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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

Khanh Phan Thi
Vietnam
1985
Hi I'm Khanh Phan, I'm 34 and I'm from Vietnam. I was born in 1985. I was born in Quỳnh Phụ, Thái Bình, a mainly agricultural land. My parents were farmers. I currently work at the bank and I am a bank teller. Photography is my passion. After a broken marriage in 2017, I was heartbroken and desperated and losing faith in life. Then I thought, I couldn't be like this forever, I needed to get over it and I bought a camera. First I went to take photos of flowers in a park near my house, then I realized that Vietnam, my beloved country, has so many hidden fabulous natural and cultural scenes that only few places in the world have. I have been to many places, met and learned about the different regional customs and practices. I then took those pictures, posted them on social media, and became popular with my friends. Photography has changed my life, got me through difficult times and is now my only personal joy today. At first I received strong opposition from my family. My mother thinks photography is too dangerous. I often have to go to the sunrise photograph from 4 am, come home after sunset. There are nights when I wait for the night dew, or milkyway, I have to be outside all night. My mother worried that I would be in danger of being robbed because women who go out late at night are very dangerous. And with my income, my mother is afraid that I will not be able to take care of my son and maintain a stable life if i pursues photography because photographic equipment is very expensive. I have never taken a class in photography and photoshop, I myself researched and practiced on photoshop and learned the experience for myself. I have been taking pictures for 2 years. Finally, with my own efforts, I received some small awards in photography, my mother believed in me and she supported my work. Vietnam is a country with many feudal dynasties. The Vietnamese family is mainly patriarchal. Today Vietnamese women know how to fight for gender equality, a few participate in politics and hold important positions in the state, but the gender discrimination is still quite clear. In addition to working for a living as a man does, we also hold the maternity role, take care of childeren and family, do the houseworks and rarely have the time to do the things we love. In order to persue my passion for photography, I have to sacrifice my happiness. I could not get married again. My income is about 15 million VND per month (about 600$ per month). With that income, it is enough to raise my son and still has a small part of it for photography enthusiasts including equipments and travel expenses. I often had to take pictures alone, and experienced many life-threatening things like staying in the cemetery alone at night when waiting for the sunrise at the churchs in Thanh Xa, Bao Loc, Lam Dong, wrestling with waves at Hang Rai, Phan Rang seashores, climbing mountains, or wading into swamps. Sometimes I forget I'm a woman. I have won a number of awards such as Sonyworld award 2019, Skypixel 2019, Drone award of Siena 2019 but some people do not recognize my ability and efforts. They think I'm lucky and for the reason that I am a woman. Vietnam from Above Vietnam is a beautiful country with a diverse culture. Each region will have many unique cultural features with traditional villages that are hundreds of years old. The Vietnamese people stick to the traditional profession and take it as a way of gratitude to their ancestors. Although the traditional profession is very hard and low-income compared to other modern jobs, the artisans still stick to the profession as flesh and blood and want to pass it on to future generations. The daily lives and jobs of Vietnamese workers are recorded from above.
Sandra Tamos
Lithuania
1989
Since my childhood I was attracted to visual arts, painting mostly. I had a dream to become a fashion costume designer when I grow up. When I was 14 things changed. I didn’t lose my passion for painting, but the camera my dad gave me drew me into photography. Since then I started taking self-portraits and gained some photography experience. Later I started reading books about photography and wasn’t taking any pictures for the time being. When I was 18 I bought my first digital camera and started taking pictures of nature. I became addicted to macrophotography, as the camera revealed worlds unseen by a naked eye. When I graduated from school I studied, Technology of photography at Vilnius University of Applied Engineering Sciences, and obtained a Photo Journalist bachelor degree. In photography my most beloved avenues are portrait and dance photography, especially ballet. Ballet for me is something above reality, something spiritual, fantastic. In photos I try to show ballet, the way I see and feel it. I try to create pictures which remind fairy tales or dreams, which look out of this world.All about Sandra Tamos:AAP: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?Before graduating, as I remember. It's hard to say what led me to like it. it simply drew me. I never wanted to, but I suppose it was my destiny to become a photographer.AAP: Where did you study photography?Vilnius College of Technologies and Design, Lithuania.AAP:Do you have a mentor?NoAAP: How long have you been a photographer?Since my first shot, five years aproximatelyAAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it?The first digital photo was a dandelion fluff with water drops. However my absolutely first picture was self-portrait, photographed with old russian film camera, when I was 14.AAP: What or who inspires you?Little bits of everything, I would have to write a book to metnion everything what inspires me, so I will save your time and will only mention few key sources of inspiration. Life, from germination/birth to blossom and so on. Water, in all forms. Fog, tiny drops on leaves or spider web, rain, ponds, rivers.AAP: How could you describe your style?Sensual, mystical, darkly romantic.AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film?I use Pentax K-5 digital camera, and my favorite lenes are SMC Pentax A 50 f/1,7 and Sigma 30 f/1,4.AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images?Yes, it takes skill and time to turn diamonds into brilliants, same with photos. But I enjoy the process so I dont mind if it takes time.AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)?Too many to mention all of them. Lately especially admire Gregory Colbert creation.AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer?Learn how to operate the camera perfectly, theres nothing worse than perfect moment slipping away, or when a moment that was felt right for a perfect picture, ends in dissapointment of failing to freeze it in camera, when it simply doesnt look the way it had to and the way it was perceived.AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid?Loosing faith, should be avoided.
Imogen Cunningham
United States
1883 | † 1976
Imogen Cunningham is renowned as one of the greatest American women photographers. In 1901, having sent away $15 for her first camera, she commenced what would become the longest photographic career in the history of the medium.. Cunningham soon turned her attention to both the nude as well as native plant forms in her back garden. The results were staggering; an amazing body of work comprised of bold, contemporary forms. These works are characterized by a visual precision that is not scientific, but which presents the lines and textures of her subjects articulated by natural light and their own gestures. Her refreshing, yet formal and sensitive floral images from the 1920’s ultimately became her most acclaimed images. Cunningham also had an intuitive command of portraiture but her real artistic legacy was secured though her inclusion in the "F64" show in San Francisco in 1932. With a small group of photographers which included Edward Weston and Ansel Adams, she pioneered the renewal of photography on the West Coast. Awarded a Guggenheim fellowship, Cunningham’s work continues to be exhibited and collected around the world. Source: Photography West Gallery Cunningham was born in Portland, Oregon, in 1883. In 1901, at the age of eighteen, Cunningham bought her first camera, a 4x5 inch view camera, from the American School of Art in Scranton, Pennsylvania. She soon lost interest and sold the camera to a friend. It wasn’t until 1906, while studying at the University of Washington in Seattle, that she was inspired by an encounter with the work of Gertrude Käsebier, to take up photography again. With the help of her chemistry professor, Dr. Horace Byers, she began to study the chemistry behind photography and she subsidized her tuition by photographing plants for the botany department. After being graduated in 1907 Cunningham went to work for Edward S. Curtis in his Seattle studio, gaining knowledge about the portrait business and practical photography. In 1909, Cunningham won a scholarship from her sorority (Pi Beta Phi) for foreign study and applied to study with Professor Robert Luther at the Technische Hochschule in Dresden, Germany. In Dresden she concentrated on her studies and didn’t take many photographs. In May 1910 she finished her paper, “About the Direct Development of Platinum Paper for Brown Tones,” describing her process to increase printing speed, improve clarity of highlights tones, and produce sepia tones. On her way back to Seattle she met Alvin Langdon Coburn in London, and Alfred Stieglitz and Gertrude Käsebier in New York. In Seattle, Cunningham opened her studio and won acclaim for portraiture and pictorial work. Most of her studio work of this time consisted of sitters in their own homes, in her living room, or in the woods surrounding Cunningham's cottage. She became a sought after photographer and exhibited at the Brooklyn Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1913. In 1914, Cunningham's portraits were shown at An International Exhibition of Pictorial Photography in New York. Wilson's Photographic Magazine published a portfolio of her work. The next year, she married Roi Partridge, a teacher and artist. He posed for a series of nude photographs, which were shown by the Seattle Fine Arts Society. Although critically praised, Cunningham didn’t revisit those photographs for another fifty-five years. Between 1915 and 1920, Cunningham continued her work and had three children (Gryffyd, Rondal, and Padraic) with Partridge. In 1920, they moved to San Francisco where Partridge taught at Mills College. Cunningham refined her style, taking a greater interest in pattern and detail and becoming increasingly interested in botanical photography, especially flowers. Between 1923 and 1925 she carried out an in-depth study of the magnolia flower. Later in the decade she turned her attention toward industry, creating several series of industrial landscapes in Los Angeles and Oakland. In 1929, Edward Weston nominated 10 of Cunningham's photographs (8 botanical, 1 industrial, and 1 nude) for inclusion in the "Film und Foto" exhibition and her renowned, Two Callas, debuted in that exhibition. Cunningham once again changed direction, becoming more interested in the human form, particularly hands, and she was fascinated with the hands of artists and musicians. This interest led to her employment by Vanity Fair, photographing stars without make-up. In 1932, with this unsentimental, straightforward approach in mind, Cunningham became one of the co-founders of the Group f/64, which aimed to “define photography as an art form by a simple and direct presentation through purely photographic methods.” In 1934, Cunningham was invited to do some work in New York for Vanity Fair. Her husband wanted her to wait until he could travel with her, but she refused. They later divorced. She continued with Vanity Fair until it stopped publication in 1936. In the 1940s, Cunningham turned to documentary street photography, which she executed as a side project while supporting herself with her commercial and studio photography. In 1945, Cunningham was invited by Ansel Adams to accept a position as a faculty member for the art photography department at the California School of Fine Arts. Dorothea Lange and Minor White joined as well. In 1973, her work was exhibited at the Rencontres d'Arles festival in France through the group exhibition: Trois photographes américaines, Imogen Cunningham, Linda Connor, Judy Dater. Cunningham continued to take photographs until shortly before her death at age ninety-three on June 24, 1976, in San Francisco, California. Source: Wikipedia
Erika Zolli
Italy
1986
Erika Zolli is a photographer specialized in Fine Art. Currently she lives and works in Milan. She holds workshops of creative photography in Italy and in Spain. In her photos new worlds and new realities are created, in order to show and explore the invisible dreamlike dimension that lies in the human mind. Her works have been mentioned in several magazines and newspapers including: Fotografia Reflex, Il Fotografo, L'Espresso, L'OEil de la photographie, La Repubblica, ANSA.it, Creathead (VICE), Art Parasites, Click Blog, Bored Panda, Fubiz, Creative Boom etc. She won the first prize of the 'My City' competition organized by the European Environment Agency and the T2gE Conference award during the Transition to the Green Economy (T2gE) conference held in Bratislava. Metamorphosis of Self: The art of Erika Zolli's Self-Portrait Surreal, geometric and figurative photographic shots assemble the latest series by the Italian artist Erika Zolli. In this new project, "Metamorphosis of Self", the photographer shows a representation of herself made of symbolism that acts as a bridge towards a deep observation of conscious and unconscious feelings. In these images, creativity intertwines with a dreamlike and surreal world: origamis that surround the subject, gears that move head and heart, crystal glasses that reflect a face, a silver metamorphosis taking place, and skies that connect with geometric shapes harmoniously. "In this project, I wanted to create thirteen representations of myself. Each image expresses a concept that is fundamental to me: strengths and weaknesses which, through photographic art, are laid bare to be observed by an eye that retracts. The self-portrait invites us to get out of ourselves. During this process, we become foreigners ourselves, and through this movement, we want to identify by creating a sort of zone of blindness. Here, the opposition between sensible and intelligible overcomes and acts as a bridge between the two sides, allowing a better knowledge of one's unconscious. These thirteen images are characterized by vivid and strong colors to further enhance the subject which, despite being immobile and posing, maintains stability imbued with dynamic force".
Debbie Fleming Caffery
United States
1948
Debbie Fleming Caffery grew up along the Bayou Teche in southwest Louisiana and still lives in the area. Early on in her career, she was inspired by the work of Dorothea Lange and many of the artists working within the FSA and Federal Arts Project of the WPA during the Depression. Like these forbears, she is interested in telling stories with her pictures, but unlike those earlier photographers, her work is as much artful as it is documentary. Her rich, and dramatic prints are the result of the deep relationships with the people and places she photographs, a visual corollary to the reverence she has for her subjects. Caffery has photographed the sugarcane industry and its community in Louisiana since the late 1970s. She has also photographed in rural villages in Mexico for many years, creating works that draw connections between those communities and the ones in Louisiana that were so familiar to her from her own upbringing. In 2005, Caffery was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship for the work she made of women working in brothels in Mexico. In 2006, she received the Katrina Media Fellowship from the Open Society Foundations to continue to photograph the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Recently Caffery received a commission from the High Museum in Atlanta for their Picturing the South photography initiative. Her monographs include: Carry Me Home (Smithsonian, 1990), The Shadows (Twin Palms Press, 2002) and Polly (Twin Palms Press, 2004), The Spirit & The Flesh (Radius Books, 2009) and Alphabet (Fall Line Press, 2015). Source: Gitterman Gallery
Frank Horvat
Italy
1928
Frank Horvat is an internationally renowned fashion photographer, who has recently celebrated fifty years experience in the field. Throughout these years he has not only embraced fashion photography, but also been unafraid to experiment and adapt to new technologies, transcending the confines of photographic borders. His photography is diverse and considerably more complex than a cursory glance could reveal. He is perhaps best known for his spontaneity, trust and empathy, qualities that express themselves in his sophisticated photographs. Frank Horvat was born in Italy in 1928. He first started photographing at age fifteen with a 35 mm Retinamat camera, and moved to Milan to study art in 1947. By 1950 he was doing freelance work for Italian fashion magazines; Epoca published his first photographic essay in 1951. Horvat was one of the first artists to apply the 35mm film camera and reportage techniques to fashion art photography. He created a new and more realistic style that revolutionized the development of fashion-based photography in England, France, and the United States. He stylistically combined realism and artifice, movement, and inventive locations, which won him immediate success as a French fashion photographer. His photographs have appeared in leading European and American magazines including Life, Elle, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour and Jardin des Modes from 1951-61. Horvat initially worked for the American picture agency, Magnum, but since he “posed” his subjects he left for Realities and Black Star. He moved to Paris three years later and currently divides his time between the city and the south of France. Horvat’s work with French fashion photography has been exhibited around the world and can be found in the permanent collections of numerous prestigious museums including Bibliothèque Nationale, Musée National d’Art Moderne, Kunst-bibliothek, Museum of Modern Art, and the George Eastman House, and numerous other collections. Source: Holden Luntz Gallery
Ed Kashi
United States
1957
Ed Kashi is a photojournalist, filmmaker and educator dedicated to documenting the social and political issues that define our times. A sensitive eye and an intimate relationship to his subjects are signatures of his work. As a member of the prestigious photo agency VII, Kashi has been recognized for his complex imagery and its compelling rendering of the human condition.“I take on issues that stir my passions about the state of humanity and our world, and I deeply believe in the power of still images to change people’s minds. I’m driven by this fact; that the work of photojournalists and documentary photographers can have a positive impact on the world. The access people give to their lives is precious as well as imperative for this important work to get done. Their openness brings with it a tremendous sense of responsibility to tell the truth but to also honor their stories.”Kashi’s images have been published and exhibited worldwide. Another of Kashi’s innovative approaches to photography and filmmaking produced the Iraqi Kurdistan Flipbook with MediaStorm, which premiered on MSNBC.com in December 2006. Using stills in a moving image format, this creative and thought-provoking form of visual storytelling has been shown in many film festivals and as part of a series of exhibitions on the Iraq War at The George Eastman House. Also, an eight-year personal project completed in 2003, Aging in America: The Years Ahead, created a traveling exhibition, an award-winning documentary film, a website and a book which was named one of the best photo books of 2003 by American Photo.Along with numerous awards, including Second Prize Contemporary Issues Singles in the 2011 World Press Photo Contest, UNICEF’s Photo of the Year 2010, a Prix Pictet 2010 Commission and honors from Pictures of the Year International, Communication Arts and American Photography, Kashi’s images have been published and exhibited worldwide, and his editorial assignments and personal projects have generated six books. In 2008, Curse of the Black Gold: 50 Years of Oil in the Niger Delta was published, and June 2009, saw the publication of Kashi’s latest book THREE, based on a series of triptychs culled from more than 20 years of image making.In 2002, Kashi and his wife, writer / filmmaker Julie Winokur, founded Talking Eyes Media. The non-profit company has produced numerous short films and multimedia pieces that explore significant social issues. The first project resulted in a book and traveling exhibition on uninsured Americans called, Denied: The Crisis of America’s Uninsured.“Ed Kashi is intelligent, brave and compassionate. He always understands the nuances of his subjects. He fearlessly goes where few would venture. And he sympathetically captures the soul of each situation. Ed is one of the best of a new breed of photojournalistic artists.”David Griffin, Visuals Editor, The Washington Post
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