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Evelyn Bencicova
Evelyn Bencicova
Evelyn Bencicova

Evelyn Bencicova

Country: Slovakia
Birth: 1992

Evelyn Bencicova is a visual creative specialising in photography and art direction. Informed by her background in fine art and new media studies (University for Applied Arts, Vienna), Evelyn's practice combines her interest in contemporary culture with academic research to create a unique aesthetic space in which the conceptual meets the visual.

Evelyn's work is never quite what first appears to be. Her photographs depict meticulously-controlled compositions characterised by an aesthetic sterility, tinged with poetic undertones of timeless desire and longing. Evelyn constructs compelling narrative scenarios that blur the lines between reality, memory and imagination — "fictions based on truth".

Depicting multifaceted representations as illusions, Evelyn plays with the viewer's perception to entice them into the secret labyrinth of her imagination. Her disturbingly beautiful visual language and washed-out colour palette, set within curiously symbolic environments, allow for a deep exploration of the themes that take her images far beyond what they reveal at first glance.

Evelyn's client repertoire includes fashion and luxury brands such as Gucci, Cartier and Nehera, as well as cultural institutions such as Frieze, Berghain, Kunsthalle Basel, Royal Opera House, Slovak National Theatre and Ballet and Museums Quartier Vienna. In 2018, Bencicova was invited to create visuals for the Institute of Molecular Biology in Austria, and to perform at the closing ceremony for Atonal Berlin.

Evelyn's commercial and artistic projects have been featured in the likes of Vogue Portugal, Vogue Czechoslovakia, ZEIT Magazine, ELLE, Dazed & Confused, GUP, HANT and Metal Magazine. Her work has been published in prestigious international photography books and on several online platforms (Juxtapoz, iGNANT.com, Fubiz media) and she has participated in solo and group exhibitions across Stockholm, London, Tokyo, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Milan, Amsterdam, Brussels, Prague and Rome to mention few.

In 2016, Bencicova received the prestigious Hasselblad Masters and Broncolor GenNext awards. She was shortlisted and awarded by Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, LensCulture, Independent Photographer, Gomma Grant, Life Framer, Photo IS:RAEL, Young Guns 17, Tokyo International Photo Award and Photo Vogue and OFF Festival. Her fashion film "Asymptote" (2016), co-created with Adam Csoka Keller, received the "Best New Fashion Film" award at the Fashion Film Festival Milano 2017, and was featured at SHOWstudio Fashion Film Awards, the Austrian American Short Film Festival and at Diane Pernet's A Shaded View on Fashion. Evelyn was selected as one of 30 under 30 Female photographers by Artpil.
 

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Masao Yamamoto
Masao Yamamoto was born in 1957 in Gamagori City, Aichi Prefecture in Japan. Although originally trained as a painter, he is one of the best known Japanese photographers working today. Yamamoto’s images are like fragments from a puzzle that capture an allusive, ineffable moment. He has produced several limited edition series of mixed media photographs, including Box of Ku, Nakazora, Kawa=Flow and most recently, Shizuku=Cleanse. He has published several books among them: A box of Ku, (Nazraeli Press, 1998); Nakazora (Nazraeli, 2001); The Path of Green Leaves (Nazraeli, 2002); Omizuao (Nazraeli, 2003); Santoka (Harunatsuakifuyu Sousho, Japan,2003); é (2005); Fujisan (Nazraeli, 2008); Yamamoto Masao, (Galerie Albert Baumgarten, Germany, 2009); Yamamoto, Masao (21st Editions, 2011);and Where we met: Yamamoto, Masao and Arpaïs du Bois (Lanoo Publishers, Belgium, 2011). Masao Yamamoto’s work has been exhibited all over the world, and his photographs are in many public and private collections including: the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the International Center for Creative Photography; the Center for Creative Photography; the Santa Barbara Art Museum; the Victoria & Albert Museum; the Maison Européenne de la Photographie; and the Sir Elton John Collection. Source: Etherton Gallery Masao Yamamoto (born 1957 in Gamagori City in Aichi Prefecture, Japan) is a Japanese freelance photographer known for his small photographs, which seek to individualize the photographic prints as objects. Yamamoto began his art studies as a painter, studying oil painting under Goro Saito in his native city. He presently uses photography to capture images evoking memories. He blurs the border between painting and photography however, by experimenting with his printing surfaces. He dyes, tones (with tea), paints on, and tears his photographs. His subjects include still-lives, nudes, and landscapes. He also makes installation art with his small photographs to show how each print is part of a larger reality. Source: Wikipedia Masao Yamamoto's photography is known for evoking emotional power in the form of small-scale photographs. Photographer Masao Yamamoto (1957-present) was born in Aichi Prefecture in Japan. Originally interested in pursuing painting, studying oil painting specifically under Goro Saito. Though Masao Yamamoto eventually transitioned into photography in 1993, his painting background is apparent in his works’ painterly look, incorporating blurs and experimenting with printing surfaces; with many Masao Yamamoto photographs, he manipulated the silver gelatin prints through analogue, which means such as painting the images with tea or actual paint and tearing them. Subjects vary wildly, ranging from Japanese countryside to nude female bodies. Many liken Yamamoto’s art to haikus, considering his mastery of brevity and focus on everyday details. Yamamoto's photography and prints are on permanent display at museums like the J.P. Morgan Chase Art Collection as well as many other private, corporate and public collections. Masao Yamamoto's photography style is a study in tactile experience, encouraging viewer engagement through nuanced layers and unique museum and gallery installations. His extremely detail-oriented approach creates an intricate, ephemeral feel; each photograph is an isolated section of a larger series, like A Box of Ku, which featured handheld-sized images. Most of his series work is unframed and artificially aged to mimic a tangibility, further lending to the accessibility. Masao Yamamoto has published many monographs, including Tori (Radius Books, 2016), Poems of Santoka (Galerie Vevais, 2016), Small things in silence, (Editorial RM, 2014), KAWA=Flow (Kochuten Books, 2011), YAMAMOTO MASAO (21st Editions, 2011), Fujisan (Nazraeli Press, 2008), é (Nazraeli Press, 2005), Omizuao (Nazraeli Press, 2003), Santoka (Harunatsuakifuyu Sousho, Japan, 2003), The Path of Green Leaves (Nazraeli Press, 2002) and A Box of Ku (Nazraeli Press, 1998). Masao Yamamoto's photography and prints are on display in museums and galleries across the United States, Japan, Europe, Russia and Brazil. His work is included in permanent collections like International Center of Photography, Victoria and Albert Museum, the Sir Elton John Collection. Masao Yamamoto has also had photographs hung at Jackson Fine Art, including solo shows Nakazora (2003) and A Box of Ku (1999) and group show Contemporary Japanese Photography. Source: Jackson Fine Art
Alexis Pichot
France
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.
Kimiko Yoshida
Kimiko Yoshida is a Japanese visual artist who was born in 1963 and lives in Europe since 1995. Subtle, fictional, paradoxical, Kimiko Yoshida’s Bachelor Brides form an ensemble of quasi-monochromatic self-portraits, fragments of an intimate web, elaborating on a singular story: the feminine condition in Japan. Her images are large format, luminous squares, underlining her fantasy-bio epic. While still very young, Kimiko Yoshida was struck by the story of her own mother, who met her husband for the first time on her wedding day. Kimiko Yoshida’s own story is compelling. Born in Japan, she left to France in 1995, where she adopted a new language, a new way to live, to create. She studied photography at the Ecole Nationale at Arles, later she went to "Le Fresnoy Studio" at Tourcoing, France. Kimiko Yoshida has been concentrating on this series of "intangible self-portraits" which can be read as a quest for the hybridization of cultures, for the transformation of the being, and perhaps even as a deletion of identities. The metamorphosis of her own identity into a multiplicity of identifications expresses the fading of uniqueness, the "deconstruction" of the self. Source: Gallery 51 Kimiko Yoshida was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1963. Feeling oppressed as a woman, she left Japan in 1995 and moved to France to pursue her artistic ambitions. She studied at the École Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie in Arles and the Studio National des Arts Contemporains in "Le Fresnoy". Since gaining her artistic freedom, Yoshida has been working prolifically. Her work revolves around feminine identity and the transformative power of art. In her most recent project, “Painting. Self-Portrait” she wears elaborate costumes and paints her skin in a monochrome color that matches the background. The monochromatic elements accentuate the fashion of Yoshida’s costumes. For the artist, the costume is "the field of diversion, detournement, and deflection." The visual elements, coupled with the titles’ reference to artists and paintings of the past (Ophelia by Delacroix, The Torero Bride with a Black Suit of Lights, Remembering Picasso), are meant to come together to challenge conventional notions and traditions of art and cultural identity. "I want an image that tries to rethink its own meanings and references." For her self-portraits, Yoshida received the International Photography Award in 2005. She continues to exhibit worldwide, and her work is found in the permanent collections of the Fine Arts Museum of Houston, the Israel Museum, the Kawasaki City Museum, and the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris. Source: Holden Luntz Photo Gallery
Gustave Le Gray
France
1820 | † 1884
Gustave Le Gray was born in 1820 in Villiers-le-Bel, Val-d'Oise. He was originally trained as a painter. He even exhibited at the salon in 1848 and 1853. He then crossed over to photography in the early years of its development. He made his first daguerreotypes by 1847. His early photographs included portraits; scenes of nature such as Fontainebleau Forest; and buildings such as châteaux of the Loire Valley. He taught photography to students such as Charles Nègre, Henri Le Secq, Nadar, Olympe Aguado, and Maxime Du Camp. In 1851 he became one of the first five photographers hired for the Missions Héliographiques to document French monuments and buildings. In that same year he helped found the Société Héliographique, the "first photographic organization in the world". Le Gray published a treatise on photography, which went through four editions, in 1850, 1851, 1852, and 1854. In 1855 Le Gray opened a "lavishly furnished" studio. At that time, becoming progressively the official photographer of Napoleon III, he became a successful portraitist. His most famous work dates from this period, 1856 to 1858, especially his seascapes. The studio was a fancy place, but in spite of his artistic success, his business was a financial failure: the business was poorly managed and ran into debts. He therefore "closed his studio, abandoned his wife and children, and fled the country to escape his creditors". He began to tour the Mediterranean in 1860 with the writer Alexandre Dumas, père. They crossed the path of Giuseppe Garibaldi, and Dumas enthusiastically joined the revolutionary forces with his fellow travelers. His striking pictures of Giuseppe Garibaldi and Palermo under Sicilian bombing became as instantly famous throughout Europe as their subjects. Dumas abandoned Le Gray and the other travelers in Malta as a result of a conflict about a woman. Le Gray went to Lebanon, then Syria where he covered the movements of the French army for a magazine in 1861. Injured, he remained there before heading to Egypt. In Alexandria he photographed Henri d'Artois and the future Edward VII of the United Kingdom, and wrote to Nadar while sending him pictures. He established himself in Cairo in 1864; he remained there about 20 years, earning a modest living as a professor of drawing, while retaining a small photography shop. He sent pictures to the universal exhibition in 1867 but they did not really catch anyone's attention. He received commissions from the vice-king Ismail Pasha. From this late period there remain a mere 50 pictures, some of them as beautiful as ever. He probably died on July 30, 1884, in Cairo. Source: Wikipedia
Elaine Ling
Canada
1946 | † 2016
Elaine Ling was an exuberant adventurer, traveler, and photographer who was most at home backpacking her view camera across the great deserts of the world and sleeping under the stars. Born in Hong Kong, Elaine Ling has lived in Canada since the age of nine. Upon arrival in Canada, Elaine was exhilarated by the freedom of space and began her attraction to Stone and places of Nature. She studied the piano, the cello and medicine. Since receiving her medical degree from the University of Toronto, she has practiced family medicine among various First Nations peoples in Canada's North and Pacific Northwest as well as on the other side of the world, in Abu Dhabi and Nepal. Seeking the solitude of deserts and abandoned architectures of ancient cultures, Elaine Ling has explored the shifting equilibrium between nature and the man-made across four continents. Photographing in the deserts of Mongolia, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Timbuktu, Namibia, North Africa, India, South America, Australia, American Southwest; the citadels of Ethiopia, San Agustin, Persepolis, Petra, Cappadocia, Machu Picchu, Angkor Wat, Great Zimbabwe, Abu Simbel; and the Buddhist centres of Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Tibet, and Bhutan; she has captured that dialogue. Ling's photographs, widely exhibited and published, are in the permanent collections of numerous museum and private collections including the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, France; Musée de la Photographie, Charleroi, Belgium; Fotografie Forum International, Frankfurt, Germany; Museet for Fotokunst, Odense, Denmark; Centro Portugues de Fotografia, Porto, Portugal; Scavi Scaligeri International Centre of Photography, Verona, Italy; Fototeca de Cuba, Havana; Lishui Museum of Photography; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas; Brooklyn Museum, New York; SE Museum of photography, Florida, the Cleveland In Canada, Ling is in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, Ryerson University, Art Gallery of Ontario, Royal Ontario Museum, the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography. Her international publications include work in View Camera, Photo Technique International, The Polaroid Book, Italian Zoom Magazine, Orion Magazine, Viktor Magazine, BMJ and Aperture. When not photographing, Dr. Ling practiced family medicine in Toronto and played cello in Orchestra Toronto, a community orchestra. She was a fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.Any books ordered will be filled by Edward Pong, her brother, thru his website ultraanaloguerecordings.com
Erich Hartmann
Germany / United States
1922 | † 1999
Erich Hartmann was a German-born American photographer. Hartmann was born July 29, 1922 in Munich, Germany, the eldest child of Max and Irma Hartmann who lived in Passau, a small city on the Danube near the Austrian border in which they were one of a five Jewish families. Erich Hartmann's family belonged to the middle class, and his father, a social-democrat who served during World War I and been imprisoned by the British, was highly respected. In 1930, only eight years old, Erich took his first photographs. Life became increasingly difficult after the Nazi takeover in 1933, including personal, financial, business, and family restrictions and the beginning of deportations of Jews to the first so-called 'labor camp' in the village of Dachau. The Hartmann family moved to Munich that year, in search of a more tolerant and cosmopolitan environment. The situation only worsened, however, and the family determined that they had to leave Germany. In August 1938, they accepted the opportunity to emigrate to the United States, having received the necessary affidavit of support from distant relatives there. They sailed from Hamburg to New York, staying initially in Washington Heights, before settling outside Albany, New York. The only English speaker in the family, Erich Hartmann worked in a textile mill in Albany, New York, attending evening high school and later taking night courses at Siena College. On December 8, 1941, the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the US entered the war, and Erich enlisted in the US Army. Trained in Virginia and at Ohio State University, he had to wait until 1943 before serving in England, Belgium (Battle of the Bulge) and France, and with the liberating forces as a court interpreter at Nazi trials in Cologne, Germany. At the end of the war he moved to New York City where, in 1946, he married Ruth Bains; they had two children, Nicholas (born in 1952) and Celia (born in 1956). During these years, he worked as an assistant to portrait photographer George Feyer, and then as a freelancer. He studied at the New School for Social Research with Charles Leirens, Berenice Abbott, and Alexey Brodovitch. His portrait subjects over the years included architect Walter Gropius, writers Arthur Koestler and Rachel Carson, musicians Leonard Bernstein and Gidon Kremer, actor Marcel Marceau, fellow photographer Ed Feingersh, and many other literary and musical personalities. Music played a great role in his life and work: "Music captured me before photography did," he recalled. "In my parents' house there was not much music except for a hand-cranked gramophone on which I surreptitiously and repeatedly played a record of arias from Carmen. This was before I could read!″ In the 1950s Erich Hartmann first became known to the wider public for his poetic approach to science, industry and architecture in a series of photo essays for Fortune magazine, beginning with The Deep North, The Building of Saint Lawrence Seaway and Shapes of Sound. He later did similar essays on the poetics of science and technology for French, German and American Geo and other magazines. Throughout his life he traveled widely on assignments for the major magazines of the US, Europe and Japan and for many corporations such as AT&T, Boeing, Bowater, Citroën, Citibank, Corning Glass, DuPont, European Space Agency, Ford, IBM, Johns Hopkins University, Kimberly-Clark, Pillsbury Company, Nippon Airways, Schlumberger, TWA, and Woolworth, for all of which he used color. In 1952 he was invited to join Magnum Photos, the international photographers’ cooperative founded in 1947 by Robert Capa, David Seymour, George Rodger and Henri Cartier-Bresson, he served on the board of directors from 1967 to 1986, and as President in 1985–1986. For more than eight weeks in 1994, Erich and Ruth Hartmann undertook a winter journey to photograph the remains of the Nazi concentration and extermination camps, and places of deportation, throughout Europe. He was determined to take only black and white photographs and to capture only what he saw, immediately when arriving, no matter whether days looked like nights. He returned to New York with 120 rolls of film, from which he made a first edit of 300 photographs and a final selection of only 74 frames. These, together with text by Ruth Bains Hartmann, formed the book and exhibition In the Camps, published in 1995 in English, French, and German and exhibited in more than twenty venues in the US and Europe in the years since. In all of his travel, for work and pleasure, Hartmann carried a small camera with a few rolls of black and white film, prepared for every visual opportunity. He also deliberately pursued a series of imaginative projects including experiments with ink in water, stroboscopic light effects, beach pebbles constrained in boxes, and others. In the late 1990s, with an eye to a future retrospective exhibition, Hartmann began making a definitive selection from fifty years of this personal work in black and white. Just a few months before his death he began discussions with a gallery in Austria about organizing an exhibition called Where I Was. On February 4, 1999 Erich Hartmann died unexpectedly from a heart attack in New York. Source: Wikipedia In the late 1960s and 1970s he lived in London. He documented the construction of the Britannia aircraft for the Bristol Aeroplane Company and he photographed for the leading colour magazines: the Sunday Times, the Observer and the Telegraph, notably on such stories as Shakespeare's Warwickshire and The Norman Conquest Descendants. For the Weekend Telegraph he made sensitive colour pictures of Styles of English Architecture, in a series of photo-essays for which Sir John Betjeman wrote the words, and he also travelled with Betjeman to the Faeroe Islands. Later Hartmann returned to Germany where he had lived in the shadow of the Nazis until he was 16, and chose a project for himself: the death camps. He made an unforgettable book, In the Camps (1995). He said, "I simply felt obliged to stand in as many of the camps as I could reach, to fulfill a duty that I could not define and to pay a belated tribute with the tools of my profession." The book is a magnificent tribute. There is hardly a person in it. So solitary is it, so desolate, that we people the pages with our own ghosts, we bring to it our own fears and imagery. These imaginings have the feeling of poetry. We see a room full of broken shoes; another room of battered satchels; another of torn children's clothes; the windowless barracks in four tiers in which multitudes tried to survive; or a square in which a gallows hangs in the wind. The railway tracks which many took into the camp; a single gas chamber in Auschwitz. It is hard to go from examining the book to describe all Erich Hartmann did for the Magnum co-operative when he served on the board or was vice-president (1975 and 1979) or president (1985). Burt Glinn describes how he and Hartmann came to Magnum at the same time, almost 47 years ago: "We have photographed together and met together and consulted together about ethics and journalism, and we have attended 46 Magnum General Meetings, the first with only eight other photographers and the last with more than 50, but all of them passionate, contentious and personal." He goes on: "Through all these years Erich, more than anyone else, has been my moral compass. No matter how knotty the problem he never settled for the facile compromise. He was always wise, judicious, and ferocious to find the right answer rather than the easy one. When I suspected that I was pursuing my self-interest rather than the common good I would glance over at Erich and if I encountered his quizzically cocked eyebrow I would shut up."Source: Independent
Lauren Semivan
United States
1981
Lauren Semivan (b. 1981) was born in Detroit, Michigan. She received a BA in studio art from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, and an MFA in photography from Cranbrook Academy of Art. Her work has been exhibited at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Detroit Center for Contemporary Photography, The Griffin Museum of Photography, The Hunterdon Art Museum, Cranbrook Art Museum, Paris Photo, and The AIPAD Photography Show among others. She has taught photography at College for Creative Studies, The Ohio State University, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Wayne State University. Semivan has received numerous awards for her work including Photolucida Critical Mass Top 50, and The Griffin Museum of Photography’s Griffin Award. In 2014, she was a finalist for The John Gutmann Photography Fellowship, and SF Camerawork’s Baum Award for Emerging Photographers. Her work was recently published in Series of Dreams (Skeleton Key Press, 2018) and has appeared in The New Yorker, Artforum, Harper's Magazine, Interview Magazine, The Village Voice, and Photograph magazine. Semivan’s work is part of permanent collections at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Cranbrook Art Museum, The Wriston Art Galleries at Lawrence University, and The Elton John Photography Collection. She lives in Appleton, WI and is represented by Benrubi Gallery in New York, and David Klein Gallery in Detroit, Michigan. Artist Statement "The staged photograph exists as a document of a pre-conceived, imagined event. It can be compared to a scientific apparatus, utilizing both control and the unknown. My ongoing body of work, Observatory, combines drawing, an archive of objects, and the human presence as a narrative tool. In scientific disciplines, a line is classified as an event. Something as primitive as a scrawl on a surface reveals an aggregate of events, intersecting and changing course. Drawings made on the seamless backdrop describe an emotional space. Science is inherently experiential, as is art making. Knowing and feeling are not separate, and the whole of the environment can be used as a pedagogic instrument. Observatory elegantly draws upon a tension that exists between irrational and physical worlds. Within each image, ghosts of previous drawings create a sense of time suspended, evoking gesture, atmosphere and memory. Photographs allow me to access the extraordinary, to keep a record of dreams, and to employ the unknown. My interest in photography is interdisciplinary and synergistic, informed by the written word, painting, drawing, sculpture, and the raw material of human experience. All images are made using an early 20th century 8x10" view camera. Large format negatives are scanned and printed without digital manipulation in editions of 5 (40"x50") and 10 (24"x30")."Source: www.laurensemivan.com Her ongoing body of work, Observatory, combines drawing, an archive of objects, and the human presence as a narrative tool. Within each image, ghosts of previous drawings create a sense of time suspended, evoking gesture, atmosphere and memory. "Photographs allow me to access the extraordinary, to keep a record of dreams, and to employ the unknown. Science is inherently experiential, as is art making. Knowing and feeling are not separate, and the whole of the environment can be used as a pedagogic instrument. Observatory elegantly draws upon a tension that exists between irrational and physical worlds". Semivan’s work resides in the collections of the Nelson Atkins Museum, Cranbrook Art Museum, and the Wriston Art Center at Lawrence University, and has been featured in Wall Street International Magazine, the New Yorker, Artforum, and Photograph magazine.Source: Benrubi Gallery
Anne Helene Gjelstad
Anne Helene Gjelstad is an award-winning photographer and educator. After graduation from the Norwegian National Academy of Craft and Art Industry in 1982 she had her own fashion studio in Oslo for 25 years. Among her clients were HM Queen Sonja, Norwegian artists, magazines and the textile industry. In 2006 she felt the need for a change and decided to follow her childhood dream and become a photographer. She took the two-year class in photography at Bilder Nordic School of Photography (2007-08) as well a numerous workshops by some of the leading photographers of our time such as Joyce Tenneson, Mary Ellen Mark, Greg Gorman and Vee Speers. Anne Helene's works has been has been exhibited worldwide; in the National Art Museum of China in Beijing, in Centro Fotografico Alvarez Bravo in Mexico, in Ljubljana in Slovenia, around Estonia including the Lobby in the Estonian Parliament in Tallinn and in the National Museum in Tartu as well as in The House of Photography in Oslo. Anne Helene Gjelstad has her photo studio in an old barn surrounded by beautiful landscape just outside of Oslo. She also gives lectures and teaches portrait photography and postproduction. For her portraits, she is rewarded numerous awards. Statement For eleven years, since 2008, I have worked on portraying the lives of the older women on the small Estonian islands of Kihnu and Manija in the Baltic Sea. Colourful, interesting and friendly, they represent a culture and a way of life that is changing despite the strong anchor of tradition. These robust women are used to working hard, and take care of almost everything. They bring up the children, make the clothes, plough the fields, drive the tractors and take care of the animals. The men spend much time away from home, fishing or working on the mainland or abroad. Life is often hard. This is normal here. Nobody asks questions. You do what you must. This is how you get a big heart and strong hands. The voices of these hushed culture bearers need to be heard and kept for generations to come in a small society that is rapidly changing towards western standards, and where the traditional culture and identity is naturally slipping away. I have aimed to tell the women's stories truthfully and I have photographed their daily lives and activities, clothing and bedrooms, kitchens and farmhouses, the details, the surroundings and landscapes as well as the ceremony held in a deceased person's kitchen only three hours after she had passed away. To tell the fuller story, I have also interviewed some of the women about their lives, their experiences during war and occupation, family life, work, food and thoughts about the future. My book is my contribution to record and help preserve this unique culture for the future and give these old, wise women the voice they deserve as the quiet nation builders they really are.
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