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Margaret Watkins
Self Portrait, 1919
Margaret Watkins
Margaret Watkins

Margaret Watkins

Country: Canada
Birth: 1884 | Death: 1969

Margaret Watkins (1884-1969) was born in Canada. Best known for art and advertising photography executed in New York in the 1920s, Watkins was active in the Clarence White school of photography and a participant in the shift from pictorialism to modernism. Her working life spanned a Victorian upbringing in Hamilton, Ontario, and the witnessing of the first Soviet Five-Year Plan. Watkins' modernism, which involved experimentation and a radical focus on form, transgressed boundaries of conventional, high-art subject matter. Her focus was daily life and her photographs, whether an exploration of the objects in her New York kitchen or the public and industrial spaces of Glasgow, Paris, Cologne, Moscow, and Leningrad in the 1930s, strike a balance between abstraction and an evocation of the everyday, offering a unique gendered perspective on modernism and modernity.

Watkins established a studio in Greenwich Village and in 1920 she accepted the position of editor of the annual publication Pictorial Photography in America. Clarence White asked Watkins to join the faculty of his school, where Watkins met other notable photographers, including Alfred Stieglitz and Paul Strand. She worked for Macy's department stores and for the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency, capturing simple domestic objects with a clarity of modernist vision rare in commercial photography at the time. Her landscapes, portraits, nudes, still lifes, and abstractions received praise and attracted controversy. Exhibitions were held in the United States and in Europe.

In 1928, Watkins decided to visit her four elderly aunts in Glasgow, Scotland. She traveled throughout Europe, photographing extensively and producing a body of work documenting post-revolution Russia. Her aunts began to take ill, and Watkins remained in Glasgow to help care for them. She drifted from the spotlight of public recognition, and few photographs or negatives exist from this time. Watkins lived in Scotland in seclusion until her death in 1969.
 

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Michal Cala
Poland
1948
Michal Cala was born in Toruń, Poland in 1948 and studied aircraft construction in Warsaw at the University of Technology in the early 1970's. From 1974 to 1983 he worked as an engineer in various companies in Silesia, and began photographing in the area. In 1977, he moved to Tychy in Upper Silesia, where he co-founded the photographers' association KRON and become a member of the ZPAF – the Union of Polish Art Photographers. Relatively unknown outside of his native country, his work is in several museum collections in Poland; in the Silesian Museum of Katowice, the Silesian Library in Katowice, the Upper Silesian Museum in Bytom, the Coal Mining Museum in Zabrze as well as local government building in Duisburg in the Ruhr (Germany) and various private collections. His work has received much acclaim and won numerus awards; among which are the Grand Prix at the Polish Landscape Biennale in Kielce twice, 1979 and 1983 and won the first prise at the Pilsner International Photo Awards in the Industrial category in 2007. His work from Galicia series and the Paysages de Pologne exhibition was shown in France in 1980's. The Silesia exhibition was shown widely in Katowice (1984, 2002, 2008), Krakow (1986, 2006), Warsaw (1986, 2009), in Enschede, the Netherlands, (2012), at the Photo Biennale Mannheim – Ludwigshafen – Heidelberg (2007) and part of group project at the Noorderlicht Photo Festival in the Netherlands (2008). In 2007 he was classified as one of most important Polish photographers in last century and participated in the group exhibition Polish Photography in XX Century (Warsaw, Poland and Vilnius, Lithuania). In the same year, Cala's photography was featured in British Journal of Photography and Foto8 magazine. Publications on his work include The Anthology of Polish Photography 1839 – 1989, The Masters of Polish Landscape and The Polish Photography in the 20th Century. His past exhibition Metropolis on Silesian urban landscapes was held at the Silesian Museum in Katowice in 2013 and a solo show Silesia and Galicia in the Museum of History of Photography in 2016 in Krakow (Poland). His photo book based on the same series was recently selected in the Open Submission at Belfast and Athens Photo Festivals respectively (2017). The latest solo exhibition at MMX Gallery; SILESIA 1975-1985, was the first time his work has been shown in UK.MMX Gallery about the exhibition Silesia 1975-1985 Michal Cala is regarded as one of the most important Polish photographers of the last century. Cala started taking pictures in his youth and has been working professionally as a photographer for nearly 40 years. Silesia is an industrial district in Poland which at the time of 1970's and early 1980's was experiencing its peak of development and activity. Although providing massive employment for the area, the environmental issues were ignored. Stepping off the train, Cala encountered the other-worldly landscape for the first time and decided this is what he wanted to make of photographic record of. Fascinated by the subject matter, he devoted himself to photographing the Silesian landscape between 1975 – 1992, which resulted in the series entitled Silesia (Śląsk in Polish). Cala's photography took on various influences ranging from surrealism, which inspired a movement in Poland called "fotografia kreacyjna" (creative photography), and the realism of British New Wave cinema of the late 1950's and early 1960's. Poland's isolation during the Cold War made it very difficult for photographers to obtain artistic publications. However, some Czech and Polish magazines were publishing Western photographers work such as Edward Weston, Bill Brandt, Robert Frank and Diane Arbus who acted as a window for inspiration. Cala was influenced by landscape, reportage and social documentary photography, which he always portrayed in his personally stylised images. In Poland, political and material conditions were harsh under Soviet influence. Using a basic 35mm Exa 500 camera, he managed to produce images of such a lyrical beauty only to be emphasised again with a dark graphic printing style, to further enhance his vision of the sometimes-apocalyptic looking landscape before him. A single house surrounded by huge cooling towers, majestic slagheaps, lonely figures microscopic when compared to the massive scale of industrial surroundings are subtle metaphors of living in a communist reality. The majority of photographs in the exhibition are vintage silver gelatin prints, made by Cala at the time they were taken.Source: MMX Gallery
Mathilde Pettersen
Mathilde Helene Pettersen, born 1976 in Norway. Photographer and visual artist, lives and work in Kristiansand, south of Norway. Holds a BA in Photography and film from Napier Edinburgh University, Scotland and a MA in Art from the University of Agder, Kristiansand, Norway. Pettersen is a member of Association of Norwegian Visual Artist and society of Fine Art Photographers in Norway. Between 2013 and 2015 she was selected for the Norwegian Journal of Photography #2, a program supporting eight independent photographers in Norway, working on long-term projects and published by Journal, Stockholm (2015). In this publication, she chose to show a selection from her project Searching for Cloudberries, which was featured in Time Magazine/Lightbox and SHOTS magazine and exhibited at the Festival Voies Off in Arles, France (2016) and at the Encuentros Abiertos Festival de La Luz , in Buenos Aires, Argentina (2016) and at the Henie Onstad Art center in Oslo, Norway (2019). Her work I need a kiss before they leave was exhibited at the Musée de l'Elysée in Lausanne, Switzerland (2016), Kristiansand Kunsthall, Norway (2017), the International Photofestival PhotoVisa in Krasnodar, Russia (2017) and is currently on show at the Sørlandets Museum of Art (Jun-Nov 2020) alongside photographers as Swedish Christer Strömholm and Anders Petersen and the Norwegian Tom Sandberg, Dag Alveng and Kåre Kivijärvi. Her first photobook I NEED A KISS BEFORE THEY LEAVE was launched at Paris Photo 2019 at the Grand Palais by the German Kehrer Verlag in Heidelberg. Mathilde Pettersen presents two projects: Searching for Cloudberries (2008-), analogue black and white photographs. My projects revolve around portraiture and self-portraiture, and in their themes touch upon motherhood and family as constellations. So does this project, presently spanning ten years now. It takes shape by depicting a sense of dysfunctionality of the infertile female body - a theme that is often taboo in our society - before it turns and grows in a new direction when discovered not, moving on to contemplate the development of the child and the changes of the body of its mother over time in connection with life cycles in nature. I need a kiss before they leave (2011-), digital colour photographs. I NEED A KISS BEFORE THEY LEAVE is an emotional family portrait, filled with immense joy, but also with a disturbing realization of a wonderfulness that cannot be stored. It reflects upon a human desire to freeze time, to forever savoring those moments which are destined to live on only as distant memories. Photography is of course the artistic technique to actually freeze time and to store a split second forever. In this book, Norwegian photographer Mathilde Helene Pettersen captures an entire parenthood, with all its bright and dark moments. I need a kiss before they leave reflects on becoming and being a mother, on building a family, on the immediate and unpredictable, on strengths and fragilities in life, and sometimes on the overshadowing fear of death and the irreversible. From the text in I NEED A KISS BEFORE THEY LEAVE by Anna-Kaisa Rastenberger: First things first: loving is not for the faint of heart. Loving, day af- ter day, requires the courage to handle the disappointment of quotidian love falling short of the ideal of love. It requires even more courage to extend love to societal structures in need of repair. (...) "This is my story." These are the words used by Mathilde Helene Pettersen at the beginning of her book I need a kiss before they leave. The series, consisting of photographs taken with a camera phone over a period of eight years, is a chronicle of childbirth, motherhood, and family life. Pettersen writes that this was a story she hesitated to tell. Pettersen has spoken about the challenge and dichotomy of com- bining motherhood with the work of a photographer. On the one hand, she leads an ordinary enough, down-to-earth life with her family; on the other, she has a life outside the home, working as a photographer. Even in the Nordic countries, this is no simple equa- tion to balance. Although the principle of gender equality in the workplace is firmly established, or at least acknowledged, it re- mains elusive in practice.
George Brassaï
Hungary/France
1899 | † 1984
George Brassaï (pseudonym of Gyula Halász) was a Hungarian photographer, sculptor, and filmmaker who rose to international fame in France in the 20th century. He was one of the numerous Hungarian artists who flourished in Paris beginning between the World Wars. In the early 21st century, the discovery of more than 200 letters and hundreds of drawings and other items from the period 1940–1984 has provided scholars with material for understanding his later life and career.Gyula (Jules) Halasz (the Western order of his name) was born in Brassó, Transsylvania, Kingdom of Hungary (since 1920 Brasov, Romania), to an Armenian mother and a Hungarian father. He grew up speaking Hungarian. When he was three, his family lived in Paris for a year, while his father, a professor of French literature, taught at the Sorbonne. As a young man, Gyula Halász studied painting and sculpture at the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts (Magyar Képzomuvészeti Egyetem) in Budapest. He joined a cavalry regiment of the Austro-Hungarian army, where he served until the end of the First World War. In 1920, Halász went to Berlin, where he worked as a journalist for the Hungarian papers Keleti and Napkelet. He started studies at the Berlin-Charlottenburg Academy of Fine Arts (Hochschule für Bildende Künste), now Universität der Künste Berlin. There he became friends with several older Hungarian artists and writers, including the painters Lajos Tihanyi and Bertalan Pór, and the writer Gyorgy Boloni, each of whom later moved to Paris and became part of the Hungarian circle. In 1924, Halasz moved to Paris to live, where he would stay for the rest of his life. To learn the French language, he began teaching himself by reading the works of Marcel Proust. Living among the gathering of young artists in the Montparnasse quarter, he took a job as a journalist. He soon became friends with the American writer Henry Miller, and the French writers Leon-Paul Fargue and Jacques Prévert. In the late 1920s, he lived in the same hotel as Tihanyi. Halasz's job and his love of the city, whose streets he often wandered late at night, led to photography. He first used it to supplement some of his articles for more money, but rapidly explored the city through this medium, in which he was tutored by his fellow Hungarian André Kertész. He later wrote that he used photography "in order to capture the beauty of streets and gardens in the rain and fog, and to capture Paris by night." Using the name of his birthplace, Gyula Halász went by the pseudonym "Brassaï," which means "from Brasso." Brassaï captured the essence of the city in his photographs, published as his first collection in 1933 book entitled Paris de nuit (Paris by Night). His book gained great success, resulting in being called "the eye of Paris" in an essay by his friend Henry Miller. In addition to photos of the seedier side of Paris, Brassai portrayed scenes from the life of the city's high society, its intellectuals, its ballet, and the grand operas. He had been befriended by a French family who gave him access to the upper classes. Brassai photographed many of his artist friends, including Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Alberto Giacometti, and several of the prominent writers of his time, such as Jean Genet and Henri Michaux. Young Hungarian artists continued to arrive in Paris through the 1930s and the Hungarian circle absorbed most of them. Kertèsz emigrated to New York in 1936. Brassai befriended many of the new arrivals, including Ervin Marton, a nephew of Tihanyi, whom he had been friends with since 1920. Marton developed his own reputation in street photography in the 1940s and 1950s. Brassaï continued to earn a living with commercial work, also taking photographs for the United States magazine Harper's Bazaar. He was a founding member of the Rapho agency, created in Paris by Charles Rado in 1933. Brassaï's photographs brought him international fame. In 1948, he had a one-man show in the United States at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York City, which traveled to the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York; and the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois. MOMA exhibited more of Brassai's works in 1953, 1956, and 1968. He was presented at the Rencontres d'Arles festival (France) in 1970 (screening at the Théâtre Antique, "Brassaï" by Jean-Marie Drot), in 1972 (screening "Brassaï si, Vominino" by René Burri), and in 1974 (as guest of honour). In 1948, Brassaï married Gilberte Boyer, a French woman. She worked with him in supporting his photography. Source: Wikipedia
Garry Winogrand
United States
1928 | † 1984
Garry Winogrand (14 January 1928, New York City – 19 March 1984, Tijuana, Mexico) was a street photographer known for his portrayal of America in the mid-20th century. John Szarkowski called him the central photographer of his generation. Winogrand was influenced by Walker Evans and Robert Frank and their respective publications American Photographs and The Americans. Henri Cartier-Bresson was another influence although stylistically different.Winogrand was known for his portrayal of American life in the early 1960s. Many of his photographs depict the social issues of his time and in the role of media in shaping attitudes. He roamed the streets of New York with his 35mm Leica camera rapidly taking photographs using a prefocused wide angle lens. His pictures frequently appeared as if they were driven by the energy of the events he was witnessing. Winogrand's photographs of the Bronx Zoo and the Coney Island Aquarium made up his first book The Animals (1969), a collection of pictures that observes the connections between humans and animals. His book Public Relations (1977) shows press conferences with deer-in-the-headlight writers and politicians, protesters beaten by cops, and museum parties frequented by the self-satisfied cultural glitterati. These photographs capture the evolution of a uniquely 20th and 21st century phenomenon, the event created to be documented. In Stock Photographs (1980), Winogrand published his views of the Fort Worth Fat Stock Show and Rodeo. At the time of his death there was discovered about 2,500 rolls of undeveloped film, 6,500 rolls of developed but not proofed exposures, and contact sheets made from about 3,000 rolls. The Garry Winogrand Archive at the Center for Creative Photography (CCP) comprises over 20,000 fine and work prints, 20,000 contact sheets, 100,000 negatives and 30,500 35mm colour slides as well as a small group of Polaroid prints and several amateur motion picture films.Winogrand grew up in the then predominantly Jewish working-class area of the Bronx, New York, where his father, Abraham, was a leather worker, and his mother, Bertha, made neckties for piecemeal work. Winogrand studied painting at City College of New York and painting and photography at Columbia University in New York City in 1948. He also attended a photojournalism class taught by Alexey Brodovich at The New School for Social Research in New York City in 1951. In the early 1960s Winogrand photographed on the streets of New York City alongside Joel Meyerowitz, Lee Friedlander, Tod Papageorge and Diane Arbus. In 1955 two of Winogrand’s photos appeared in The Family of Man exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York. Winogrand's first one-man show was held at Image Gallery in New York City in 1959. His first notable appearance was in Five Unrelated Photographers in 1963, also at MoMA in New York City, along with Minor White, George Krause, Jerome Liebling and Ken Heyman. In 1966 Winogrand exhibited at the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York with Lee Friedlander, Duane Michals, Bruce Davidson, and Danny Lyon in an exhibition entitled Toward a Social Landscape. In 1967 he participated in the New Documents show at MoMA in New York City with Diane Arbus and Lee Friedlander, curated by John Szarkowski. John Szarkowski, the Director of Photography at New York's Museum of Modern Art, became an editor and reviewer of Winogrand's work. Szarkowski called him the central photographer of his generation.In 1964 Winogrand was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship Award to travel through America. Some of the results of this work were shown in the New Documents exhibition. He was awarded his second Guggenheim Fellowship in 1969 to continue exploring media events and their effect on the public. Between 1969 and 1976 Winogrand shot about 700 rolls of film at public events, producing 6,500 eleven by fourteen inch prints for Tod Papageorge to select for the exhibition and book Public Relations. Winogrand received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1975. In 1979 with his third Guggenheim Fellowship he moved to Los Angeles to document California. While in LA he developed 8522 rolls of film. Winogrand worked as a commercial photographer between 1952 and 1954 at the Pix Photo Agency in Manhattan and from 1954 at Brackman Associates. Between 1971 and 1972 Winogrand taught photography at the Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago and between 1973 and 1978 at the University of Texas in Austin. In 1952 Winogrand married Adrienne Lubeau, separating in 1963 and divorcing in 1966, they had two children, Laurie and Ethan. Around 1967 Winogrand married his second wife Judy Teller, they were together until 1969. In 1972 he married Eileen Adele Hale, with whom he had a daughter, Melissa.Winogrand died of gall bladder cancer, in 1984 at age 56. As evidence of his prolific nature, Winogrand left behind nearly 300,000 unedited images. Some of these images have been exhibited posthumously, and published by MoMA in the overview of his work Winogrand, Figments from the Real World.
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