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Stephen Albair
Stephen Albair
Stephen Albair

Stephen Albair

Country: United States
Birth: 1942

Stephen Albair was born in Massachusetts and raised in New Hampshire. He currently lives and works in San Francisco. Educated at Illinois State University in Design, he is a self-taught photographer, lecturer and a college teacher, for over 40 years. His work in tableau photography began in 1974 with the purchase of a 35mm Nikkormat, which has remained the only camera for his work. Numerous exhibitions and installations have been staged in the US and Thailand. He has authored three books with a fourth book currently in progress. The images are mostly rooted in memoir built on found objects with Art Historical references. The focus is not so much on a series of images but rather a board range of subject matter, from early memories, to the current political landscape. His photos represent intuitive responses to ideas through self-reflection. By mastering the techniques of tableaux photography he has created a significant body of work that have enhanced his skill as an artist and storyteller.

Statement

Photography is a unique way of seeing the world. Life's ambiguities, love, loss, and longing, are my subject matter. These ideas evolve through a meaningful search for content, with no specific audience in mind. Ultimately, an audience perceives all content based on their own personal experiences. Familiar objects trigger our memory, reminding us of how we understand the world. I constantly search for unique objects that speak to me. My set-ups are arranged to illustrate an intention, an action that something has just happened -or is about to. Tableau photography provides the stage, much like actors in a play. The procedure of building a photograph creates an air of playfulness that allows for a different way of thinking about common human experiences. The audience is delivered thought-provoking ideas tinged with humor in a fabricated world. This process playfully exposing the surreal nature of reality and questions what is real or simply realistic—leaving the viewer to decide.

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Morris Engel
United States
1918 | † 2005
Morris Engel (April 8, 1918 - March 5, 2005) was an American photographer, cinematographer and filmmaker best known for making the first American film "independent" of Hollywood studios, Little Fugitive (1953), in collaboration with his wife, photographer Ruth Orkin, and their friend, writer Raymond Abrashkin. Engel was a pioneer in the use of hand-held cameras and nonprofessional actors in his films, cameras that he helped design, and his naturalistic films influenced future prominent independent and French New Wave filmmakers. A lifelong New Yorker, Morris Engel was born in Brooklyn in 1918. After joining the Photo League in 1936, Engel had his first exhibition in 1939, at the New School for Social Research. He worked briefly as a photographer for the Leftist newspaper PM before joining the United States Navy as a combat photographer from 1941 to 1946 in World War II. After the war, he returned to New York where he again was an active Photo League member, teaching workshop classes and serving as co-chair of a project group focusing on postwar labor issues. In 1953, Engel, along with his girlfriend, fellow photographer Ruth Orkin, and his former colleague at PM, Raymond Abrashkin, made the feature film Little Fugitive for $30,000, shooting the film on location in Coney Island with a hand-held 35 millimeter camera Engel had designed himself. This camera was compact and lightweight so it would be unobtrusive shooting in public. As such, it did not allow simultaneous sound recording; the sound was dubbed later. The film, one of the first successful American "independent films" earned them an Academy Award nomination for Best Writing, Motion Picture Story and a Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival. The film told the story of a seven-year-old boy, played by Richie Andrusco, who runs away from home and spends the day at Coney Island. Andrusco never appeared in another film, and the other performers were mainly nonprofessional. Though their first film was a critical success, Engel and Orkin, who had since married, had a hard time finding funding for their next film, Lovers and Lollipops, which was completed in 1956. The film was about a widowed mother dating an old friend, and how her young daughter complicates their budding relationship. Like the first one, Lovers and Lollipops was filmed with a hand-held compact 35 mm camera, with sound dubbed in post-production. This was followed two years later by the more adult-centered Weddings and Babies, a film about an aspiring photographer than is often seen as autobiographical. This was Engel's first film to have live sound recorded at the time of filming, and is historically the first 35 mm fiction film made with a portable camera equipped for synchronized sound. In 1961, Engel directed three television commercials, including an award-winning one for Oreo cookies. The other two were for Ivory soap and Fab detergent. A half-hour short film The Dog Lover was made the following year, a comedy about a shop merchant whose life is turned upside down by the stray dog his kid brings home. He made a fourth feature in 1968 called I Need a Ride to California, which followed a group of young hippies in Greenwich Village. Post-production was shelved until 1972 when it was finally completed, but for unknown reasons, it was never released during his lifetime. It finally received its premiere in October 2019 at New York's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA); it was first released on home video in March 2021. In the 1980s, Engel began taking panoramic photographs on the streets of New York City. Engel and Ruth Orkin remained married until Orkin's death in 1985. In the 1990s, he returned to filmmaking, this time working on video. He completed two feature-length documentaries: A Little Bit Pregnant in 1994 and Camellia in 1998, each revolving around a different child in the Hartman family. First, in A Little Bit Pregnant Engel focused on the 8-year-old Leon's reactions, anxiety and wonderment to the impending birth of his baby sister Camellia. For the second film, two years later, Engel returned to the same family, who gave him a year of access to the now 2-year-old daughter Camellia, capturing her daily life and routines, and her relationships with her family and others. Both films were shown in private screenings, but never had a public release due likely to the Hartman family presumably holding the rights. Engel died of cancer in 2005.Source: Wikipedia Morris Engel was born in Brooklyn to immigrant parents from Lithuania. An early interest in photography led him to enroll in a class at New York’s Photo League, a group dedicated to raising social consciousness through modern photography. Some of the most influential photographers of the time were associated with the Photo League; Engel worked closely with Aaron Siskind on the project Harlem Document from 1936-40 and later assisted Paul Strand in filming Native Land. Like many Photo League photographers, Engel documented life in New York City, producing and exhibiting photo essays on Coney Island, the Lower East Side and Harlem. In 1939 he had his first exhibition at New York’s New School. In 1940 he joined the staff of the newspaper PM, but he left the publication one year later to sign on with the U.S. Navy as a member of a combat photo unit. He participated in the D-Day invasion of Normandy. In 1951 Engel momentarily quit still photography to pursue a career in filmmaking. He made a series of low-budget films with a custom 35 mm camera. His first feature film, Little Fugitive (made with his wife, the renowned photographer Ruth Orkin), earned an Academy Award nomination in 1953 for Best Original Screenplay and was screened in more than 5,000 theaters across the United States. Engel’s photographs are widely exhibited and found in the collections of the International Center of Photography (New York), the Museum of the City of New York, the Museum of Modern Art (New York) and the National Portrait Gallery (Washington, D.C.). His films continue to be screened at venues such as the Whitney Museum of Art (New York), the Brooklyn Museum and the American Museum of the Moving Image (New York).Source: American Photography Archives Group
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".
Manuel Armenis
Germany
1971
Manuel Armenis is an award winning independent street and fine-art photographer based in Hamburg, Germany, dedicated to documenting daily life. He was born in Mannheim (Germany). He studied at Icart, École de Photographie in Paris (France), and at the University of the Arts in London (England). Since graduating he has been working as an independent filmmaker and photographer. The emphasis of his practice is the realization of long-term projects with a focus on exploring the human condition within everyday and commonplace urban environments. Manuel´s work has been exhibited internationally in galleries in both solo and group shows. His photographs were published in leading contemporary photography magazines and online. He has received numerous awards, including 1. prize winner at the Sony World Photography Awards in 2018, and has been a finalist at the LensCulture Street Photography Awards in 2017 and at the Meitar Award for Excellence in Photography in 2019, among others. Manuel currently lives and works as a freelance photographer in Hamburg, Germany. About Diamond Days The quintessential trait of the mundane is, of course, its lack of spectacle. It is recognizable to us, familiar, in its plainness and with its non-event-character. Due to those alleged properties it is a world that gets all too willingly labeled boring and banal. At times we might even feel offended by its lack of sophistication. We believe to know the mundane well, but, unimpressed by its unremarkable nature, we usually choose to look elsewhere. And yet, as much as we try to ignore it, there remains this suspicion that we might not be able to evade it. An inkling that it might contain something that keeps us connected. The series Diamond Days is an exploration of the commonplace. We are shown snippets of the everyday, fragments of moments, ordinary situations. There is a playful touch to this world, a colorful lightness and warmth, a sense of joy; and yet, these unassuming landscapes seem to contain something else. Elusive. Layered. Ambiguous. A somewhat bleaker undercurrent which might pick up on the sensation of slight unease that we often associate with the ordinary. By carrying signs of human behavior and a way of living, the ordinary provides us with a rendering of the now. But it also contains references to a time gone by and challenges us to look back. It exposes our need to make sense of our lives and raises the tricky question of what could have been. It confronts us with the notion of missed opportunities and unfulfilled dreams. And it reveals our disposition to fill any void with nostalgia.
Arthur Tress
United States
1940
Arthur Tress (born November 24, 1940) is an American photographer. He is known for his staged surrealism and exposition of the human body. Tress was born in Brooklyn, New York. The youngest of four children in a divorced family, Tress spent time in his early life with both his father, who remarried and lived in an upper-class neighborhood, and his mother, who remained single after the divorce and whose life was not nearly so luxurious. At age 12 he began to photograph circus freaks and dilapidated buildings around Coney Island in New York City, where he grew up. Tress studied at Abraham Lincoln High School in Coney Island, and gained a Bachelor of Fine Arts at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. After graduating from Bard College in 1962, Tress moved to Paris, France to attend film school. While living in France, he traveled to Japan, Africa, Mexico, and throughout Europe. He observed many secluded tribes and cultures and was fascinated by the roles played by the shaman of the different groups of people. The cultures to which he was introduced would play a role in his later work. Tress spent the spring and summer of 1964 in San Francisco, documenting the Republican Convention that nominated Barry Goldwater, civil rights demonstrations at segregated car dealerships on Van Ness Avenue, and the Beatles launching their 1964 tour. Tress took over 900 photographs that were put away and re-discovered in 2009, and featured in a show at San Francisco's deYoung Museum. He currently resides in San Francisco, California. Source: Wikipedia Arthur Tress began his first camera work as a teenager in the surreal neighborhood of Coney Island where he spent hours exploring the decaying amusement parks. Later, during five years of world travel, mostly in Asia and Africa, he developed an interest in ethnographical photography that eventually led him to his first professional assignment as a U.S. government photographer recording the endangered folk cultures of Appalachia. Seeing the destructive results of corporate resource extraction, Tress began to use his camera to raise environmental awareness about the economic and human costs of pollution. Focusing on New York City, he began to photograph the neglected fringes of the urban waterfront with a straight documentary approach. This gradually evolved into a more personal mode of “magic realism” combining improvised elements of actual life with stage fantasy that became his hallmark style of directorial fabrication. In the late 1960s Tress was inspired to do a series based upon children's dreams that combined his interests in ritual ceremony, Jungian archetypes, and social allegory. Later bodies of work dealing with the hidden dramas of adult relationships and the reenactments of male homosexual desire evolved from this primarily theatrical approach. Beginning in the early 1980s, Tress began shooting in color, creating room-sized painted sculptural installations out of found medical equipment in an abandoned hospital on New York's Welfare Island. This led to a smaller scale exploration of narrative still life within a children's toy theater and a portable nineteenth-century aquarium. Around 2002, Tress returned to gelatin silver, exploring more formalist themes in the style of mid- century modernism, often combining a spontaneous shooting style with a constructivist's sense of architectural composition and abstract shape. In addition to images of California skateboard parks, his recent work includes the round images of the series Planets and the diamond-shaped images of Pointers. Source: www.arthurtress.com
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