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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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More Great Photographers To Discover

Jared Ragland
United States
1977
Jared Ragland is a fine art and documentary photographer and former White House photo editor. He currently teaches and coordinates exhibitions and community programs in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and is at work on a long-term documentary on methamphetamine users living in northeast Alabama. He is the photo editor of National Geographic Books' "The President's Photographer: Fifty Years Inside the Oval Office," and has worked on assignment for NGOs in the Balkans, the former Soviet Bloc, East Africa and Haiti. His photographic work is rooted in his lifelong exposure to the landscapes, people, aesthetics, and storytelling traditions of the American South, and his work has been exhibited internationally and featured by The Oxford American, The New York Times, and TIME Magazine. Jared is an alumni of LaGrange College and a 2003 graduate of Tulane University with an MFA in Photography. He resides in his hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. Statement: The rise in use of methamphetamine across the United States over the last decade has led to increased cultural anxiety about the drug and those who use it, while the general perception of the meth-head is perpetuated by popular television programs and pervasive anti-meth campaigns. These limited representations typically paint one-dimensional, demonized characters whose chronic drug use is epitomized by obsessiveness, paranoia, and monstrous physical side effects. But while there are certainly deleterious consequences to meth use and stereotypes often ring too true, existing cultural narratives too often fall short of more complex, individually considered realities. Photographed over 18 months in collaboration with University of Alabama at Birmingham sociologist Heith Copes, Ph.D., GOOD BAD PEOPLE documents the tumultuous lives of meth users from Sand Mountain, a sandstone plateau in northeast Alabama infamous for extreme poverty, poultry processing plants, Pentecostal snake-handlers, and meth production. The images simultaneously reinforce and undermine assumptions of what it means to be a methamphetamine user and present an intimate look into the lives of those who struggle amidst drug use and diminished social status.
Beverly  Conley
United States
Beverly Conley is a documentary photographer in Benicia, California. She has found true satisfaction in long-term self assigned projects that have focused on individuals and contemporary society. Her quest has allowed her to enter the private world of Gypsies in England, the Cherokee Nation in Northeastern Oklahoma, steelworkers in Weirton, West Virginia and the Cape Verdean Communities in Boston and the Cape Verde Islands. Solo exhibitions include the Fort Smith Regional Art Museum in Arkansas, the Black Arts Center in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the Museum of Native American History and Culture in Bentonville, Arkansas, the Boston Public Library and the George Meany Center for Labor. Her work has been featured in juried exhibitions and group shows such as the Festival of American Folklife at the Smithsonian Institution and the Cleveland Museum of Art. She is represented in numerous permanent collections including the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Toledo Museum of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Museum of London, the New York Public Library, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the Boston Public Library, the Museum of Native American History and Culture in Bentonville, Arkansas and the Cleveland Public Library. Beverly is the recipient of a 2002 Michigan Creative Artist Grant and she has received awards from the Utah Press Association, the International Regional Magazine Association and an excellence award by Black and White Magazine for their 2017 Special Issue. She is a member of the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP). Life in the Ozarks: An Arkansas Portrait My ongoing project began in 2003 with a drive down a rural country road. I had recently moved to Fayetteville and was anxious to explore my new surroundings. The resulting images tell the stories of people, events and everyday life in and around small towns in the rugged Ozark Mountains. They represent different aspects of these communities – young and old, recent immigrants, preachers, cowboys, farmers and those whose families have lived in the Ozarks for generations. I am interested in documenting the vestiges of an older Ozarks. There is a sense of timelessness that I want to convey in my work. I am drawn to the less travelled back roads where catfish are caught bare-handed, folks gather on porches to play bluegrass and subsistence farming is still in existence. Living and photographing in the same place gave me the opportunity to observe the changes of a region in transition. Northwest Arkansas experienced tremendous growth in the last decade with rural communities inching closer and closer to cities. I really imagined this unique Arkansas heritage would be lost. What I have since discovered is the resilience and self- sufficiency of a complex culture that stands with one foot in the present and the other in the past. An individual might have a day job at a Walmart but returns to a hand built home and the traditions of the 'holler' at night. Through these photographs and words it is my intention to preserve and share the richness of this Southern way of life with a broader audience.
Annette LeMay Burke
United States
1964
Annette LeMay Burke (b. 1964) is a photographic artist and Northern California native who lives in the heart of Silicon Valley. Numerous family road trips throughout California and the West honed her eye for observing the landscape. By eight years old, she had her own Instamatic camera and graduated to a Minolta X-700 as a teen. While earning a BA in Earth Science from the University of California at Berkeley, she took her first darkroom class. After a career in high-tech, and studying design, Annette has now merged her interests. Her artistic practice focuses on how we interact with the natural world and the landscapes constructed by the artifacts of technology. Annette's first book, Fauxliage (Daylight Books, Spring 2021), documents the proliferation of disguised cell phone towers in the American West and how new technologies are modifying our landscapes with idiosyncratic results. Her work has been exhibited at institutions such as Center for Photographic Arts, Colorado Photographic Arts Center, Griffin Museum of Photography, Texas Photographic Society, The Center for Fine Art Photography, and Photographic Center Northwest. In 2017, she was a finalist for Photolucida's Critical Mass. Fauxliage - Disguised Cell Phone Towers of the American West Fauxliage documents the proliferation of disguised cell phone towers in the American West. For me, the fake foliage of the trees draws more attention than camouflage. The often-farcical tower disguises belie the equipment's covert ability to collect all the phone calls and digital information passing through them, to be bought and sold by advertisers and stored by the NSA. From the very start, cell towers were considered eyesores. Plastic leaves were attached in an attempt to hide the visual pollution. Over time, the disguises have evolved from primitive palms and evergreens into more elaborate costumes. The towers now masquerade as flagpoles, crosses, water towers, and cacti. Over time, as our demand for five bars of connectivity has increased, the charade has remained. I was initially drawn to the towers' whimsical appearances. The more I photographed, the more disconcerted I felt that technology was clandestinely modifying our environment. I explore how this manufactured nature is imposing a contrived aesthetic in our neighborhoods. My photographs expose the towers' idiosyncratic disguises, highlight the variety of forms, and show how ubiquitous they are in our daily lives. Their appearance is now an inescapable part of the iconic western road trip and the eight states I visited for this project. As the fifth generation (5G) of cellular technology continues to roll out, the cell tower terrain will be changing. 5G utilizes smaller equipment that is easier to hide - think fat streetlight poles. Perhaps elaborately disguised 'fauxliage' towers will begin disappearing and be considered an anachronism of the early 21st century. The decorated towers could join drive-up photo kiosks, phone booths, news stands, and drive-in movie theaters as architectural relics of the past. More about Fauxliage
Miina Savolainen
Miina Savolainen is a community art oriented photographer and an art and social educator from Helsinki whose works deal social engagement. Alongside her artistic work she explores, teaches and develops the use of photography as a pedagogic and therapeutic method. Her work has resulted in the method of empowering photography. Miina Savolainen, her project The Loveliest Girl In The World and the method of empowering photography have received several awards in Finland. Miina Savolainen is a member of The Finnish Phototherapy Association and The Union of Artist Photographers.Besides The Loveliest Girl in the World, Miina Savolainen is an instructor in a communal art project concerning fatherhood. For two years now, a group of amateur photographers have been preparing an exhibition on the theme of fatherhood to Helsinki Jugendhall for autumn 2007, using the method of empowering photography. She is currently working on a community art project involving intersexed and transgendered individuals.The Loveliest Girl in the World is a community art project undertaken by photographer, art and social educator Miina Savolainen with ten girls from Hyvönen Children's Home. It has taken almost a decade to complete. The project is based on the idea of “empowerment” and the belief that everyone has the right to feel unique and special. The fairytale quality of the photographs reveals a truth often obscured by the rough and tumble of daily life - the person each young girl feels she really is inside. It allows the girls to regard themselves as strong and undamaged people. These photographs are deeply authentic, revealing the universal desire to be seen as good and valuable. “Photography can help to show people how they are treasured; how much they mean to me,” writes Miina Savolainen. “Accepting one's own portrait is a metaphor for accepting one’s own personality. During years the photographing has become an intimate and profound way to interact with the girls. This exceptional long-term relationship can be seen in the special kind of openness and intimacy of the photographs. Although the pictures in the series of the Loveliest Girl in the World are artificial and not from the everyday life they are bound to the tradition of realistic photography. The documentary quality of the pictures is multilayered. On one hand the pictures are documents of growing up, the young girls' personalities and dreams. On the other hand the pictures make certain features of the girls visible which cannot be seen in their everyday selves. The childhood of the young who have grown up in a Children's home includes a lot of feelings of being abandoned and of being invisible. It also includes the burden of other people's prejudices, the stigmatisation of being a Children's home resident. The fairytale-like pictures are juxtaposed with real life story that seldom had fairytale qualities. The pictures express sadness but also hope and desire to see oneself in a more gentle way. With the aid of the non-everyday world of the pictures the young have been allowed to be seen and to see themselves differently like never before. The girls do not see the pictures as role-playing. In the everyday life the girls may also lead “roles” which appear wrong and foreign to the girls. The pictures may show, for the first time, a side that the young person holds real and dear to herself, a picture that she wants to cherish in her mind. The Loveliest Girl in the World -pictures are extreme documents: they are pictures of a person’s inner identity. This inner side becomes visible and the deeper emotional “truth” can be reached by mixing the truth and the fiction. Every human being has an inviolable right to feel himself or herself special. The pictures are a proof of conclusiveness of the photograph, which is not only bound to what’s visible. The Loveliest Girl in the World doesn't portray the Children's home residents the way the people living in margins are usually portrayed. The pictures are also something else from the sexist way of how young women and girls are exhibited in today's public places. Above all the fairy-tale feeling of the pictures is metaphorical; it is a longing for a clean, innocent state of dreaming where you can see yourself as a whole and an ideal person, protected from the gaze and the expectations of other people. The series brings up questions on how the present visual culture makes one a part of the society. The pictures of the young in the Children's home tell stories of being a girl and being a human in general. The deepest content of the pictures, the need to be seen, is familiar to anyone. The attempt to learn to see oneself in a more gentle way is especially addressing in our time where people are surrounded by the endless requirements from different fields of life. The Loveliest Girl in the World exhibitions have prompted the public to think about the capacity of the photograph to influence on societal and personal levels. From the point of view of photography the project also raises questions about the author and ethics. This project could be seen as community photography. It includes the models not only in the creation of the photographs but also in the selection of the exhibited pictures.The project, its accompanying exhibition and Miina Savolainen has been awarded the Spotlight of the Year 2003 special prize of the jury, the Vision of the Year award 2004, Duodecim Finnish Medical Association’s 2005 Cultural Award, the Young Photographer of the Year award 2005 and the State Award for Children´s Culture 2006. Patricia Seppälä Foundation, the Finnish Cultural Foundation, Finnfoto and the City of Helsinki have supported the production.
Oriol Torra Segon
He was born in Manresa (Spain) in 1981. He studied photography at Catalan Institute of Photographic Studies (IEFC). He participated in several documentary workshops taught by Antoine d’Agata (Magnum Photos), Franco Pagetti (VII), Jose Manuel Navia (Agence Vu) or Arianna Rinaldo, among others. Since 2011 he is a freelance photographer. His photography focuses in human frailty and vulnerability. His photographic project Young Patriots has been has received the EXPOSURE AWARD 2014 of See Me (New York, United States), has been one of the photographic projects selected as Descubrimientos PhotoEspaña 2014 (Madrid, Spain), was exhitibted at the Emerging Photography PA-TA-TA Granada Festival (Granada, Spain) and will be exhibited at DOCfield 2014 Festival (Barcelona, Spain), La Kursala de la UCA gallery (Cádiz, Spain) , Backlight Festival (Findland) and Encontros da Imagem Festival (Braga, Portugal). Young Patriots was also published in CNN and Cicero Magazine (Germany). Currently he works on commercial assignments and he is also a contributor of the Echo Photo Agency.About Young Patriots: “Young patriots documents the daily life in a military summer camp for children and teenagers focusing on the fragility of the atendees, in transition between from the childhood to the adulthood”The military summer camp in Mogyoród, Hungary, is a private project which each year sees the arrival of hundreds of children and teenagers between 10 and 15 years old. Some came attracted by the fascination of the military way of life, a militarism which is omnipresent in Hungarian society thanks to its imperial past and the memories of both the Nazi and the Communist periods. Others are brought here by their parents (mostly Hungarian nationalists) so as to introduce them to the unforgiving adult world where emotions are rarely permitted and life must be faced with rectitude and discipline.For a week they will live in tents, will receive military training from experienced soldiers who are still active, will acquire notions regarding Order and the Homeland, will endure long nights on guard duty without sleep, will learn how to use old out of service AK-47s built in Czechoslovakia (with blanks) and will even simulate being under teargas attacks.It will be a week of screamed orders during which intense physical exercise, educational behaviorism and precooked food will prevail; a place where any vulnerabilities and all questioning of military methods are simply overlooked, silenced and inwardly repressed.The young soldiers who had previously already felt the call of the Homeland will live the week’s activities impregnates wit epic airs. On the other hand, the skeptical protagonists, increasingly desensitized, more obedient, more docile, will have been transformed into disciplined young patriots of the great Hungary which one day will go back to being what it once was.All the images of this project were taken in Mogyoród, Hungary in the first week of July, 2013.
Russell Lee
United States
1903 | † 1986
Russell Lee (July 21, 1903, Ottawa, Illinois – August 28, 1986, Austin, Texas) was an American photographer and photojournalist, best known for his work for the Farm Security Administration (FSA). His technically excellent images documented the ethnography of various American classes and cultures. Lee grew up in Ottawa, Illinois and went to the Culver Military Academy in Culver, Indiana for high school. He earned a degree in chemical engineering from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.(Source: en.wikipedia.org) He gave up an excellent position as a chemist to become a painter. Originally he used photography as a precursor to his painting, but soon became interested in photography for its own sake, recording the people and places around him. Among his earliest subjects were Pennsylvanian bootleg mining and the Father Divine cult. In the fall of 1936, during the Great Depression, Lee was hired for the federally sponsored Farm Security Administration (FSA) photographic documentation project of the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration. He joined a team assembled under Roy Stryker, along with Dorothea Lange, Arthur Rothstein and Walker Evans. Stryker provided direction and bureaucratic protection to the group, leaving the photographers free to compile what in 1973 was described as "the greatest documentary collection which has ever been assembled." Lee created some of the iconic images produced by the FSA, including photographic studies of San Augustine, Texas in 1939, and Pie Town, New Mexico in 1940. Over the spring and summer of 1942, Lee was one of several government photographers to document the eviction of Japanese Americans from the West Coast, producing over 600 images of families waiting to be removed and their later life in various detention facilities. After the FSA was defunded in 1943, Lee served in the Air Transport Command (ATC), during which he took photographs of all the airfield approaches used by the ATC to supply the Armed Forces in World War II. He worked for the United States Department of the Interior (DOI) in 1946 and 1947, helping the agency compile a medical survey in the communities involved in mining bituminous coal. He created over 4,000 photographs of miners and their working conditions in coal mines. In 1946, Lee completed a series of photos focused on a Pentecostal Church of God in a Kentucky coal camp. While completing the DOI work, Lee also continued to work under Stryker, producing public relations photographs for Standard Oil of New Jersey. Some 80,000 of those photographs have been donated by Exxon Corporation to the University of Louisville in Kentucky. In 1947 Lee moved to Austin, Texas and continued photography. In 1965 he became the first instructor of photography at the University of Texas. In addition to the materials at the University of Louisville, other important collections of Lee's work are held by the New Mexico Museum of Art,[6] Wittliff collections, Texas State University and the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin.
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