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Stephan Vanfleteren
Stephan Vanfleteren
Stephan Vanfleteren

Stephan Vanfleteren

Country: Belgium
Birth: 1969

Stephan Vanfleteren studied photography at Lucas Institute in Brussels (1988-1992). From 1993 to 2009, he worked as a free-lance photographer for the Belgian Journal De Morgen and always worked and invested in his own personal projects. Actually, Stephan works for museums, he's publishing his portraits in foreign journals and several foreign magazines. He's cofounder of Hannibal Publishing and Cannibal Publishing. Stephan Vanfleteren is art-director for the two publishing houses.

Stephan Vanfleteren studied photography at Lucas Institute in Brussels (1988-1992). From 1993 to 2009, he worked as a free-lance photographer for the Belgian Journal De Morgen and always worked and invested in his own personal projects. Actually, Stephan works for museums, he's publishing his portraits in foreign journals and several foreign magazines. He's cofounder of Hannibal Publishing and Cannibal Publishing. Stephan Vanfleteren is art-director for the two publishing houses.

PRICES
1996 - World Press Photo Award - Sports, third prize stories - Boxing in Cuba
1997 - World Press Photo Award - Daily Life, first prize stories - Aids, Kenia
1998 - European Fuji Awards
2000 - World Press Photo Award - Arts and Entertainment, third prize stories, Elvis & Presley
2001 - World Press Photo Award - Children's Award, prize singles - Afghanistan
2001 - European Fuji Award
2007 - Nikon Press Photo Award
2009 - Louis Paul Boon award - Belgium
2010 - Lead Awards: 'Portätfotografie des Jahres', Germany
2011 - Henri Nannen Price, Germany - Tomi Ungerer
2012 - Vijfjaarlijkse Cultuurprijs voor de Provincie West-Vlaanderen
2012 - National Portrait price of the Netherlands - Rem Koolhaas, Dutch architect
2013 - World Press Photo Award - Staged Portraits, first prize stories, People of Mercy
2019 - Henri Nannen Price, Germany - Angels of the Sea - Mare Publication.

BOOKS
1999 - Elvis&Presley, with photographer Robert Huber (Switserland)
2000 - Buren, with Mark Power & Eva Leitolf
2003 - Tales from a Globalizing World
2005 - Flandrien - Cannibal Publishing
2007 - Belgicum - Hannibal Publishing
2009 - Portret 1989-2009 - Lannoo
2012 - En avant, marche! - Hannibal Publishing
2013 - Façades & Vitrines (Limited edition 666 exp) - Hannibal Publishing
2014 - MMXIV - De Red Devils - Cannibal Publishing
2014 - Atlantic Wall - Hannibal Publishing
2015 - Charleroi, il est clair que le gris est noir - Hannibal Publishing
2018 - SURF TRIBE - Hannibal Publishing
2019 - PRESENT - Hannibal Publishing
2019 - ONUITGESPROKEN - Hannibal Publishing

About PRESENT

Stephan Vanfleteren is mainly known to the general public for his penetrating black & white portrait photography, but over the past decades his work has ranged to documentary, artistic and personal pictures. From street photography in world cities like New York to the genocide of Ruanda, from storefront façades to the mystical landscapes of the Atlantic wall, from still lifes to intense portraits. The iconic images sit side by side with unknown treasures in this heavy tome containing no less than 505 photographs.
In the very personal accompanying text, Vanfleteren reflects on how his own work and the photography genre as a whole have evolved in recent decades. You get a close-up look at his intriguing career from the very beginning, when he travelled the world with an appetite for action. He also photographed his home country: all of the headline news stories of the 1990s appeared before his lens. Around the Millennium, Vanfleteren started to focus on that which is disappearing. With painstaking attention to nuance he created a visual archive of his homeland and of his fellow Belgians, in his own inimitable style. In the last few years Vanfleteren has brought the world inside, to his daylight studio, resulting in many encounters and portraits. This book includes two new series – not previously published – which were born in the intimacy of his studio: an exploration of the still life and a study of nude photography, both in colour.
Present is an impressive overview of Vanfleteren's oeuvre that provides a complete picture of him as a photographer, an artist, and above all a human being who faces life with empathy, wonder, and curiosity.
 

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More Great Photographers To Discover

Michael Philip Manheim
United States
1940
Michael Philip Manheim, born in the U.S. in 1940, is widely recognized both for his documentary and for his innovative multiple exposure photographs. Both categories encompass images that promote feelings. Most celebrate human emotion as a primal link that unifies all of humankind. Michael Philip Manheim's photography has been exhibited throughout the United States and internationally, in over 20 solo exhibitions and 30 group shows. His work has been featured extensively online, as well as in hundreds of books and magazines such as Zoom (U.S. and Italy), Photographers International (Taiwan), La Fotografia (Spain), and Black and White Magazine (U.S.). Manheim's photographs are held in private as well as public collections including the Library of Congress, the International Photography Hall of Fame, the National Archives, the Danforth Museum of Art, and the Bates College Museum of Art. Artist Statement: How Once We Looked The world I experienced, as the 1940s slid into the 1950s and beyond I'm delighted to share this sampling of my photography. When I created the snapshot of Little Sister, my four year old sister, I had no idea that I would be pursuing photography as an avocation, let alone a profession. Our mother did her best to expose my sister and me to the arts, even enrolling me in classes with adults at a local art center. As a youngster, I knew I wasn't good enough at painting. But I did have a sense of a composition. And I did have a science teacher at State Street Junior High School, Miss Ayers, who had set up a small darkroom and invited me to use it. Bingo! Shazam! Whatever you say, when the light literally turns on. I became enamored of photography. I was living in a Rust Belt town in Ohio where I didn't belong, in the 1950s. And what to do when you don't fit local norms? Entering my teen years, I hid behind a camera. My swords and shields as I moved on to high school began with the Speed Graphics assigned in photography class. It was unusual to have a high school photography course in that era, and I blossomed in that narrow sphere. I became a local treasure, winning in contests but with a whole lot to learn and a vital need to grow myself up. It took grit, I now realize, to escape the confines of a family business and the confines of the values of my community. But I didn't know that then. All I knew was that I had a passion that I must explore. Working strenuously to catch up, after college, I created a profession for myself. Today I look back with perspective and wonder. I see that I had a fascination with movement, as well as with light. I see that I developed reflexively and intuitively, in capturing the essence of a moment. I see that the innate compositional sense expanded into a style. And so on, all insights offering me a chance to pause and reflect as I go forward. My circuitous route through a long career in professional photography has swung back to my roots. Curators and collectors now appreciate photojournalism as fine art. So do the bloggers who are displaying my images. There's a message there! Hence into the archives I've plunged to see now what I saw long ago. I'm digitizing a series of nostalgic images that are going into my own blog and into a series of monographs. I'm creating a book series called How Once We Were, starting with an update of this earlier presentation of my nostalgic photography: www.MichaelPhilipManheim.com
Gabriel Isak
Sweden
1990
Gabriel Isak was born in 1990 in Huskvarna, Sweden. In 2016, he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Photography at Academy of Art University in San Francisco, California. Isak has exhibited his work at solo exhibitions at The Cannery Gallery, San Francisco, California and his works have been included in various important exhibitions including "Acclimatize" at Museum of Modern Art, Stockholm, Sweden and "Culture Pop" at M Contemporary, Sydney, Australia. Isak lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden, from where he travels all around the world for personal and commissioned projects. Artist Statement Gabriel Isak's art entails surreal and melancholic scenes where he invites the viewer to interact with the inner world of solitary figures that symbolize our own unconscious states. He uses photography as a medium to draw and paint surreal images, minimal and graphic in its aesthetic, rich in symbolism and emotion, focusing on themes inspired by human psychology, dreams and romanticism, as well as his own experiences, especially the years he went through depression. Isak's work is a serene and melancholic meditation that stills the chaos of life and transforms into an introspective journey that questions the depths of existence. The objective of Gabriel Isak's art is to shine a light on the experiences of being and the states of mind those brings along. His subjects are anonymous, imprisoned in monochromatic settings, so the viewer can envision oneself as the subject, reflecting back on one's own experiences and journey in life.
Minor White
United States
1908 | † 1976
Minor Martin White was an American photographer, theoretician, critic and educator. He combined an intense interest in how people viewed and understood photographs with a personal vision that was guided by a variety of spiritual and intellectual philosophies. Starting in Oregon in 1937 and continuing until he died in 1976, White made thousands of black-and-white and color photographs of landscapes, people and abstract subject matter, created with both technical mastery and a strong visual sense of light and shadow. He taught many classes, workshops and retreats on photography at the California School of Fine Arts, Rochester Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, other schools, and in his own home. He lived much of his life as a closeted gay man, afraid to express himself publicly for fear of loss of his teaching jobs, and some of his most compelling images are figure studies of men whom he taught or with whom he had relationships. He helped start and for many years was editor of the photography magazine Aperture. After his death in 1976, White was hailed as one of America's greatest photographers. White was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the only child of Charles Henry White, a bookkeeper, and Florence May White, a dressmaker. His first name came from his great, great grandfather from the White family side, and his middle name was his mother's maiden name. During his early years he spent much of his time with his grandparents. His grandfather, George Martin, was an amateur photographer and gave White his first camera in 1915. As a child White enjoyed playing in the large garden at his grandparents' home, and this influenced his decision later on to study botany in college. White's parents went through a series of separations starting in 1916, and during those periods White lived with his mother and her parents. His parents reconciled for a while in 1922 and remained together until they divorced in 1929. By the time White graduated from high school he was already aware of his latent homosexuality. In 1927 he wrote about his feelings for men in his diary, and to his dismay his parents read his diary without his permission. After what he called a brief crisis period, during which he left home for the summer, he returned to live with his family while he started college. His parents never spoke of his homosexuality again. White entered the University of Minnesota in 1927 and majored in botany. By the time he should have graduated in 1931 he had not met the requirements for a science degree, and he left the university for a while. During this period he became very interested in writing, and he started a personal journal that he called "Memorable Fancies." In it he wrote poems, intimate thoughts about his life and his struggles with his sexuality, excerpts from letters that he wrote to others, occasional diary-like entries about his daily life, and, later on, extensive notes about his photography. He continued to fill the pages of his journal until he directed most of his energy into teaching around 1970. In 1932 White re-entered the university and studied both writing and botany. With his previous credits, he was able to graduate in 1934. The next year he took some graduate classes in botany, but after six months he decided that he lacked real interest in becoming a scientist. He spent the next two years doing odd jobs and exploring his writing skills. During this period he began creating a set of 100 sonnets on the theme of sexual love, his first attempt at grouping his creative output. In late 1937 White decided to move to Seattle. He purchased a 35mm Argus camera and took a bus trip across country toward his destination. He stopped in Portland, Oregon, on his way and decided to stay there. For the next 2-1/2 years he lived at the YMCA in Portland while he explored photography in depth for the first time. It was at the YMCA that he taught his first class in photography, to a small group of young adults. He also joined the Oregon Camera Club in order to learn about how photographers talk about their own images and what photography means to them. White was offered a job in 1938 as photographer for the Oregon Art Project, which was funded by the Works Progress Administration. One of his tasks was to photograph historic buildings in downtown Portland before they were demolished for a new riverfront development. At this same time he made publicity photos for the Portland Civic Theater, documenting their plays and taking portraits of the actors and actresses. In 1940 White was hired to teach photography at the La Grande Art Center in eastern Oregon. He quickly became immersed in his work and taught classes three days a week, lectured on art of local students, reviewed exhibitions for the local newspaper and delivered a weekly radio broadcast about activities at the Art Center. In his spare time he traveled throughout the region, taking photographs of the landscape, farms and small town buildings. He also wrote his first article on photography, "When is Photography Creative?," which was published in American Photography magazine two years later. White resigned from the Art Center in late 1941 and returned to Portland where he intended to start a commercial photography business. That year three of his photographs were accepted by the Museum of Modern Art in New York for inclusion in their "Image of Freedom" exhibition. At the close of the exhibition the museum purchased all three prints, the first time his images entered a public collection. The following year the Portland Art Museum gave White his first one-man show, exhibiting four series of photos he made while in eastern Oregon. He wrote in his journal that with that show "a period came to a close." In April 1942 White was drafted into the United States Army and hid his homosexuality from the recruiters. Before leaving Portland he left most of his negatives of historic Portland buildings with the Oregon Historical Society. White spent the first two years of World War II in Hawaii and in Australia, and later he became Chief of the Divisional Intelligence Branch in the southern Philippines. During this period he rarely photographed, choosing instead to write poetry and extended verse. Three of his longer poems, "Elegies," "Free Verse for the Freedom of Speech," and "Minor Testament," spoke to his experiences during the war and to the bonds of men under extreme conditions. Later he would use some of the text from "Minor Testament" in his photographic sequence Amputations. After the war White traveled to New York City and enrolled in Columbia University. While in New York he met and became close friends with Beaumont and Nancy Newhall, who were working in the newly formed photography department at the Museum of Modern Art. White was offered a job as photographer for the museum and spent many hours talking with and learning from Nancy Newhall, who he said strongly influenced his thinking about and his direction in photography. In February 1946 White had the first of several meetings with photographer Alfred Stieglitz in New York. White knew of Stieglitz's deep understanding of photography from his various writings, and through their conversations White adopted much of Stieglitz's theory of equivalence, where the image stands for something other than the subject matter, and his use of sequencing pictorial imagery. At one of their meetings White wrote in his journal that he expressed his doubt that he was ready to become a serious photographer. He wrote that Stieglitz asked him "Have you ever been in love?" White answered "yes," and Stieglitz replied "Then you can photograph." During this time, White met and became friends with some of the major photographers of the time, including Berenice Abbott, Edward Steichen, Paul Strand, Edward Weston, and Harry Callahan. Steichen, who was director of the photography department at the Museum of Modern Art, offered White a curatorial position at the museum, but instead White accepted an offer from Ansel Adams to assist him at the newly created photography department at the California School of Fine Arts (CSFA) in San Francisco. White moved to San Francisco in July and lived in the same house as Adams for several years. While there Adams taught White about his Zone System method of exposing and developing negatives, which White used extensively in his own work. He wrote extensively about it, published a book and taught the exposure and development method as well as the practice of (pre)-visualization to his students. While in San Francisco White became close friends with Edward Weston in Carmel, and for the remainder of his life Weston had a profound influence on White's photography and philosophy. Later he said "...Stieglitz, Weston and Ansel all gave me exactly what I needed at that time. I took one thing from each: technique from Ansel, the love of nature from Weston, and from Stieglitz the affirmation that I was alive and I could photograph." Over the next several years White spent a great deal of time photographing at Point Lobos, the site of some of Weston's most famous images, approaching many of the same subjects with entirely different viewpoints and creative purposes. By mid-1947 White was the primary teacher at CSFA and had developed a three-year course that emphasized personal expressive photography. Over the next six years he brought in as teachers some of the best photographers of the time, including Imogen Cunningham, Lisette Model, and Dorothea Lange. During this time White created his first grouping of photos and text in a non-narrative form, a sequence he called Amputations. Although it was scheduled to be shown at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, the exhibition was canceled because White refused to allow the photographs to be shown without text, which included some wording that expressed his ambiguity about America's post-war patriotism. From The Temptation of St. Anthony Is Mirrors (1948) The next three years were some of White's most prolific in terms of creative output. In addition to taking dozens of land- and waterscapes, he made dozens of photographs that evolved into some of his most compelling sequences. Three in particular showed his continuing struggles with his sexuality. Song Without Words, The Temptation of St. Anthony Is Mirrors, and Fifth Sequence/Portrait of a Young Man as Actor all depict "the emotional turmoil he feels over his love and desire for men." In 1949 White purchased a small Zeiss Ikonta camera and began a series of urban street photographs. Over the next four years he took nearly 6,000 images, all inspired by his newfound interest in the poetry of Walt Whitman. The project, which he called City of Surf, included photographs of San Francisco's Chinatown, the docks, people on the streets and various parades and fairs around town. The period of 1951-52 is one of the formative times in White's career. He participated in a Conference on Photography at the Aspen Institute, where the idea of creating a new journal of photography was discussed by Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, Beaumont and Nancy Newhall, Frederick Sommer and others. Soon after Aperture magazine was founded by many of these same individuals. White volunteered for and was approved as editor, and the first issue appeared in April 1952. Aperture quickly became one of the most influential magazines about photography, and White remained as editor until 1975. Near the end of 1952 White's father, from whom he had been estranged for many years, died in Long Beach, California. In 1953 Walter Chappell introduced White to the I Ching, an ancient Chinese book of philosophy and divination, and White continued to be influenced by and refer to this text throughout the rest of his life. He was especially intrigued by the concepts of yin and yang, in which apparently opposite or contrary forces may be conceived as complementary. Later that same year a reorganization at CSFS resulted in White's teaching role being cut back, and as a result he began to think about a change in his employment. Concurrently, Beaumont Newhall had recently become the curator at the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York, and Newhall invited White to work with him there as a curatorial assistant. He exhibited September 28 - November 3 1954 at Limelight Gallery in New York and was included in that gallery's Great Photographs at the end of that year.[16] Over the next three years White organized three themed exhibitions[where?] that demonstrated his particular interests: Camera Consciousness, The Pictorial Image and Lyrical and Accurate. In 1955 he joined the faculty at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), where he taught one day a week. White's photographic output declined during this time due to his teaching and editorial work, but he continued to produce enough images that by the end of 1955 he had created a new sequence, Sequence 10/Rural Cathedrals, which included landscape images from upstate New York that were shot on regular and infrared film. By 1955 White was fully engaged in teaching, having been appointed as instructor at the new four-year photography program at RIT as well as conducting classes and workshops at Ohio University and Indiana University. Walter Chappell moved to Rochester later in the year to work at the George Eastman House. Chappell engaged White in long discussions about various Eastern religions and philosophies. White began practicing Zen meditation and adopted a Japanese style of decoration in his house. Over the next two years the discussions between White and Chappell metamorphosed into lengthy discourses about the writing and philosophy of George Gurdjieff. White gradually became an adherent of Gurdjieff's teachings and started to incorporate Gurdjieff's thinking into the design and implementation of his workshops. Gurdjieff's concepts, for White, were not just intellectual exercises but guides to experience, and they greatly influenced much of his approach to teaching and photography throughout the rest of his life. During this same period White began making his first color images. Although he is better known for his black-and-white photography, he produced many color photographs. His archive contains nearly 9,000 35mm transparencies taken between 1955 and 1975. In 1959 White mounted a large exhibition of 115 photos of his Sequence 13/Return to the Bud at the George Eastman House. It was his largest exhibition to date. It later traveled to the Portland Art Museum in Oregon. White was invited to teach a 10-days', all-expense paid workshop in Portland to accompany the exhibition. He took advantage of the funding to photograph landscapes and did nature studies across the country. From his experience in Portland he developed the idea for a full-time residential workshop in Rochester in which students would learn through both formal sessions and, following a combination of thinking from Gurdjieff and from Zen, through an understanding gained by the discipline of such tasks as household chores and early morning workouts. He would continue this style of residential teaching until he died. In the early 1960s White also studied hypnosis and incorporated the practice into some of his teachings as a way of helping students experience photographs. White continued to teach extensively both privately and at RIT for the next several years. During this time he traveled across the U.S. in the summers taking photographs along the way. In his journal he referred to himself during this period as "The Wanderer," which had both literal and metaphorical meanings due to his search for understanding life. In 1962 he met Michael Hoffman, who became a friend, colleague and, later, assumed the editorship of Aperture magazine. White later named Hoffman to be the executor of his will. In 1965 White was invited to help design a newly formed program in visual arts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, near Boston. After being appointed as a Visiting Professor, White moved to the Boston area and purchased a 12-room house in suburban Arlington so he could increase the size of his residential workshops for selected students. Soon after moving to the Boston area, he completed a different kind of sequence called Slow Dance, which he would later integrate into his teachings. He continued to explore how people understand and interpret photography and began to incorporate techniques of Gestalt psychology into his teachings. In order to help his students experience the meaning of "equivalence," he started requiring them to draw certain subjects as well as photograph them. White began to experience periodic discomfort in his chest in 1966, and his doctor diagnosed his ailment as angina. His symptoms continued throughout the rest of his life, leading him to intensify his study of spiritual matters and meditation. He turned to astrology in an attempt to increase his understanding about life, and his interest in it became so significant that he required all of his current and prospective students to have their horoscopes completed. By this point in his life White's unorthodox teaching methods were well established, and students who went through his workshops were both mystified and enlightened by the experience. One student who later became a Zen monk said "I really wanted to learn to see the way he did, to capture my subjects in a way that didn't render them lifeless and two-dimensional. I didn't realize that Minor was teaching us exactly that: not only to see images, but to feel them, smell them, taste them. He was teaching us how to be photography." White began writing the text for Mirrors, Messages, Manifestations, which was the first monograph of his photographs, in late 1966, and three years later the book was published by Aperture. It included 243 of his photographs and text, including poems, notes from his journal and other writings. Peter Bunnell, who was one of White's early students and then Curator of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art, wrote a lengthy biography of White for the book. During this same time White completed Sequence 1968, a series of landscape images from his recent travels. During the next several years White conceived of and directed four major themed photography exhibitions at MIT, starting with "Light7" in 1968 and followed by "Be-ing without Clothes" in 1970, "Octave of Prayer" in 1972 and "Celebrations" in 1974. Anyone could submit images for the shows, and White spent a great deal of time personally reviewing all of the submissions and selecting the final images. White continued to teach extensively and make his own photographs even though his health was declining. He devoted more and more time to his writing and began a long text he called "Consciousness in Photography and the Creative Audience," in which he referred to his 1965 sequence Slow Dance and advanced the idea that certain states of heightened awareness were necessary to truly read a photograph and understand its meaning. In order to complete this work he applied for and received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1970, and Consciousness in Photography and the Creative Audience became required reading for a new course he taught at MIT called "Creative Audience." in 1971 he traveled to Puerto Rico to explore more of his color photography, and in 1974 and 1975 he journeyed to Peru to teach and to further his own Gurdjieff studies. In 1975 White traveled to England to lecture at the Victoria and Albert Museum and to teach classes at various colleges. He continued on a hectic travel schedule for several weeks, then flew directly to the University of Arizona in Tucson to take part in a symposium there. When he returned to Boston after nearly six weeks of travel, he suffered a heart attack and was hospitalized for several weeks. After this White's focus turned even more inward, and he photographed very little. He spent much of his time with his student Abe Frajndlich, who made a series of situational portraits of White around his home and in his garden. A few months before his death White published a short article in Parabola magazine called "The Diamond Lens of Fable" in which he associated himself with Gilgamesh, Jason and King Arthur, all heroes of old tales about lifelong quests. On June 24, 1976, White died of a second heart attack while working at his home. He bequeathed all of his personal archives and papers, along with a large collection of his photographs, to Princeton University. He left his house to Aperture so they could continue the work he started there. Source: Wikipedia
Natalie Christensen
United States
1966
Natalie Christensen is a photographer based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is a frequent contributor to online contemporary and fine art photography magazines. She has won several regional awards, shown work internationally and has over 25,000 Instagram followers. In addition to pursuing her interests in art and design, Natalie has worked as a psychotherapist for over 25 years and has been particularly influenced by the work of depth psychologist, Carl Jung. This influence is evidenced in her photographs, as shadows and archetypal images are favored subjects. Statement I live in Santa Fe New Mexico where my work is inspired by commonplace architecture and streetscapes. I shoot every day and am almost never without my camera. I don't have to go anywhere special to make my photography; instead I find my images around shopping centers, apartment complexes and office parks. I dismantle these scenes to color fields, geometry and shadow. The places I frequent for my images are probably not what people visualize when they think of the city I live in, a major tourist destination with a carefully cultivated image. I choose to shoot in locations that may be viewed as uninteresting or even visually off-putting. This is exciting and challenging for me, to "see" something hiding in plain sight. Much of my professional life has been spent as a psychotherapist, and my photography as an extension of that work. Both have called me to explore what is hidden from view, those aspects of the self or the environment that we want to turn away from or simply avoid. I suspect it is our nature to ignore what is unpleasant, but sometimes I get a glimpse of the sublime in these ordinary places. When I find it, it feels like I have discovered gold.
Erwin Blumenfeld
Germany/United States
1897 | † 1969
Born in Berlin in 1897 to Jewish parents, Blumenfeld began his career working as an apprentice dressmaker to Moses and Schlochauer in 1913. He opened his own company in Amsterdam in 1923, the 'Fox Leather Company', a leather goods store specialising in ladies handbags. After moving to new premises in 1932, Blumenfeld discovered a fully equipped dark room and began to photograph many of his -predominantly female- customers. The company went bankrupt in 1935, just as Blumenfeld's photographic career was beginning to take an upward turn. Following a move to Paris in 1936, Blumenfeld was commissioned to take the portraits of personalities including George Rouault and Henri Matisse and secured his first advertising work for Monsavon. Blumenfeld quickly captured the attention of photographer Cecil Beaton who helped him secure a contract with French Vogue. After World War II in 1941, Blumenfeld moved to New York where he was immediately put under contract by Harper's Bazaar and after three years, he began freelance work for American Vogue. Over the next fifteen years, Blumenfeld's work was featured on numerous Vogue covers and in a variety of publications including Seventeen, Glamour and House & Garden. During this period, he also worked a photographer for the Oval Room of the Dayton Department Store in Minneapolis and produced advertising campaign for cosmetics clients such as Helena Rubinstein, Elizabeth Arden and L'Oreal. In the late 50s, he also began to create motion pictures, hoping to use them commercially and began work on his biography and his book 'My One Hundred Best Photos' which, despite being a renowned fashion photographer, only included four of his fashion images. Following Blumenfeld's death in 1969, numerous books on his work have been published, namely 'The Naked and the Veiled' by his son, Yorick Blumenfeld, and his photographs have been exhibited at international galleries including the Pompidou Gallery in Paris, The Barbican in London and The Hague Museum of Photography in the Netherlands. In the 1960s, he worked on his autobiography which found no publisher because it was considered to be too ironic towards society, and was published only after his death.Source: Wikipedia Erwin Blumenfeld is considered to be one of the early pioneers of fashion photography alongside George Hoyningen-Heune, Cecil Beaton, and Horst P. Horst. It was not only his employment of experimental techniques in the darkroom, Dada and Surrealist influences, and groundbreaking street work, but Blumenfeld’s unique and masterful combination of elegance and eroticism that transformed fashion into high art and paved the way for Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Herb Ritts, and other photographers who enjoyed such prominence and recognition in the history of art. In addition to holding the record for the most covers of Vogue, Blumenfeld’s works were abundantly reproduced within the pages of Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Life and Vogue during the 1930s, '40s and '50s. Many of the images from these shoots will be featured in this exhibition and have since become icons of the history of fashion photography. Some have never been seen before. But all of the prints showcase not only Blumenfeld’s innovation as a photographer of fashion but also his spectacular skill as a printmaker. In his retrospective examination of Blumenfeld’s work, William Ewing writes, “His highly original and visionary work was a seamless blend of the negative and positive: taking the picture in the studio and making it in the darkroom.” In the studio, Blumenfeld often employed mirrors, glass, and backgrounds reproduced from paintings, images of cathedrals, or mosaics of magazine covers. He often used veils, which could distort or elongate the figure, confident that a woman partially concealed was more erotically charged that one seen fully nude. He also believed the printing of the image was as every bit as important as the process of capturing it, and like Man Ray, he was tirelessly inventive in the darkroom, deploying a variety of optical and chemical tricks, including multiple exposures, solarization and bleaching.Source: Edwynn Houk Gallery
John Kenny
United Kingdom
In 2006 I developed my style of portrait photography within traditional communities, heavily influenced by the dramatic pictures of chiaroscuro artists. Chiaroscuro is an Italian term which literally means light-dark. Back then, at the very start of my Africa journey, I was buzzing with energy having met people of real magnetism just days into my trip. I was excited by extraordinary people and fascinating cultures and wondered how I could possibly communicate and express these feelings of excitement to friends and family back home.The solution, I imagined, would involve abstracting the remarkable from the not so remarkable: put simply, I felt that the vibrant and intense individuals that I had met in traditional communities would best show their magnetism on camera when they were removed from the (often) dull and dusty backgrounds of their immediate environment. After a few days I started to imagine each of these people in front of me emerging from the nothingness of darkness, with no distractions, hoping that this would provide a real feeling of proximity between the viewer and the person in the picture. I made a conscious decision at that time to leave a more documentary style of environmental portraiture to others. Practicing this new technique in remote African villages in 2006 I had nothing but sunshine and a hut available as a great ‘open studio': so I used these parameters and started experimenting (I've never really liked flash anyway). So it's simply the illumination of natural sunlight, and sun on dry earth, that reaches into the darkness of huts and lights up these remarkable people. Sun and dry earth are the only ingredients required for the lighting in my prints. And of course, you also need to find exceptional people!Falling in love with photography, and the origins of this series:I first fell in love with photography around 2003. I had not been fortunate enough to receive an art or photography education, but I knew back then, when I picked up my first SLR camera, that I had found the perfect way to express myself. Every time I had the camera in my hand I was looking to improve, needing to know what everything and anything looked like once it had been through the photographic process. It was a bit like a mad pursuit of alchemy - throwing everything into the mix to see if any magic came out of the other side. The process of photographic learning is very rarely a simple one, but to me it remains beautiful: discoveries, experimentation and seeing for the first time how a camera distorts and enhances the world.In Africa I seem to have made it my goal to travel through some of the remotest areas of the continent where the reaches of urbanisation and 21st century living are barely detectable. Looking back, this wasn’t my intention when I first arrived there in 2006, but somehow I keep returning to Africa to photograph because I'm fascinated to encounter societies that are able to survive in some of the most arid, isolated and difficult environments that people have settled in. If you haven’t visited these places then the reality of living is not nearly as romantic or idealised as one might imagine. Life takes place against a backdrop of very uncertain resources and enormous hardships, but traditions and hospitality towards outsiders remain intact.I specifically chose to photograph the individuals that you see in these galleries because I had a very real sense of wonder when I met them. Each one of these people had something that attracted me, sometimes a piercing intensity, or an uncommon beauty, that I felt compelled to try and capture. It’s true that I photograph for myself, first and foremost, but a close second is my desire to show others this magnetism that draws one into the eyes of these fascinating people.I have usually travelled alone or with a guide on these journeys, along the way walking and hopping onto overloaded vehicles of every kind to head to remote settlements. Often the destination is a transient, weekly market where hundreds of vibrant, colourful people assemble somewhat incongruously against a dull, dusty backdrop for a few hours. Later in the day they will all melt away with their animals and traded possessions, until the location is again a patch of bone-dry ground with almost nothing to separate it from the rest of the featureless land that typifies much of the African Sahel. It is fascinating to observe this process play out in almost exactly the same way across countless African countries, many of which are separated by hundreds or thousands of miles across this huge continent’s surface.My favourite tools are sharp prime lenses and cameras that let you capture the tiniest pieces of detail: whilst these details may be insignificant alone, when aggregated I feel they help paint the picture of the environment and how each person adapts to theirs.My favourite series of work remains the Northern Kenya series which involved 6 weeks of intense travelling with my guide, Mo, across remote areas without a vehicle and often without any semblance of an idea how to get to the next tiny settlement. The trip was full of unique encounters in locations that seemed to be famous, to me at least, as places where no transport seemed to be heading. On one particular occasion we came across a lone Moran (warrior) emerge into the dawn light, miles from anywhere. He seemed like a mirage: a vibrant vision in pink cloth and bright colourful jewellery, and more acutely so when set against the hazy yellow monotone of land that he emerged from. Even for Northern Kenya, I thought he seemed to be in a remote, featureless location: devoid of any water, and within an hour it would again be blistering hot. Despite these uncomfortable realities - which clearly weighed more heavily on my mind than his - the warrior seemed confident of his bearings and stopped for a moment to exchange pleasantries with Mo and I. A couple of minutes later, after sharing cigarette with my guide, he purposefully set off walking again, to God knows where. This place that looked barren and foreboding, to me at least, was clearly his home.
Jared Ragland
United States
1977
Jared Ragland is a fine art and documentary photographer and former White House photo editor. He currently teaches and coordinates exhibitions and community programs in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and is at work on a long-term documentary on methamphetamine users living in northeast Alabama. He is the photo editor of National Geographic Books' "The President's Photographer: Fifty Years Inside the Oval Office," and has worked on assignment for NGOs in the Balkans, the former Soviet Bloc, East Africa and Haiti. His photographic work is rooted in his lifelong exposure to the landscapes, people, aesthetics, and storytelling traditions of the American South, and his work has been exhibited internationally and featured by The Oxford American, The New York Times, and TIME Magazine. Jared is an alumni of LaGrange College and a 2003 graduate of Tulane University with an MFA in Photography. He resides in his hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. Statement: The rise in use of methamphetamine across the United States over the last decade has led to increased cultural anxiety about the drug and those who use it, while the general perception of the meth-head is perpetuated by popular television programs and pervasive anti-meth campaigns. These limited representations typically paint one-dimensional, demonized characters whose chronic drug use is epitomized by obsessiveness, paranoia, and monstrous physical side effects. But while there are certainly deleterious consequences to meth use and stereotypes often ring too true, existing cultural narratives too often fall short of more complex, individually considered realities. Photographed over 18 months in collaboration with University of Alabama at Birmingham sociologist Heith Copes, Ph.D., GOOD BAD PEOPLE documents the tumultuous lives of meth users from Sand Mountain, a sandstone plateau in northeast Alabama infamous for extreme poverty, poultry processing plants, Pentecostal snake-handlers, and meth production. The images simultaneously reinforce and undermine assumptions of what it means to be a methamphetamine user and present an intimate look into the lives of those who struggle amidst drug use and diminished social status.
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