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Maureen Ruddy Burkhart
Maureen Ruddy Burkhart
Maureen Ruddy Burkhart

Maureen Ruddy Burkhart

Country: United States
Birth: 1954

My creative quest has always been about the 'journey' as opposed to the 'destination'. The first is experiential, alive, organic; that latter seems rushed.

I grew up in places that I now see as exotic, but at the time I just thought it was terribly inconvenient and definitely too far from friends back 'home'.

In 1971, at age 17, I left Iran, after three years, in tears and some relief. I immediately thought 'why didn't I take any pictures there?'. I fell in love with that country and its people, but I would not be going back (at least, not yet!).

Holding onto what memories I had taken with me, I vowed this would not happen again. So I enrolled in the SFAI. Many years have unfolded since then, and I've been a filmmaker (when 'film' was film), a writer/director, an I.Q. tester, stock photographer, and a documentary and fine art photographer.

My most seminal work to date, in terms of how it changed my worldly perceptions, came after spending some three years on and off working for a documentary project in the Kibera slum of Kenya. "Kibera: A Slice of Heaven" earned numerous international awards and press, but my favorite was a local 'Artist of the Year' in Longmont, Colorado. The Firehouse Art Center curator, Jessica Kooiman Parker, called it an 'act of bravery'. Reflecting on that, I realized that bravery is a way to change the world AND the photographer, one heart at a time. The power of photography is truly unlimited.

Amidst a crazy world (and always being on the move), I developed a love of landscape photography. Most people acknowledge that nature can be a place of solace and inspiration. While it is definitely the same for me, I've been creating 'scenes' from nature. I often photograph the same landscape over and over, taking my favorite parts of the series and compositing them into a singular landscape that mimics my relationship to it. It's fantasy, whimsy, and hope. In my darker landscapes, there's a moody melancholia…but I never lose sight of the hope.

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Loretta Lux
Germany
1969
Loretta Lux was born in Dresden, East Germany and is a fine art photographer known for her surreal portraits of young children. She currently lives and works in Monaco. Lux graduated from the Academy of Visual Arts in Munich in the 1990s, and debuted at the Yossi Milo gallery, New York in 2004. The show put both Yossi Milo and Loretta Lux on the map, selling out and setting prices never before seen from a new gallery. In 2005, Lux received the Infinity Award for Art from the International Center of Photography. Her work has since been exhibited extensively abroad, including solo exhibitions in 2006 at the Fotomuseum Den Haag, The Netherlands, and the Sixth Moscow Photobiennale. Her work is included in numerous museums collections worldwide, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; J.Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Art Institute of Chicago; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Fotomuseum, den Haag; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid and Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland, and National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan. She has had portfolios featured in numerous fine art magazines. The artist executes her compositions using a combination of photography, painting and digital manipulation. Lux's work usually features young children and is influenced by a variety of sources. She originally trained as a painter at Munich Academy of Art, and is influenced by painters such as Agnolo Bronzino, Diego Velázquez, Phillip Otto Runge. Lux also owes a debt to the famous Victorian photographic portraitists of childhood such as Julia Margaret Cameron and Lewis Carroll. Source: Wikipedia Loretta Lux was born in Dresden, Germany, in 1969. In 1989 she left East Germany for Munich, a few months before the fall of the Berlin Wall. From 1990–96, she studied at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Munich. Trained as a painter, Lux began taking photographs in 1999. Although Lux first experimented with self-portraits in works like The Hush (1999) and Self-Portrait (2000), she soon transitioned to images of children and adolescents, typically the offspring of friends who she often used as models. Her subjects, with gazes ambiguously empty yet psychologically activated, assume formal poses and appear in calculated garb and hairstyles. Employing photography, painting, and computer manipulation, Lux alters the images, extracting extraneous details, distorting proportions, and setting the children against mediated backgrounds that exist somewhere between Old Master paintings and cheesy studio-portrait backdrops. Lux's earliest works set children against icy blue skies, for example in Troll (2000), Lois (2000), and Isabella (2001). In 2001, while the skies continued to serve as backdrops in some works, Lux began to increasingly stage her images within barren pale pink interiors; such images include Hidden Rooms (2001) and Study of a Girl (2002). In several works including The Book (2003), Lux borrowed poses from Balthus, endowing those works with the rigidity and sense of perversion that characterized the French artist's oeuvre. Lux moved to Ireland in 2004 and increasingly depicted pairs of children rather than the solitary figures that occupied her earlier work. In her images of siblings like The Walk (2004), The Irish Girls (2005), and Hugo and Dylan (2006), the figures are psychologically isolated and physically interact quite gingerly with minimal and half-hearted gestures, perhaps an arm around a shoulder. Lux photographed the twins Sasha and Ruby (2005), girls who again sat for multiple images the artist produced in 2008. In 2007 Lux created her first self-portrait in seven years, this time occupying the pale blue and pink world of the children and bearing their ambiguous, confounding expression. Solo exhibitions of Lux's work have been organized by Stadtmuseum in Muenster (2003), Fotomuseum den Haag in The Hague (2005), Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Monterrey (2008), and Kulturhuset in Stockholm (2009), among others. Lux's work has also been included in major exhibitions such as Arbeit an der Wirklichkeit, German Contemporary Photography at the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo (2005–06), Global Feminisms at the Brooklyn Museum (2007), Family Pictures at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York (2007), and the Havana Biennale (2009). In 2005 she received the Infinity Award for Art from The International Center of Photography in New York. Lux lives and works in Monaco. Source: Guggenheim
Sumit Gupta
India
1983
While a software engineer by profession, Sumit has been capturing and sharing the stories of cities and cultures since 2013. He finds the experience of walking around the city streets with a camera almost therapeutic and meditative. Inspired by the human condition, Sumit has photographed mostly in India and Europe. Sumit's photographs are inspired by a personal desire to find meaning in the world around us and attempt to draw attention to the poetic and inspirational nature of human life all around us. All about the project 'The River' The Kumbh Mela is the largest religious gathering of humans on our planet. Over the two month period that this festival happens, once every 12 years in 4 Indian cities, millions of people come from all over the country (and outside of it) to take an auspicious bath in the holy waters of the river Ganga. I'm interested in portraying how the contemporary experience of the Kumbh Mela is influenced by aspects such as globalization, consumption and current trends of social behavior. People from all over India come to this event as a pilgrimage to wash away their sins, but they're also cohabiting with people that see this as a cultural attraction, as a possibility to experience a foreign culture and filter it through social media. What's the impact of hyper-communication and advertising in the collective atmosphere of this spiritual gathering? The project tries to reflect on those ideas by working through the psychological climate of the different people that are present in the event. The images evidence the paradoxical and complex nature of a spiritual event that feeds on tradition when young people seem to drift away from old collective habits. The river, the sacred area where people transcend their humanity, is the perfect metaphor for the current situation; affected by mass production and consumerism, the polluted river is still worshipped as a place for cleansing; time will tell if the memory that holds this identity will keep flowing through the divine water, or if it will drown to the mirage of pleasures that float in the immediacy of today's world.
Thierry Clech
Thierry Clech is a French photographer based in Paris. Much of his work (exclusively in black & white films) is made during his travels (India, Ukraine, Istanbul, Tokyo...), but he also takes pictures in France, particulary in the business district of La Défense, near Paris. He published two books in collaboration with French novelists (Philippe Jaenada and Bernard Chambaz) and his work has been exhibited widely in France and abroad (Nadar Gallery, Press Club of France, Barrobjectif Festival, National Library of Belarus, FotoIstanbul Festival, BlowUp Angkor Festival in Cambodia…).Artist statement: "Thierry Clech can see the world like nobody else. In any case, he manages to put the world rules inside the frame of his pictures. Fortunately or thanks to his instinct or I don't know how, he is often in the right place at the right time. He could have probably stayed in Paris, within the ring road, within the twenty districts of his garden, and almost get the same result - because a man is a man, wherever he is. But the world is not so wide, it was better to travel around it. Just to be absolutely sure. Go around it. Then he has been nearly everywhere on the globe, almost at random, he has stopped a few moments in a city of the northern hemisphere, by a field in the southern hemisphere, and he has come back with pictures which approximately show the same thing in the form or in substance : human beings in the heart of their environment, stuck in the setting, stifled, trapped or integrated, assimilated but not totally, always isolated, just like oil in water, anxious, absent-minded, busy or passive, fearful, overtaken by events, brave, rebellious, lost, determined or exhausted. Mankind in the setting." Philippe Jaenada, novelist, Chevalier de l'Ordre des arts et des lettres. Discover Saint Louis in Senegal
Elisabeth Hase
Germany
1905 | † 1991
Elisabeth Hase (December 16, 1905 – October 9, 1991) was a German commercial and documentary photographer active in Frankfurt from 1932 until her death in 1991, at the age of 85 Hase was born in Döhlen bei Leipzig, Germany. She studied typography and commercial art from 1924 to 1929 at the School of Applied Arts, and later at the Städelschule, under, among other teachers, Paul Renner and Willi Baumeister. Hase was active as a photographer during the time of the transition from the Weimar Republic to the Third Reich and through post-WWII Germany. She was able to avoid government oversight of her work by establishing her own photographic studio in 1933. Hase's work included surreal photography, such as close-up photographs of dolls. She received several awards, several for paper designs and collages. During a two-year collaboration in the studio of Paul Wolff [de] and Alfred Tritschler [de], Hase took architectural photographs in New Objectivity style for the magazine Das Neue Frankfurt (The New Frankfurt) and documentary photographs of modern housing projects, including those of Ferdinand Kramer. In 1932, Hase started her own business. It focused on timeless designs like still life, structures, plants, dolls, people, especially self-portraits. Often she used herself as a model in her photographic “picture stories.” Cooperation with agencies like Holland Press Service and the Agency Schostal[2] enabled her to publish her photographs internationally. Despite the bombing of Frankfurt in 1944 by the Allies, Hare's photographic archive survived the war without major damage. Many of those works are now part of the collections held by the Folkwang Museum in Essen, Germany, in the Albertina (Vienna) in Vienna, and in the Walter Gropius estate in the Bauhaus Archive in Berlin, as well as in private collections in Germany and abroad. Despite loss of her cameras and other technical equipment in the chaos of war, Hase was able to resume taking photographs in 1946 by the help of emigre friends who provided her with film and cameras to use. Among others subjects Hase documented was the reconstruction of St. Paul's Church in Frankfurt. From 1949, her work focused on advertising, consisting mostly of plant portraits. Hase died at the age of 85 in 1991 in Frankfurt am Main. Source: Wikipedia This new discovery is a rich body of work by a female artist who was photographing during the time of the transition from the Weimar Republic to the Third Reich and through post-WWII Germany. Hase's photographic compositions are comparable to a number of her avant-garde contemporaries such as Florence Henri, Ilse Bing, and Germain Krull. Elisabeth Hase (1905-1991) was born in Germany and began her artistic studies in 1924 at the Art Academy in Frankfurt. During World War II Hase was able to avoid the politicization of her work by retreating to her studio. This however would not prevent her work from being wholly untouched by the war. During the air raid on Frankurt in 1944 her cameras and other equipment were lost however, quite remarkably, her archives of glass and film negatives survived. Most intriguing are Hase's self-portraits which experiment with identity and perceived reality. In one self-portrait she has photographed herself in the reflection of a silver sphere, she and the room are warped on the convex surface of the globe. In another image she is sprawled over a staircase as if fallen, with shoes and purse strewn likewise over the stairs. This practice of role-playing and adopting different personas is seen throughout Hase's portraiture. Hase's work has been shown in museums across Germany including; the Folkwang Museum, Essen; the Historical Museum, Frankfurt; and the Museum of Photography, Braunschweig. Hase's work was exhibited in the show "Who is Afraid of Women Photographers?" at the Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France. Her work in found in prominent museum collections internationally, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The National Gallery, the Museum of Modern Art, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Ackland Art Museum, the Chrysler Museum of Art, Folkwang Museum in Essen, The Albertina Museum in Vienna and The Bauhaus Museum of Design in Berlin. Source: Robert Mann Gallery
Katerina Belkina
Katerina Belkina was born in Samara, a city in the South-East of the European part of Russia. She grew up in an artistic atmosphere; her mother is a visual artist and, in herplace of birth, she got an education in the art of painting at the Art Academy. She continued her education in 2000 at an Academy for Photography also in Samara and exhibitions of her mysterious self-portraits ensued in Moscow and Paris. Katerina Belkina was nominated for the prestigious Kandinsky Prize (comparable to the British Turner prize) in Moscow in 2007. At the moment, Katerina Belkina is living and working in Moscow and Berlin.AAP: Where did you study photography?I started in a studio of photography and then I decided to study photography in an Art College. After several years I learned photography at the Photo Academy in Samara, Russia.AAP:How did you become a photographer?I think of myself as an artist in the broad sense of the word. For me photography is just a medium like a painting, drawing etc. However I like to use photography as a basis for my works. This form of art was always interesting for me. As well as drawing. I was influenced by my family in my childhood to like both mediums.AAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it?When I was in fifth grade I took my school photo-group. Otherwise everything around me: school friends, street dogs, home yard.AAP:What was your first paid assignment/job?It was for an inexpensive portrait. The client was a girl who looked very similar to Marilyn Monroe. I found out that only when I looked at her in the viewfinder.AAP: What or who inspires you?Other people working in my field. When I see good results and when I see how they work. AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? For what purpose?Yes, a lot. At first I like the process of editing. In my case it is a combination of photo elements and then layer by layer drawing or correcting and making post-productions. I like when any art work include skills and labor. Every good idea should be perfectly executed.AAP: How do you choose your subjects?I always choose a topic that could be interesting for me at that moment. Then comes the process of thinking about. In the beginning ideas are always abstract. After a while it takes a shape: I choose a subject, composition, color combinations and details. AAP: Can you explain the process that you use to set up a portrait?When the idea takes shape in my mind, I draw a sketch, prepare all the necessary things for shooting and then start. Despite the fact that I know very exactly what I want for my future composition, I like to allow improvisation in the process. Because the result can be interesting and unexpectable. To take self-portraits I use a stative and make it by myself or I ask an assistant.AAP: Your worst souvenir as a photographer?Oh yes I remember! A meeting with a client who paid me and thought the world should rotate around him just because of that.AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer?Shoot a lot, take everything that could be interesting for you. Try new things, make discoveries. This is the most important thing. Don’t listen to anybody when they want to teach you something especially when it is in a critical way. AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid?Don’t try to be or to do like someone else. Your photography style will become unique over time. You need to be interested by what you are doing even if other photographers or artists can inspire you.
Tommaso Rada
Tommaso Rada is an Italian photographer currently living in São Paulo, Brasil. Tommaso Rada is a documentary photographer working on socio-economic issues. His projects describing the surrounding society are aims more to create questions than to looking for answers. His works has been published in several magazines and newspapers such as Financial Time, Der Spiegel, Monocle, Popoli, Popoli e Missioni, Private online edition, Expresso, Helsingin Sanomat, Courrier International, Le Pelerin, Washington Post and Forbes Brazil. He collaborated with Unicef Mozambique, Comunità di Sant'Egidio and Habitat for Humanity Portugal. About Domestic Borders Since the creation of the European Union (EU) one of the goal has been the unification of the different countries belonging to the EU and the abolishment of the frontiers between these countries. The Schengen treaty stipulated in 1985 have had the aims to gradually create an EU without borders, later in 1990 with the Schengen Agreement finally eliminate the borders between European countries allowing the free movement of people across the several European countries and the abolition of internal border controls. In the last decade separatist movements grow up all across Europe, the economical differences between the European countries increased, the foreign politics aren't common for all the countries, in a period in witch Europe should consolidate his union new obstacles and challenges appear. The domestic borders of Europe, now - after the Schengen Treaty and with the European unification - are gone. Just mountains, rivers and imaginary historical lines, are what have left: a liquid frontier between apparently distinct countries. The rivers, the mountains, the history trapped in the places define the communities, the interaction and the contacts between the people of two neighbouring countries, where the territory and the communities shape reciprocally around a specific space - physical, human and cultural - that get dissolved in the same rivers, mountain places that divide them. Empty of its political value, from a strange limbo made of controls and checkpoints the domestic borders become just a line on a map. The emptiness of the frontier, that have should fill of new life and new dynamics after the unification, get reflected in the territory, the time get stopped and while the world around is changing, on the border the space is assuming a proper physiognomy, and the time is sometimes frozen. "Domestic Borders" becomes a route where each photos is a stop on the way, not searching for answer but interrogating the social reality, the relations between habitants and the territory and the meaning of Europe today. "Domestic Borders" ends up being an unusual and unexpected trip, a dystopian portrait of the relationships between and across the border, showing the challenges of living in an unique space with a different passage of time.
Margarita Mavromichalis
Margarita Mavromichalis comes from a family of Greek diplomats and has spent her life living and traveling all over the world. She speaks five languages and studied translation and interpreting. She likes to think that photography is her second language, as it's a universal language, one that is understood by all across the world and conveys messages in the most powerful way. Margarita moved to New York in 2009. She continued her studies for three years at the International Center of Photography where she also served as a Teaching Assistant for several classes. She moved back to Greece from 2013 to 2016 where she devoted most of her work covering the refugee crisis as it developed on the island of Lesvos. She currently lives and works in London. Margarita is mostly attracted to street photography and the elements that evoke emotions and surprise in our every day life. Furthermore she is passionate about documenting current events that she feels very strongly about, highlighting their social impact. Her work has been displayed in exhibitions in New York, Boston, San Diego, The Museum of the City of New York, the Brooklyn Historical Society and most recently in Budapest, Athens, Paris, Berlin, Barcelona and London. Selected images are part of the permanent collections of the Museum of the City of New York and the Brooklyn Historical Society. She is the winner of the 9th Pollux Awards (2016) and the winner of the 12th edition of the Julia Margaret Cameron Awards (2018) and has been nominated for the 2019 Prix Pictet Hope Award.
Neal Menschel
United States
Neal Menschel has been a photographer for over 25 years. He has photographed five presidents, and traveled the world covering third world politics and development, and environmental issues. He began his career as a photographer for the Anchorage Daily News in Anchorage, Alaska.  As a freelance photographer Neal’s clients have included The New York Times, Newsweek, MIT, Tufts, Wellesley College, People, Geo, Front Line, Yankee, as well as other publications and numerous corporate clients. Neal also worked as an associate producer and sound recordist on a series of award winning documentary films for WGBH-Boston, and WBZ-TV, Boston, additionally teaching photography/documentary photography at Boston University. Neal was the Director of Photography and Senior Photographer for the Christian Science Monitor. He has traveled extensively, both nationally and worldwide, specializing in third world politics and development, environmental issues, domestic politics, humanitarian, social, and cultural issues, always with a focus on people and matters of the "human heart." Neal was the Director of Photography for the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies, a graduate and undergraduate training program in photography, radio, and writing, in Portland, Maine. Neal led their photography program for nine years before moving to the San Francisco Bay Area. Many of the students Neal has taught, mentored, and shared his passion for photography and visual story telling are now successfully carrying on careers in photojournalism and fine art photography. Neal is currently working on a book about West Virginia culture.  He teaches in Stanford University's Continuing Studies Program while he continues his work as a photographer, journalist, teacher, and workshop instructor/leader. Source: www.nealmenschel.com
Steve McCurry
United States
1950
Steve McCurry has been one of the most iconic voices in contemporary photography for more than 30 years, with scores of magazine and book covers, over a dozen books, and countless exhibitions around the world to his name. Born in a suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; McCurry studied film at Pennsylvania State University, before going on to work for a local newspaper. After several years of freelance work, McCurry made his first of what would become many trips to India. Traveling with little more than a bag of clothes and another of film, he made his way across the subcontinent, exploring the country with his camera. It was after several months of travel that he found himself crossing the border into Pakistan. There, he met a group of refugees from Afghanistan, who smuggled him across the border into their country, just as the Russian Invasion was closing the country to all western journalists. Emerging in traditional dress, with full beard and weather-worn features after weeks embedded with the Mujahedeen, McCurry brought the world the first images of the conflict in Afghanistan, putting a human face to the issue on every masthead. Since then, McCurry has gone on to create stunning images on all seven continents and countless countries. His work spans conflicts, vanishing cultures, ancient traditions and contemporary culture alike - yet always retains the human element that made his celebrated image of the Afghan Girl such a powerful image. McCurry has been recognized with some of the most prestigious awards in the industry, including the Robert Capa Gold Medal, National Press Photographers Award, and an unprecedented four first prize awards from the World Press Photo contest. The Minister of French Culture has also appointed McCurry a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters and most recently, the Royal Photographic Society in London awarded McCurry the Centenary Medal for Lifetime Achievement. McCurry has published books including The Imperial Way (1985), Monsoon (1988), Portraits (1999), South Southeast (2000), Sanctuary (2002), The Path to Buddha: A Tibetan Pilgrimage (2003), Steve McCurry (2005), Looking East (2006), In the Shadow of Mountains (2007), The Unguarded Moment, (2009), The Iconic Photographs (2011), Untold: The Stories Behind the Photographs (2013), From These Hands: A Journey Along the Coffee Trail (2015), India (2015), and On Reading (2016), Afghanistan (2017), A Life in Pictures (2018), Animals (2019). @stevemccurryofficial
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Call for Entries
AAP Magazine #17: Portrait
Publish your work in our printed magazine and win $1,000 cash prizes