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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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Alex Majoli
Italy
1971
Alex Majoli (b. 1971, Italy) is a photographer whose work has focused on the human condition and the theater within our daily lives. He has received many awards including the Guggenheim Fellowship in 2015, the W. Eugene Smith Grant(2017), the Getty Images Grant For Editorial Photography 2009, and the Infinity Award for Photojournalism in 2003. He has been a member of Magnum Photos since 2001 and is represented by Howard Greenberg Gallery NY.Source: LensCulture At the age of 15, Alex Majoli joined the F45 Studio in Ravenna, working alongside Daniele Casadio. While studying at the Art Institute in Ravenna, he joined Grazia Neri Agency and traveled to Yugoslavia to document the conflict. He returned many times over the next few years, covering all major events in Kosovo and Albania. Majoli graduated from art school in 1991. Three years later, he made an intimate portrayal of the closing of an asylum for the insane on the island of Leros, Greece, a project that became the subject of his first book, Leros. In 1995 Majoli went to South America for several months, photographing a variety of subjects for his ongoing personal project, Requiem in Samba. He started the project Hotel Marinum in 1998, on life in harbor cities around the world, the final goal of which was to perform a theatrical multimedia show. That same year he began making a series of short films and documentaries. After becoming a full member of Magnum Photos in 2001, Majoli covered the fall of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, and two years later the invasion of Iraq. He continues to document various conflicts worldwide for Newsweek, The New York Times Magazine, Granta and National Geographic. Majoli, in collaboration with Thomas Dworzak, Paolo Pellegrin and Ilkka Uimonen, had an extremely successful exhibition and installation Off Broadway in New York in 2004, which traveled to France and Germany. He then became involved in a project for the French Ministry of Culture entitled BPS, or Bio-Position System, about the social transformation of the city of Marseilles. A recently completed project, Libera me, is a reflection on the human condition. In 2013 Majoli, in collaboration with Pellegrin, completed a massive photographic project in the Congo, which resulted in a his largest book project to date being published with Aperture, in 2015.Source: Magnum Photos At the age of fifteen, Alex Majoli joined the F45 photo agency in Ravenna, Italy, and he graduated from the city’s art Institute in 1991. While in art school, Majoli became a member of Grazia Neri Agency and traveled to Yugoslavia to document the ongoing political conflict. In 1995, Majoli published his first book documenting the patients in a mental hospital that was formerly used as a military hospital in Leros, Greece. That same year he traveled to Brazil where he started the project Tudo Bom. In this, he visualizes the darker side of a complex society where daily life is often shaped by hardship and violence. Majoli has been working on this project for twenty years. The series Hotel Marinum that Majoli started in 1998 documents life in harbor cities around the world and was inspired by his life growing up in the port of Ravenna. Majoli has been a member of Magnum Photos since 2001 and has worked on assignments for a variety of publications, including The New York TIME Magazine, Newsweek, The New Yorker, and National Geographic. Majoli has been inspired by the theories of the Sicilian playwright Luigi Pirandello, who believed there is a thin line between theater and real-life and that people take on a role in their daily lives. Over the years, the photographer has examined this philosophy more fully. Majoli does not aspire to document reality. Rather, in his more personal projects, he explores this idea of people as actors in their own lives. In his most recent work, he uses powerful strobe lights to make his subjects aware of the roles they play in the scene that he records. The result is cinematic; the dark surroundings of a scene highlight powerful human emotions.Source: International Center of Photography
Seydou Keïta
Mali
1921 | † 2001
The great African portraitist Seydou Keïta lived in Bamako, Mali from 1921 to 2001. A self-taught photographer, he opened a studio in 1948 and specialized in portraiture. Seydou Keïta soon photographed all of Bamako and his portraits gained a reputation for excellence throughout West Africa. His numerous clients were drawn by the quality of his photos and his great sense of aesthetics. Many were young men, dressed in European style clothing. Some customers brought in items they wanted to be photographed with but Keïta also had a choice of European clothing and accessories - watches, pens, radios, scooter, etc. - which he put at their disposal in his studio. The women came in flowing robes often covering their legs and their throats, only beginning to wear Western outfits in the late 60s. Seydou Keïta worked primarily with daylight and for economic reasons took only a single shot for each picture. Seydou Keïta was discovered in the West in the 1990s. His first solo exhibition took place in 1994 in Paris at the Fondation Cartier. This was followed by many others in various museums, galleries and foundations worldwide. He is now universally recognized as the father of African photography and considered one of the greatest photographers of the 20th century. "It’s easy to take a photo, but what really made a difference was that I always knew how to find the right position, and I never was wrong. Their head slightly turned, a serious face, the position of the hands... I was capable of making someone look really good. The "photos were always very good. That’s why I always say that it’s a real art." Seydou Keïta, Bamako, 1995/1996 © André Magnin From en.wikipedia.orgSeydou Keïta was born in 1921 in Bamako, although the exact date is unknown. He was the oldest in a family of five children. His father Bâ Tièkòró and his uncle Tièmòkò were furniture makers. Keïta developed an interest in photography when his uncle gave him a Kodak Brownie with a film with eight shots in 1935, after returning from a trip to Senegal. In the beginning Keïta worked as both a carpenter and photographer, taking first portraits of his family and friends, later of people in the neighborhood. He learned photography and how to develop from Pierre Garnier, a French photographic supply store owner, and from Mountaga Traoré, his mentor. In 1948 he set up his first studio in the family house in Bamako-Koura behind the main prison.From www.gallery51.comConsidered to be one the important precursors of African photography, Seydou Keïta was born in Bamako (Mali) in 1920. Like many of his contemporaries, nothing particularly predestined him to become a photographer. His uncles bring back a camera from a trip to Senegal, and the young Seydou is fascinated. He starts photographing his relatives and discovers a deep passion for this art. Although he makes furniture for a living, he spends much time with Pierre Garnier who has his own studio. There, Seydou Keïta learns the secrets of the trade and soon realises that there was an enormous demand for individual pictures. This drives him to open his own studio in 1948. Up until then, whites had had a lot of trouble convincing local population to have their pictures taken, because they were so afraid to lose their identity. With Keïta it's different: he is one of them and permits them to choose their own picture that will be left for the close family. From then on, we see the opposite effect: people queue up to have their pictures taken. This is to become the great specialty of the malinese artist. Slowly he develops his own style, in which one finds accents of Mountaga Kouyaté's work, an intellectual that fought a bitter personal battle for the independence of Soedan. To look their best, that is the sole desire of people in front of Keïta's lens. Keïta even gives them costumes, accessories and furniture to further enhance their appearance.Men, women and children, all look perfectly elegant. If we look beyond the aesthetics of the black-and-white pictures, Seydou shows us a portrait of Malinese society in full transition. Finally Seydou is to become the country's official photographer, and will stop working in 1977. Nevertheless, it will be many years before his work is noted at the famous "Festival of African Photography". Source: www.seydoukeitaphotographer.com
Mary Ellen Mark
United States
1940 | † 2015
Mary Ellen Mark is an American photographer known for her photojournalism, portraiture, and advertising photography. She has had 16 collections of her work published and has been exhibited at galleries and museums worldwide. She has received numerous accolades, including three Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards and three fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. Mary Ellen Mark was born in suburban Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and began photographing with a Box Brownie camera at age nine. She attended Cheltenham High School, where she was head cheerleader and exhibited a knack for painting and drawing. She received a BFA degree in painting and art history from the University of Pennsylvania in 1962, and a Masters Degree in photojournalism from that university's Annenberg School for Communication in 1964. The following year, Mark received a Fulbright Scholarship to photograph in Turkey for a year. While there, she also traveled to photograph England, Germany, Greece, Italy, and Spain. In 1966 or 1967, she moved to New York City, where over the next several years she photographed Vietnam War demonstrations, the women's liberation movement, transvestite culture, and Times Square, developing a sensibility, according to one writer, "away from mainstream society and toward its more interesting, often troubled fringes". As Mark explained in 1987, "I'm just interested in people on the edges. I feel an affinity for people who haven't had the best breaks in society. What I want to do more than anything is acknowledge their existence". Her shooting style ranges from a 2 ¼ inch format, 35 mm, and 4x5 inch view camera. She also uses a Leica 4 for most photographs and Nikons for long-range shooting. Mark loves shooting with a Hasselblad for square format and she shoots primarily in black-and-white, using classic Kodak Tri-X film. Source Wikipedia
Aaron Siskind
United States
1903 | † 1991
Aaron Siskind was born on December 4, 1903 in New York. He was the son of Russian Jewish immigrants and the fifth of six children. After receiving his Bachelor of Social Science degree from the College of the City of New York in 1926, he went on to teach high school English in the New York public school system for 21 years. His first loves were music and poetry, but he took an interest in photography after his 1929 wedding, when he received his first camera as a honeymoon present. He began his career in photography as a documentarian in the New York Photo League in 1932. From 1936 to 1940, he oversaw the League’s Feature Group as they created documentary photo essays of political importance, fueled by a desire for social change.On the invitation of Harry Callahan, Siskind joined the faculty of the Institute of Design in Chicago in 1951, taking over as head of the photography program in 1961, when Callahan left. Siskind and Callahan, famous for their synergy as teachers and photographers, reunited in 1971 when SIskind left the Institute of Design for the Rhode Island School of Design where Callahan then taught. Siskind continued to teach at RISD until his retirement in 1976. He traveled broadly, making multiple trips to Mexico and Italy, including a stint in Rome, funded by his 1966 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship.Siskind died at age 87 in Providence, Rhode Island. The Aaron Siskind Centennial Celebration took place in 2003 and 2004, with exhibitions at more than a dozen institutions across the country, each devoted to a different period or theme of his life and work.
Anaïs Boileau
France
1992
Anaïs Boileau is from the south of France. She completed training in photography and visual communication at ECAL, the art school from Lausanne. She works in 2012 with the photographer Charles Freger and in 2014 she gets a residency at the Hong Kong Design Institute. Her photographic work is presented in various group exhibitions. In 2015, her photographic project Plein Soleil is part of the Black Mirror exhibition in New York, organized by Aperture Foundation, and is presented to Katmandu Photo festival in Nepal. It is selected to Boutographies 2016 projection of the jury and is one of ten finalists presented at the 31st edition of the international fashion and photography festival in Hyères at the Villa Noailles where she received the audience award and the Elie Saab grant.My work "Plein Soleil" is about a kind of community women taking the sun. These are women with golden skin exposing themselves under the omnipresent sun. They stay along the coast of the seaside towns marked by Latin, bright and colorful architecture. There is a temporality game beetween women and architectures because they are modeling in the same way by the sun light. These portraits represents a kind of happy idleness that exist in south. I try to bring a look a bit funny and tender about that women cause it was like a game with them about their image. Lost behind their sunglasses, accessories, women are distant, pensive as absorbed by the sun. We never see their eyes with their solarium glasses and that make them impersonal. Floating Between documentary and fiction, the portraits of this matriarchal community, reveal a desire for exoticism. There is a dimension of artificiality and something false in all that . The idea that they put forward, they refine and polish their bodies but also in the idea that all this is just a world of appearance, of surfaces.
Rineke Dijkstra
Netherlands
1959
Rineke Dijkstra was trained at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy, Amsterdam. Her first solo exhibition took place in 1984 at de Moor in Amsterdam. Dijsktra's photographs have appeared in numerous international exhibitions, including the 1997 and 2001 Venice Biennale, the 1998 Bienal de Sao Paulo, Turin's Biennale Internationale di Fotografia in 1999 and the 2003 International Center for Photography's Triennial of Photography and Video in New York. Solo exhibitions of her work have been shown at the Museum fur Moderne Kunst, Germany (2013), the Guggenheim Museum, New York (2012), the Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland (2005), and the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago (2001). She is the recipient of a number of awards, including the Kodak Award Nederland (1987), the Art Encouragement Award Amstelveen (1993), the Werner Mantz Award (1994), the Citibank Private Bank Photography Prize (1998), and the Macallan Royal Photography Prize (2012). Source: Marian Goodman Gallery Rineke Dijkstra was born in Sittard, the Netherlands, in 1959. She studied photography at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam from 1981 to 1986. Through the late 1980s, she photographed people in clubs for magazines in the Netherlands and worked for corporations as a portraitist. In 1990 she injured her hip when her car was struck by a bicycle. A self-portrait produced during her rehabilitation, in which she is seen having just emerged from a pool, exhausted, sparked a new direction in her work. Commissioned by a Dutch newspaper to make photographs based on the notion of summertime, Dijkstra took provocative photographs of adolescent bathers. These ultimately formed her breakthrough Beaches series (1992–96), which featured her young subjects in different locations in the United States and Europe. From this point on, people in transitional moments would be a major theme in her work. In 1994 she photographed mothers in the moments after giving birth and bullfighters about to enter the arena; she also commenced a series of images of Almerisa, an adolescent Bosnian refugee, whom she continued to photograph until 2003. Dijkstra ventured into video with The Buzz Club, Liverpool, UK/Mysteryworld, Zaandam, NL, taping adolescents at raves between 1996 and 1997. She has also focused on particular individuals entering the military, as in her images of Olivier Silva, a French Foreign Legionnaire (2000–01), and new inductees into the Israeli army (2002–03). For the series Park Portraits (2003–06), Dijkstra photographed children, adolescents, and teenagers momentarily suspending their varied activities to stare into the lens from scenic spots in Amsterdam’s Vondelpark, Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, Madrid’s El Parque del Retiro, and Xiamen’s Amoy Botanical Garden, among others. Source: Guggenheim
Ernie Luppi
United States
1954
San Francisco native Ernie Luppi became involved with photography in 1973 when he started using his mother's Instamatic 126 camera that he and his brothers had given to her as a Christmas gift the previous year. During this time, Ernie was attending the City College of San Francisco and decided to switch his major to photography. The CCSF Photography Department offered one of the finest programs in the area and it helped Ernie unearth the creativity within him. To this day, Ernie is an avid black and white film and darkroom enthusiast. In 1975, Ernie graduated from CCSF with an Associate of Science degree in Photography and has spent the past 39 years in retail photography sales, first working at Adolph Gasser, Inc. for 23 years, followed by 16 years at Keeble and Shuchat in their respective film and darkroom supply departments. Ernie's photographic vision is varied. It ranges from travel, portraiture, street, and the urban landscape. Ernie has often quoted, “I am a jack of all trades and a master of none,” but really he is just curious about everything that he sees through his camera lens. An association with RayKo Photo Center was established in June of 1992 when Ernie had a solo exhibition of photographs, all of them gelatin silver prints, that he had taken during trips to Italy in 1981 and 1991. For the past decade, with the guidance of gallery director Ann Jastrab, Ernie has been a member of RayKo's Photographers Marketplace. Ernie's images have also been selected for RayKo exhibitions such as the documentary show "With Our Own Eyes", "The Perimeter of the World: Contemporary Travel Photography", as well as several Plastic Camera Show exhibits. He continues to photograph daily and can usually be found in his darkroom.
Ragnar Axelsson
Iceland
1958
For over 40 years, Ragnar Axelsson, Rax, has been photographing the people, animals, and landscape of the most remote regions of the Arctic, including Iceland, Siberia, and Greenland. In stark black-and-white images, he captures the elemental, human experience of nature at the edge of the liveable world, making visible the extraordinary relationships between the people of the Arctic and their extreme environment – relationships now being altered in profound and complex ways by the unprecedented changes in climate. A photojournalist at Morgunbladid since 1976, Ragnar has also worked on free-lance assignment in Latvia, Lithuania, Mozambique, South Africa, China, and Ukraine. His photographs have been featured in LIFE, Newsweek, Stern, GEO, National Geographic, Time, and Polka, and have been exhibited widely. Ragnar has published 7 books in various international editions. His most recent, Jökull (Glacier) was published in 2018, with a foreword by Olafur Eliasson. Andlit Nordursins (Faces of The North), was published in 2016, with a foreword by Mary Ellen Mark, and won the 2016 Icelandic Literary Prize for non-fiction. Other awards for Ragnar's work include numerous Icelandic Photojournalist Awards; The Leica Oskar Barnack Award (Honorable Mention); The Grand Prize, Photo de Mer, Vannes; and Iceland's highest honor, the Order of the Falcon, Knight's Cross. Ragnar is currently working on a 3-year project documenting people's lives in all 8 countries of the Arctic. At this pivotal time, as climate change irrevocably disrupts the physical and traditional realities of their world, Ragnar is bearing witness to the immediate and direct threat global warming poses to their survival. Must Read Article Photography and Climate Change Awareness
Mathilde Pettersen
Mathilde Helene Pettersen, born 1976 in Norway. Photographer and visual artist, lives and work in Kristiansand, south of Norway. Holds a BA in Photography and film from Napier Edinburgh University, Scotland and a MA in Art from the University of Agder, Kristiansand, Norway. Pettersen is a member of Association of Norwegian Visual Artist and society of Fine Art Photographers in Norway. Between 2013 and 2015 she was selected for the Norwegian Journal of Photography #2, a program supporting eight independent photographers in Norway, working on long-term projects and published by Journal, Stockholm (2015). In this publication, she chose to show a selection from her project Searching for Cloudberries, which was featured in Time Magazine/Lightbox and SHOTS magazine and exhibited at the Festival Voies Off in Arles, France (2016) and at the Encuentros Abiertos Festival de La Luz , in Buenos Aires, Argentina (2016) and at the Henie Onstad Art center in Oslo, Norway (2019). Her work I need a kiss before they leave was exhibited at the Musée de l'Elysée in Lausanne, Switzerland (2016), Kristiansand Kunsthall, Norway (2017), the International Photofestival PhotoVisa in Krasnodar, Russia (2017) and is currently on show at the Sørlandets Museum of Art (Jun-Nov 2020) alongside photographers as Swedish Christer Strömholm and Anders Petersen and the Norwegian Tom Sandberg, Dag Alveng and Kåre Kivijärvi. Her first photobook I NEED A KISS BEFORE THEY LEAVE was launched at Paris Photo 2019 at the Grand Palais by the German Kehrer Verlag in Heidelberg. Mathilde Pettersen presents two projects: Searching for Cloudberries (2008-), analogue black and white photographs. My projects revolve around portraiture and self-portraiture, and in their themes touch upon motherhood and family as constellations. So does this project, presently spanning ten years now. It takes shape by depicting a sense of dysfunctionality of the infertile female body - a theme that is often taboo in our society - before it turns and grows in a new direction when discovered not, moving on to contemplate the development of the child and the changes of the body of its mother over time in connection with life cycles in nature. I need a kiss before they leave (2011-), digital colour photographs. I NEED A KISS BEFORE THEY LEAVE is an emotional family portrait, filled with immense joy, but also with a disturbing realization of a wonderfulness that cannot be stored. It reflects upon a human desire to freeze time, to forever savoring those moments which are destined to live on only as distant memories. Photography is of course the artistic technique to actually freeze time and to store a split second forever. In this book, Norwegian photographer Mathilde Helene Pettersen captures an entire parenthood, with all its bright and dark moments. I need a kiss before they leave reflects on becoming and being a mother, on building a family, on the immediate and unpredictable, on strengths and fragilities in life, and sometimes on the overshadowing fear of death and the irreversible. From the text in I NEED A KISS BEFORE THEY LEAVE by Anna-Kaisa Rastenberger: First things first: loving is not for the faint of heart. Loving, day af- ter day, requires the courage to handle the disappointment of quotidian love falling short of the ideal of love. It requires even more courage to extend love to societal structures in need of repair. (...) "This is my story." These are the words used by Mathilde Helene Pettersen at the beginning of her book I need a kiss before they leave. The series, consisting of photographs taken with a camera phone over a period of eight years, is a chronicle of childbirth, motherhood, and family life. Pettersen writes that this was a story she hesitated to tell. Pettersen has spoken about the challenge and dichotomy of com- bining motherhood with the work of a photographer. On the one hand, she leads an ordinary enough, down-to-earth life with her family; on the other, she has a life outside the home, working as a photographer. Even in the Nordic countries, this is no simple equa- tion to balance. Although the principle of gender equality in the workplace is firmly established, or at least acknowledged, it re- mains elusive in practice.
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