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

Michel Kameni

Country: Cameroon
Birth: 1935

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

Shinya Arimoto
Shinya Arimoto, 1971, Japan, is a conceptual documentary photographer who studied at the School of Visual Arts in Osaka. Within his body of work there is a lot of street photography containing images of structures, objects, women and homeless people. In contrast to a lot of other street photographers he does not just snap his camera but carefully creates the images showing a photographer who communicates with his subjects. The world he shows us is chaotic and vibrant yet he manages to create a sense of calm within his photographs. His story-telling images are well-composed, sensitive and intimate. His work has been exhibited on numerous occasions in Japan. Source: 500photographers.blogspot.com Interview With Shinya Arimoto AAP: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer? Shinya Arimoto: After viewing Masatoshi Naito’s photo book TOKYO while in high school. Where did you study photography? I studied the photography at the School of Visual Arts in Osaka. My teacher at that time was the photographer Mr. Shunji Dodo. I have a high regard for him. Do you have a mentor or role model? Mr. Shunji Dodo has remained my teacher and mentor ever since my student days. How long have you been a photographer? It's been 20 years since I became the freelance photographer. Do you remember your first shot? What was it? I still remember when I spoke to a stranger for the first time on the street and took a photograph. What or who inspires you? The streets of Tokyo which are changing every day. How could you describe your style? Traditional street photography. Do you have a favorite photograph or series? It is a "ariphoto" series of ongoing. AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film? I use medium format film cameras. Mainly a Rolleiflex 2.8F, a Hasselblad 903SWC and a Mamiya RZ67. Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? For what purpose? Because the period between actually photographing my worn and exhibiting it is extremely short, the editing work is minimal. Favorite(s) photographer(s)? Diane Arbus, Garry Winogrand, Lee Friedlander, Bruce Davidson and Josef Koudelka. What advice would you give a young photographer? Just get out there and shoot on the street! What mistake should a young photographer avoid? Being inclined to think about “a concept” too much. An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share? The city of Tokyo which can be seen in my eyes is one of an ecosystem with magnificent circulation. What are your projects? Most recently I have been taking photographs of the small insect in the forest. Your best memory as a photographer? The days when I took traveled to Tibet with a camera when I was in my early 20's. Your worst souvenir as a photographer? Having 150 rolls of exposed film stolen in India... The compliment that touched you most? Timeless, Placeless. If you were someone else who would it be? A small insect. I want to look at the world from that point of view. Your favorite photo book? A Period of Juvenile Prosperity / Mike Brodie which I obtained is a favorite recently. An anecdote? I have held the exhibition currently in Paris. So I was very inspired to stay in Europe for the first time. I want to look into a lot of people Since the PHOTOQUAI is very interesting event. Anything else you would like to share? My gallery: Totem Pole Photo Gallery in Shinjuku, Tokyo.
Leo Rubinfien
United States
1953
Leo Rubinfien (b. 1953, Chicago, Illinois) is an American photographer and essayist. He lives and works in New York City.Rubinfien first came to prominence as part of the circle of artist-photographers who investigated new color techniques and materials in the 1970s. His first one-person exhibition was held at Castelli Graphics, New York, in 1981 and he has since had solo exhibitions at institutions that include the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Seattle Art Museum, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, and the Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University. He is the author of two books of photographs, A Map of the East (Godine, Thames & Hudson, Toshi Shuppan, 1992), and Wounded Cities (Steidl, 2008.)Rubinfien is also an active writer, who has published numerous extended essays on major photographers of the 20th century. He has contributed a memoir, “Colors of Daylight” to Starburst: Color Photography in America, 1970-1980 (Kevin Moore, Cincinnati Art Museum / Hatje Caantz 2010) and produced the long personal and historical essay in Wounded Cities, which recounts the attacks of September 11th, 2001 and the years that followed. In 2001-2004, he served as Guest Co-curator of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s retrospective of the work of Shomei Tomatsu and is co-author of Shomei Tomatsu / Skin of the Nation (Yale University Press, 2004). Since 2010, he has been serving as Guest Curator of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s retrospective of the work of Garry Winogrand, which will begin a world tour in 2013.Rubinfien’s work has been acquired for numerous public and private collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Seattle Art Museum, the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Bibliotheque Nationale, the Yale University Art Gallery, the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University, the Fogg Museum at Harvard University, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Israel Museum and the Center for Creative Photography of the University of Arizona. He has held fellowships with the Guggenheim Foundation, Japan Foundation, Asian Cultural Council, and the International Center for Advanced Studies at New York University, and in 2009 was awarded the Gold Prize at the 5th Lianzhou International Photography Festival.Source Wikipedia
Alain Laboile
France
1968
I was born on the 1st of May, 1968, in Bordeaux. After an half-hearted schooling, I live of odd jobs until 1990, the year I met Anne. It was the time of my opening to art.I accompanied Anne, student in Art History, to her lectures.It is in the darkness of the crowded amphitheatres that I witnessed heatedly the dissection of the Italian Renaissance artworks. Drawing being my ally since childhood, I can let myself drift into this third dimension by making plaster portaits in a corner of the studio we share. Then came, through a random reading, my fascination for insects. Jean-Henri Fabres's Souvenirs entomologiques will inspire me and accompany me for several years.Plaster and stone slowly fade away to let the rusty iron turn into shaggy insects.On the top of a hill near Bordeaux ,in Gironde, our house fills up with kids.My activity is taking off, and I need to take some photos of my sculptures. That's precisely at that moment, in 2004, that I accidently dive into photography, or more accurately macrophotography, were insects are predominant.Three years later, insects went into hiding under the leaves, my six children are born, and we have left the hill for the stream on the edge of the world. My photo-diary was established without my really noticing, It now seems vital and everlasting. About "La famille" I'm a father of six. Through my photographic work I celebrate and document my family life:A life on the edge of the world, where intemporality and the universality of childhood meet. Day to day I create a family album that constitues a legacy that I will pass on to my children.My work reflects our way of life,revolving around their childhood. My photographs will be the testimony of that. In a way my approach can be considered similar to the one of an ethnologist. Though my work is deeply personal, It's also accessible,addressing human nature and allowing the viewer to enter my world and reflect on their own childhoods. Fed everyday and shared with the world via the internet, my photographic production has became a mean of communication, leading to a questionning about freedom, nudity, being and having.Exclusive Interview with Alain Laboile:AAP: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?I was working as a sculptor. In 2004 I bought my first camera to photograph my sculptures and my passion for insects drove me to practice macrophotography. After the birth of my last two daughters I raised little by little my lens towards my family. The passion was born and did not leave me any more since 9 years.AAP: Where did you study photography?I am totally self-taught. When I began, I had a very limited photographic culture, no technique. I learned by sharing my photos on forums on the web, by receiving critics which allowed me to progress.AAP: Do you have a mentor or role model?I met the famous American photographer Jock Sturges during the summer 2012. He became a good friend, a kind of spiritual father who accompanies me in my artistic route. I owe him a lot.AAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it?I think It was a macrophotography showing a mating of slugs.AAP: What or who inspires you?My work is extremely personal because it concerns my family life and our little offbeat lifestyle. I try to be inspired by nobody. It is the spectators of my work, that sometimes establish comparisons. Sally Mann’s work is often mentioned.AAP: How could you describe your style?An Internet user compared one day my photographic style with street photography. I think that if indeed I lived in town I would practise street photography. But living in the countryside, I photograph my family in its close environment, on the deep.AAP: Do you have a favorite photograph or series? I like very much the work of joseph-Philippe Bevillard, His series of portraits of Irish gypsies is fascinating.AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film? I worked for a long time with a Canon 5 D Mark III camera and 35 mm f1,4 lens. I now own a Leica M monochrom which I use with a 35 mm f1,4 Leica lens.AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? For what purpose?I am very selective. I do not hesitate to delete all the photos which do not satisfy me totally.AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer?I would say to him that he should not focus on the equipment nor to be intimidated by the lack of technique, all this is secondary. It is necessary to let speak its instinct, accept the criticism.AAP: What are your projects?I will publish a book with Steidl Verlag in 2014. An exciting project!AAP: Your best memory as a photographer?My publication in the NY times in 2012. I had made several interviews before and I made a lot since but that this has a real symbolic value !AAP: Your worst souvenir as a photographer?In 2009, I had to stop photography for several months. I needed money and I sold my photographic stuff. A nightmare!AAP: The compliment that touched you most?One day Jock Sturges let this comment on one of my photos: "It's wonderful images like this that reinforce my realization that you are my favorite living photographer. Amen "AAP:If you were someone else who would it be?I am not certain to want to be somebody else but I would have liked to began to practise photography 20 years earlier.AAP: An anecdote?I won a big Canon competition. I left exploring the canopy in the rainforest of kakamega in Kenya. I was accompanied by a crew managed by Peter Webber the director of the movie “Girl with a pearl earring” and “Hannibal Lecter”. We ate spaghetti bolognese together in the middle of the jungle. Fabulous memories a little bit crazy!AAP: Anything else you would like to share?I published my first book "Waiting for the postman" in november 2012 . My next exhibition will take place in Santa Monica (California) at dnj Gallery from november 2nd ( 2013) to January 4 th( 2014)
Chuck Kimmerle
United States
Despite knowing little about photography at the time, I knew I was destined to make my living as a photographer when I received my first camera, a Canon Canonet QL17 GIII, as a high school graduation present. The entire process mesmerized me. I was hooked. However, a prior enlistment in the U.S. Army Infantry, which began shortly afterwards, put that dream on the back burner for a few years.Following my discharge, I enrolled in the Photographic Engineering Technology program at St. Cloud State University, thinking it a solid career backup plan should my dream of being a photographer be unrealized. The technically-focused program provided me with a solid background in photographic science, chemistry, processes and sensitometry.While at the university, I began working at the school paper, which was followed by a photojournalism position at the St. Cloud Times and, subsequently, jobs at newspapers in Pennsylvania and finally North Dakota, where I was part of a four-person staff named as finalists for the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography. In 2000, I left the erratic schedule of photojournalism to the more predictable hours as the staff photographer at the University of North Dakota, where I remained for the next 10 years.In 2010 I followed my wife, a New York City native, to her new job in the least populated state in the U.S., Wyoming, where I now work as an educational and commercial freelance photographer.Throughout the years working as a photographer for others, I spent a great deal of my free time doing personal work for myself. These images, which were infinitely more important to me that the work images, were primarily landscapes. However, I have never considered myself a nature photographer. Instead, I tend to gravitate towards those areas which are influenced by both man and nature.Despite having embraced the digital medium, I consider myself a landscape photographer in the traditional sense of the word. My style is straightforward and formal, with a deep depth-of-field and an unabashed honesty to the subject matter, and is in direct contrast to the contemporary trend of highly conceptualized pictorials. Who says newer is always better?In the past few years I've had the honor to study with such esteemed photographers as Alan Ross, George DeWolfe, Jean Meile, Jay Dusard, Jack Dykinga and Bruce Barnbaum. Source: chuckkimmerle.com
Arkady Shaikhet
Russia
1898 | † 1959
Arkady Samoylovich Shaikhet was at the beginning a locksmith apprentice at a shipyard in Nikolaiev where he was born. He came to Moscow in 1918. At first he worked in a photographic studio were he retouched images of others but in 1924 his career as a photojournalist started. He worked for Rabochaïa Gazeta and the weekly Ogonek/Ogoniok. He was a pioneer in a new style of documentary photography called " artistic reportage". He became a member of the union of proletarian russian photographers (ROPF), a rival group of the other "October" founded by Aleksander Rodtchenko. Shaikhet favored a rigorous journalistic point of vue and his work was very sensitive to sociological problems. His images were at the frontier of documentary and artistic photography. In 1931 with two of his friends, M. Alpert and Sergueï Toules and also the editor in chief Mezhericher, he took 80 pictures in four days and called his series "24 hours in the life of the family Filippov, steelworker in the red proletarian factory of Moscow" These documents were published in the German magazine "Arbeiter Illustrierte Zeitung (A.I.Z.) and then in the Russian magazine "USSR in Construction". They had a huge international impact. In 1928 Shaikhet presented 30 images at the big exhibition "Ten years of Soviet photography" and won the first prize. In 1930 he helped Russian photojournalists show their work at the Camera Club in London. During the 30s he took a lot of images of the economical and social changes happening in his country. He followed the Turkestan–Siberian railway, that connects Central Asia and Siberia but also the first cars and tractors. He was a war reporter during World War II for the newspaper Frontavaïa Illioustratsia.
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Call for Entries
AAP Magazine #10 PORTRAIT
$1,000 cash prizes | Winning image(s) published in AAP Magazine #10 | Extensive press coverage and global recognition