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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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Graeme Williams
South Africa
1961
I grew up in the whites-only suburbs of Cape Town, South Africa during the apartheid era, when South African law decreed that 92% of the population were regulated to the status of second-class citizens. My interest in photography began at the age of twelve, but I soon realized that a Kodak Instamatic was never going to produce the results that I wanted. I worked for three years in a bookshop and eventually bought myself a Fujica ST701. It was a real thing of beauty; a single reflex camera with a basic zoom lens, that provided me with the means to control how light formed itself onto the surface of the silver halide film. Sunsets and silhouettes held my attention for a few months, but I had already begun to explore the complex tradition of photographic expression. Life Magazine was for me, at that time, the Holy Grail. Over the years, my enthusiasm for exploring the photographic medium has never diminished. My photographic momentum was temporarily diverted after school by parental pressure to obtain a 'proper' qualification. In my final school year I was both the Dux scholar as well as a first team sportsman, which resulted in me being offered a De Beers bursary to study Geology and Statistics at the University of Cape Town. After graduating, I broke the news to my unnerved parents that I was giving up this career path and instead becoming a property photographer at the local newspaper. In the hierarchy of photographic jobs this is very close to the bottom. My immediate aim was to gain access to unlimited amounts of film and the time to work on my own projects. In 1987 I began photographing a conscientious objector and medical doctor, Ivan Toms, who refused to comply with the apartheid government's military service requirements. He was sentenced to 21 months in prison. The essay, highlighted the absurdity of the political system. Renowned photographer, David Goldblatt , took an interest in this work and this interaction led to a three-decade relationship in which he became both a mentor and a friend. The rights to my essay on Ivan Toms were bought by Life magazine the following year. Much of my work during this period was motivated by the desire to expose the social inequalities and racial divisions within my country. I eventually joined the strongly anti-apartheid collective, Afrapix and later became a founding member and manager of documentary collective, South Photographs. In 1989, the beginning of the end of apartheid was evident. I was eager to situate myself in a position that would afford me the best opportunities to witness the transition to democracy. I joined Reuters News Agency as permanent stringer and for the next five years, I became immersed in the events, both violent and momentous, that led up to the inauguration of Nelson Mandela as president in 1994. Many of my photographs from this period have taken on a life of their own. The image of Nelson Mandela walking out of prison with his wife, Winnie, has been exhibited and published worldwide. In 2008, as Barack Obama fought John McCain for the presidency, Newsweek magazine ran a story asking each candidate to choose an image that best personified their world view. Obama's team chose an image that I photographed in Thokoza township in 1991. Last year the same photograph became central in a high profile image-appropriation dispute between myself and New York artist, Hank Willis Thomas. There was a massive groundswell of support from colleagues and media from around the world. An amicable settlement was reached. Since 1994 I have concentrated on producing personalized and contemporary bodies of work that reflect this complex country and the continent as a whole. These essays have been shown in solo exhibitions in New York, London, Paris, Cape Town and Johannesburg as well as numerous photo festivals around the world. (Including China, Singapore, Brazil, Cambodia, France, and the USA). I have been privileged to have been included in major international exhibitions showcasing contemporary South African photography; including Figures and Fictions at London's Victoria and Albert Museum, Apartheid and After at Huis Marseille in Amsterdam, Earth Matters at the Smithsonian in New York, The Rise and Fall of Apartheid at the ICP in New York and Being There, at the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris. Awards include the CAP Prize for Contemporary African Photography (Basel) in 2013, and the Ernest Cole Award (South Africa) in the same year. I have continued working on commissioned assignments and traveling to over fifty countries. My photographs have appeared on the cover of Time magazine twice, and have been published in The New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, Newsweek, Stern, and many others. Whilst working on my long-term projects, I try to bear in mind how the work will be exhibited and published. So therefore, during the planning and photographing stages, I attempt to create a broad context for my essays, that includes a general look and feel, while creating the space for each image to convey its individual complexity. This need to develop a dual awareness in my personal work has benefitted from a long-term interest in designing and producing photobooks. I have created over 20 publications, some of them winning awards and many being shortlisted in dummy book competitions. During the past five years I have felt a need to shift my attention from South Africa to the America social, political and physical landscape. Some of my motivations for this change in direction have been outlined within the 'Plan' document. In 2016 I was granted a residency in the US by the Ampersand Foundation, giving me an opportunity to develop a body of work that interrogated the social strata within the greater community of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I designed and produced a book called, Diverging Dreamlines that included, portraits, urban landscapes as well as multi-image, digital, illustrations. The publication was chosen as "best of show" in the Annual Photobook Exhibition at the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, Massachusetts. The work was also included in the Unmasked exhibition at Axis Gallery, New York in 2017. Earlier this year (2019) I co-presented a paper, Over Time, at the International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA) Congress held in London. Four of my personal essays were incorporated into the presentation, allowing a psychoanalytical exploration into the parallels between this photographic record and South Africa's dynamics and process of change. I have participated in various mentorship programs, supporting students from South African photographic institutions: Tierney Fellowship winners from the University of the Witwatersrand (2018/2019) and the Market Photo Workshop (2015/2016). As well as candidates from the Photographer incubator Program in 2016. Learn more about Graeme Williams on videos: Victoria and Albert Museum Photography and Democracy South African Studios Dwell in Possibility opening Check out Graeme Williams's interview about his latest project America Revisited Discover Graeme Williams' Interview
Peter Allert
Peter Allert co-founded Munich-based Allert&Hoess Photography in 1989, specializing in still life , technical and scientific photography. This brought him while his study of biology before, to start as self-taught photographer. After setting up its own studio in 1991 and establishing its own light, lab and print facilities, the company made its breakthrough in 1992 with a photo series for the portfolio „Joop! – women’s shoes“. Its subsequent client list is long and prestigious: Mercedes Benz, Audi, VW, BMW, Ford, Philip Morris, McDonalds, Ballantines, Wrigleys, Veltins, Wella, Miele, Bosch, Dresdner Bank, Deutsche Bahn AG, Siemens, LogiTech, MAN, Microsoft, GREENPEACE... to name a few. Today his photography actually is artistic. His works now are altogether advanced elaborations. He is working with multiple-exposures and different focus adjustments within a photograph. Additionally he highlights his subjects with spotlights (DEDO Lights) for every individual exposure in different adjustments and configurations.Source: www.peterallert.de Interview with Peter Allert All About Photo: Where did you study photography? Peter Allert: At the age of 7, I've been fascinated by photography. I got my first camera for his birthday and it went right now with this new adventure. During the whole period of schooling and youth I was obsessed with the possibilities of this medium... it was back then to my great passion. My love of nature and my subsequent study of biology, were another fertile ground for the expansion of my photographic works in new and fascinating areas. Later, I got access to advertising photography. I worked very successfully for 17 years in advertising, primarily for the automotive industry and in fashion. Ten years ago, then started my burnout, I was too other-directed and under constant pressure. Finally I lost my soul - I fell emotionally in a Coma, which never ended and I lost all my passion for photography! Only after many painful and difficult years, then a miracle, my miracle! In September 2013, I suddenly felt a new and ever expectant strength in me. She became stronger and stronger and I got my second chance! I quickly realized that I may never work externally determined with photography again - so I had a strong desire to completely new and original ways to go in photography. And so the desire as an artist within the photograph was made to work. AAP: Do you have a mentor? PA: I am self-educator and have teach me everything completely yourself. I have been doing all learned to make all analog laboratory processes such as color negative films and slide films to develop or color enlargements and edit. But also all black & white I have processes teach me ... Method as bromoil print have inspired to my digital workflow in today's time to orient myself to it. I grew up with analog photography and this has shaped me first of all. Thus, I am now very well be able to touch this analog in my image processing to achieve! AAP: How long have you been a photographer? PA: I have worked for over 20 years as a professional photographer. Before that, I financed my studies in Biology with smaller photo jobs. My first photos were nature photography, macro photography of animals and plants. After this the portrait photograph was added. AAP: What or who inspires you? PA: Edward Steichen & Robert Mapplethorpe! Both have always touched my soul in a special way!But in general I consider myself away from These kinds of inspiration! It would be too manipulative and determined by others, to allow more of it than I do this currently... AAP: How could you describe your style? PA: My style has only an analog touch, which often is derived from the early days of analog photography. I am fascinated by this authenticity that has shaped this wonderful photography. The soul of this unique works is always a great motivator for my own photography! AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film? PA: I'm using a Canon EOS mark II and a zoom ED 21-70 mm and a 100 mm lens for portraits. Lately I have been photographing with the camera of my Gallaxy S4 smartphones .. just for trying new. AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? For what purpose? PA: My image processing is very complex and requires a lot of time, which I'm taking. Often I need this more than a week! It is a process, similar to an adventure through your own soul. I have to feel all this, sometimes in a painful way - they are pure emotions of myself, which I will in this work with integrate into my images. There is no motivation necessary because it is the pure passion, if the appropriate moment has arrived! It's all about that moment, that when my emotions are ready and my soul opens up entirely! AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)? PA: Edward Steichen & Robert Mapplethorpe! AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer? PA: My main advice is: Stay always hear and feel your self-determined and soul in your work! Everything should come from your heart and your soul and feed into your work. AAP: An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share? PA: Photography is the dierekte wire to my soul - my pictures are the direct reflection of my soul .. this my pictures tell of my feelings and my emotions. Each photo tells its own to profound story. Each image is thus a profound adventure of a portion of my own soul! This means to me that photography today! AAP: Anything else you would like to share? PA: As a little boy I dreamed of good spirits and fairies - I was intrigued by this mystical world! And so this dream accompanied my life ... When I felt my soul again in September 2013, I knew very quickly with this message deal. I was aware that puts a special soul in some, few people! And this I felt ever again. So this new photography had to include this topic. "Ghosts & Fays" and "Souls"!
Arnaud Gaertner
France
1966
Born in 1966 in Nancy, France. Gaertner moved to Pennsylvania, US at the age of 3-6 (learned arnaud gaertnerto drink milk at school and sing the national anthem, never stopped!). He then spent 5 years in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from age 10 to 16. Gaertner then travelled all over South America. He moved to Belgium for two years at the age of 16 and spent the next 12 years in in France. He took thousands of photos while traveling in North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East. He has resided in the Bay Area since 2012 with his wife Marine and their four sons. Gaertner is an explorer of California and its wonders.Series “In the middle of nowhere”, 2014In the middle of the Back Rock Desert, Nevada. In that Middle of Nowhere, 70 000 people camp in total autonomy for one week on a 30 million old dried lake, and on the main square, dozens, hundreds of art pieces, static or moving, are there, subject to the weather conditions: extreme heat, wind, dust storm. Most of the wooden art pieces are burned by the end of the week. As we speak all these moments are gone, people have left, art pieces returned into ashes, and I am glad these ephemeral moments are still alive through my photographs. This series is about the Ephemeral nature and Mystical dimension of the American desert.Artist statementBy 16 years of age, I had already visited more than 30 countries and had lived abroad, away from my home country France, for close to10 years in the United States, Brazil and Belgium. This decade opened my eyes to the diversity of the world, seen through its landscapes, people, cultures, sounds and tastes. I love people. I love getting to know others better. I love trying to understand who people are and what it is that makes them who they are. I made my first pictures when my Dad let me borrow his old camera while we were discovering the world, then he bought me a Kodak with Cube Flashes-this was my first camera and I have never stopped taking pictures since then. As an adult, I continue exploring all the continents. Photography keeps me connected to the magic of the planet. During my travels I have taken thousands of photos :f rom nature to cities, from diverse subjects to artists in their studios. This project, “In The Middle of Nowhere”, was born in the Black Rock Desert, Nevada, in September 2014. My son Baptiste had come to me and said “Dad, a friend of mine just came back from a crazy art festival in the desert called Burning Man”. Curious, we researched it and discovered something strange and amazing. For my first time at Burning Man I stayed only 3 days, but I took over 3000 pictures! My camera lens ended up ull of dust, but that probably added to the mystery of my images and the “sense of nowhere” I felt deeply. In the middle of nowhere, under 100 degrees Fahrenheit, cycling on a lake that dried 30 million years ago, 70 000 people live in total autonomy for one week where no money is exchanged, and hundreds of art pieces, static or moving, under the heat, in a dust storm, are admired by visitors in very creative costumes. Everything is burned by the end of the festival in a ritual of true “Ephemeral Art!” I seek to testify for the ephemeral, fleeting nature of these art pieces and unique moments made lasting by the photographic image. I try to capture the place, light, dusty wind that surround this eclectic eccentric happening. For this project I have selected about 30 im- ages out of 3000, helped by my two friends Gino Castoriano and Jules Maeght who are both gallerists. “In The Middle of Nowhere” is about people, places and art—those unique, ephemeral moments I capture through my images and that I want to share with you.
Laurent Kronental
Self-taught photographer, he discovers photography in China during a stay of several months in Beijing. He is captivated by the big metropolises there and by the variety of their architectures, their inhabitants, the way they tame the space and their personal stories. He has developed during 4 years an artistic series, Souvenir d'un Futur, on the elderly living in the large estates of the Paris region. The photographer intends to question us on the condition of seniors in these places in highlighting a sometimes neglected generation and in reestablishing the intergenerational links so important for the transmission of human values. He pushes forward another look on often underestimated suburban areas whose walls seem slowly get older and carry with them the memory of a modernist utopia. EXHIBITIONS & ART FAIRS Solo Exhibitions September / October 2016 - Solo show, Galerie du Carré d'Art, Rennes, France Group Exhibitions November / December 2016 - Group show, Galerie Robert Doisneau, Nancy, France July 2016 / September 2016 - Group show, Galerie Praz Delavallade, Paris, France June 2016 / July 2016 - Athens Photo Festival, Benaki Museum, Athens, Greece June 2016 / July 2016 - Raster Beton Festival, D21 Kunstraum, Leipzig May 2016 - Photo London with LensCulture, Somerset House, United Kingdom March / June 2016 - Circulation(s) Festival, emerging European photography February / March 2016 - Exhibition at villa Noailles, commissioned work, la villa Reine Jeanne, Hyères, France December 2015 / February 2016 - Bourse du Talent, Bibliothèque Nationale Francois-Mitterrand, Paris, France AWARDS & HONORS 2016 - Audience Award, Festival Circulations, winner 2016 - Athens Photo Festival, selected 2016 - LensCulture Exposure Awards, finalist 2015 - Circulation(s) Festival, selected 2015 - Bourse du Talent #64 landscape / space / architecture, winner 2015 - Arles 2015 Photo Folio Reviews, finalist 2015 - European Photography Magazine #98, theme urbanics, selected SELECTED PUBLICATIONS, REVIEWS, INTERVIEWS Video interviews CNN International LensCulture Arte Metropolis Festival Circulations & Louis-Lumière Published British Journal of Photography, Washington Post, The Guardian, CNN, European Photography, Aesthetica Magazine, Wired, Business Insider, Vice Creators Project, PBS News Hour, Slate, Wallpaper, Port Magazine, Suddeutsche Zeitung, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, L'Obs, L'Oeil de la Photographie, Zoom Magazine, D'Architectures, Lufthansa magazine, Huffington Post world, D-La Repubblica, Style Magazine-Corriere della Sera, Neon Magazine, France Culture Radio, Pagina 99, M&C Saatchi Little Stories, Feature Shoot, Wyborcza, Duzy Format, De Morgen , Divisare, Ignant, Konbini, Ilpost, Gestalten, Fisheye Magazine, Style Park, Artnet News, La Vanguardia, Archdaily, Fubiz, Radio Nova, GUP Magazine, Dazed & Confused , Esquire, Urbanautica and many more websites/blogs.
Alison Wright
United States
Alison Wright, an award-winning documentary photographer and author, has travelled to 150 countries photographing indigenous cultures and people while covering issues concerning the human condition. She is a recipient of the Dorothea Lange Award in Documentary Photography, a two-time winner of the Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Award, and an Explorers Club Fellow. She was recently named a National Geographic Traveler of the Year as someone who travels "with a sense of passion and purpose." Alison has published ten books. Her upcoming book, "Grit and Grace: Women at Work" documents the empowerment of women working in global communities (Schiffer 2021). Her work has been published in numerous magazines including National Geographic, National Geographic Traveler, National Geographic Adventure, Outside, Islands and Smithsonian. Alison's life was nearly cut short during a devastating bus accident on a remote jungle road in Laos. Her best-selling memoir, "Learning to Breathe; One Woman's Journey of Spirit and Survival," chronicles her inspirational story of survival, the years of rehabilitation and her ongoing determination to recover and continue traveling the world as an intrepid visual storyteller. This experience while working in post disaster/conflict areas inspired her to establish a foundation called Faces of Hope (facesofhope.org); a non-profit that globally supports women and children's rights by creating visual awareness and donating directly to grass-roots organizations that help sustain them through education and healthcare. Human Tribe The emotive beauty and grace of the human face, in all its diversity, will never cease to inspire me but it's the enduring spirit of our collective tribe of humanity that will always certainly amaze me. One of the many things I have learned during my years of global travel as a documentary photographer is that no matter how unique we may look in appearance, from the exotic to the mundane, we basically have the same universal desires and concerns. Our needs are actually quite simple: to love and be loved; to have a useful place in our society with some meaningful and fulfilling occupation in our life; work that will hopefully provide us with enough money in our pocket to get by; food on the table; education, health and safety for ourselves, our family and our children. The freedom to be oneself is a right that creates the exquisiteness of our human race. These portraits are an unguarded moment in the lives of a few of the people I have photographed from our remarkable human tapestry. Some are celebrating significant events, while others are living out ordinary days. Others are merely struggling to survive. Many are from countries whose lives are in flux or change due to war, natural disaster or the inevitable rapid progression of modernity. I feel drawn to those who live close to the land, documenting communities that may not last even another generation. Most are surprised that I actually wanted to stop and photograph someone who is considered in their culture to be such an ordinary looking person. From tribes in Africa, to nomads in Asia, survivors of post conflict and disaster, families and individuals around the world have graciously opened up their homes and hearts to me. Surprisingly, I have discovered that it is often the ones who have the least who share the most. I find compassion in what can seem to be a world of chaos. The planet, at times, can seem so vast, with the numbers almost too large for us to comprehend. But when you capture the look in someone's eyes, an intimate stare, a knowing glance, his or her situation becomes a shared experience, a more personal connection. Their eyes seem to radiate a dignity, a claim for a right to be seen, no matter what their circumstances. These eyes are what initially draws us in and connects us together. These photos are a celebration of the universal human spirit within us all. It is what bonds us as humankind, a continued thread, as together we continue this journey on the pilgrimage of life.
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