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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

Leonard Freed
United States
1929 | † 2006
Leonard Freed was a documentary photojournalist and longtime Magnum member. He was born to Jewish, working-class parents of Eastern European descent. Freed had wanted to be a painter, but began taking photographs in the Netherlands and discovered a new passion. He traveled in Europe and Africa before returning to the United States where he attended the New School and studied with Alexey Brodovitch, the art director of Harper's Bazaar. In 1958 he moved to Amsterdam to photograph its Jewish community. Through the 1960s he continued to work as a freelance photojournalist, traveling widely. He documented such events and subjects as the Civil Rights movement in America (1964–65), the Yom Kippur War in 1973, and the New York City police department (1972–79). His career blossomed during the American civil rights movement, when he traveled the country with Martin Luther King, Jr. in his celebrated march across the US from Alabama to Washington. This journey gave him the opportunity to produce his 1968 book, Black in White America, which brought considerable attention. His work on New York City law enforcement also led to a book, Police Work which was published in 1980. Early in Freed's career, Edward Steichen purchased three photographs from Freed for the collection of the Museum of Modern Art.[ In 1967, Cornell Capa selected Freed as one of five photographers to participate in his "Concerned Photography" exhibition. Freed joined Magnum Photos in 1972. Publications to which Freed contributed over the years included Der Spiegel, Die Zeit, Fortune, Libération, Life, Look, Paris-Match, Stern, and The Sunday Times Magazine of London. In later years, Freed continued shooting photographs in Italy, Turkey, Germany, Lebanon and the U.S. He also shot four films for Japanese, Dutch and Belgian television.Source: Wikipedia Born in Brooklyn, New York, to working-class Jewish parents of Eastern European descent, Leonard Freed first wanted to become a painter. However, he began taking photographs while in the Netherlands in 1953, and discovered that this was where his passion lay. In 1954, after trips through Europe and North Africa, he returned to the United States and studied in Alexei Brodovitch's 'design laboratory'. He moved to Amsterdam in 1958 and photographed the Jewish community there. He pursued this concern in numerous books and films, examining German society and his own Jewish roots; his book on the Jews in Germany was published in 1961, and Made in Germany, about post-war Germany, appeared in 1965. Working as a freelance photographer from 1961 onwards, Freed began to travel widely, photographing blacks in America (1964-65), events in Israel (1967-68), the Yom Kippur War in 1973, and the New York City police department (1972-79). He also shot four films for Japanese, Dutch and Belgian television. Early in Freed's career, Edward Steichen, then Director of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art, bought three of his photographs for the museum. Steichen told Freed that he was one of the three best young photographers he had seen and urged him to remain an amateur, as the other two were now doing commercial photography and their work had become uninteresting. 'Preferably,' he advised, 'be a truck driver.' Freed joined Magnum in 1972. His coverage of the American civil rights movement first made him famous, but he also produced major essays on Poland, Asian immigration in England, North Sea oil development, and Spain after Franco. Photography became Freed's means of exploring societal violence and racial discrimination. Leonard Freed died in Garrison, New York, on 30 November 2006.Source: Steven Kasher Gallery
Francis Meslet
France
1963
A graduate in Design from the Fine Art School of Nancy in 1986, early in his career Francis Meslet was a designer, but soon turned to advertising when he joined several agencies as an artistic director. After 30 years spent questioning the creative concept and studying images in all his compositions, he is now a creative director. Francis does not hesitate to roam the world in his spare time, searching for abandoned sites, sanctuaries where time seems to have stopped after humans have evacuated them. He thus brings back captivating and melancholic images of his travels to the other side of the world... Like time capsules, testifying to a parallel world and perfect for enabling the mind to wander and ponder, Francis Meslet’s melancholic images brave the passage of time, making way for silence after the memories left behind by human inhabitation. In these deserted places, no more than the rustling of the wind can be heard through a broken window or the sound of water dripping from a dilapidated ceiling. These silences nonetheless invite the spectator to slip into these well-guarded and mysterious places captured by the photographer and attempt to bring to life that which has been forgotten. In this power station orders were shouted in German, in this French Catholic school the cries of children resounded to the sound of the bell but who can imagine the sounds hidden behind the walls of this old psychiatric asylum in Italy or on the docks of this abandoned island off Japan? From these silences, everyone can imagine their own interpretations, ...reinterpretations.
Elise Boularan
France
1984
Elise Boularan grew up in the South of France and has a Master's degree in Creation and Artistic Research from the University of Toulouse. She also studied photography at the Toulouse School of Photography. After finishing her academic research and studies, she moved to Paris. She currently lives between Paris and Toulouse, pursuing a career as a photographic artist.She develops a photographic work turned to the story, realizing images loaded with ellipses and silences. This work does not shy away from the world, but intends to build an interpretation, where something deaf, undefinable is very present. Her preoccupations concern the human reality of our time, trying to reveal what can be secret at the individual's.She has been published extensively and has exhibited in Europe and the USA, notably in Madrid, Denmark, and New York, as well as the French Institute of Ukraine, The Museum of New Art (Mona) and The Russell Industrial Center (Mona Detroit) in Detroit; the Instituto Cultural de México, San Antonio, Texas Hill Country, Usa. Her work is in several private collections.Elise Boularan works also for international & national press and collaborates with musicians and other artists, making the universe of songs match perfectly with her poetical vision.All about photo: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?I had already done specialized studies in photography, but I remember I really got caught by the photographer' syndrome when I was in Belgium.Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? For what purpose?After the shooting. there is a lot of work. I don't retouch a lot my images or give this impression... But I spend a great deal of time to select and to see which images work together. It's a difficult and very interesting work.The compliment that touched you most?Indeed, there is a compliment which particularly touched me some years ago in Paris. A compliment coming from one of my references photograph, a famous photographer who has a remarkable work. When we met us, she wanted to discover my work and it was unexpected for me to have compliments on my work from her. And the next day, she phoned me to thank me, because my work had motivated her to boost in her creations again. Is there another job you could have done?No, I don't think so. But it's a good question because we should make no mistake about it, the artistic crafts aren't easy so we can have this kind of questions. But my answer is no.
Ada Trillo
United States
1976
Ada Trillo is a photographer based in Philadelphia, PA, and Juarez, Mexico. Trillo holds degrees from the Istituto Marangoni in Milan and Drexel University in Philadelphia. Trillo's work is concerned with human rights issues facing Latin America. Trillo has documented forced prostitution in Juarez, Mexico, the infamous La Bestia train, the migrant caravans of 2018 and 2020, and the struggles of asylum seekers directly affected by Trump's Remain in Mexico policy. Trillo has exhibited internationally at Saint Josephs University in Philadelphia, The Photo Meetings in Luxembourg, The Passion for Freedom Art Festival in London, Festival Internazionale di Fotografia in Cortona Italy and at the Anya and Andrew Shiva Gallery at the John Jay College in New, York. In 2017, Trillo received a Leeway Foundation Art and Change Grant. Her work has been featured in The British Journal of Photography, The Guardian, and Smithsonian Magazine. Trillo was recently awarded a CFEVA Fellowship by The Center For Emerging Visual Artists and was named the Visual Artist-in-Residence for Fleisher Art Memorial in Philadelphia. Her work is included in the permanent collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and The West Collection. Trillo was awarded First Place in Editorial Photos with the Tokyo International Foto Awards. She was recently awarded the ME&Eve grant with the Center of photographic arts in Santa Fe. Statement I was born in El Paso, Texas but I was raised in Juarez, Mexico. As a teenager, I traveled back and forth between the two cities so I could attend school in the states. Witnessing life on the border as a young adult had a strong influence on my worldview and art practice. After years of working as a painter, I picked up a camera and started making pictures. For the past four years, I've been documenting the journey migrants take to reach the US-Mexico border. In 2017, I photographed aboard the infamous La Bestia, a dangerous journey by a freight train that migrants from Mexico and Central America ride every year to reach the border. In 2018 & 2019 I photographed overpopulated migrant shelters in Juarez and Tijuana. I also traveled with the migrant caravans of 2018 and 2020, from Honduras, through Guatemala, and into Mexico. In 2019, I photographed asylum seekers who were barred entry into the US under Trump's, Remain in Mexico Policy. While the media often covers what is happening at the border, they all too often overlook the individual trials, struggles, and humanity of those seeking to escape violence in pursuit of a better life. Spending countless days and nights living alongside those I photograph, I hope to present an honest, unadulterated view of migrant life. I photograph exclusively with a 35mm camera and fixed lenses. My process of making pictures is about creating real connections with my subjects in search of depth and intimacy in my work. My goal is to humanize their struggle and share their stories with the world.
Cole Weston
United States
1919
Cole Weston, born on January 30, 1919 in Los Angeles, was the fourth and youngest son of famed 20th Century photographer, Edward Henry Weston. Cole received his first camera, a 4 by 5 Autograflex, from his brother Brett in 1935. Cole graduated with a degree in theater arts from the Cornish School in Seattle in 1937 and then served in the Navy during World War II as a welder and photographer. After his discharge from the Navy in 1945 Cole worked for Life Magazine. In 1946 he moved to Carmel to assist his father Edward. During this time Eastman Kodak started sending their new color film, Kodachrome, for Edward to try out. Cole took this opportunity to experiment with this new medium and eventually became one of the world’s great masters of fine art color photography.In 1957 Cole began shooting his first color photographs of the magnificent Big Sur coast, Monterey Peninsula and central California. At this time he carried on his own portrait business while assisting his ailing father, who passed away in 1958. Edward had authorized Cole to print from Edward’s negatives after his death, so Cole continued printing Edward’s work while pursuing his own fine art photography.In 1975 Cole began lecturing and conducting workshops on his father’s photography as well as his own. With his work in the theater arts Cole was a natural when it came to teaching and lecturing and his many students still comment on what a great workshop he gave. He traveled throughout the United States, England, Europe, Russia, Mexico, New Zealand and the South Pacific photographing and inspiring others with his characteristic enthusiasm and charm. In 1988 after three decades devoted to printing his father’s work, Cole at last set aside his responsibility to Edward’s legacy and refocused on his own photography. Cole had his first solo exhibition in San Francisco in 1971. Since then, his work has been featured in more than sixty exhibitions worldwide and has been collected by museums throughout the United States and Europe. His work has been featured in numerous gallery shows and publications with three monographs and numerous articles having been published on his exquisite photography. Michael Hoffman from Aperture Publications once quoted, “In the history of photography there are but a few masters of color photography, Cole Weston is assuredly one of these masters of the medium whose dramatic powerful images are a source of great joy and pleasure”. Cole passed away from natural causes on April 20th, 2003.Like Cole, who once carried on the legacy of his father’s photography, his children have decided, as a tribute to their father, to carry on printing and offer Trust prints of Cole’s fine color photographs. Cole Weston was a dedicated artist and master of fine photography. Hopefully the availability of modern prints will make it possible for photographic enthusiasts everywhere to continue to enjoy his life’s work.
Oleksandr Rupeta
Ukraine
1981
Oleksandr Rupeta is a documentary photographer from Ukraine working worldwide. He is a member of the Independent Media Trade Union Of Ukraine and the International Federation of Journalists from 2016 and a member of the Ukrainian Association of Professional Photographers and Federation of European Photographers from 2018. As a news and reportage photographer, Oleksandr carries out short and long-term projects about political, cultural, and social life in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. His works highlight Ukrainian-Russian conflict, Afghan Red Crescent Society, the life of Iranian Jews community, Sufi Community in Northern Cyprus, people with disabilities in Southern African countries, ethnic minorities in Azerbaijan, LGBT community in the Balkans, elephant conservation in Laos, robotics in Japan, etc. The photos appeared in The New York Times, The Financial Times, The Times, The Guardian, The Economist, Time, Nature, Forbes, National Geographic Traveler and others. His news photos were chosen numerous times as a photo of the day, a photo of the month and a photo of the year in agencies such as NurPhoto, Zuma Press and GettyImages reportage. About Someone in your corner From the middle of the XX century, the tendency of keeping animals as pets has been increased in their number and variety. There are many reasons for this phenomenon. First of all, the technological development improved the overall standard of living. Human attitudes towards animals are becoming of increasing importance and less pragmatic. When a man moves away from nature he begins to use animals as compensation for the lost connection. As a result, animals are engaged in social relations with a human. As family members, pets are changing not only their behavior but also the behavior of the owners. They build complex interdependent relationships. In Ukraine, like the entire post-Soviet space, this tendency has become widespread with gaining independence. Open borders facilitated the transportation of exotic animals and their purchase became quite easy. Keeping unusual animals ceased to be the prerogative of a privileged few. Instead of this came out a problem of the pet owners' ignorance who may have a lack of knowledge of proper exotic pet care. The idea for the project was to explore the mutuality and relationship of the human-animal bond in the modern world, to see and pay attention to the conditions of their interaction and coexistence. The project was created in the summer-fall 2019, throughout Ukraine. The primary eligibility criteria for choosing characters was the exclusion of all occasional owners, zoos, circuses and using animals in entertainment spectacles. But everything turned out to be more complicated than expected. Odd owners often saved their pets from death and mostly they showed true love to the pets. Other characters were chosen from people with a passion for animals. In addition to owning exotic animals as house pets, these people frequently try to link their lives with animals. Some of them organize private or home zoos, some work in pet shops, others try to find work at animal shelters or wildlife sanctuary. The project turned out wider than I planned but each shot in the series elucidates the special human-animal connection.
Lori Pond
United States
1959
Lori Pond is an artist using the photographic process to explore the human condition as seen through the conflict of good vs. evil, contemporary anxiety and the impermanence of all things. She received a B.S. in Music Performance and Spanish from Indiana University and an M.A. in Broadcast Journalism from USC before embarking on a career in television, where she is a graphic artist at Conan O'Brien's talk show, "Conan." She splits her time between this and her fine art photography. Her work has been included in numerous solo shows at institutions such as: The Griffin Museum of Photography, (Boston) Oceanside Museum of Art, University of the Arts (Philadelphia) and Gallery 825 in Los Angeles. Lori has exhibited in over 30 group shows around the globe. Lori's body of work, "Bosch Redux," has been featured in online publications and interviews, such as: Beta Developments in Photography, Adobe Create, LENSCRATCH, Peripheral Vision Arts Salon and Your Daily Photograph. Hard copy publications of her photography have appeared in The Sun Magazine, Seeing in Sixes, Arboreal, Bosch Redux and Self. Lori's art can be found in the permanent collections of : The Center for Fine Art Photography, Morgan Stanley headquarters and The Center for the Arts, Los Angeles. She lives and works in Los Angeles. All about Menace Menace When danger flares, what do you do? Since humans first experienced the fight or flight reflex, the subconscious brain has told us what, when, and whom to fear. This remains so. When faced with peril, our bodies respond with intensified adrenaline and racing heart beats. Survival depends on our instantaneous emotional response instructing us to run or stay, a millisecond before our rational self can decide. While our brains have not changed, what we fear has. It is rarely a carnivorous beast that triggers our instinct to run. It is pictures of burning skyscrapers, reports of schoolchildren crouching behind desks to hide from bullets, or a gathering of teens in hoodies that make us tremble: Our 21st Century litany of what to fear. But are these threats real? My series "Menace" challenges us to question what we "know." "Menace" confronts us with frightening, darkened, wild animals that trigger the ancient instinct, while our rational mind knows we are in a safe, civilized space, viewing images. We look longer, closer, and realize the threat was never there: these are taxidermied animals, their images captured in bright sunlit shops, manipulated later by the artist to ferocity. They frighten, but are impotent. Menace asks us to consider if our modern fears are justified, or if our contemporary bogeymen are figments of our imagination, mere empty threats manipulated by an unseen hand.
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