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Mike Magers
David Burnett, Contact Press Images
Mike Magers
Mike Magers

Mike Magers

Country: United States
Birth: 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 here
 

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More Great Photographers To Discover

Henry Horenstein
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Born in Massachusetts in 1947, Henry Horenstein was on a path to becoming a historian when he discovered photography. Captivated by the work of Robert Frank and Danny Lyon, Horenstein entered the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) where he studied with Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind. After completing his MFA at RISD in 1973, Horenstein's first major project was a documentary survey of the people and character of country music. As a long-time fan, Horenstein recognized that the culture of country music was changing, losing the homey, down-to-earth character of "hillbilly" music, and adopting the slicker nature of contemporary country music. His goal was to preserve a vanishing culture by capturing it in photographs, and for nearly a decade, he traveled throughout the United States, documenting the artists and audiences at honky-tonk bars, outdoor festivals, and community dances. The body of work that Horenstein created (published in 2003 as Honky Tonk) is a remarkable portrait of a distinct period in American cultural history. Some of Horenstein's later work has followed a similar theme, creating documentary portraits of distinct American sub-cultures, such as the worlds of horse racing, boxing clubs, and baseball. In recent years, Horenstein has also developed an extensive body of work that combines elements of portraiture, abstraction, clinical documentation, and landscape photography. Working with animals as well as human subjects, Horenstein creates compelling and frequently ambiguous images that explore the patterns, textures and geography of skin, scales and hair. Mixing the exotic and the ordinary, and making it difficult to tell which is which, Horenstein causes the viewer to pause and look closely. In doing so, we are made to re-examine ourselves as well as the world around us. Horenstein's work has been exhibited in galleries and museums both nationally and internationally, including the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History, Washington, D.C.; the International Museum of Photography, George Eastman House, Rochester, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and Fabrik der Kunste, Hamburg, Germany. Photographs by Henry Horenstein can be found in many public and private collections including the Library of Congress, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia. Horenstein is the author of over 30 books including several monographs and a series of highly successful photography textbooks that have been used by hundreds of thousands of students around the country. Horenstein currently lives in Boston and is a professor of photography at RISD.
Jorge Pozuelo
Spain
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Born in León in 1977, he began his photographic career in the 90s. He quit his job as a telecommunications technician to devote himself to photography where he did an MA in photography from the University of Canterbury. He always wanted to find the human side in all his photographs, playing with visual aggression and silence of space. In 2009 he took an year off and traveled the world and published “Picture Easy”, a book for all rules of photography, affordable for anyone to start in the world of photography. He worked for an year as a digital photographic technician, where he met all professional teams and medium format digital market issues resolved color management studies like Ricky Dávila and Isabel Muñoz. He has done work for companies like Unidental photographic, Silken Hotels, Tinkle, Adecco, AD, Truhko Make Up, FX Magazine, Life Smile or artistic bodies festival in Spain. In October 2011 he traveled to Doha for several editorials for the magazine “Qultura” for the government of Qatar. He has done several photo exhibitions, “BodyArt”, “TattooArt” or “walls of silence”, joint exhibition of great impact in the press and on TV Carabanchel prison. He has made a joint project with the photojournalist Ervin Sarkisov titled “Back to Life” where they follow up drug abusers. His presentation was in the 2011 grenade Alandaluz Photofestival double pass and very well received. In the course of months he has now approached to teaching, he runs a photography school in Madrid and tries to instill his passion for photography. He has given seminars on photographic lighting as both white and black, making the latter a small obsession in Madrid, Cordoba and Barcelona for different associations, municipalities and companies like Elincrom and Fotocasión.Source Artphotofeature.com
Helmut Newton
Germany/Australia
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Helmut Newton, a German-Jewish/Australian fashion photographer, is best known for his fashion and female nude studies. Born Helmut Neustadter in Berlin, Germany on Oct. 31, 1920, Newton attended both German and American schools. Newton's proclivity for the unusual, particularly in sexual contexts, is attributed to his early years, when his older brother showed him the "red light" (prostitute) district of Berlin. This early exposure would later lead him to create photographic studies that altered the course of fashion photography. In 1936, Newton left a floundering school career to apprentice under German photographer Else Neulander Simon (known professionally as Yva). Under political pressure, Else, also a Jew, was forced to close her studio, and in 1938, Newton himself fled Germany for Singapore. Here he worked briefly as a photographer for the Singapore Strait Times until he made another move, this time to Melbourne, Australia. During World War II Newton served with the Australian army as a truck driver, then decided to follow his dream, opening his first photography studio in 1946. Two years later he married actress June Browne and gained his Australian citizenship. Newton's initial photography work was standard of the time, primarily comprising weddings, baby portraits and mail order catalogs. But in 1952 his big break came when he began working for fashion-iconic Australian Vogue magazine. In 1956 Newton partnered with Henry Talbot and gave his studio a new name: Helmut Newton and Henry Talbot. By the late 1950s, Newton's reputation as a photographer was growing. He left for London on assignment in 1959 and eventually landed in Paris in 1961. From this new locale, his work appeared nationally and internationally in such magazines as Elle, Marie Claire, Playboy and French Vogue. During this time Newton's photography style began to emerge as covertly sexual, even hinting occasionally at the fetishistic. Throughout the 1960s Newton's celebrity status brought him increasingly exotic assignments. Then, following a heart attack in 1971, Newton's work took on new purpose. He began to openly explore sexual themes, rocking the photography world and capturing interest around the globe. Newton's wife, June, is said to have encouraged him in this new career course as he began to depict women in increasingly aggressive and sometimes menacing roles. The 1978 horror classic "The Eyes of Laura Mars" was influenced directly by Newton's work. Newton was the recipient of a number of honors, including Germany's Kodak Award for Photographic Books, the Tokyo Art Director's Club prize and an American Institute of Graphic Arts award. He was also recognized by the French and German governments. Life magazine honored Newton with the Life Legend Award for Lifetime Achievement in Magazine Photography in 1999. In 2003, Newton donated a large photo collection to the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation in Berlin, the land of his birth. The collection remains there today. Newton continued to travel during his waning years, primarily alternating between Los Angeles and Monte Carlo. He died on Jan. 24, 2004, in an automobile accident. His ashes are buried in his home city of Berlin.
Filip Gierlinski
United Kingdom
My uncle is a very accomplished craftsman and very keen and skilled amateur photographer. I always loved to see him draw, paint, design and gave me my fist Minolta x370 35mm manual camera when I was about 8, so it started there. At school and Uni I studied art subjects. I graduated in Graphic Design, worked for a year as a junior designer, but all the time thought I wanted to be the guy who came into our office with a contact sheet of commissioned photography, and not the guy sitting at a screen and designing the layouts for his photos. A friend was working in a Commercial Photo studio and needed some summer intern cover, and I jumped at the chance. 3 months tuned into nearly 4 years at the studio, and I learnt the skills, techniques, discipline, equipment and it opened my eyes to the industry and business of commercial photography. I have always had a passion for travel and I was eager to get outside, into the sun, and shoot people and places...we worked on products, catalogues and room sets at the studio which was an amazing experience and training, but not what I most desired to be shooting. I was fortunate enough to learn my trade in the days of film, and came to professional photography just as digital was breaking in and the industry was opening up and shifting. This gave me the technical skills of shooting on film for many years, and the ability to by my first semi-pro digital slr and advertise online for freelance jobs - so I had the best of (understanding) both worlds. After some travel and teaching TEFL with my wife, we came back to the UK and I started to freelance, shooting mostly art projects, working for the Arts Council and delivering educational programmes, and all the time slowly building up my freelance business. So since about 2003 I have worked as a commercial and corporate photographer, covering a wide range of subjects and industries and have had the opportunity to work with some amazing and diverse clients. The work as a tutor gives me the opportunity to travel and practice my craft and I bring that inspiration back to my business. Part of my early freelance work was shooting business portraits, and so I started to advertise specifically for Corporate Headshots and Portraits as a separate arm of my work, and this has become the main source of my income and commissions over the past few years. I have shot for huge companies with 1000's employees, as well as small businesses, professionals and entrepreneurs. I try to bring a sense of style and creativity, and an editorial feel to the ‘Corporate Headshot' and think that defines me with a distinctive look and product. I enjoy bringing a bit of creativity and style into the corporate world in my own little way, and years of shooting 1000s of people means I can read with my sitters quickly, make them feel at ease and connect with them which is something that shows through in my portraits. The skill is to do that within the 4 or 5 minutes I have with each person, sometimes up to 60-100 times a day! Most recently I shot a campaign for a bowling alley company, working with a sports marketing agency, and so in between my corporate work and travels, I work with agencies for hospitality, sports and automotive industries. Working on set with director Shane Meadows was a great experience, as well as shooting the bands I loved since I was a kid from the press pit and back stage at rock festivals - a real pinch yourself moment. As I often photograph a lot of faces and people in my daily work, it is always nice to get a luxury hotel commission where it's all about the rooms and design, architecture and details and make for a pleasurable change of pace. I was born in Poland in 1977, at 2 months packed into basket and flown to Tunis as my father was a civil engineer and contracted out there for a few years. We then lived in Poland and France and then moved to the UK when I was a child and so travel is in my blood. Since then I have been lucky to visit so many amazing countries. I have never really had money to just go travel, but always seeked out jobs where I could see the world. I have spent time as a tour guide in South America, teaching English in Nepal and India, and more recently working as a tutor has taken me all over the world. I have been lucky enough to be able to balance seeing the world, with a family life and earning here in the UK. I don't shoot travel stock or go with any intent to produce a commercial library, but more to see the people, to document their lives, to capture a story, as I feel my travel images are much more personal stories and of a more editorial feel than commercial. This may all change as i shoot new projects and seek to follow my vision. It is still my dream to find a way to move more towards travel and editorial commissions but I am lucky to be able to make ends meet through a job that I love every day.
Eric Kunsman
United States
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Eric T. Kunsman (b. 1975) was born and raised in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. While in high school, he was heavily influenced by the death of the steel industry and its place in American history. The exposure to the work of Walker Evans during this time hooked Eric onto photography. Eric had the privilege to study under Lou Draper, who became Eric's most formative mentor. He credits Lou with influencing his approach as an educator, photographer, and contributing human being. Eric holds his MFA in Book Arts/Printmaking from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia and holds an MS in Electronic Publishing/Graphic Arts Media, BS in Biomedical Photography, BFA in Fine Art photography all from the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York. Currently, he is a photographer and book artist based out of Rochester, New York. Eric works at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) as a Lecturer for the Visual Communications Studies Department at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf and is an adjunct professor for the School of Photographic Arts & Sciences. In addition to lectures, he provides workshops on topics including his artistic practice, digital printing, and digital workflow processes. He also provides industry seminars for the highly regarded Printing Applications Lab at RIT. His photographs and books are exhibited internationally and are in several collections. He currently owns Booksmart Studio, which is a fine art digital printing studio, specializing in numerous techniques and services for photographers and book artists on a collaborative basis. Eric's work has been exhibited in over 35 solo exhibitions at such venues as Nicolaysen Art Museum, Hoyt Institute of Fine Art, Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, and numerous university galleries. His work has also been a part of over 150 group exhibitions over the past 4 four years including exhibitions at the Center for Photography, A. Smith Gallery, SPIVA, San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, Spartanburg Museum of Art, Atlanta Photography Group, CEPA Gallery, Site:Brooklyn, Colorado Photographic Arts Center, Philadelphia Photo Arts Center, and many more. Eric was named one of 10 B&W photographers to watch of 2018 by BWGallerist, B&W Best Photographers of the Year 2019 by Dodho Magazine, and won the Association of Photography (UK) Gold Award for Open Series in 2019, Finalist, Top 200 Critical Mass 2019, Top 15 Photographers for the Rust Belt Biennial. His Project Felicific Calculus was also awarded a Warhol Foundations Grant through CEPA Gallery in Buffalo, NY. Eric's work has also been published in magazines such as; LensWork, Dodho, B&W Photography along with online articles by Analog Forever Magazine, Catalyst: Interview, Texas Photo Society, and others. He is currently represented by HOTE Gallery in Los Angeles, CA and Malamegi in San Daniele del Friuli (Udine), Italy. There's no "given," formula for what demands Eric's focus as a photographer. Eric is as drawn to the landscapes and neglected towns of the American southwest as he is to the tensions of struggling rustbelt cities in the U.S. northeast. Eric is attracted to objects left behind, especially those that hint at a unique human narrative, a story waiting to be told. Eric's current work explores one of those relics: working payphones hidden in plain sight throughout the neighborhood near his studio in Rochester, NY. Associates suggested they signified a high crime area. This project's shown Eric something very different. Statement Felicific Calculus: Technology as a Social Marker of Class, Race, & Economics in Rochester, NY The felicific calculus is an algorithm formulated by jurist and reformer Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) for calculating the moral rightness of an action by balancing the probable pleasures and pains that it would produce. Bentham, a utilitarian philosopher, believed this calculus could, in principle, help determine the moral status of any considered act. In 2017, I relocated my studio to a different part of Rochester, NY. Colleagues immediately started making comments along the lines of: "...that area's a war zone." My experience with the new neighborhood was positive, so I wanted to discover what visual cues others might be seeing as indicators of a dangerous environment. Several people had mentioned the number of payphones in the area, inferring that only criminals use payphones these days. There really were a lot of payphones in my neighborhood. I began documenting them, and quickly saw that far from being used by criminals, these phones served as a lifeline for some of the poorest residents in the area. Looking deeper, I found the story behind Rochester's payphones reflected an unusually altruistic ‘felicific calculus' by Frontier Communications. Instead of focusing on profits, they had decided to maintain the payphones in poorer neighborhoods for the good of the community. Many policymakers have opted to view payphones as a social indicator of crime, unfortunately leading to ignorant or even dangerous decisions. In Detroit, Michigan, politicians had all public payphones removed without studying or surveying their actual use.They simply assumed the criminal connection. This decision was based on a further assumption that everyone today must own a mobile phone. Decision-makers lacking facts or any real understanding of issues facing citizens from a different economic class just acted on a misperception. Witnessing that type of reflexive judgement from my colleagues drove me to educate myself. I photographed payphones and mapped their locations, then overlaid them with census maps showing economic status, ethnicity, age and sex, and the city crime map. There was an immediate, direct correlation between the poverty level and location of the payphones. Areas with the most payphones coincided with Rochester neighborhoods where the average family incomes are lower than $20,000 annually. There was also no correlation with high crime neighborhoods. Through Felicific Calculus I hope to challenge negative perceptions of social markers that conflate poverty with crime. Though they are relics to most of us, payphones remain important for residents trapped in lower economic circumstances.
Ron Cooper
United States
I am a travel, documentary and portrait photographer based in Denver, CO. I began exploring photography ten years ago after retiring early from a corporate career. I travel extensively in pursuit of images that reflect local cultures and people. My emphasis in recent years has been on portraiture with the objective of “introducing” viewers to the people I meet and photograph at home and around the world. My work has been exhibited in juried group shows at Colorado Photographic Art Center (Denver, CO), Center for Fine Art Photography (Ft. Collins, CO), Southeast Center for Photography (Greenville, SC), Naples (FL) Art Association, PhotoPlace Gallery (Middlebury, VT), ACCI (Berkeley, CA), A. Smith Gallery (Johnson City, TX), Blackbox Gallery (Portland, OR), Click! Photography Festival (Raleigh/Durham, NC), Midwest Center for Photography (Wichita, KS). Solo exhibitions include: Asian Journeys (2016) at Gallery MFC, Denver, CO; Faces (2016) at the Hamilton Family Gallery, Children's Hospital of Colorado, Aurora, CO; Faces of the American West (2016) at The Darkroom, Longmont, Colorado; and Pleased to Meet You: Portraits from Places Near & Far (2018) at Gallery MFC, Denver, CO; and Keepers of Tradition (2019) at Robert Anderson Gallery, Denver, CO. My photographs have been published in Black & White Magazine, Monovisions Magazine, AAP Magazine, PDN, New Mexico Magazine and Photographer's Forum. My portraits celebrate humankind. I've been privileged to meet and photograph people in may different places - across five continents, diverse geographies, cultures and ways of life. My objective is to make interesting, accessible and compelling images that tell a story or convey a sense of place and personality. As a matter of respect and courtesy, I always engage with my subjects, asking permission to make their portrait. My request is sometimes met with skepticism. Occasionally I'm turned down. More often, however, my approach results in a conversation - sometimes quite brief, and often through sign language or a translator. That conversation - whatever it's form - yields a connection that I hope is reflected in the final image. I favor simple compositions - straightforward and tightly framed. This approach directs the viewer's attention to the subject's eyes. In most of my images the individuals are looking directly at the camera and, by extension, at us. This approach feels honest and straightforward. The great majority of my portraits are made in natural surroundings with available light. No studio, no strobes. This approach is less intimidating and less formal. It improves the chances of capturing a genuine portrait, an unguarded moment that reveals something of the person behind the photograph. My portraits document the amazing diversity in appearance, lifestyle and circumstances of the people I meet in my travels. At the same time, I hope the message that stays with the viewer is, despite our many superficial differences, our shared humanness connects all of us in the human tapestry.
Anne Berry
United States
I imagine a land, scared and wild, where what counts cannot be counted. The natural world possesses an invisible but powerful energy. Humans can communicate with animals. Children don't doubt these facts. They still live in The Garden. As adults, we know that they can't stay. One gray night it will happen: a veil will fall, a gate will close, and the marvelous will cease to exist. What if we could help children keep their sense of awe and respect for nature and foster a belief in the value of things not seen but felt? I use antique analog lenses to make square black and white prints, purposely creating an atmosphere removed from reality and a longing for a lost green and meaningful past, but the natural settings, the animals, the children themselves and the metaphorical elements speak of hope and grace. It is an urgent call to honor and protect nature. Anne Berry is an artist from Atlanta, Georgia. She is best known for photographs of children and animals that capture the enchantment and power of the natural world. In 2013 and 2014 Critical Mass included her work in their Top 50 Portfolios. Anne has had solo exhibitions at the Centre for Visual and Performing Arts in Newnan, GA, The Lamar Dodd Art Center in LAGrange, GA and The Rankin Arts Center in Columbus, GA. She has exhibited nationally and internationally, including The Fox Talbot Museum in Lacock, England, SCAN Tarragona in Spain, The Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego, and the Ogden Museum of Southern Arts in New Orleans. Books include Through Glass (North Light Press, 2014) and Primates (21st Editions, 2017). Anne's work is featured in National Geographic Proof, Feature Shoot, The Flannery O'Connor Review, Hufffington Post and Lens Culture, among others. Her work is in many permanent collections, including the National Gallery of Art. Anne lives in Newnan, GA. She is represented by the Catherine Couturier Gallery in Houston.
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