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Polly Gaillard
Polly Gaillard
Polly Gaillard

Polly Gaillard

Country: United States
Birth: 1965

Polly Gaillard is a fine art photographer, writer, and educator. She is part-time Professor of Art at Furman University and has taught photography workshops and college courses for more than ten years including summers abroad teaching American students in Prague, Czech Republic, and Cortona, Italy. Polly received a Master of Fine Arts in Visual Arts from Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2010. She has exhibited her fine art photographs nationally and published a limited edition artist book, Pressure Points, with a foreword by actress Jamie Lee Curtis. Polly's photographic skills traverse contemporary art, documentary, portrait, and traditional photographic practices. She lives in Greenville, SC with her daughter.

You, From a Distance
Making portraits in a pandemic is challenging if you like to get closer than six feet to your subject. Frustrated by an inability to work at close range, I began to make portraits on my computer screen via FaceTime and Zoom by photographing friends, family, acquaintances, strangers, and my daughter at her father's home. This collaboration with others is particularly rewarding, especially when I've put the camera down, and we sit screen to screen discussing the changes in our collective worlds while checking in to make sure the other is okay. Each person has been generous in showing me around their homes to find the right background and light. They move furniture, take pictures off the wall, change clothing to create the right contrast, and position their laptops or phones so that I can take their picture at just the right angle. I sit behind my screen watching them do the work that I so desperately want to do as I experience a heightened sense of ambivalence, the love of "seeing" others, the distaste for lack of physical control over the situation.

At times, the process calls for a third person to hold the camera phone, sometimes that assistant is a six-year-old girl, a father, a husband, or a cousin. During the awkwardness of the portrait session, there are moments of laughter when cats photobomb the sitting, a mother walks in the room wanting to reclaim her office space, a dad saunters by with a laundry basket, a sibling or grandchild screams from an adjoining room, and many phones crash to the floor from their perch of prime picture-taking position. We laugh together across connected distances about the absurdity of the situation and that I am trying to make a meaningful portrait amid unpredictability. Strangely, I find the absurdity satisfying; everything feels peculiar at this moment in time.

For a more technically astute photographer than myself, the lack of technical command over making screen portraits would be unnerving. In essence, the image is blurry if the Wifi connection isn't clear. There are uncontrollable color shifts due to monitor calibrations; a moire pattern may appear because the screen is refreshing, and the perspective of the body can distort if the phone isn't perfectly parallel to the subject. I won't elaborate on how the highlights and shadows clip. The image noise and pixelation can drive you mad if you don't accept it as divine intervention. I find myself wanting to jump into the scene and move things and bodies, hold reflectors, close blinds, and refrain from making my subject do the heavy lifting. However, I sit behind the computer giving direction to "look to the right, chin down, eyes up, come closer to the camera" and then I embrace every technical flaw as if it's a gift. The power I have over the subject and the limitation I command over the image humbles me. The vulnerability I feel in putting these imperfect images into the world is tempered by the realization that we are all powerless in the face of this pandemic.

You, From a Distance reflects the way I have experienced life during the Covid-19 pandemic- a personal feeling of distance and loss but with a desire to hold onto normalcy of making pictures, albeit without influence over the outcome. I am interested in these new ways of seeing each other and being together without being together - I look at you on my computer, in return, you look back at me through a phone or laptop while you can also see yourself in the frame. Who are we looking at - ourselves or others? The intersection of gazes is countless at times; it excites and confuses me. The process of looking and seeing divided by screens changes everything I have learned about image-making. The portraits become my memory of shared moments across time zones with distant faces; the four walls of my house expand into the space of others' homes. The intimacy I feel with the subject ironically is far greater than the portraits I make in-person in a time before social distance. In the span of one month, I have virtually traveled to five countries, five states, and homes nearby in South Carolina. Although more than the required physical distance is maintained through these portrait sittings, the mutual human connection is undoubtedly rich with meaning and unlimited possibility.

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Natalie Christensen
United States
1966
Photographer Natalie Christensen has an inimitable, and enchanting, focus on the exploration of the more banal peripheral landscapes that often go unnoticed by the casual observer. "I quickly became aware that these isolated moments in the suburban landscape were rich with metaphor. Closed and open doors, empty parking lots and forgotten swimming pools draw me to a scene; yet it was my reactions to these objects and spaces that elicited interpretation and projection." Based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States, she has exhibited her photographs in the U.S. and internationally, including Santa Fe, New York, Brooklyn, Los Angeles, London, Berlin and Barcelona. She was recently honored as an invited guest of the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Washington, D.C. and joined a select delegation of architects, architectural photographers and curators for a one-week cultural tour of the UAE. Christensen had worked as a psychotherapist for over 25 years and was particularly influenced by the theories of depth psychologist Carl Jung. This influence is evident in her photographs, as shadows and psychological metaphors are favored subjects. "The symbols and spaces in my images are an invitation to explore a rich world that is concealed from consciousness, and an enticement to contemplate narratives that have no remarkable life yet tap into something deeply familiar to our experience; often disturbing, sometimes amusing...unquestionably present." In Santa Fe, her work is inspired by commonplace architecture and streetscapes. She realizes that the places she frequents for her images are probably not what people visualize when they think of Santa Fe, a major tourist destination with a carefully cultivated image. "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." Choosing to shoot in locations that may be viewed as uninteresting or even visually off-putting, Christensen finds this challenging, to "see" something hidden in plain sight, noting "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." Christensen is repeatedly drawn to the swimming pool as a metaphor for the unconscious. In American culture, pools symbolize the luxury of leisure. Yet she also sees a darker interpretation - evoking repressed desires, unexplained tension and looming disaster. "These photographs of a manufactured oasis suggest a binary connection between the world above and the world below, linking submersion in water with the workings of the subconscious." She dismantles all of these scenes to color fields, geometry and shadow. She shoots every day and is almost never without a camera. The Royal Photographic Society recently presented her artwork in a traveling museum exhibition throughout the United Kingdom, and had her as a guest lecturer. She led a photography workshop there, as well at Meow Wolf in Santa Fe. Christensen has participated in collaborative site-specific projects at Iconic Standard Vision Billboard, Los Angeles; El Rey Court, Santa Fe; University of New Mexico, Albuquerque; and Peckham Levels, London. She has been named one of "Ten Photographers to Watch" by the Los Angeles Center of Digital Art. As one of five invited photographers for "The National 2018: Best of Contemporary Photography" at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Indiana, her work was purchased for the permanent collection. Christensen was also the Purchase Prize recipient of the 33rd Annual International Exhibition at the University of Texas at Tyler. Christensen's photographs are in private and corporate collections. Her work has received awards, including top finalist of 48,000 entries for the Smithsonian's 15th Annual Photo Contest and Honorable Mentions for the Julia Margaret Cameron Award and the Chromatic Awards. Global media have taken notice, with features in, among others, Xi Draconis Books; LandEscape Art Review, United Kingdom; Better Photography Magazine, India; Art Reveal Magazine; Magazine 43, Philippines, Germany and Hong Kong; Site Unseen; Lens Culture; All About Photo and Women in Photography. 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.
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Sid Avery
United States
1918 | † 2002
Sid Avery (October 12, 1918 – July 1, 2002) was an American photographer and director who was best known for capturing the private moments of legendary Hollywood celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean, Marlon Brando, Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn as showcased in his book Hollywood at Home. Avery was born in Akron, Ohio on October 12, 1918. He was only nine months old when they decided to move out to Los Angeles, California, which is where he grew up. Sid Avery received his high school education at the institution of Roosevelt High School. He discovered his love and talent of photography when he was young due to the fact that he was able to work with his uncle, Max Tatch, who was a landscape and architectural photographer. His uncle was able to teach him the skills required to use cameras, film, and darkrooms. After he graduated from high school, Sid Avery worked in a camera store on Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood where he further gained love and inspiration for photography. While working in the shop, he had opportunities to meet many famous photographers. This also encouraged him to take more photography classes. He also gained the experience of being a darkroom assistant. He served in the Army in World War II. When he returned from the war, he began his work of photographing celebrities. Sid Avery eventually became one of the top advertising photographers in Los Angeles. He was also a director of television commercials. Sid Avery was married to Diana Avery. Together they had three children named Sandra Guttman, Marc Avery, and Ron Avery. Sid Avery also had three grandchildren. He founded the Hollywood Photographer's Archive (HPA) and which is known today as mptvimages.com in an effort to preserve the work of the early Hollywood photographers. Sid Avery's work was commonly featured in publications such as Life, Look, Colliers and The Saturday Evening Post. There is a collection of his work, Hollywood at Home: A Family Album 1950-1965, that was published by Crown in the year of 1990. He is most famous for his work of photography that captured the home life of famous celebrities at the time. He captured the celebrities in their own element aside from the glamour of fame. Sid Avery died at the age of 83 on July 1, 2002, in Los Angeles, California.Source: Wikipedia One of six children, Sid Avery was born in 1918 in Ohio and moved to Los Angeles at a young age. Avery repaired a broken brownie box camera that he had found, and with the tutelage of his architectural photographer uncle he began to learn the basics of the photographic profession. By the time he entered Roosevelt High School, Avery’s talent in photography won him numerous prizes and after graduation he landed a job at Morgan’s Camera store on Sunset Boulevard. Avery was pursuing various odd photography jobs when World War II intervened. He was drafted into the Army, assigned to the Signal Corps, and selected to receive six months of training at Life magazine in New York before being sent overseas. Avery was stationed in London and was placed in charge of the Army Pictorial Service Laboratory, where all the stills and combat footage that came out of the European Theater of Operations passed through his hands. This included the detailed, highly classified photomontages of the French coast which were produced for the Normandy invasion. In order to handle this special material, Avery was granted an immediate commission by General Eisenhower himself. Photojournalism publications proliferated during the post-war years, and interest in film stars and their private lives grew to an all time high. During the 1950’s and early 1960’s, Avery photographed screen legends such as Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Clark Gable, James Dean, Marlon Brando, James Stewart, and Alfred Hitchcock. His photographic essays appeared in the pages of The Saturday Evening Post, Look, Photoplay, Collier’s, Reader’s Digest, and many others. Avery’s characteristically low key, unobtrusive manner struck a sympathetic chord with reclusive and difficult personalities like Humphrey Bogart, who generally refused to be photographed. Bogart would eventually allow himself to be photographed by Avery with his pregnant wife Lauren Bacall and his son Stephen at their home. Sid Avery photographs have been exhibited and have been included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and San Francisco, the International Center of Photography in New York, the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in California.Source: Wikipedia
Geert Broertjes
The Netherlands
I try to look at the world as open and honestly as possible. No prejudices about people and not take things for granted. I'm a sensitive person, which means that I use my feelings as a guideline for everything I do. I think more with my heart than with my head. As a photographer I'm fascinated by the diversity of people. What are their motivations, on what do they base their choices in life and what is their purpose. This fascination began at an early age, when I was traveling with my parents through Europe. I used the old camera from my grandmother and I was immediately intrigued by this medium. After high school I studied Media & Information Management. But I soon realized that this was not for me and that my interest in photography was still there. So I began to study photography at the Photo Academy in Amsterdam where I graduated end of 2013. One of my strengths is that people quickly feel comfortable with me. This is because I have a sincere interest for the people I photograph and I'm open minded. This advantage I use in my photography. The photos I make are created from the feeling and trust that people have with me. They are personal, intimate and real. I'm not looking for the reality, because in my opinion, that doesn't exist. What I try to capture is a poetic, melancholic and romantic version of life. For my own projects I work with analogue cameras, because this expresses the mood I'm looking for. The magic of analog is that you never know for sure what the result will be. I encourage the viewer to use his or her own imagination. Since graduating I have been working as a freelance photographer for many different clients. I like the alternation between commercial assignments with a short span and my own long-term projects. About One Year In a very short space of time, Geert Broertttes lost the most important women in his life. His aunt, grandmother and mother passed away. 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"It was all very strange and confusing, but after a few intense weeks the oncologists came with the message that I could get better." In April was the first operation, half of his colon was removed, then he underwent three chemotherapy treatments and in august he had another operation to remove pieces from his liver and gallbladder. His cancer is genetic. He got it because of the Lynch syndrome that his father was carrying, he past away last November. When Geert was diagnosed with colon cancer, Lotte asked him if she could make a portrait of Geert: "pure, without the presence of poisonous medicine in his body". That moment turned out to be the start of project 'K', in which we chose analogue photography to represent the three most common cancer treatments: chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery. Directly after his chemo, we used Geert's urine to soak the fim rolls with chemo. This way, we represented chemotherapy. To represent radiation, 4x5 inch film was irradiated in AMC hospital: the square in the middle of the film symbolizes Geerts' colon tumor which has the same size. Lastly, we partially burned some negatives to represent the surgery. With this series, we wanted to visualize the world you live in as a patient, and the huge contradiction in the treatments: it is made to make you better, but it breaks you down as well. Project "K" is about the fucked up reality in which strength and vulnerability play the lead role and hope is the constant factor. We are Geert Broertjes & Lotte Bronsgeest "Lotte explores the vulnerability of the body and the transience of life play an important role in her work, in which she always searches for the point where beauty meets confrontation. People are often quick in their judgement about each other, basing their opinions on the clothed body. Lotte is intrigued by discrepancies between opinions and reality." "Geert is fascinated by the diversity of people. What are their motivations, on what do they base their choices in life and what is their purpose. His work is a poetic, melancholic and romantic version of reality. He encourages the viewer to use his or her own imagination. His work is personal and emotional." We both graduated in 2013 from the Photo Academy in Amsterdam, that is where we met. We work as freelance photographers for different clients and create our own projects. Project K Website
Melvin Sokolsky
United States
1933 | † 2022
Melvin Sokolsky is an American photographer and film director. Born in New York City in 1933, Sokolsky was raised on the Lower East Side. He had no formal training in photography, but started to use his father's box camera at about the age of ten. Always analytical, he started to realize the role that emulsion played as he compared his own photographs with those his father had kept in albums through the years. "I could never make my photographs of Butch the dog look like the pearly finish of my father's prints, and it was then that I realized the importance of the emulsion of the day." Around 1954, Sokolsky met Robert Denning, who at the time worked with photographer Edgar de Evia, at an East Side gym. "I discovered that Edgar was paid $4000 for a Jell-O ad, and the idea of escaping from my tenement dwelling became an incredible dream and inspiration." Whether floating models down the Seine in a bubble, or shrinking his subjects, Alice-like, to miniature heights, Melvin Sokolsky helped to pioneer illusory fashion photography long before the age of digital enhancement took hold. Though he is best known for his editorial fashion photographs for publications such as Harper's Bazaar (for which he produced, in 1963, the Bubble series of photographs depicting fashion models “floating” in giant clear plastic bubbles suspended in midair above the River Seine in Paris), Vogue, and The New York Times, Sokolsky’s work is not limited to that field. Three quarters of his print photography has been for advertising, which does not usually carry a byline. As Sokolsky said in an interview: “I resented the attitude that ‘This is editorial and this is advertising. I always felt, why dilute it? Why not always go for the full shot?” Toward the end of the 1960s, Sokolsky worked as both commercial director and cameraman. He did not, however, abandon the world of print photography; in 1972 he was asked to photograph the entire editorial content of McCall's Magazine, a first for any photographer.Source: Wikipedia Melvin Sokolsky was born and raised in New York City where he started his distinguished career as a stills photographer. At the age of twenty-one he was invited to join the staff of Harper's Bazaar. Within the next few years he worked as a major contributor to four prestigious magazines: Esquire, McCall's, Newsweek, and Show. His photographs of internationally famous personalities have appeared in many of the major museums and magazines worldwide. In 1962, Sokolsky photographed the entire editorial content of McCall's Magazine, a first in its time. He is best known of his infusion of surrealism in his fashion photography, with his iconic series of women encased in plastic bubbles, floating around various cityscapes. In 1964, Sokolsky was invited by the School of Visual Arts in New York to teach a special class at his studio in New York. In 1969, Sokolsky embarked on a new career in television commercials as director/cameraman. Sokolsky has been honored with twenty-five Clio Awards, and is the recipient of every major television commercial award including the coveted "Directors Guild" nomination. Many of Sokolsky's commercials are in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art. In 1972, Sokolsky versed in all phases of special effects and cinematography, presented a computerized zoom lens that he designed to the Academy of Arts and Sciences. The system was subsequently nominated for an Academy Award. 1975, Sokolsky was invited by the Japanese Graphic Society to lecture in Tokyo and Kyoto, and was subsequently named Honorary Professor of Photography. In 1986, the Victoria and Albert Museum installed an exhibition of photographs called Shots of Style, a retrospective of the worlds major fashion photographers. The Victoria & Albert included Sokolsky's photographs in the exhibit, and subsequently placed many of them in their permanent collection. In 1991, the Victoria and Albert Museum mounted a show called Appearances, that is slated to travel around the world. Source: www.sokolsky.com
Edward Burtynsky
Burtynsky was born in St. Catharines, Ontario. His parents had immigrated to Canada in 1951 from Ukraine and his father found work on the production line at the local General Motors plant. Burtynsky recalls playing by the Welland Canal and watching ships pass through the locks. When he was 11, his father purchased a darkroom, including cameras and instruction manuals, from a widow whose late husband practiced amateur photography. With his father, Burtynsky learned how to make black and white prints and together with his older sister established a small business taking portraits at the local Ukrainian center. In the early 1970s, Burtynsky found work in printing and he started night classes in photography, later enrolling at the Ryerson Polytechnical Institute. From the mid-1970s to early 1980s, Burtynsky formally studied graphic arts and photography. He obtained a diploma in graphic arts from Niagara College in Welland, Ontario, in 1976, and a BAA in Photographic Arts (Media Studies Program) from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute in Toronto, Ontario, in 1982. Burtynsky's most famous photographs are sweeping views of landscapes altered by industry: mine tailings, quarries, scrap piles. The grand, awe-inspiring beauty of his images is often in tension with the compromised environments they depict. He has made several excursions to China to photograph that country's industrial emergence, and construction of one of the world's largest engineering projects, the Three Gorges Dam. His early influences include Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Eadweard Muybridge, and Carleton Watkins, whose prints he saw at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the early 1980s. Most of Burtynsky's exhibited photography (pre 2007) was taken with a large format, field camera, on large 4×5-inch sheet film and developed into high-resolution, large-dimension prints of various sizes and editions ranging from 18 × 22 inches to 60 × 80 inches. He often positions himself at high-vantage points over the landscape using elevated platforms, the natural topography, and more currently helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. Burtynsky describes the act of taking a photograph in terms of "The Contemplated Moment", evoking and in contrast to, "The Decisive Moment" of Henri Cartier-Bresson. He currently uses a high-resolution digital medium format camera. Source: Wikipedia Edward Burtynsky is known as one of Canada's most respected photographers. His remarkable photographic depictions of global industrial landscapes are included in the collections of over sixty major museums around the world, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, the Tate Modern in London, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in California. Burtynsky was born in 1955 of Ukrainian heritage in St. Catharines, Ontario. He received his BAA in Photography/ Media Studies from Ryerson University in 1982, and in 1985 founded Toronto Image Works, a darkroom rental facility, custom photo laboratory, digital imaging and new media computer-training centre catering to all levels of Toronto's art community. Early exposure to the sites and images of the General Motors plant in his hometown helped to formulate the development of his photographic work. His imagery explores the collective impact we as a species are having on the surface of the planet; an inspection of the human systems we've imposed onto natural landscapes. Exhibitions include Water (2013) at the New Orleans Museum of Art & Contemporary Art Center, New Orleans, Louisiana (international touring exhibition); Oil (2009) at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. (five-year international touring show), China (toured 2005 - 2008); Manufactured Landscapes at the National Gallery of Canada (touring from 2003 - 2005); and Breaking Ground produced by the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography (touring from 1988 - 1992). Burtynsky's visually compelling works are currently being exhibited in solo and group exhibitions across Canada, the United States, Europe and Asia. As an active lecturer on photographic art, Burtynsky's speaking engagements have been held at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.; George Eastman House in Rochester, NY; The Canadian Center for Architecture in Montreal; the Art Gallery of Ontario, the TED conference; and Idea City and Ryerson University in Toronto. His images appear in numerous periodicals each year including Canadian Art, Art in America, The Smithsonian Magazine, Harper's Magazine, Flash Art, Blind Spot, Art Forum, Saturday Night, National Geographic and the New York Times. Burtynsky's distinctions include the TED Prize, the Governor General's Awards in Visual and Media Arts, The Outreach award at the Rencontres d'Arles, the Roloff Beny Book award, and the Rogers Best Canadian Film Award. He sits on the board of directors for CONTACT: Toronto's International Photography Festival, and The Ryerson Image Centre. In 2006 he was awarded the title of Officer of the Order of Canada and currently holds seven honorary doctorate degrees. Burtynsky is represented by: Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto; Paul Kuhn Gallery, Calgary; Art 45, Montreal; Howard Greenberg Gallery, and Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery, New York; Sundaram Tagore Gallery, Hong Kong & Singapore; Flowers, London; Galerie Springer, Berlin; Von Lintel Gallery, Los Angeles; and Weinstein Gallery, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Source: www.edwardburtynsky.com
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