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Monika Macdonald
Monika Macdonald
Monika Macdonald

Monika Macdonald

Country: Sweden
Birth: 1969

Monika Macdonald was born in 1969 in Sweden. She moved to Stockholm where she studied photography after graduation.

In 2001 she settled in London and worked as a freelancer, primarily making reportage for newspapers and magazines. She returned to Sweden in 2007 and ever since has focused on working on self initiated projects.

In her thick photographs, plenty of souls and flesh, inhabited by strength and vulnerability, Monika Macdonald breathes an unusual eroticism into photography that provokes a vision of interiority rather than fantasy. They invite us to observe moments of abandonment as well as introspection where distant (and yet concrete) beings are grasped in their daily lives as desiring subjects rather than objects of desire. Here the intimate is suggested, and something of the neglected order of existence surfaces. Monika Macdonald shows what remains in the absence, the flesh of everyday life: meeting, abandonment, taste for solitude... The bewitchment of her images lets us penetrate beyond the visible and glimpse this intimacy that is usually killed.

"I don't like the idea of taking pictures that much. But I always come back to it. There are no words to describe the feeling of being close to something. That's why I keep going. I oscillate between different worlds to which I try to link myself. My images are memories. To access a sense of loneliness and vulnerability. To be admitted beyond reason, far from what is called reality."

Source: Galerie VU'



In Absence is a series of images portraying women in their strive to find their own identity in a solitary life.

Hulls is a photographic essay about my meeting with the man in a space, without limitation. An intimate room for losing self control. Book to be published beginning of 2020 by André Frère Éditions, France. Edited by Art Director Greger Ulf Nilson.
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Samantha VanDeman
United States
1982
Samantha was born in Chicago, IL. She received a BFA in Fine Art from Columbia College Chicago and an MFA in Visual Arts from The Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University. During the summer of 2003, Samantha studied drawing at Santa Repararta International School of Art in Florence, Italy. Her work has been published and exhibited in the United States and abroad. Samantha lives and works in Chicago, IL. Born in 1982, Samantha VanDeman grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. She studied fine arts at Columbia College Chicago, receiving a BFA in 2005. During her last year in college, she took a B+W photography class and found her passion. From that point on, she started to actively documenting everything around her. In 2007, she returned to college, this time to earn a MFA in photography from the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University in 2009. It was during her time at the low residency program at AIB, that she was able to have independent studies with artists such as Anne Wilson, Mayumi Lake, Jeanne Dunning, and Laura Letinsky. Samantha has exhibited her work nationally. Her work has been exhibited at Emory Visual Arts Gallery, Atlanta, GA; Finch and Ada, NY; New Orleans Photo Alliance Gallery, New Orleans, LA; Las Manos Gallery, Chicago, IL; Gallery 263, Cambridge, MA; Midwest center for Photography, Wichita, KS; Gallery 808, Boston, MA; Change Artist Space, San Francisco, CA; Perspective Gallery, Evanston, IL; Barrett Art Center Galleries, Poughkeepsie, NY; Fourth Wall Projects in Boston, MA; The Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins, CO; Newspace Center for Photography in Portland, OR; Black Box Gallery, Portland, OR; Texas Photographic Society, San Antonio, TX ; Wright Museum of Art in Beloit, WI and Review Santa Fe 100. Samantha VanDeman is adjunct faculty at The Art Institute of Illinois in Tinley Park, IL. All about Samantha VanDeman:AAP: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?My last year as an undergraduate at Columbia College Chicago, I took a Black and white photography class. It was then I knew I wanted to be a photographer. Up until that point, I wanted to be a painter. AAP: Where did you study photography? I studied photography at The Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University. During my time at The Art Institute of Boston, I had independent studies with Laura Letinsky, Jeanne Dunning, Anne Wilson and Mayumi Lake.AAP:Do you have a mentor?Laura Letinksy has been a friend/mentor since 2008 AAP: How long have you been a photographer?10 yearsAAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it?My first shot was of rotten fruit.AAP: What or who inspires you?I’m inspired by silence, decay, kindness and long road trips. Artists who inspire me are Jenny Saville, Edward Hopper, Sally Mann and Fiona Apple.AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film?Canon 5DAAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images?I do minimal editing.AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)?Sally Mann, Angela Strassheim, Nan Goldin and Corrine DayAAP: What advice would you give a young photographer?Find your own voice and follow your gut. Your best work will come from the projects you are most passionate about.AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid?Trying too hard to be different or copying another photographer’s styleAAP: An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share?I’m currently working on a project called “Died Alone”. This project explores abandoned living spaces of people that died alone in their home.AAP: Your best memory has a photographer?My fondest memory: The first time I explored the abandoned – now demolished Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago. I had never explored an abandoned place before Michael Reese Hospital, so it opened up a whole new world for me.AAP: If you could have taken the photographs of someone else who would it be?Weegee or Walker Evans
Golnaz Abdoli
Iran/United States
1956
I was born in Iran and lived the first 18 years of my life there. The vivid memories of my homeland are its cold winters with snowcapped mountains, cars swerving on slippery roads, a small frozen pool, and me hoping that school would be cancelled; my mom preparing pomegranate for my siblings and I, and at the same time warming my hands with her warm breath. During the next forty years I enjoyed getting my degrees in Biology and Education in California, USA, raising my two children , and working in the field of education. I taught elementary school for 21 years. I picked up photography after I retired from teaching. I loved it immediately because it gave me a new voice to express myself and be creative. I found that photography and its many genres is a unique language with many dialects, and it can bring people from all over the world together. But now my love of photography has developed into a passion during the Covid-19 Pandemic. I appreciate it for helping me delve deep into my soul and understand myself better. During the lockdown photography has become my best friend and companion. Statement I approach photography of modern architecture as a visual puzzle that needs to be unravelled. My images are theatrical and mysterious. When I hold the camera, it awakens a sense of curiosity in me. I look up, ponder at the lines of steel coming together, light and shadow intertwining to form reflections, and I question how far into the space the lines travel, and the patterns repeat themselves. Reflections of outside buildings form mysterious forms and rhythms on the structural facade of modern architecture, inviting it to form a community with its surrounding. I appreciate the modern architecture for its beauty.
Andrew Moore
United States
1957
Andrew Moore’s work is in the collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art, Yale University Art Gallery, the Library of Congress, the Israel Museum, the High Museum, the George Eastman House and the Canadian Centre for Architecture. Recent exhibitions include The Queens Museum, Columbia University and The Museum of the City of New York in conjunction with a retrospective on the legacy of Robert Moses. Moore has had recent solo shows in Minneapolis, Moscow, Paris, San Francisco, and Nebraska. In 1975, Moore enrolled at Princeton University, where he worked on an independent major in photography under the guidance and mentorship of the historian Peter Bunnell and the photographer Emmet Gowin, who at the time, was completing his first monograph. During that time, Moore also had the benefit of working with visiting artists including Frederick Sommer, Jim Dow, and Joel Meyerowitz. Moore graduated summa cum laude in 1979. After a brief stint working with commercial photographers in New York City, Moore moved to New Orleans, where he continued a body of work first started for his senior thesis. Over the next two years, he focused on the city’s disappearing commercial district, where he found subjects such as a coffin workshop, a broom factory, and a raw furrier–places employing artisans and outdated machinery. The New Orleans Downtown Development District awarded Moore a grant which enabled him to produce a portfolio of one-hundred 8x10 color contact prints, which were placed in the city’s archives. In 1981, Moore returned to New York City, where he began a three-year project documenting the rapid changes to the urban landscape, specifically at the South Street Seaport and Fulton Fish Market in lower Manhattan. At the start of his project, the demolition of the present marketplace and shopping pier was just getting underway. Moore returned many times over the following months, often photographing at night to portray the architecture and ambiance of the surrounding neighborhood amidst massive, rapid transformation. For this work, Moore and two other photographers, Barbara Mensch and Jeff Perkell, were awarded grants from the JM Kaplan Foundation, and the New York State Council on the Arts, which enabled the completed project, South Street Survey to be shown at the Municipal Art Society in 1985. During this time, Moore was also working on a series of photographs of grain elevators in Buffalo, New York with the assistance of an NYSCA individual grant. In Buffalo, Moore met a group of artists working with appropriated imagery, which inspired him to begin using mechanical and chemical processes to incorporate multiple negatives, paintings, drawings, and xeroxes into complex montage images outside of strict documentary practice. This method of recombination, in the era before Photoshop, created images of convulsive beauty and were the subject of Moore’s first solo exhibition in New York at Lieberman and Saul Gallery in 1986, following his first solo show at Real Art Ways in Hartford, CT in 1985. Moore continued this method of montaging imagery for the next 7 years, expanding his practice into experimental short films. During this time, Moore collaborated on short films with others including the artists Lee Breuer and David Byrne. His film Nosferatu 1989 was nationally broadcast on MTV and PBS’s New Television series. 42nd Street In 1995, Moore returned to his roots in documentary practice as the texture of New York’s 42nd Street was rapidly changing. With all of the theaters between 7th and 8th avenues scheduled to be razed or refurbished, Moore sought permission to photograph the torn seats and faded fire curtains which told the stories of those spaces. In 1997, Moore showed these photographs at Yancey Richardson Gallery in New York. Despite his change of style, the work was well-received; in a review for The New Yorker, Andrew Long noted, “The straight forward treatment is a departure for the photographer, who characteristically produces multi-image evocations of New York City. Nothing is lost however - his earlier poetic constructs now give way to broader arenas for the imagination to roam.” Cuba Moore first traveled to Cuba in 1998 to photograph Havana’s decaying theaters. The project soon expanded in scope to document the larger effects of Cuba’s permanent Revolution, which were particularly apparent during the economic depression known as the “Período especial.” Moore’s large-scale color photographs of Havana reveal an elegant but crumbling metropolis of muted pastel interiors, courtyards, and scenes of daily life. Moore returned to photograph Cuba’s architecture and environment over the next 14 years, in the process publishing two monographs Inside Havana (Chronicle Books, 2002) and Cuba (Damiani, 2012). Moore has said his work intends to show, “how contemporary history, and specifically cultures in transition, are expressed through architecture.” The photographer Julius Shulman wrote of Inside Havana, “Exhibited throughout Moore’s work is a genuine flavor of ‘presence’. He does not attempt to gloss over questionable conditions, nor does he try to contort reality. With tremendous sensitivity, Moore creates art statements of the architecture he shows us. His images are painterly and poetic.” Moore’s photographs from Cuba appeared as a cover story in the September 23, 2012 issue of New York Times Magazine. Russia While working in Cuba, Moore became interested in the island nation’s long relationship with Russia. This led him to photograph the architectural environments where Russian history and politics collide in unexpected ways. Between 2000 and 2004 Moore made 8 trips around Russia from St. Petersburg to the remotest parts of the country. The New Yorker wrote of the work, “in taking Russia - its contradictions and gorgeous ruins - at face value, he captures a country’s diversity and history.” For example, Moore photographed a “czarist church [that] was turned into a soap factory during the Soviet period, and now has been restored into a kind of youth center.” Moore remarked, “For me these kinds of subjects present a cross-section through time: they address Russia’s complex past, as well as the larger compacting and collapsing processes of contemporary history.” In 2004, Moore published the monograph Russia Beyond Utopia (Chronicle Books, 2004). Detroit In 2008 and 2009, Moore traveled to Detroit to portray in photographs “the idea that in an urban setting you could also have a landscape happening, the forces of nature intersecting with American urbanism, the process of decline also intersecting with the revival of nature.” In 2010, Moore released Detroit Disassembled (Damiani, 2010), with an introduction by Detroit-native and Poet Laureate Philip Levine, to coincide with an exhibition at the Akron Art Museum. He was originally invited to document the city by two young French photographers, Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre, who had been photographing Detroit’s abandoned spaces since 2005. While Moore’s Detroit series follows the themes of transformation and decaying space explored in previous bodies of work, his focus on the motor city generated controversy in the pages of The New Republic and the journal Guernica. The photographs were decried as “ruin porn,” which Mike Rubin defined in The New York Times as “urban decay as empty cliché, smacking of voyeurism and exploitation.” Curator Sarah Kennel writes in The Memory of Time, an exhibition catalog from the National Gallery of Art, that, “in Moore’s photographs, ruination serves more explicitly as an allegory of modernity’s failure.” Other critics argue that whether or not Moore’s Detroit photographs fit the category of “ruin porn” is a matter of academic debate. Joseph Stanhope Cialdella argues in the journal Environmental History that Moore’s work instead conveys the “aesthetic of a postindustrial sublime” which “gives nature the authority to transform the image of Detroit into a novel, yet disturbing landscape that blurs the lines between wilderness and the city.” Dora Apel writes in Beautiful Terrible Ruins that Moore’s “pictures of Detroit tend to emphasize the relationship of nature and culture, with nature in the ascendancy.” Apel ultimately argues that the “ruin porn” images and debate fail to focus on the political and economic policies that are the root causes of the ruins. Dirt Meridian From 2005 to 2014, Moore photographed the people and landscape of “great American Desert,” which roughly includes the area west of the 100th meridian to the Rocky Mountains, from Texas north to Canada. The area is one of the most sparsely populated regions in the country, “where the daily reality is often defined by drought and hardship.” To make many of the photographs, Moore collaborated with Doug Dean, the pilot of a single-engine aircraft, to create bird’s-eye perspectives revealing the vastness of the land. Rather than flying high above the plains, Moore chose perspectives that have “the sense of being within the landscape rather than above it.” For an essay accompanying Moore’s photographs in The New York Times Magazine, Inara Verzemnieks wrote, “From above, the land is like one endless, unpunctuated idea - sand, tumbleweed, turkey, bunch stem, buffalo, meadow, cow, rick of hay, creek, sunflower, sand — and only rarely did a house or a windmill or a barn suddenly appear to suspend the sense of limitlessness.” On the ground, Moore photographed the people who inhabit this unforgiving landscape and the evidence of their efforts, from active homesteads to abandoned schoolhouses. These photographs are published in Moore’s newest monograph: Dirt Meridian (Damiani, 2015).
Todd Webb
United States
1905 | † 2000
Todd Webb (September 5, 1905 – April 15, 2000) was an American photographer notable for documenting everyday life and architecture in cities such as New York City, Paris as well as from the American west. His photography has been compared with Harry Callahan, Berenice Abbott, Walker Evans, and the French photographer Eugène Atget. He traveled extensively during his long life and had important friendships with artists such as Georgia O'Keeffe, Ansel Adams and Harry Callahan. He photographed famous people including Dorothea Lange. His life was like his photos in the sense of being seemingly simple, straightforward, but revealing complexity and depth upon a closer examination. Capturing history, his pictures often transcend the boundary between photography and artistic expression. Webb was born in Detroit in 1905 and grew up there and in a Quaker community in Ontario. From 1924 to 1929 he worked as a bank teller and clerk at a brokerage firm in Detroit; in another account, he was a successful stockbroker during the 1920s but lost his earnings during the Crash before the Depression. During the Depression beginning in 1929, he moved to California and worked as a prospector and earned a meager living. During these years he also worked as a fire ranger for the United States Forestry Service. Webb reportedly wrote short stories which were unpublished. After 1934, Webb returned to Detroit and worked for the automobile manufacturer Chrysler in their export division. In 1937, he visited a friend in Panama in search of gold, but had little success. But in Panama, he brought along a camera donated by his former employer, Chrysler. Webb returned to Detroit and studied at the Detroit Camera Club. He met photographer Harry Callahan. In 1940, he completed a ten‑day workshop with Ansel Adams as his teacher. In 1941, he visited Rocky Mountain State Park with Harry Callahan, and realized during this trip that he was drawn more to the urban cityscape, and although he found Adams to be an inspiration, he would not make photographs like his teacher. During World War II, Webb was a photographer for the United States Navy and was deployed to the South Pacific theater of operations. After World War II, in 1945, Webb moved to New York City and began his career as a professional photographer. He made key friendships with Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O'Keeffe as well as Beaumont Newhall, Berenice Abbott, Helen Levitt, and Minor White. Webb began a remarkable project of walking the streets of New York City with his heavy camera and tripod and photographing people and buildings he encountered. What set these photos apart was their "straightforward, descriptive clarity" even though they were often of familiar views. One large 10-foot–long panorama photograph which was critically acclaimed showed a section of Sixth Avenue from 43rd–44th streets which, in 1991, was seen as a "visual time capsule of the city" and was described as a "stunner." Webb's photos reflected the photographer's sense of discovery and captured the times, such as photos of hand-painted banners over apartment house doors saying "Welcome Home, G.I.s". In one photograph, Webb went to the top of the RCA Building and shot south using a backlit technique, which captured the Empire State Building at night. The best photographs, according to New York Times art critic Charles Hagen, contained the "simple geometries of urban architecture" in a "simple elegance"; Hagen thought Webb's New York City photographs were his best. In 1946, he had the first solo exhibition of his photographs at the Museum of the City of New York. In 1947, Webb was hired by Fortune magazine and he worked with professional photographers funded by the Standard Oil Company led by Roy Stryker and the group included notable photographers such as Sol Libsohn. According to the New York Times, the team of professional photographers was "given amazingly free rein by its corporate sponsor" to produce a documentary about oil. One of these photographs, Webb's Pittsburgh Panorama (ca. 1950) shows a grim industrial view towards Pittsburgh from a hill near Westinghouse Bridge that takes in a bare river valley across which snake highways and railways and a row of tall smokestacks in the distance. Curator Edward Steichen selected it for the 1955 Museum of Modern Art exhibition The Family of Man, seen by 9 million visitors on its world tour. However, in his memoir, Webb records his disappointment with the way images were "over-enlarged to billboard size" losing "all the qualities that make photographs unique." Webb traveled to Paris in 1949 and married fellow American Lucille Minqueau. In Paris, Webb produced a "vivid record" of the city which earned him recognition. Then, Webbs moved back to New York City to live in Greenwich Village in 1952. In 1955, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to photographically record pioneer trails of early settlers of the western United States. He was hired in 1957 by the United Nations to photograph its General Assembly. He won a contract to photograph Sub–Saharan Africa in 1958. The Webbs moved to Santa Fe in New Mexico around 1961. Webb's photos of his friend Georgia O'Keeffe suggested not only a "loner, severe figure and self-made person" but that there was an "intense connection" between Webb and O'Keeffe. While O'Keeffe was known to have a "prickly personality", Webb's photographs portray her with a kind of "quietness and calm" suggesting a relaxed friendship, and revealing new contours of O'Keeffe's character. Webb's landscape photographs as well as photos of the artist walking among the sagebrush bring O'Keeffe to life "even in pictures where she doesn't appear", according to Chicago Tribune art critic Abigail Foerstner. His photos suggest an "ageless spirit" which was "weathered and indomitable" like desert rock formations. These photos were done using matte finish paper and appear in a book entitled Georgia O'Keeffe: The Artist's Landscape. The Webbs lived in the Provence region of France, around 1970, and he continued to photograph regularly, and later lived, for a period, in Bath, England. The Webbs finally settled in the state of Maine, living in the city of Portland, based on the suggestion of a friend. In 1978, Webb won a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and continued to live and work in Maine. Source: Wikipedia Up until the 1980's, Todd Webb photographed and produced a unique body of work, which has attained an important place in the annals of American photographic history. Frequently referred to as "an historian with a camera," Webb's rich images document life all over the world. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, and is included in numerous museum collections including the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Minneapolis Art Institute, and the Chicago Art Institute. Todd Webb died in May, 2000 at the age of 94 in Central Maine. His life was like his photographs; at first they seem very simple, without obvious tricks or manipulation, but upon closer examination, they are increasingly complex and marvellously subtle.Source: Todd Webb Archive Todd Webb used documentary photography to convey a sense of intimacy and curiosity in the relationship between history, place, and people. Although Webb initially pursued photography to augment his writing, by 1940 he saw it as his central passion. In his hometown of Detroit, Webb attended camera club meetings where he took up with fellow novice Harry Callahan, and the more experienced Arthur Siegel. In 1941, Ansel Adams led a workshop for the camera club that profoundly influenced the ambitions of both Webb and Callahan. Todd Webb’s humanistic approach to documentation allowed him to create a compelling narrative whether he was working in the great cities of the world or within the vast American landscape. The Todd Webb Archive contains personal papers and photographic materials related to his long career as a photographer, including correspondence, biographical files, exhibition documentation, manuscripts, journals, extensive files of negatives, contact sheets, and over 1,400 fine prints.Source: Center for Creative Photography
Mike Magers
United States
1976
Michael Magers is a documentary photographer and journalist based in New York City. He is a frequent collaborator with the highly acclaimed team at Roads & Kingdoms and served as the lead photographer on their award-winning books, Rice Noodle Fish and Grape Olive Pig (as well as contributing to the 3rd book in the series Pasta Pane Vino) published by Harper Collins/Anthony Bourdain. His images are exhibited both internationally and in the U.S. and have appeared in a wide range of digital and print publications including TIME, Smithsonian, Vogue Italia, Huck Magazine, Outside, The California Sunday Magazine, CNN's Explore Parts Unknown, Saveur, New York Times - T Magazine (Instagram Takeover), Grantland, Barron's, The Guardian.com, and L'oeil de la Photographie. Michael's work documenting craftsmanship in Japan was named a 2016 Critical Mass Finalist. About Independent Mysteries Independent Mysteries (pub. November 2019) is the first monograph from documentary photographer Michael Magers. In it, Magers exposes the persistent tension between connection and disconnection -- a feeling of "intimate distance" -- he grappled with while traveling to places like Japan, Haiti, and Cuba for various assignments and personal projects. Drawing on nearly a decade of work, each image can be viewed as a film-still, with little context other than light brushes of human contact, fleeting intimacy, solitude and vulnerability. Every one of the grainy, black-and-white photographs in this book carries with it a secret to be discovered and explored. Read More about Independent Mysteries Book
Chad Ress
United States
1972
Chad Ress, born (1972) in Louisville, Kentucky lives in Ojai, California His work has been recognized in Photo District News; American Photography; Communication Arts; ; The One Show; D&AD Awards; The Forward Thinking Museum; and the PH Museum. Recent clients include Harper's Magazine, The New York Times, Toyota, Liberty Mutual, Pirelli, and MIT Technology Review. Ress first became interested in photography under the influence of the extensive archive of FSA photographs in Louisville's Speed Museum. His project America Recovered - A Survey of the ARRA looks to reconsider that legacy in the context of the recent economic collapse and subsequent stimulus legislation. It was accepted at Center - Photo Santa Fe; awarded distinction by The Forward Thinking Museum; and published in Time Magazine's Lightbox, The Wall Street Journal and Harper's Magazine. Ress recently completed a fellowship with the Center for Social Cohesion and Arizona State University and in conjunction with the New America Foundation. The resulting archive of images documents where Americans go to find a sense of community and connection to place. A series on the California aqueduct was recently published in UCLA's BOOM Magazine and included in "After the Aqueduct," an exhibition at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Los Angeles, CA. America Recovered was featured at the 2015 Reyner Banham Symposium with a theme "The Aesthetics of Citizenship" at The University of Buffalo, Buffalo, NY. In 2020, America Recovered was published by Actar, with a foreward by Bonie Honig and essays by Miriam Paeslack and Jordan H. Carver. He currently lives in Ojai, California, with his partner and son. America Recovered In late 2009, in response to the financial crash of 2008, the Obama Administration passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The Administration advocated for an unprecedented level of transparency in the disbursement of stimulus spending and established Recovery.gov as a resource by which the public might track expenditures, which totaled over $800 billion. I used the text publicized on Recovery.gov, and related government websites, as a guide to photograph ARRA projects. The language accompanying the images has been transcribed verbatim from the original sources. The conceptual framework of this project is to reveal the point where abstract political processes manifest themselves in the physical world, thus providing an alternate means of experiencing the contemporary American landscape. The projects range in scale from fully realized housing projects to concrete drainage basins that could easily be overlooked. The projects are located in almost every community in the country, from remote and rural stretches of the American West to dense urban centers. The appropriated text, descriptions of the projects taken from various government databases, serve as very simple identifiers and are often written in dry bureaucratic prose. On the other hand, the images themselves contextualize the spending projects within the physical details of a specific place and moment.
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