water. Unfortunately, saltwater began creeping up into the spring creeks around 2011. Rising sea levels due to climate change are the primary cause. However, the saltwater intrusion was accelerated when the state water commissioners, appointed by climate change denier and former governor Rick Scott, determined that the wetlands could survive with less fresh water. This new minimum flow policy would allow the state to increase the pumping of fresh water for large-scale inland developments and agricultural interests. The drawdown of fresh water for these lobbyists has taken fresh water away from the aquifer that feeds Chassahowitzka's springs and many others nearby. As the fresh water flow in the estuaries decreased, saltwater advanced upstream and took its place. What had been verdant, semi-tropical forest is now mostly an open plain of grasses relieved by palms and dying hardwood trees. Sabal palms are the most salt tolerant trees in this ecosystem and are the last to expire. This is a widespread phenomenon, occurring all along the Big Bend section of the Gulf coast of Florida. In 2014, I began to photograph in the salt-damaged sawgrass savannas and spring creeks there as a way of reckoning with the ecosystem loss and of understanding what has become of my native Florida. I have narrowed my focus to a small, remote area that I know and love. My intention in bearing witness to this loss has been to portray the ruined landscape with respect, nuance and beauty. To document the progress of the saltwater intrusion, I have re-photographed landscapes that I first photographed as much as 30 years ago. This ruin is the fate of estuaries around the world as sea levels rise. With increasingly fierce storms and extensive flooding along coastal areas, we are reminded that climate change is a certainty and a priority.
Bieke Depoorter
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1986
Bieke Depoorter (born 1986) is a Belgian photographer. She is a member of Magnum Photos and has published four books: Ou Menya, I am About to Call it a Day, As it May Be, and Sète#15. Depoorter received a master's degree in photography at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent in 2009. The relationships Depoorter establishes with the subjects of her photographs lie at the foundation of her artistic practice. Accidental encounters are the starting point, and how these interactions naturally develop dictate the nature of Depoorter’s work. Many of her self-initiated projects are about intimate situations in families and in peoples' homes. For her graduation project and her first book, Ou Menya (2011), she made three trips to Russia, photographing people in their homes that she met whilst travelling around. The series won the 2009 Magnum Expression Award. Bieke Depoorter made the work for her second book, I am About to Call it a Day (2014) in a similar way whilst hitchhiking and driving around the U.S. However several recent projects have been the result of Depoorter questioning the medium. In As it May Be, she gradually became more aware of her status as an outsider, both culturally and as a photographer. So, in 2017, she revisited Egypt with the first draft of the book, inviting people to write comments directly onto the photographs. In Sète#15, and also Dvalemodus, a short film she co-directed together with Mattias De Craene, she began to see her subjects as actors. Although she portrayed them in their true environments, she tried to project her own story onto the scenes, fictionalizing the realities of her subjects in a way that blurred the lines between their world and hers. In the ongoing project Agata, a project about a young woman Depoorter met at a striptease bar in Paris in October 2017, she explores her interest in collaborative portraiture. It’s an example of Depoorter’s interest in finding people that can work with her in telling a story. These stories are always partially hers, and partially theirs. In her latest project Michael, she investigates the disappearance and life of a man she met on the streets of Portland in 2015. After giving her three suitcases full of scrapbooks, notes and books, everyone lost sight of him. Bieke Depoorter became a nominee member of Magnum Photos in 2012, an associate member in 2014, and a full member in 2016. She is the fourth Belgian member of the agency, after Carl De Keyzer, Martine Franck, Harry Gruyaert... Depoorter has won the Magnum Expression Award, The Larry Sultan Award and the Prix Levallois.Source: Wikipedia For the past six years, Bieke Depoorter has spent countless nights photographing perfect strangers—people that she encounters on the street who are willing to open their homes to Depoorter and her camera. The project began when she was travelling on the Trans-Siberian Railway, in 2008. She didn’t speak the language, so photography became her mode of communication. (She carried a letter that a friend wrote in Russian that explained her intent.) After publishing the work as a book, called Ou Menya, Depoorter headed to the United States, in 2010, where she hitchhiked and drove around the country, creating the collection found in her latest book, I Am About to Call It a Day. The project, both intimate and removed, hinges upon Depoorter’s ability to build trust within a tight timeframe. In many of the photographs, she seems to go unnoticed, capturing the unguarded moments found only in the privacy of one’s own home. “I like the atmosphere of the night,” Depoorter told me. “When people go to sleep, I think it’s most real. No one is looking at them, and they become their true selves.” She told me that her process is intrinsic to the success of her images. “I try to not hope for a picture,” she said. “I am there as a person first, and a photographer second.”Source: The New Yorker
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United Kingdom
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John Novis is photographer and story teller working on environmental issues, particularly climate change for the last 30 years. Climate Change is the biggest global threat ever known to mankind, yet it is the most challenging and difficult subject to visualize to any great effect. Any image presented, be it extreme weather events, scientific evidence or global protests can be argued against by a sceptic media, governments and industry. It is precisely this challenge that drives concerned photographers to push ever more creative photos into the image pool to drive home the importance of this emergency of our times. We are getting somewhere thanks to Greta Thunberg and Environmental groups such as Greenpeace, Extinction Rebellion etc. which provide scope for compelling pictures. Social media has also provided a valuable platform for citizen journalism reporting climate related events as they unfold in real time. How I got there I stared my career in photography in London during the 'swinging 60's 'years working with high profile photographers in Vogue, Apple Corp (Beatles), top Fashion and Industrial photo studios Adrian Ensor Labs up until 1977 when I enrolled on a 3 year 'Creative Photography' course in Nottingham University under the guidance of Thomas Joshua Cooper and Raymond Moore. In 1980 I received a grant from UK South East Arts to make a 30 minute, 16mm film called 'Our trip to the Zoo' analysing the family snapshot with the old Kodak slogan – 'to capture life'. Throughout most of the 80's I worked as a freelance commercial photographer and then in 1989 I joined Greenpeace as an in –house photographer where I was employed until 2015. Just before I joined Greenpeace, I was becoming disillusioned with photography as an instrument for advertising and generating profit. It was though Greenpeace I was able to employ my expertise in photography to produce images that would serve as a wake-up call to the critical state of our environment. As photography became more important to the organisation I became Head of Photography at the international headquarters in Amsterdam, directing major photo projects such as: - Ocean and whaling expeditions, Amazon – Illegal logging, Yunnan, China campaigning against the introduction of GMO rice to the rice growing communities, Climate in Crisis - Yellow River drying up, the Disappearing Glaciers on Everest, Climate and Poverty along the Silk Road in Gansu Province, China - Palm oil production in Riau, Indonesia and 'Forest Solutions' global communities living from the forest management towards a sustainable solution. In addition, I have also worked on numerous successful publications including the nuclear industry of Russia with Dutch photographer Robert Knoth, (Panos) and Bhopal – '' with Raghu Rai (Magnum). My professional services outside Greenpeace have included, organizing and hosting the Beijing Photo Master Classes with World Press Photo winners, member of the jury for the 2007 CHIPP (China International Press Photo Contest) and Member of the Jury and visiting lecturer to Fotopub, Slovenia July 2008. Directing a major exhibition and slide show at 1999 Perpignan, Visa Pour L'image with an interview with Jean Francois Leroy on stage. In 2012 I ran a photo workshop and curated a renewable energy exhibition at the Angkor Photo Festival in Siem Reap, Cambodia and was invited as guest speaker for Wild Photos at the Royal Geographic society in 2011. I am currently working on Climate Emergency events and supporting on line publications with consultancy and archive picture material.
Esmeralda Ruiz
United States
Artist Statement: "My childhood was different then most. Growing up with nothing but artists was one thing, but having actually flat lined during a surgery after being diagnosed with a kidney infection changed my life forever. It wasn’t that it left me weak or prevented me from going outside and playing or even going to school with other children but the images that I saw when that moment occurred is what I strive to show in my work today. A wonderful world where the air was crisp and refreshing, with all of its flowers in bloom, my journey begins down a path with little yellow homes on each side. Beyond the path, a valley flowers appeared. On the right there were rocky mountains so enormous that clouds covered their midsection with their snow covered summits peering through. To my left the sound of the ocean was relentlessly crashing into a cliff. As I crossed my valley of flowers and ascended the cliff, I felt a cool yet, strong breeze off the ocean forcing me back. As I looked up into the vast skies above, I was overcome by the ever so omnipotent clouds with their glorious rays of sunlight beaming through. The feeling of leaping into the breeze and flying towards the light was more then overwhelming. Instead, I greeted it with a smile and made my way back to the valley. Relaxed, laying across its delicate wild flowers, my tranquil body curled up and fell into a deep sleep. Awaking to my mother at my bedside, disappointment overcame me with the realization that it was all just a dream. Weeks passed, the pain healed but my dream still reigned true. Numerous sketches and endless rants of my new world was all that was real. Having to transition from a world of such perfection to a life of obscurity seemed almost inconceivable. As such, a minor state of depression would set in as my life slowly began to drift back into its regular routine. During this time my only solace came from the amazing work found in books from various art movements and even my favorite childhood cartoons. However, as my healing process dragged on, much of what I know about color (and how I use it today) came from all the extra time spent in my parent’s studio. Watching them work and being surrounded by various mediums helped better understand art as a form of expression. This would inevitably forge my desire to show the world what I had experienced on that fateful day. As the years pass, my dream still lives within me. My thesis project has only driven my need to share my moment with the world in ways I never thought possible. After much soul searching and numerous critiques, I have come to the realization that my utopia isn’t just a dream; it is in the landscapes that have always surrounded me. Those three minutes had and will always have a tremendous impact on my life. If anything, I learned how fragile life is and to always appreciate the beautiful things in life. Photography has allowed me to show what stands out in my eyes by glorifying it in a photograph. It is the best way that I can communicate what I saw and what I felt at that particular moment. It is the bridge between my past and my present.Source: Esmeralda Ruiz Website
JB Russell
France/United States
1961
Born in Long Beach, California in 1961, J.B. Russell is a Paris-based documentary photographer, filmmaker and educator. After receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology and Geography and working for two years as a geologist, J.B. decided to take a year or two off to pursue a passion for photography and to satisfy a genetic predisposition for wanderlust. Once on the road however, he never looked back. He has worked extensively throughout Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America focusing on current events, the human consequences of conflict, human rights, the environment and development issues. His work appears regularly in major print and on-line publications worldwide, including: Time, Newsweek, The New York Times, French GEO, Paris Match, Le Monde, Stern, Der Spiegel, Corriere della Sera magazine, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, El Mondo magazine and many more. J.B. collaborates frequently with international humanitarian organizations such as Doctors Without Borders, Save The Children, Mines Advisory Group, The Global Fund and others to produce images, video and written material on critical humanitarian issues for their communication needs. His work has received numerous accolades, including the Public Prize at the Bayeux War Correspondents Competition, 1st place in the News Picture Story category of the POYi competition, his images have been selected on multiple occasions for the American Photography anthology, he received the Saint Brieuc Photoreporter Grant and his work has been exhibited and frequently featured at Visa Pour L'Image in Perpignan, France, among many other festivals and venues. J.B.'s career has spanned the transition from analogue to digital photography and the profound changes that the Internet and Social Media have had on journalism and the press. He believes that honest, engaged journalism remains crucial to public information in today's media landscape. J.B produces independent documentary photography and video projects, embracing diverse story-telling forms and platforms. He is a dedicated teacher of photography, teaching and speaking regularly in diverse university programs, workshops and photography courses. J.B. Russell is member of the Panos Pictures Agency and a core member of the Instagram collective #EverydayClimateChange.
Wenxin Zhang
China
1989
Wenxin Zhang lives and works in San Francisco. She received her MFA at California College of the Arts.Zhang creates non-linear photographic novels. In her writings and photography, she describes her experiences of growing up in China, her current life in San Francisco, and her personal relationships. Zhang's work has exhibited widely in United States and China. Zhang was selected as a finalist in 2014 Three Shadows Photography Award, Leica Oskar Barnack Newcomer Award, and Photographic Museum of Humanity New Generation Award. Also, Zhang was selected as an artist in residence by Rayko Photo Center and The Center for Photography at Woodstock. Zhang's first monograph will be published in early 2015 by Jiazazhi Press.Statement:Five Nights, Aquarium is a non-linear narration weaved by photographs and five short written works.I try to reconstruct my inner journey from trips I’ve made between my home country China and San Francisco during these two years in a truthful way, but the overloaded feelings of estrangement and desolation created by the journey have transformed my memories into illusions of confinement. Due to this confinement, my journey story became a space-time, which resembles an aquarium. In this aquarium, cityscapes are fish tank decorations, people are fish, and writings are tank labels.I chose five nights in the whole reconstructed journey story, using five semi-fictional short stories as clue, to portray the imaginary aquarium. The stories are cold yet intimate, sensual yet intangible. The narration of journey moves from real to imagined spaces, exploring the boundaries between autobiography and fiction.
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