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Jean-Christophe Béchet
Jean-Christophe Béchet
Jean-Christophe Béchet

Jean-Christophe Béchet

Country: France
Birth: 1964

Born in 1964 in Marseille, Jean-Christophe Béchet lives and works in Paris since 1990.

Mixing B&W and color, silver and digital prints, 24x36 and medium format, polaroids and photographic 'accidents', Jean-Christophe Béchet seeks the "right tool" for each project, the one that will allow him to obtain a meaningful dialogue between an interpretation of reality and the photographic material.

Inheritor of "street photography", whether it be American, French or Japanese, he likes to refer to his photographs as INHABITED LANDSCAPES. His glance on the world is constructed book by book, the area provided by the printed page being his "natural" field of expression.

His photographs belong to several private and public collections and they have been showcased in more than sixty exhibitions since 1999, including at the Rencontres d'Arles in 2006 ("Urban Policies" series) and in 2012 ("Accidents" series) and the 'Mois de la Photo' (Month of Photography) in Paris, in 2006, 2008 and 2017.

He is also the author of more than 20 books.

FRENCHTOWN
Project created for the Festival L'Oeil Urbain at Corbeil Essonnes

Wedged between several highways and the National Road 7, the City of Corbeil-Essonnes is located 40 km south of Paris. It is the last city in the Paris' belt. As soon as you cross its limits, you are in the middle of nature. Too far from Paris to benefit from its proximity, it's neither in the provinces. This "in-between" gives rise to a feeling of strangeness and uneasiness. In this city, I felt I was in a typical and genuine French city and at the same time in a detective film. I had the impression of being a foreign visitor, an investigator, who was exploring a "French Town" to solve a minor incident.

My photos are the result of a year of observation. I worked as a visual writer. Far from hot topics and for a long period of time, I captured the small details of everyday life and built an authentic story. Without forgetting that photography never shows reality, or truth, but an idea of reality. And it's already a lot... JCB
 

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Susan Meiselas
United States
1948
Susan Meiselas is a documentary photographer who lives and works in New York. She is the author of Carnival Strippers (1976), Nicaragua (1981), Kurdistan: In the Shadow of History (1997), Pandora's Box (2001), Encounters with the Dani (2003) Prince Street Girls (2016), A Room Of Their Own (2017) and Tar Beach (2020). She has co-edited two published collections: El Salvador, Work of 30 Photographers (1983) and Chile from Within (1990), rereleased as an e-book in 2013, and also co-directed two films: Living at Risk (1985) and Pictures from a Revolution (1991) with Richard P. Rogers and Alfred Guzzetti. Meiselas is well known for her documentation of human rights issues in Latin America. Her photographs are included in North American and international collections. In 1992 she was made a MacArthur Fellow, received a Guggenheim Fellowship (2015), and most recently the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize (2019) and the first Women in Motion Award from Kering and the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie d'Arles. Mediations, a survey exhibition of her work from the 1970s to present was recently exhibited at the Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Jeu de Paume, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Instituto Moreira Salles in São Paulo. She has been the President of the Magnum Foundation since 2007, which supports, trains, and mentors the next generation of in-depth documentary photographers and innovative practice. About Nicaragua Susan Meiselas became known through her photo reportages on the Nicaraguan revolution. From 1978 to 1982 she documented the uprising of the Sandinistas against the then president Anastasio Somoza Debayle. Some of her photographs, foremost among them the “Molotov Man”, became iconic media images and shaped the way the Latin American revolution was perceived in the West. About Carnival Strippers The role of women has been a focal point of Meiselas’ work ever since the 1970s. In her first major photographic essay entitled Carnival Strippers (1972-1975), she showcased the working conditions of women who earned a living working as strippers at fairs in New England. She combined her photographs with audio recordings of the women, their clients, and their managers. In this project Meiselas depicts the reality of life for these protagonists and lets them tell their own stories, thereby strengthening their feeling of self-worth and their personal identity. About Prince Street Girls For the series Prince Street Girls, she accompanied young girls in Little Italy, New York City over a period of seventeen years - from childhood to puberty and on into adulthood. The photographs illustrate the gradual changes in their lives, their bodies, and their place within society. About Archive of Abuse In her series Archive of Abuse Susan Meiselas addressed the issue of domestic abuse. In the early 1990s, the photographer was invited to support an awareness-raising campaign in San Francisco on the subject of domestic violence. Meiselas used material from police reports to focus on documenting the crimes, both visually and in text. The collages created in this way were posted in public spaces to raise people’s awareness of the many different forms of violence towards women as a structural phenomenon. About Kurdistan Meiselas’ starting point for her long-term project Kurdistan was the documentation of the genocide perpetrated against the Kurds by the Iraqi regime under Saddam Hussein in northern Iraq in 1988. She created an archive that preserves a people’s cultural memory and the chequered history of the Kurdish diaspora. The multimedia project comprises photographs, videos, documents, and oral accounts compiled by the artist over a period of more than thirty years.Source: Kunst Haus Wien
René Groebli
Switzerland
1927
René Groebli (born October 9, 1927 in Zurich) is an exhibiting and published Swiss industrial and advertising photographer, expert in dye transfer and colour lithography. He grew up in the Enge district of the city of Zurich, where he attended the Langzeitgymnasium. After two years, he moved to the Oberrealschule, a science-oriented grammar school, but broke off this education after two years to begin an apprenticeship as a photographer with Theo Vonow in Zurich in 1944. When his teacher moved back to Graubünden, Groebli entered the preparatory course of the Zurich School of Applied Arts, attending from the spring of 1945. Subsequently, he enrolled in the renowned professional class for photography under the direction of Hans Finsler and Alfred Willimann until the summer of 1946. Amongst his fellow students were Ernst Scheidegger and Anita Nietz. In September 1946 Groebli began training as a documentary cameraman at Central Film and Gloria Film Zürich, graduating in late 1948 with a diploma, though he did not subsequently practice as a cinematographer. In 1947 he won third prize in a competition run by the monthly magazine Camera with his series Karussell. Freelancing for Victor-N. Cohen agency in Zurich, in 1948 Groebli made his first trip to Paris and in 1949 bought his first Leica. From 1949 Groebli worked as a photojournalist and carried out assignments for the Züri-Woche, and later in Africa and the Middle East for the London agency Black Star. The pictures were published in the magazines Life and Picture Post. His first small folio Magie der Schiene ('Rail magic') comprising 16 photographs (with front and back cover) was also shot in 1949 and self-published later the same year. It captures the ‘magic’ of steam train travel during the late 1940s. Despite being young and relatively unknown, Groebli was able to borrow enough money to finance the high-quality printing. Technically it is a portfolio rather than a book, with pages unbound and laid in loose, inspired by the Man Ray and Paul Éluard publication FACILE (1935) which he purchased on his first trip to Paris in 1948. Photographed with a Rolleiflex 6×6 and a Leica 35mm camera in and around Paris, as well as locations in Switzerland, the often motion-blurred and grainy images convey the energy of steam. An obi-band with German text was produced for the approximately 30 to 40 original preorders, and other copies sold without. He held his first solo exhibition with photographs from the book. He spent three months in Paris where he met Brassaï and Robert Frank and spent a month in London. On October 13, 1951 he and Rita Dürmüller (1923-2013) were married. A second slim picture book Das Auge der Liebe ('The Eye of Love'), self-published in 1954 through his business “Turnus”, was created in collaboration with his wife Rita Groebli. This small book, though respected for its design and photography, caused some controversy, but also brought Groebli attention. It was assembled from shots made on the belated honeymoon that the photographer and his wife Rita took over two weeks in Paris in 1952 and in the following year for a few days to Marseille, though publication of the photographs was not planned in 1953 Groebli sequenced it for a book, introducing a blank page to stand in for daytime in its chronology. In the Swiss Photorundschau, published by the Swiss Photographic Association, the editor Hermann König traded correspondence with a specialist teacher of the School of Applied Arts where the book had been passed around and argued over, the term "love" in the title being considered by students to be too sentimental given the obvious sexual connotations. Where the photographer’s intention was for a romantic effect, the editor admitted that the narrative was sexualized. In the leading periodical Neue Zürcher Zeitunghe, editor Edwin Arnet objected to the emphasis on nudity. Groebli sequenced his photographs to tell the story of a woman meeting a man in a cheap hotel. The last photograph shows the woman's hand with a wedding ring on her ring finger holding an almost finished post-coitus cigarette. In the perception of audiences of the era, the implication was that the woman had to be either an ‘easy woman’, a prostitute, or an unfaithful wife. However the U.S. Camera Annual review of the work in 1955 pronounced it "a tender photo-essay on a photographer’s love for a woman.” After the death of photojournalist Paul Senn in 1953 and the killing of Werner Bischof in Peru in 1954, Kurt Blum, Robert Frank and René Groebli were newly admitted to the Kollegium Schweizerischer Photographen. A major exhibition organized by the 'Kollegium' in 1955 convinced critics that a new "Swiss style" that was indeed moving towards Photography as Expression as the exhibition was titled, and the end of critical (later dubbed 'concerned') photography. However, the association was soon disbanded because of disagreements between Gotthard Schuh and Jakob Tuggener, and Groebli had by then relinquished photojournalism. In the same year, and with four other Swiss photographers, Werner Bischof, Robert Frank, Gotthard Schuh and Sabine Weiss, René Groebli was represented with a picture in the exhibition The Family of Man curated by Edward Steichen for the Museum of Modern Art in New York. His available-light photo shows a tight crowd of excited, dancing teenagers, their movement blurred in the style of Magie der Schiene. Groebli launched his own studio for commercial industrial and advertising photography in 1955 in the newly built residential and studio building in Zurich-Wollishofen. At the end of the 1950s, Groebli also had his home and studio converted and enlarged and in addition to two studios and two black and white labs, a dye transfer workshop with several laboratory workstations was added. In 1963 Groebli founded the limited partnership Groebli + Guler with lithographer Walter Guler, renamed 'Fotolithos' in 1968. The workplace in Zurich-Wollishofen was equipped with the latest and best technical facilities and through the 1960s and early 1970s the business employed a staff of up to twelve, with good profits made from servicing the advertising photography industry. After ten years producing specialist colour photography, dye transfer production and colour lithographs for commercial advertising and industrial photography, in 1965 Groebli published his third photo book Variation through Arthur Niggli Verlag, Teufen. It presented a retrospective of possibilities of Groebli’s colour photography, though with scant mention of the role of his many employees and business partners. In 1971 he issued a second edition Variation 2, with updated information on colour technology including Cibachrome. By the late 1970s, with the more widespread adoption and acceptance of chromogenic methods of colour production less technically demanding and cheaper than dye transfer, Groebli ceased commercial photography and colour production, sold his home and studio and retired, though he still maintained connections with the industry and presented a paper on dye transfer at the 1977 Rencontres d'Arles. Groebli returned to making personal photographic essays in colour and in black and white, in series titled Fantasies, Ireland, The Shell, Burned Trees, N. Y. Visions, New York Melancholia and Nudes. Over the decades of the turn of the century, he worked on his image archive and digitized the most important photographs that he had taken over a career of sixty years. Groebli currently resides in Switzerland.Source: Wikipedia
Claudio Allia
Italy
1962
Claudio Allia (1962), is an Ophthalmologist, jazz and classical music producer, and an amateur awards-winning photographer living in Sicily. Music and photography have always been his main passions that he has cultivated all his life since childhood. Fascinated by fine art and conceptual photography, at early 90's Claudio began to devote himself to the creation of photographic projects and series trying to transfigure and filter most disparate social themes, even the most crude and brutal, through his personal sensitivity and imagination. Since 2005, started to experiment with new visual and creative approaches into his photographic world, exploring and developing as well his knowledges in the digital editing field and spacing his body of work from fine art to surrealistic or conceptual photo collections/series up to pure social/documentary photography. Slum Glam series Despite the harsh living conditions I have recognised the high level of dignity shown by the Mathare residents and my Slum Glam series attempted to depict this. A hand painted, makeshift wooden chair rests in front of a multi coloured shack wall that the women have decorated using brightly coloured designs wearing their best clothes to pose for my camera. Flower Pots series (Mathare Valley Slum - Nairobi) "Now we go into the vulnerable realm of an impossible privacy, constantly threatened and modified by all that's happening outside; rooms as decorated trenches of a never-ending battle; 9 square meters where to try a claustrophobic but worthy independence, where to keep dignity at low cost. Now focus in the flowerpots; the picture is a transparent flowerpot allowing you to check every corner of these rooms... look again: the dwellers are the flowers." --Claudio Torres Remote Control series (Mathare Valley Slum – Nairobi) For the Remote Control series some of the children of Mathare joined me on a photo shoot, turning up well dressed and carrying a favourite, or only toy. As they walked through the area of corregated dwellings I handed them a remote control i had brought withme in preparation and they instinctively grasped the significance and started pointing it towards areas that they wished to see change to improve their existence.
Kenro Izu
Japan
1949
Kenro Izu (b. 1949) was born in Osaka, Japan. During his studies at Nippon University, college of art, Izu visited New York in 1970 to study photography, and subsequently decided to stay and work. In 1975, after working as an assistant to other photographers, Izu established Kenro Izu Studio in New York City, to specialize in still life photography, both commercial and fine art. In 1979, Izu made his first trip to Egypt, which inspired him to begin his series Sacred Places, an exploration that is still in progress. In 1983, a platinum print by Paul Strand inspired Izu to take a step toward developing his own contact-printing process using Platinum/Palladium, using a super large format camera. Since then, all of Izu's work is produced by the same technique, mostly in a 14x20 inch format. Izu's still-life images include floral and anatomical subjects. In 2000, Izu started experimenting with a technique of Cyano over Platinum to achieve deep blue-black. The body of work entitled, Blue, was completed in 2004. As Izu continues his series, Sacred Places, he has traveled to Egypt, Syria, Jordan, England, Scotland, Mexico, France and Easter Island (Chile). More recently, he has focused on Buddhist and Hindu monuments in South East Asia: Cambodia, Burma, Indonesia, Vietnam and, most recently Bhutan and India. Izu's work has been exhibited in numerous museums including the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of Smithsonian Institution, Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Art, Cleveland Museum of Art, Peabody/Essex Museum, Museum of Photographic Art, Rubin Museum of Art, among others. He has published several books of his work including: Sacred Places, Kenro Izu Still Life, Passage to Angkor, and Eternal Light. In 1985, after a several visit to Cambodia to photograph the Angkor Wat, Izu decided to build and operate a free pediatric hospital, and founded a not-for-profit organization, Friends Withou A Border, to help children of Cambodia who suffer from lack of medical facilities and severe poverty. The Angkor Hospital for Children, which opened in 1999 in Siem Reap , Cambodia is now an official medical education center. Izu has been the recipient of the Catskill Center for Photography Fellowship in 1992, a NEA grant in 1984, the New York Foundation for Arts grant in 1985, the Lou Stouman Award in 1999, a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2001, the Vision Award from the Center for Photography at Woodstock in 2005 and a Lucie Award in 2007. Source: Howard Greenberg Gallery
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
Helen Levitt
United States
1913 | † 2009
Helen Levitt was an American photographer and cinematographer. She was particularly noted for her street photography around New York City. David Levi Strauss described her as "the most celebrated and least known photographer of her time." Helen Levitt was most well known and celebrated for her work taking pictures of children playing in the streets. She also focused her work in areas of Harlem and the Lower East side with the subjects of her work many of which were minorities. There is a constant motif of children playing games in her work. She stepped away from the normal practice set by other established photographers at the time by giving a journalistic depiction of suffering. She instead chose to show the world from the perspective of her children by taking pictures of their chalk art. She usually positions the camera and styles the photo in a way that gives the focus of her photography power. Her choice to display children playing in the street and explore street photography fights against what was going on at the time. Legislation being passed in New York at the time was limiting many of the working classes' access to these public spaces. Laws were passed that directly targeted these communities in an attempt to control them. New bans on noise targeted working-class and minority communities. There was a movement to also try to keep children from playing on the street believing it is unsafe for them out there. Instead encouraging safe new areas that were usually built more in upper and middle-class areas. Helen Levitt instead exploring the narrative of those who lived in these areas and played in these streets was a way further to empower the subjects of her photos. Levitt was born in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of May (Kane), and Sam Levitt. Her father and maternal grandparents were Russian Jewish immigrants. She went to New Utrecht High School but dropped out in 1931. She began taking photography when she was eighteen and in 1931 she learned how to develop photos in the darkroom when she began working for J. Florian Mitchell, a commercial portrait photographer in the Bronx. She also attended many classes and events hosted by Manhattan Film and Photography League. This was also around the time she was exposed to the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson at the Julien Levy Gallery, who she was also able to meet through the league. His work became a major influence for her photography as it inspired her to change from her current more journalistic and commercial approach to photography to a more personal one. In 1936, she purchased a Leica camera (a 35 mm range-finder camera). In While teaching art classes to children in 1937 for the New York City's Federal Art Project, Levitt became intrigued with the transitory chalk drawings that were part of the New York children's street culture of the time. She began to photograph these chalk drawings, as well as the children who made them for her own creative assignment with the Federal Art Project. were ultimately published in 1987 as In The Street: chalk drawings and messages, New York City 1938–1948. She continued taking more street photographs mainly in East Harlem but also in the Garment District and on the Lower East Side, all in Manhattan. During the 1930s to 1940s, the lack of air conditioning meant people were outside more, which invested her in street photography. Her work was first published in Fortune magazine's July 1939 issue. The new photography section of the Museum of Modern Art, New York included Levitt's work in its inaugural exhibition in July 1939. In 1941, she visted Mexico City with author James Agee and took photos of the area. In 1943, Nancy Newhall curated her first solo exhibition Helen Levitt: Photographs of Children. In 1959 and 1960, she received two grants from the Guggenheim Foundation for her pioneering work in color photography. In 1965 she published her first major collection, A Way of Seeing. Much of her work in color from 1959 to 1960 was stolen in a 1970 burglary of her East 12th Street apartment. The remaining photos, and others taken in the following years, can be seen in the 2005 book Slide Show: The Color Photographs of Helen Levitt. A second solo exhibit, Projects: Helen Levitt in Color, was held at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 1974. Her next major shows were in the 1960s; Amanda Hopkinson suggests that this second wave of recognition was related to the feminist rediscovery of women's creative achievements. In 1976, she was a Photography Fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts. Levitt lived in New York City and remained active as a photographer for nearly 70 years. However, she expressed lament at the change of New York City scenery: "I go where there's a lot of activity. Children used to be outside. Now the streets are empty. People are indoors looking at television or something." She had to give up making her own prints in the 1990s due to sciatica, which also made standing and carrying her Leica difficult, causing her to switch to a small, automatic Contax. She was born with Ménière's syndrome, an inner-ear disorder that caused her to "[feel] wobbly all [her] life." She also had a near-fatal case of pneumonia in the 1950s. Levitt lived a personal and quiet life. She seldom gave interviews and was generally very introverted. She never married, living alone with her yellow tabby Blinky. Levitt died in her sleep on March 29, 2009, at the age of 95.Source: Wikipedia
Ayanava Sil
I am Ayanava Sil a resident of Kolkata, India. By education I hold a degree of Master Of Business Administration in Marketing. Photography to me is an exemption to see things differently. I am a Street and Documentary photographer, with an objective of documenting everyday life. The uncertainty and the suspense drives me the most towards these genres of Photography. Documenting people over the years has provided me with the invaluable opportunity to explore the unknown and to embrace the conglomerate realities of people. I am one of the administrators and curator of Streets Of Calcutta which is the oldest and the largest Street Photography archive of Kolkata. My works has been published and recognized by different platforms like National Geographic, National Geographic Traveller India, CNN America, Getty Images, Business Standard, World-Street-Photography Book 5, APF Street Photography Magazine, Better Photography India, Asian Photography, Chiiz Magazine etc. I have been awarded by The Andrei Stenin International Press Photo Awards, News Times, Eye Win Awards, Golden Orchid International Photography Awards etc. My works has also been exhibited in multiple photography exhibition, to name a few, Jaipur Art Summit 2016, Ariano International Film Festival 2017, Kolkata International Photography Festival 2019, Wlasnymi Slowami Film Festival 2019. Where I Bloom As the world combats with an invisible enemy, many of our lives have come to a standstill now. A month ago our lives were pretty foreseeable with simple daily conventional work that all of us were looking forward to. The coronavirus pandemic has changed the whole scenario, today countries are under locked down, schools and universities have been closed, events are cancelled and many people have been asked to work from home. We have seen the Government enforcing every preventive measure to slow the spread of the virus and flatten the curve. During this critical time, it is essential that everyone stays at home and helps to prevent the spread of this virus. In these tough times, photography is one of the major businesses that has been affected a lot by this pandemic. All studios have been shut down, weddings have been postponed, all the sports events have been cancelled and presently more than half of the world is locked down and there is no possibility of travelling. I am a photographer who loves to roam around the city unwearyingly to document life on the streets but due to the pandemic it is impossible to go out of my house to shoot now. So to keep myself in practice and to keep my sanity I chose to document my house but with a definite objective as this work of mine will have a different approach from the rest of my works. Also, I challenged myself to shoot everything through my phone only. So I started shooting every corner of my house from the ground floor to the terrace, through the windows and the doors, the plants in my house to the birds which flies above my terrace. I decide not to include any human subject and the only reason behind this decision is because we often feel like we are the most important species, but the fact is that we will fade away with time but we will leave behind a lot of things when we are gone. I tried to portray those moments keeping the photographs minimalist and graphical in form and ambiguous in nature. During all this time I had an interesting observation and I discovered that sunlight creates fascinating graphical shadow movements in different parts of my house during each phase of the day. I think that the only positive outlook amidst the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak is that nature has started healing. I do not remember when I last saw such timely Norwesters in the past few years. The Norwesters generally hit during the months of April and May. It mostly occurs late in the evening when thick, dark and black clouds start appearing in the sky. It generally moves from west to east bringing torrential rain often with strong wind and lasts only for a short period of time. The Norwesters are beneficial for cultivation purposes in West Bengal and Bangladesh. This year, the Norwesters bought different and beautiful cloud patterns and I tried to weave them within my work as well.
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