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Michel Kameni
Michel Kameni in his studio 2018 © Benjamin Hoffman
Michel Kameni
Michel Kameni

Michel Kameni

Country: Cameroon
Birth: 1935 | Death: 2020

The work of Michel Papami Kameni tells a unique story of post colonial Cameroon, a period of transition in the wake of a new found independence like in so many other African countries. In his studio in the Briqueterie district of Yaounde, it was the whole of Cameroonian society that passed before his lens.

A mix of stunning portraits and subjects from all social circles and different cultural backgrounds, Christians and Muslims, urban socialites to provincial farmers all travelling through this great city. We see in his images the dreams and aspirations of a nation in transition, new musical influences and western fashions, a natural fusion between the tradition and the modern.

The work of Michel Kameni explores the rapid evolution of a postcolonial Yaounde (from 1963) by portraying its inhabitants with an incredible kindness and passion, these images are more than just a document, they are an intimate study of the relationship between the photographer and his subject.

Studio Kameni is a project that aims to explore, discover and give new life to the photographic archives of this unique body of work brought into public view for the very first time.
 

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More Great Photographers To Discover

Ellen Auerbach
Germany
1906 | † 2004
Ellen Auerbach was a German-born American photographer remarkable both for her avant-garde photography and for her innovative and successful ringl+pit studio, where she and fellow artist Grete Stern signed all their work collaboratively. Ellen Auerbach was born Ellen Rosenburg in Karlsruhe, Germany. After sculpture courses in Karlsruhe and Stuttgart, she studied photography with Walter Peterhans at the Bauhaus school in Berlin. In 1929, she founded ringl+pit, an advertising and portrait studio, with her friend Grete Stern. The unusual title was derived from the nicknames they used as children. When Hitler rose to power, Auerbach emigrated with her future husband to Tel Aviv. There she opened a children's portrait studio named Ishon. Following the outbreak of the Abyssinian War, Auerbach moved to London, where she was reunited with Grete Stern. Together they worked on a series of portraits of Bertolt Brecht. By 1937, Ellen and Walter Auerbach had married and moved to the United States, eventually settling in New York City. Ellen began to experiment with new photographic techniques, worked for Time and Columbia Masterworks on a freelance basis, and taught photography at a junior college. In 1955 Auerbach traveled to Mexico with Eliot Porter and the two produced a powerful body of work documenting Mexican churches. The series, printed primarily in color, explores the religious traditions and ceremonial icons of a fading era in Mexican religious history. Auerbach continued to travel and photograph extensively. At the age of sixty, she began a second career as a child therapist. Ellen Auerbach's travels provided her with a kaleidoscope of people and places through which to develop her personal visual language. She believed that photography allows for the use of a metaphorical "third eye" which allows the artist to capture not only what exists on the surface of an image, but also to capture the essence of the subject that lies beneath that surface.Source: Robert Mann Gallery
Ren Hang
Chinese
1987 | † 2017
Ren Hang (Chinese: 任航; March 30, 1987 – February 24, 2017) was a Chinese photographer and poet. During Ren's incipient career, he was known mostly for nude photographic portraits of his friends. His work is significant for its representation of Chinese sexuality within a heavily censored society. For these erotic undertones, he was arrested by PRC authorities several times. He received the backing of the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, who included Ren in his 2013 Netherlands show, Fuck Off 2 The Sequel, and curated the photographer's 2014 exhibition in Paris, France. Ren's erotic, playful and casual yet provocative expression gained him worldwide fame. Ren was born in 1987, in a suburb of Changchun, Jilin province, in northeastern China. In 2007, in order to relieve the boredom of studying advertising at college, he bought a point-and-shoot camera and began shooting his friends. As a self-taught photographer, he said his style of photography was inspired by the artist Shūji Terayama. Ren suffered from depression. He posted a series of diary entries titled My depression on his blog, recording the fear, anxiety and internal conflicts he experienced. Ren died by suicide on February 24, 2017 in Beijing. Ren Hang first began taking pictures of his roommates and friends in 2007, shooting them in the nude as all were close and seeking excitement. In an interview, he also admitted: “I usually shoot my friends, because strangers make me nervous.” He arranged his subjects' naked limbs in his photographs. Ren did not consider his work inappropriate: “I don’t really view my work as taboo, because I don’t think so much in cultural context, or political context. I don’t intentionally push boundaries, I just do what I do.” This may account for his reticence to limit his work to indoor settings. He said there were no preferred places for him to work, as he believed anywhere was beautiful and worthy to be shot, including sparse studios, parks forests, and atop buildings. Ren's photos employ nude groups and solo portraits of men and women often contorted into highly performative positions. For example, hands reach down milky thighs, a limp penis flops onto a watermelon and a series of backsides imitate a mountain range. Questioning the purpose of his work, he once stated that his creation was a way to seek fun for both photographer and the photographed. However, once he had reached fame on an international level, he began to think deeply about his work. The British Journal of Photography quoted him as once saying: "I don't want others having the impression that Chinese people are robots... Or they do have sexual genitals but always keep them as some secret treasures. I want to say that our cocks and pussies are not embarrassing at all." Ren also focused on marginalised people in Chinese society with gender identity disorders by 'indeterminating' sex and gender in some of his work: a group of naked bodies stacked together, men wearing silk stockings and wearing lipstick. He denied having a preference in models: “Gender… only matters to me when I’m having sex.” The international quarterly photography journal Aperture used his photo as the cover for its Queer theme. Commentators also see his work, the naked body and the starched penis, as evolving sexual mores and the struggle for creative and sexual freedom in a conservative, tightly controlled society. But Ren Hang also announced "I don't try to get a message across, I don't give my works names, I don't date them. I don’t want to instill them with any vocabulary. I don't like to explain my photos or work as a whole". It has been mentioned that Ren's work is softcore pornography because of the degree of nudity and sex in it, but he also worked with other themes. The most famous was titled My Mum. Although still under a fetishistic atmosphere, posing with usual props in Ren's works like animals and plants, Ren's mother posed as a clothed model, in a light-hearted way to represent her daily life. Ren's photographs have been included in magazines L'Officiel, GQ Style, and Vice. He worked with fashion companies Gucci, Rick Owens, and Loewe. Ren's work is included in Frank Ocean's magazine Boys Don't Cry. Ren Hang is noted to be greatly influenced by Chinese and Asian contemporary art and in particular, Japanese photographer and contemporary artist Nobuyoshi Araki. Ren Hang mainly worked with a simple point-and-shoot camera. He would direct the models as to how to place their bodies and shoot in quick succession. Genitalia, breasts and anuses were not covered up, but featured, or accentuated with props and close-ups. Colors were rich and high in contrast, increasing visual impact. This, along with the fact all bodies were slim, lithe and relatively hairless, made the impact of his photographs more impressive. His work communicated a raw, stark aesthetic that countered taboos and celebrated sexuality and it was this contemporary form of poeticism in a visual context in which Ren Hang expressed themes of identity, the body, love, loss and death. Nudity is not a theme in art that can be widely accepted by the Chinese older generation. Ren Hang's works are sometimes misinterpreted by the public as pornography. Although some have written that Ren Hang used his photographs to challenge Chinese cultural norms of shame around nudity, he did not believe he was challenging the stereotype and leading a revolution. For him, nudity and sexuality are natural themes which he used in his work. "Nudes are there since always. We were born nude. So talking about revolution, I don't think there's anything to revolutionize. Unless people are born with clothes on, and I want to take their clothes off, then I think this is a revolution. If it was already like that, then it's not a revolution. I just photographed things on their more natural conditions." He said he was not trying to liberate nudity and sexuality since he believed that the Chinese young generation was open-minded and less affected by the old-fashioned cultures. When Ren Hang talked about the question whether the topic of sexuality was still a taboo in China, he said: "I don't think it's related to our times, these are individual cases. Like how to say it, I think it depends on different people, it doesn't really relate to other things. I was not in the whole parents told you that you can only have sex if you get married era. The time after I grow up was already over that period, it was already different like everyone was already more relaxed."Source: Wikipedia Flesh, corpses, souls and bland flashlights, all composite into seconds or milliseconds of lights and shadows, projecting onto the film that never knows how to lie. Focus gathering and the shutter releasing, connecting his unpretentious, rebellious, wild and free perspectives towards the naked human body. The images look so natural, yet fun and unexpected. One soul after another all blossom like a newborn baby, urging to crawl out of his mother’s womb, dying to be redefined. In this era that we live in, being censored by the Chinese government has almost become a stamp of approval for contemporary artists. Ren Hang, a young man with a mature look and tanned skin, hair as short as a Chinese soldiers’, always carrying an irresistibly cute and innocent smile on his cheeks. He is, perhaps, the sole artist and photographer with the most edgy outlook towards the naked human body. Ren Hang continues to stress the fact that he is “boring“. Especially when asked about those basic questions of his inspirational origins and meanings behind the photos, he always just smiles naively, shakes his shoulders and says, “I don’t really know. I never really thought about it.” Perhaps he is such a paver, heading towards the direction of happiness and creative freedom without realizing the pathways he has left behind. You might find him confusing and puzzling, but he has the ambience of such kindness that you would always trust that no evil can come out from him. He is merely a pure form of naked human beings. Source: ITSLIQUID
Trini Schultz
Trini Schultz is a self-taught fine-art photographer living in Orange County, California with her husband, Dan, and two children. She was born on July, 1961 in Peru, South America. Growing up watching her grandfather paint, she grew an appreciation and interest for art. With the encouragement of her family & friends she pursued in her enthusiasm of drawing and painting from a young age. Photography intrigued her but it wasn't until her father bought her her first camera at the age of 16, a Pentax K1000, when her passion for taking pictures began. She studied Commercial Art in Fullerton College where she also took a class in black and white photography to learn how to develop her own film. A few years after her second child was born, she started her own photography business creating black & white photos in her home-built darkroom and then hand coloring the images. With the evolution of the digital camera and photo software, traditional film and darkroom supplies started to become less available. Trini then set off to learning the new techniques of digital age photography. Her husband taught her the basics of Adobe Photoshop and she took it from there. She began creating painterly-like images with the use of photoshop techniques she had picked up over the years and more recently with the inspiration of surreal photography slowly becoming a popular style of art.From www.mymodernmet.comCalifornia-based photographer Trini Schultz, aka Trini61, explores new worlds through her lens filled with haunting and, at times, romanticized portraits of people with their own captivating narratives. Time stands still in each of her surreal images as wafts of dust billow around a mysterious man, floating umbrellas fill the sky, and a rainstorm of rocks are caught in midair like weightless aerial objects. The fine art photographer's portfolio boasts a fantasy-driven collection that exposes an expressive beauty in the uncontrollable nature of her imagined worlds. There's an engaging charm about the photos that are both intriguing and captivating. With the help of her family, who often serve as her willing models (including a husband who wound up breaking his foot while performing a stunt for a photo shoot), Schultz is able to bring her creative visions to life.All about Trini Schultz:AAP: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?When my dad bought me my first "real" camera. A Pentax K1000. It was a Christmas gift, and I was about 16. He got me a huge Polaroid camera before that, but it wasn't the same as having an actual 35mm camera. I loved photography but I didn't think of it as a choice for a career, it was more of a hobby, but family and friends kept telling me I should consider being a photographer. So it wasn't till after I got married and had my second child that I picked up the camera again after many years, and took photography more seriously, and fell in love with it all over again.AAP: Where did you study photography?I took a class at a local community college in black & white developing many years ago, but that was it. I'm mostly self taught. Same with photoshopping, taught myself.AAP:Do you have a mentor?NoAAP: How long have you been a photographer?Oh gosh...a long time! Probably 30 yrs or more. But there was a period in my life where I didn't do it as often, because the rolls of film and to having them developed could get expensive. Then I started developing my own pictures at home, but photo papers and the chemicals could get expensive too. Then came digital photography and my life changed.AAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it?No, I don't remember but it was probably a family member or a friend. People was my favorite subject. Still is.AAP: What or who inspires you?Everyday I'm inspired. Looking at other photographer's work on the internet. The shapes of the mountains and the clouds. The way the sun shines thru the window and creates shadows on the walls and floor. Music videos, movies, fashion shows, paintings. I love going to antique shops, so much inspiration and ideas pop up. Interesting buildings abandoned or new. Artists look at the world with awe and inspiration, every little detail from a dead insect on the floor to fog rolling over the hills, seeing the beauty in it and the potential in them to make an amazing subject on a photograph or a painting.AAP: How could you describe your style?Surreal or conceptual photography. i love fashion photography too so I would like to experiment more with editorial type of photography as well, especially now that my daughter is studying costume/fashion design.AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film? I used to use a digital Nikon D80 for a little while, and then got myself a Canon EOS 5D Mark II digital camera. I use two different lenses, Canon EF 24-105mm 0.45m/1.5ft, and a Canon EF 85mm F1.8.AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images?Depending on the image. If it has a lot of details, a lot of work needed, then it takes me a while. I'm a perfectionist and sometimes I find myself spending more time than I need to on a single image. Some images only take a few hours, and some take weeks! Even when I'm finished with it, I sit on it for a little while, making sure it doesn't need anything else.AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)?I love the work of Martin Chambi, a Peruvian photographer from the early to mid 20th century. He was one of the first major indigenous photographers in Latin America. Another Peruvian photographer I admire is Mario Testino. The beautiful black & white work of Dorthea Lange and Ansel Adams. And of course, Annie Leibovitz & Richard Avedon, who's work I've admired since I first started taking photos. But it's the incredible work of lesser known or not as famous photographers I see on the internet every day, that leave me very much inspired and excited about photography.AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer?Not give up. It takes a lot of practice & playing around with. Try different styles, subjects, experiment with it, it helps to take a class or two at your local college if you like, and never stop learning and trying new things, it's how you grow artistically. Don't be afraid to think outside the box too.AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid?The feeling that you failed cause the only failure is when you give up.AAP: Your best memory has a photographer?It's a personal one. I was inspired by the photographs taken by Annie Leibovitz in her book 'A Photographer's Life' in which she included images of her partner's ordeal during her cancer treatments all the way to her death. They were so beautifully documented in black & white photos. Before my grandmother passed away my mother and I were caring for her, and during this time I documented some of the moments in black & white photos. I never plan to show the images to anyone, except close family, if they wish to see them. They are bittersweet memories, of my grandmother's final images of her life. And out of all the images, a close-up photograph of her hands is probably my favorite.
Kerry Mansfield
United States
Kerry Mansfield is a San Francisco based photographer whose work explores time and how it affects our perceptions of what we see and the world it envelops. Born in New Jersey in 1974, Kerry graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Photography from UC Berkeley and did further studies at CCA (California College of the Arts). Her work has been exhibited globally and garnered numerous honors including LensCulture’s Single Image Award, multiple PX3, World Photography Organization and IPA Awards, and as a Critical Mass Finalist for three years. A host of press and publications, ranging from Time Magazine's Lightbox to the New York Times LensBlog, have featured several bodies of her work. Kerry’s Expired series monograph was released in spring 2017 receiving high praise from The Guardian UK, Architectural Digest, BuzzFeed News, Hyperallergic and and winning the PX3 Bronze Book Award. She's now currently creating a new body of work focused on tidal shifts as a metaphor for how time alters memories. About Aftermath "As a photographer, I've spent most of my career looking deeply into the spaces we inhabit. The idea of Home - what it meant and how it felt, preoccupied my thinking. Almost all my pictures were of the spaces we live in or the things we live with. But at the age of 31, a diagnosis of breast cancer forced me to redefine my ideas of home. Needless to say it came as quite a shock. I had exercised and eaten correctly, and like many of my age, I felt indestructible, never thinking the most basic of dwellings could be lost. Faced with the nihilistic process of radical chemotherapy and surgery, my ideas of "where" I exist turned inward. As the doctors, with their knives and chemistry broke down the physical structure in which I lived, the relationship between the cellular self and the metaphysical self became glaringly clear. My body may not be me, but without it, I am something else entirely. I knew that my long held image of myself would be shattered. What would emerge would be a mystery. It was in that spirit of unknown endings, that I picked up my camera to self document the catharsis of my own cancer treatment. No one was there when these pictures were made, just my dissolving ideas of self and a camera. And what began as a story that could have ended in many ways, this chapter, like my treatment, has now run its course. While I can't say everything is fine now, I will say, "These are the images of my Home - as it was then", and with a little luck, there will be no more to come." -- Kerry Mansfield
Don McCullin
United Kingdom
1935
Don McCullin is one of our greatest living photographers. Few have enjoyed a career so long; none one of such variety and critical acclaim. For the past 50 years he has proved himself a photojournalist without equal, whether documenting the poverty of London's East End, or the horrors of wars in Africa, Asia or the Middle East. Simultaneously he has proved an adroit artist capable of beautifully arranged still lifes, soulful portraits and moving landscapes. Following an impoverished north London childhood blighted by Hitler's bombs and the early death of his father, McCullin was called up for National Service with the RAF. After postings to Egypt, Kenya and Cyprus he returned to London armed with a twin reflex Rolleicord camera and began photographing friends from a local gang named The Guv'nors. Persuaded to show them to the picture editor at the Observer in 1959, aged 23, he earned his first commission and began his long and distinguished career in photography more by accident than design. In 1961 he won the British Press Award for his essay on the construction of the Berlin Wall. His first taste of war came in Cyprus, 1964, where he covered the armed eruption of ethnic and nationalistic tension, winning a World Press Photo Award for his efforts. In 1993 he was the first photojournalist to be awarded a CBE. For the next two decades war became a mainstay of Don's journalism, initially for the Observer and, from 1966, for the Sunday Times. In the Congo, Biafra, Uganda, Chad, Vietnam, Cambodia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Iran, Afghanistan, Northern Ireland and more, he time and again combined a mastery of light and composition with an unerring sense of where a story was headed, and a bravery that pushed luck to its outermost limits. He has been shot and badly wounded in Cambodia, imprisoned in Uganda, expelled from Vietnam and had a bounty on his head in Lebanon. What's more, he has braved bullets and bombs not only to get the perfect shot but to help dying soldiers and wounded civilians. Compassion is at the heart of all his photography. Away from war Don's work has often focused on the suffering of the poor and underprivileged and he has produced moving essays on the homeless of London's East End and the working classes of Britain's industrialised cities. From the early 1980s increasingly he focused his foreign adventures on more peaceful matters. He travelled extensively through Indonesia, India and Africa returning with powerful essays on places and people that, in some cases, had few if any previous encounters with the Western world. In 2010 he published Southern Frontiers, a dark and at-times menacing record of the Roman Empire's legacy in North Africa and the Middle East. At home he has spent three decades chronicling the English countryside - in particular the landscapes of Somerset - and creating meticulously constructed still lifes all to great acclaim. Yet he still feels the lure of war. As recently as October 2015 Don travelled to Kurdistan in northern Iraq to photograph the Kurds' three-way struggle with ISIS, Syria and Turkey.Source: donmccullin.com Photography has given me a life… The very least I could do was try and articulate these stories with as much compassion and clarity as they deserve, with as loud a voice as I could muster. Anything less would be mercenary. -- Don McCullin
Sasha Stone
Russia/United States
1895 | † 1940
Sasha Stone was a Russian artist. A stateless photographer, he and his first wife, Cami Stone (born Wilhelmine Schammelhout 1892-1975), were successful photographers during the 1920s and 1930s. One of his most known work is the cover of Walter Benjamin's book One-Way Street published in 1928. Sasha was born as Aleksander Steinsapir to Jewish parents, Natan Steinsapir and Bella Meerson, in Saint Petersburg, Russia. He studied electrical engineering at Warsaw Technical Institute in Poland from 1911 to 1913. In 1913, he immigrated to New York and spent a few years working briefly at the Edison Company in New Jersey. In 1917, Sasha enlisted in the United States Army, served in WWI and was honorably discharged on June 14, 1919. While in the United States Army he was granted a stay at the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) Art Training Centre in Paris after the war. After his military discharge, Sasha lived in the Rue de Plantes, Paris, and worked as a sculptor. In 1918, Sasha and Cami moved to Berlin together and later married in 1922. When he moved to Berlin, he kept his studio in Rue de Plantes for his cousin Harry Ossip Meerson to use; however, Meerson failed to pay rent and was evicted. In Berlin, Sasha was associated with the sculptor Aleksandr Archipenko, and was a contributor to the magazine G-Material für elementare Gestaltung. His work was published in Die Form, Das Kunstblatt, UHU, Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung, Der Querschnitt, Gebrauchsgraphik, and Die Dame as well. In 1924, Sasha and Cami opened their own studio in Berlin, named Atelier Stone, meaning “Studio Stone”. In 1928, he officially changed his name to Sasha Stone and became a painter. He had little success as an artist. Due to an economic downturn in Europe during this period, Sasha focused on photography as a main source of income. Sasha had become an extremely versatile photographer, working with portraits, journalism, feature images, advertising, property, fashion, and architecture photos. His photos appeared in Adolf Behne's edition of Berlin in Bildern, and Paul Cohen–Portheim's travel guide Paris. Sasha took images for surrealist journals like Varietés in Belgium and Bilfur in Paris. His work was presented in the first international photography exhibition called Fotografie der Gegenwart in Essen, Germany, and Werkbund's exhibition Film und Foto in Stuttgart, Germany. In 1931, Sasha and Cami moved to Brussels, Cami's hometown, where they lived until they divorced. In 1933, the couple were part of the Exposition Internationale de la Photographie in Brussels. A collection of nudes by Sasha and Cami Stone was published in Les Femmes through the French magazine Arts et Metiers Graphique in 1933. Throughout this time Sasha was connected with artists, celebrities and intellectuals of that period. Sasha and Cami divorced on February 15, 1939. They continued to work together until Sasha remarried. On April 29, 1939, Sasha Stone remarried, to Lydia Edens (born Alida Anna Edens). Sasha, Lydia and other families fled the German attack on Brussels on May 14, 1940. Their goal was to reach Spain and then go to the United States for safety. The group was en route through the Pyrénées in Perpignan, France. On August 6, 1940, Sasha died in Perpignan due to a serious ailment. The exact location of his grave is unknown. The only thing left is the graveyard book entry.Source: Wikipedia Best known for his photomontage reproduced on the cover of Walter Benjamin's book One-Way Street (1928), Stone was closely associated with the New Objectivity movement of the 1920s in Germany. From 1924 to 1931, he operated a successful photographic studio in Berlin. He contributed photo reportage to many of the major illustrated magazines, including Uhu, Die Dame, and Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung and was celebrated for his innovative advertising work. In 1933 the French magazine Arts et Metiers Graphique published Femmes, a portfolio of Stone's studies of female nudes, as the first in a series of three planned portfolios on the human body. (The other two, Hommes and Adolescents, were never realized.) Stone's photographs, with their fragmented figures, angular compositions, and use of raking light, are superb examples of avant-garde photographic aesthetics in Europe between the world wars.Source: The Met
Laura Heyman
United States
Laura Heyman was born in Essex County, New Jersey. She received a B.F.A in photography from University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA, and an M.F.A. from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, MI. Heyman’s work has been exhibited at Luggage Store Gallery, San Francisco, CA, Deutsches Polen Institute, Darmstadt, DE, Ampersand International Arts, San Francisco, CA, Senko Studio, Viborg, DK, Silver Eye Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA, The Palitz Gallery, New York, NY, Light Work Gallery, Syracuse, NY, The Ghetto Biennale, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Philadelphia Photographic Arts Center, Philadelphia, PA, The Laguna Art Museum, Laguna, CA, The United Nations, New York, NY and The National Portrait Gallery, London, UK.In 2010, she was nominated for a John Guttman Photography Fellowship, and was awarded a Light Work Mid-Career Artist Grant. She has received the Silver Eye Fellowship, a Ragdale Fellowship and multiple NYFA Strategic Opportunity Stipends. Heyman has curated exhibitions and panel discussions at Vox Pouli, Philadelphia, PA, Wonderland Art Space, Copenhagen DK and the Clocktower Gallery, New York, NY, and her work has been reviewed and profiled in The New Yorker, Contact Sheet, Frontiers, and ARTnews.Pa Bouje Ankò: Don’t Move Again uses the studio portrait to explore embedded hierarchies between photographers, subjects and viewers. The work is driven in part by longstanding questions around photographic representation, specifically those involving the voyeurism and objectification of so-called “third world” subjects by “first world” artists. Seeking to examine these questions in depth, I established an outdoor portrait studio in the Grand Rue neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, Haiti in late November 2009. Advertisements circulated news about a photography studio in the area, where members of the local community could schedule appointments to have their portraits made for free. Working in black and white with an 8x10 camera, I photographed one hundred and twenty people over a period of two weeks.Three weeks later, the meaning of those images shifted with the earthquake. They became both records and memorials. That event also changed the focus of the project, which evolved to include various expanding populations in Port-au-Prince tied to future development and reconstruction.Issues of representation, visual sovereignty and cultural protocol, central to the project from the beginning, became more complicated after the earthquake. When I first arrived in Port-au-Prince, I imagined that positioning myself as a “studio photographer” would allow me to escape or subvert the complex tangle of hierarchies at play in Haiti, as well as in the exchange between photographer and subject. Neither has been the case. Instead, layers of meaning and intention continue to reveal themselves, expanding the project's framework and engaging the myriad contradictions and impossibilities present in the work’s original question.All about Laura Heyman:AAP: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?I began making photographs in high school, and knew I wanted to be a photographer before going to college.AAP: Where did you study photography?At University of the Arts in Philadelphia, I studied with Jack Carnell and Alida Fish. At Cranbrook Academy of Art, where I got my MFA, I studied with Carl Toth, and also Grant Kester, who taught Critical Theory at the school during my first year there.AAP:Do you have a mentor or role model?I don’t know that I’d say I have a mentor – there are peers I look to regularly for advice and feedback on my work.AAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it?One of my first shots was the stream in my grandparent’s backyard in Phonecia, New York. My grandfather fished there, and my older sister and I used to run around and catch salamanders and frogs.AAP: What or who inspires you?Artists like Collier Schorr, An-My Lê, Roni Horn, Robert Adams, Mark Ruwedel, Pieter Hugo; David Shrigley, Jennifer Dalton Ai Wei Wei; Richard Mosse and Liz Cohen. I’m inspired by artists whose work makes me think, those using humor in their practice, and artists who really put themselves on the line. Books and essays, movies and performance – I’m inspired by a lot of different people and things.AAP: How could you describe your style?The visual style of my work changes according to the subject – a constant is subjects or projects that can and do express a layered viewpoint, or pose a series of questions.AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film?While I sometimes shoot digital, mostly I work analogue, with a medium or large format camera. Lately that has meant using Ilford HP5 black and white film with a Deardorff 8X10 camera and a 300 mm lens.AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images?For me, editing (by which I mean deciding what images are included in a series, not post-production) is at least fifty percent of the job. I spend as much, if not more time editing a series as I do producing it.AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)?Collier Schorr, Robert Adams, Rineke Djikstra, Zoe Strauss, Luc DelahayeAAP: What advice would you give a young photographer?Know what you want. Shoot twice as much as you think you should. Be prepared to shoot and re-shoot until you get what you want.AAP: Your best memory as a photographer?A number of photographs I made of some friends while we waited in a car for the ferry. It was cold out, and we were all inside, smoking. The images captured the moment and the subjects very precisely – although this was over twenty years ago, they still have an immediacy that thrills me.AAP: Your worst souvenir as a photographer?A little while ago I was shooting some portraits on a very sunny day, and forgot to flag the lens. The negatives l ended up with were completely fogged and unusable.AAP: If you could have taken the photographs of someone else who would it be?Either Robert Adams What We Bought, or Collier Schorr’s Jens F. Both books have a real hold on me – I’m completely consumed every time I open one up. And after years of looking at them, they still surprise and fascinate me.
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For more than 25 years, French photographer Patrick Cariou has traveled to places around the globe, documenting people living on the fringes of society. Whether photographing surfers, gypsies, Rastafarians or the rude boys of Kingston, Cariou celebrates those who meet the struggles of life with honor, dignity and joy. Bringing together works from his groundbreaking monographs including Surfers, Yes Rasta, Trenchtown Love and Gypsies, Patrick Cariou: Works 1985–2005 (published by Damiani) takes us on a scenic journey around the world, offering an intimate and captivating look at cultures that distance themselves from the blessings and curses of modernity.
Exclusive Interview with Niko J. Kallianiotis
Niko J. Kallianiotis' Athênai in Search of Home (published by Damiani) presents photos taken in and around Athens, the city in which he grew up. The images reflect the artist's eagerness to assimilate back into a home that feels at once foreign and familiar. Throughout the years the city and the surrounding territories have experienced their share of socio-economic struggles and topographic transformations that have altered its identity. The city of Athens in Kallianiotis' photographs is elliptically delineated as a vibrant environment that binds together luxury and social inequality. The photographer depicts a city in which the temporal and the spatial elements often clash with each other while conducting his research for a home that has changed over the years as much as he did.
Exclusive Interview with Ave Pildas
My new book STAR STRUCK focuses on the people and places of Hollywood Boulevard. Soon after I moved to Los Angeles in the '70s, I started shooting there. I was working at Capital Records, just a block and a half away, as a one of four art directors. At lunchtime, we would go out to eat at the Brown Derby, Musso, and Franks, or some other local restaurant, and I got to observe all the activity that was occurring on Hollywood Boulevard. It was amazing and it was fun, even though the location was ''on the turn''.
Exclusive Interview with Elaine Mayes
In The Haight-Ashbury Portraits, 1967-1968 (published by Damiani) during the waning days of the Summer of Love, Elaine Mayes embarked on a set of portraits of youth culture in her neighborhood. Mayes was a young photographer living in San Francisco during the 1960s. She had photographed the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and, later that year the hippie movement had turned from euphoria to harder drugs, and the Haight had become less of a blissed-out haven for young people seeking a better way of life than a halfway house for runaway teens.
Exclusive Interview with Theophilus Donoghue
A new release, Seventy-thirty (published by Damiani) depicts humanity's various faces and expressions, from metropolitans to migrants, unseen homeless to celebrities such as Robert De Niro, Muhammad Ali, Rene Magritte, Janis Joplin, and Andy Warhol. Steve Schapiro photographs early New York skateboarders while Theophilus Donoghue documents current Colombian breakdancers. Alternately profound and playful, father and son's photographs capture a vast range of human emotions and experiences. For this project, Schapiro selected images from the 60s civil rights movement and, with Donoghue, provided photos from today's Black Lives Matter protests and environmental rallies.
Exlusive Interview with Jessica Todd Harper about her Book Here
Like 17th-century Dutch painters who made otherwise ordinary interior scenes appear charged with meaning, Pennsylvania-based photographer Jessica Todd Harper looks for the value in everyday moments. Her third monograph Here (Published by Damiani) makes use of what is right in front of the artist, Harper shows how our unexamined or even seemingly dull surroundings can sometimes be illuminating
Exclusive Interview with Roger Ballen about his Book Boyhood
In Boyhood (published by Damiani) Roger Ballen's photographs and stories leads us across the continents of Europe, Asia and North America in search of boyhood: boyhood as it is lived in the Himalayas of Nepal, the islands of Indonesia, the provinces of China, the streets of America. Each stunning black-and-white photograph-culled from 15,000 images shot during Ballen's four-year quest-depicts the magic of adolescence revealed in their games, their adventures, their dreams, their Mischief. More of an ode than a documentary work, Ballen's first book is as powerful and current today as it was 43 years ago-a stunning series of timeless images that transcend social and cultural particularities.
Exclusive Interview with Kim Watson
A multi-dimensional artist with decades of experience, Kim Watson has written, filmed, and photographed subjects ranging from the iconic entertainers of our time to the ''invisible'' people of marginalized communities. A highly influential director in music videos' early days, Watson has directed Grammy winners, shot in uniquely remote locations, and written across genres that include advertising, feature films for Hollywood studios such as Universal (Honey), MTV Films, and Warner Brothers, and publishers such as Simon & Schuster. His passionate marriage of art and social justice has been a life-long endeavor, and, in 2020, after consulting on Engagement & Impact for ITVS/PBS, Kim returned to the streets to create TRESPASS, documenting the images and stories of LA's unhoused. TRESPASS exhibited at The BAG (Bestor Architecture Gallery) in Silver Lake, Los Angeles, September 17, 2022 – October 11, 2022.
Exclusive Interview with Julia Dean, Founder of the L.A. Project
Julia Dean, Founder of the Los Angeles Center of Photography, and its executive director for twenty-two years, began The L.A. Project in 2021. A native Nebraskan, Julia has long sought to create a special project where love for her adopted L.A., and her passion for documentary photography can be shared on a grander scale.
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