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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

John Rankin
United Kingdom
1966
Synonymous with compelling portraiture, Rankin's lens captures, creates and unveils icons. Rankin made his name in publishing, founding the seminal monthly magazine Dazed & Confused with Jefferson Hack in 1992. It provided a platform for innovation for emerging stylists, designers, photographers and writers. The magazine went on to forge a distinctive mark in the arts and publishing spheres, and developed a cult status forming and moulding trends, and bringing some of the brightest lights in fashion to the foreground. Rankin has created landmark editorial and advertising campaigns. His body of work features some of the most celebrated publications, biggest brands and pioneering charities, including Nike, Swatch, Dove, Pantene, Diageo, Women's Aid, and Breakthrough Breast Cancer. He has shot covers for Elle, German Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Esquire, GQ, Rolling Stone and Wonderland. His work has always endeavoured to question social norms and ideas of beauty and, in late 2000, Rankin published the heteroclite quarterly Rank, an experimental anti-fashion magazine celebrating the unconventional. In 2001, Jefferson and Rankin launched AnOther Magazine. With a focus on fashion, originality, and distinction. In response to the expanding menswear market, in 2005 AnOther Man was introduced, combining intelligent editorial with groundbreaking design and style. More recently, the Dazed Group has established itself as an online authority, via AnOthermag.com, Dazeddigital.com and Dazedtv.com. Rankin celebrated Dazed & Confused's 20th anniversary, shooting 20 front covers of Dazed favourites and 20 inside covers of the next generation of talent, for the December 2011 issue. Tapping into the consciousness of the 90s and 00s with his intimate approach and playful sense of humour, Rankin became known for his portraiture of bands, artists, supermodels and politicians. Having photographed everyone from the Queen of England to the Queen of Pop, Rankin is often seen as a celebrity photographer. However, his plethora of campaigns and projects featuring 'real women' marked him out as a genuinely passionate portrait photographer, no matter who the subject. Always pursuing personal projects which push his limits, high impact charity projects, and groundbreaking commercial campaigns, Rankin has stood out for his creative fearlessness. His first major worldwide and award-winning campaign - Dove's 'Real Women' - epitomised his approach: to reveal the honesty of the connection and collaborative process between photographer and subject. Personal or commercial, Rankin's images have become part of contemporary iconography, evidence of his frankness and passion for all aspects of modern culture, and its representation in the photographed image. Rankin has published over 30 books, is regularly exhibited in galleries around the world, as well as his own London gallery. His museum-scale exhibition 'Show Off' opened at NRW Dusseldorf in September 2012, pulling in over 30,000 visitors in 3 months. In the last few years, he has frequently turned his hand to studies of photography through TV presenting. Working with the BBC, he has featured in a number of seminal documentaries - 'The Seven Photographs that Changed Fashion', 'South Africa in Pictures', 'Shooting the Stars', 'The Life Magazine Photographers' and most recently, an in-depth documentary into the modern approach to death in, 'Alive: In the Face of Death'. His affiliation with charities has seen Rankin travel the world, creating powerful campaigns both as a photographer and a director. With Oxfam, he visited the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Kenya, and in 2011 hosted an Oxglam exhibition, featuring work from some of the world's most talented emerging young photographers, and raising money for the charity. 2013 sees a planned trip to Jordan and Lebanon with Oxfam. In 2009, Rankin undertook the biggest project of his career - Rankin Live, a mammoth, interactive spectacle and exhibition. Always interested in the democratisation of the image, and also a keen advocate of the amazing digital advances of the photographic industry, Rankin Live was the culmination of the accessibility and speed of modern photography. Rankin proved that everyone can look like a magazine cover star as, for 7 straight weeks, he photographed people off the street, one every 15 minutes - retouching, printing and hanging the image within half an hour of the shutter being fired. Rankin photographed over 1600 Londoners, before then taking Rankin Live on tour in Mexico and New York. In 2011, Rankin Film Productions was born. Rankin developed a taste for film directing music videos, commercials, and short films with co-director Chris Cottam between 2002 and 2009, including their debut feature film, The Lives of Saints. Written by Toni Grisoni (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas), it won the grand jury prize at the Salento International Film Festival. Since 2009, Rankin has continued to direct independently on both commercial and personal projects. Taking on the new role of Executive Producer, Rankin recently founded Collabor8te, in association with The Bureau and Dazed TV. Collabor8te calls on scriptwriters and directors to submit their ideas for narrative film, promising to turn a selection of these dreams into a reality, producing them, featuring them on Dazed TV, and running them on the international film festival circuit. In November 2011, Rankin returned to magazine publishing with a fresh offering - The Hunger. A biannual fashion, culture and lifestyle magazine, The Hunger and its associated Hunger TV website - a video-based digital platform featuring in-depth interviews, fashion films, blogs, updates, and previews - marked Rankin's return to the fashion world with an understanding that the future is not only printed but digital too. Rankin lives in London with his wife, Tuuli, and son, Lyle.
James Nachtwey
United States
1948
James Nachtwey is an American photojournalist and war photographer. He grew up in Massachusetts and graduated from Dartmouth College, where he studied Art History and Political Science (1966–70). Nachtwey started working as a newspaper photographer in 1976 at the Albuquerque Journal. In 1980, he moved to New York and began working as a freelance photographer. In 1981, Nachtwey covered his first overseas assignment in Northern Ireland illustrating civil strife. He has documented a variety of armed conflicts and social issues, spending time in South Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, Russia, Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union shooting pictures of war, conflict and famine, and images of socio-political issues (pollution, crime and punishment) in Western Europe and the United States. He currently lives in New York City. In 1994, Nachtwey was covering the upcoming elections in South Africa, the first non-racial ones in decades. As an associate of the Bang-Bang Club, he was at the scene when Ken Oosterbroek was killed and Greg Marinovich was seriously injured. Nachtwey had been injured previously in his work, but it was during his extensive coverage of the United States invasion of Iraq that he received his first combat injury. As Nachtwey, along with Time correspondent Michael Weisskopf rode in the back of a Humvee with the United States Army "Tomb Raiders" Survey Platoon, an insurgent threw a grenade into the vehicle. Weisskopf grabbed the grenade to throw it out of the humvee, but it exploded in his hand. Two soldiers were injured in the explosion, along with the Time journalists. Nachtwey managed to take several photographs of medic Billie Grimes treating Weisskopf before passing out. Both journalists were airlifted to Germany and later to hospitals in the United States. Nachtwey recovered sufficiently to return overseas to cover the tsunami in Southeast Asia of December 26, 2004. Nachtwey has worked with Time as a contract photographer since 1984. He worked for Black Star from 1980 until 1985 and was a member of Magnum Photos from 1986 until 2001. In 2001, he was a founding member of the VII Photo Agency (he disassociated from VII in August 2011). Nachtwey was present during the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, and produced a well known related body of work. He also compiled a photo essay on the effects of the Sudan conflict on civilians. In February 2011, Nachtwey contributed to a controversial piece for Vogue Magazine, which shone a favorable light on Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and his family. The article and the photo series were particularly controversial as a peaceful protest movement in the context of the Arab Spring that was gathering steam at the same time, was brutally put down by the Syrian regime's military and secret police services. By December 2011, death toll estimates of the uprising ranged between 3,500 and 5,000, while an approximate 30,000 civilians were imprisoned and, in many cases, tortured severely. Vogue later decided to remove the article from its pages. Nevertheless, the article can still be accessed on the Syrian presidency's own website. Source: Wikipedia James Nachtwey grew up in Massachusetts and graduated from Dartmouth College, where he studied Art History and Political Science (1966-70). Images from the Vietnam War and the American Civil Rights movement had a powerful effect on him and were instrumental in his decision to become a photographer. He has worked aboard ships in the Merchant Marine, and while teaching himself photography, he was an apprentice news film editor and a truck driver. In 1976 he started work as a newspaper photographer in New Mexico, and in 1980, he moved to New York to begin a career as a freelance magazine photographer. His first foreign assignment was to cover civil strife in Northern Ireland in 1981 during the IRA hunger strike. Since then, Nachtwey has devoted himself to documenting wars, conflicts and critical social issues. He has worked on extensive photographic essays in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza, Israel, Indonesia, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, the Philippines, South Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Rwanda, South Africa, Russia, Bosnia, Chechnya, Kosovo, Romania, Brazil and the United States. Nachtwey has been a contract photographer with Time Magazine since 1984. He was associated with Black Star from 1980 - 1985 and was a member of Magnum from 1986 until 2001. In 2001, he became one of the founding members of the photo agency, VII. He has had solo exhibitions at the International Center of Photography in New York, the Bibliotheque nationale de France in Paris, the Palazzo Esposizione in Rome, the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego, Culturgest in Lisbon, El Circulo de Bellas Artes in Madrid, Fahey/Klein Gallery in Los Angeles, the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, the Canon Gallery and the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam, the Carolinum in Prague,and the Hasselblad Center in Sweden, among others. He has received numerous honours such as the Common Wealth Award, Martin Luther King Award, Dr. Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award, Henry Luce Award, Robert Capa Gold Medal (five times), the World Press Photo Award (twice), Magazine Photographer of the Year (seven times), the International Center of Photography Infinity Award (three times), the Leica Award (twice), the Bayeaux Award for War Correspondents (twice), the Alfred Eisenstaedt Award, the Canon Photo essayist Award and the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Grant in Humanistic Photography. He is a fellow of the Royal Photographic Society and has an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the Massachusetts College of Arts. Source: www.jamesnachtwey.com
Shin Noguchi
Japan
1976
Shin Noguchi, born 1976 in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan, is an award winning street photographer based in Kamakura and Tokyo, Japan. He describes his street photography as an attempt to capture extraordinary moments of excitement, humanism and beauty among the flow of everyday life. With his discreet, poetic and enigmatic approach to his art, Shin is able to capture the subtleties and complexities of Japanese culture without relying on staged, no-finder or hip shot photography. Shin was the 2014 Winner of the MAP Talent Prize at the Festival de photo Toulouse. He has been invited to hold solo exhibitions in Russia, France and China and other countries, and also He has been featured on The Leica Camera Blog, in Courrier Inte'l, Internazionale, Libération, The Guardian, The Independent, etc, and some assignment work has been also published in Die Zeit, Libération, etc.. and his new book will be published this year in Italy. "Street photography always projects the "truth". The "truth" that I talk about isn't necessarily that I can see, but they also exist in society, in street, in people's life. and I always try to capture this reality beyond my own values and viewpoint/perspective." In Color in Japan From the introduction of the book: Like all good photographers, Shin Noguchi treats the camera as another appendage - a special sensory organ merging hand and eye that allows him to show us what he sees, and more subtly, how he sees. And his camera is always working. Noguchi is internationally respected as a "street photographer," but while he has won numerous prizes for his work in that genre, the appellation does not do justice to his omnivorous eye. His is just as likely to record tender moments with his family or newsworthy events like the typhoon as his encounters on the streets of Tokyo where he works, or Kamakura, where he lives. The connecting vein that runs throughout his work is a belief in the appearance of objectivity, a belief that first began to manifest when he discovered the work of the Magnum photo cooperative when he was still in his teens. It was, as he has said, the first time he realized that art and documentation could be merged. Noguchi knows perfectly well that what he shows us reflects his own sensibility and intellect but prefers to dial back the expressionistic impulse. It is an old trick in photography: make the viewer believe that had she been standing next to him she would have seen precisely what he saw. It’s also a difficult trick to pull off, particularly when the everyday world seems to be so full of surprises. In Noguchi-world, Giraffes wander about temples with Buddhist monks; workers dive into random circular openings in giant bushes, or burst from openings in blank walls as if transporting to or returning from another dimension; golf carts cluster like insects on neon-green lawns; objects possessed of more animate power than the people carrying them seem to propel their human cargo down the sidewalk instead of the opposite. In many images, goofy absurdity suddenly explodes from a sober social milieu in a way that seems to Western eyes particularly Japanese. Sentiment and affection are common themes, but the work is never sentimental. His new book, "Shin Noguchi, in Color in Japan," skates across the peaks of many of Noguchi’s favorite preoccupations (I personally have developed a fondness for his utterly adorable daughters) and one can only hope that we will get to explore his work more deeply in the future. - Chuck Patch museum curator, photographer and writer
Laura El-Tantawy
Laura El-Tantawy is an Egyptian photographer living between Cairo and London. She is represented by VII Mentor. She was born in Worcestershire, England to Egyptian parents & grew up between Saudi Arabia & Egypt. In 2002, El-Tantawy started her career as a newspaper photographer with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel & Sarasota Herald-Tribune (USA). In 2006, she became freelance so she could focus on pursuing personal projects. In 2008, she was nominated & accepted as one of 15 young photographers from around the world to participate in Reflexions Masterclass, a two-year photography seminar directed by renowned Italian photographer Giorgia Fiorio and French curator Gabriel Bauret. In 2010, she was awarded a six-month fellowship at the University of Oxford (UK) to write about freedom of expression in Egypt and the role played by Internet of expression in Egypt and the role played by Internet blogging and independent newspapers in pushing the boundaries of free speech in Egypt. In 2005 she started work on her first book exploring the identity and change facing her native Egypt. Her work has been published & exhibited in the United States, Europe, Asia & the Middle East and she has been recognized across several international awards. In 2013, she will be taking part in the 4th edition of the Northern Lights MasterClass, an educational program for documentary photographers powered by the Noorderlicht Foundation in the Netherlands. El-Tantawy is a graduate of the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia (USA) with a dual degree journalism and political science. Source: www.lauraeltantawy.com
Laurent Dequick
Laurent Dequick is a professional architect in his forties. His photographic work has been influenced by architecture, since it is primarily focused on ideas surrounding the contemporary city and more specifically, urban sprawl. The photographer’s message is to accurately convey the impression of freneticism stemming from population density and activity in urban zones: “As you walk down the street, the lights, noises, traffic, hustle and bustle, and mix of smells are so striking that no single shot could capture all of it. So do we have to make choices? I don’t think so and I don’t want to.” To convey in images this “congestion” of urban life, Laurent Dequick does not hesitate to juxtapose, superimpose, or imbricate his shots. He fits together photographs representing architectural complexes, highways, and people, all with the same intensity. He condenses the images like the city condenses the sum of the lives of all of its inhabitants. His style is reminiscent of cubism in its rendering, which verges on abstraction in its representation of constant motion. Source: Yellow Korner The passing of time is a fascinating concept which happens all around us, at every single moment of every single day. French photographer Laurent Dequick decided to capture these fleeting seconds in a series of photographs entitled Vibrations Urbaines. Each image is a collective sequence of multiple photographs, superimposed together to visually reflect the chaos and congestion of large urban areas. The series features colorful and energetic portraits of both New York and Berlin. Viewers might feel a bit hyper as they view the still photograph which so strongly convey the motion of cars zipping past and the life of people rushing by. Dequick says his work is “primarily a reflection on the contemporary city and more specifically the proliferation of modern urban space.” Through these compositions, the artist portrays the constant urban action and excitement that are generally challenging to communicate through just one still photograph. Source: My Modern Met
Michael Knapstein
United States
1956
Michael Knapstein (born 1956, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, USA) is a fine-art photographer who has earned international recognition for his insightful and nuanced visual exploration of the American Midwest. He now lives in Middleton, Wisconsin. Michael's photographs began attracting national attention while still in high school. At the age of 17, his work earned its way into the permanent collection of the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, NY. After graduating from the College of Fine Arts and Communication at the University of Wisconsin, Knapstein began a 30+ year career in the world of advertising. He sold his ad agency in 2010 and returned to his first love of photography. Since this reemergence, Michael's work has been recognized with hundreds of awards in some of the world's most prestigious photography competitions. He is a four-time Critical Mass Finalist, Pollux Award Winner and was named International Landscape Photographer of the Year at the 5th Barcelona Foto Biennale in Barcelona, Spain. He was also named one of "14 Inspiring American Artists" by Skillshare and Feature Shoot. His work has been widely exhibited in museums and galleries around the world. About Midwest Memoir There is a certain magic to the American Midwest. Honest. Modest. Understated. Sometimes unappreciated. Often overlooked. I created Midwest Memoir as a way to help others see the Midwest in a whole new light. The Midwest in which I was raised. The Midwest that shaped my experiences and my artistic aesthetic. The Midwest the way I will always remember it, even though it continues to change and disappear around me. I think of the Midwest as being classic and timeless in nature. Therefore, I approached this project from a time-honored "straight photography" perspective in the spirit of Group f/64 and gave the work a modernist character with a strong formalist dimension. My approach was informed by the work of mid-century modernist photographers such as Adams, Weston, White, Strand and Evans. My work was also strongly influenced by the American Regionalism movement and the work of artists who portrayed the American heartland, including Wood, Benton, Curry, Wyeth and Hopper. If you pause for a moment, perhaps you'll feel the humid air of an approaching thunderstorm, or catch the smell of fresh laundry as it dries in the summer breeze. That is my Midwest Memoir.
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