Andre D. Wagner Interview: New York Portraits That Give Face to Connection

Andre D. Wagner

A city can be hard to love. At times it may even seem maddeningly distant. As the sights go by, some streets will melt into others, as faces do in a crowd. Love spread too thin barely loves at all. When hoping to confront this largeness of presence, an artist often hunts for the stories and lives that form a city’s spirit, the material that shapes its core.

Andre D. Wagner, a portrait and street photographer based in New York, is one such artist. Eschewing a panoramic view of New York, one that collapses its dizzying heights into a plane of frenetic movement, Wagner instead looks for the sparks of feeling tucked within a gaze. He looks for moments that sing above the rush.

While he doesn’t consider himself creative, saying that the photographs he captures are “far more creative than I ever could be,” he has an undeniable eye for foreseeing where life will pop up. And that foresight, the anticipating of what will be before it’s there, requires him to go near and observe up close. He creates, preferably in film, his own special prints of the world, giving face to all that has moved him.

Wagner’s first solo exhibition, open to July 5th, is on view at the Papillion, Los Angeles. I spoke to Andre over email about his work.

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Guy Martin Interview: Turkey’s Popular Soap Operas Seen Through the Eyes of A Photojournalist

Guy Martin

“A prisoner exchange, outskirts of Istanbul”—reads one photo’s caption. “A man approaches a murder scene,” says another. “Murder of the mistress.” If you suspect that these captions seem inspired by the plots of a crime novel or a soap opera, you’re not mistaken. They are. Many of the photographs found in City of Dreams, Guy Martin’s Emergency Fund–awarded project, were taken on the sets of Turkish soap operas.

And although a soap opera—with its ever effusive acting, outlandish drama, and tantalizing resolutions—might seem as antithetical a visual medium to photojournalism as can be imagined, what Martin found was that in one sense the two worlds weren’t really that much different. In both worlds, when the camera’s on, life takes its stage and performs.

The late photojournalist Tim Hetherington coined the term “feedback loop” to illustrate a self-perpetuating relationship between those who fight in a conflict and those who capture images of them. He suggested that the movies, television, and photography that people ingest might influence not only their appearance but also their actions on a battlefield. “It’s the fact that there could be a revolution fought by young university students, teachers, and normal working people when they have had no training or knowledge of battlefield tactics or military planning,” says Martin about the feedback loop. “How are you supposed to dress, behave, act, or be a soldier? Where does that knowledge come from?”

Martin was with Tim Hetherington and fellow photojournalist Chris Hondros when they were hit, in Misrata, Libya, by a rocket-propelled grenade. Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros were killed. Martin suffered a severe pelvic wound and underwent surgery at a triage center held by rebels. City of Dreams was his first project after taking a year off shooting. “I felt that there was something that I wanted to say, on a very basic level, that dealt with the way we (as western, foreign photographers) were documenting the region” he says. “I wanted to talk about notions of power and how countries exercise power . . . and as weird as it might sound—Turkish TV was one of those tools.”

I spoke to Guy Martin over email about his thoughts on photography and City of Dreams.

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Karen Miranda Rivadeneira Interview: Does Photography Preserve the Past or Give It Form?

Karen Miranda Rivadeneira

How much of your life has already been forgotten? Which moments would you have remembered instead? Questions of this sort, ones about memory, sparked the Ecuadorian photographer Karen Miranda Rivadeneira to start Other Stories, a project that pulls together her attempts at recreating memories of her childhood, ones that she considers “inaccessible” to her conscious mind or ones already ransacked by the years of time.

Each photograph has a line of words written into its bottom edge. These words give hints of the memory, or invention of one, that has been ciphered within. There’s a pliancy in memory. And Rivadeneira, questioning what it means to remember, stages and directs her family to help her recreate events that might have happened, if only because they’ve happened before (to her family, to others), but may have not actually happened, or happened only theoretically. “Other Stories is, if anything, the antithesis of childhood memories,” she says. Unadorned and softened in natural light, the photos exercise a mental juggling of her past. What’s remembered may only be a clever summary—and a photograph, the dress rehearsal of that remembering.

I spoke to Rivadeneira over email about Other Stories and her ideas on photography.

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Why we love!

After several months or rumors and anticipation Adobe finally released the latest version of Lightroom, which is known as both Lightroom 6 and Lightroom CC. As a celebration of the launch is offering a limited time discount on a bundle of more than 100 Lightroom presets for just $29. The regular price of these presets would be $115 if you purchased the 5 included packs individually, so the bundle offers a 75% savings.

How cool is that?’s presets are compatible with Lightroom 4, 5, 6, and CC. This bundle will only be available through May 15th. You may be familiar with from some of their deals here at PhotoWhoa. We currently have a deal running on their landscape Lightroom presets, and you can also get a set of their Photoshop actions here.

Here is a look at the presets that are included in the bundle.

Film-Inspired Lightroom Presets

A set of 30 presets inspired by film photography.


Matte Lightroom Presets

A set of 43 presets for beautiful matte effects.


Cinematic Lightroom Presets

A set of 15 presets that will give your photos a cinematic feel.


Haze Lightroom Presets

A set of 10 presets that are great for outdoor portraits and landscape shots.


Cross Processing Lightroom Presets

A set of 22 Lightroom presets for awesome cross processed looks.


Visit to get the preset bundle..

Santiago Forero Interview: What Does It Mean to Shoot in the Wrong Way?

Santiago Forero

Of all Santiago Forero’s playfully mischievous photographs, only one can be said to have gone viral, having appeared, in 2013, on a much-shared Buzzfeed article that grouped together classic works of Western art re-imagined to include people of color. Forero’s contribution was a staging of Grant Wood’s masterwork, “American Gothic,” which he shot with a Latino couple (shown above).

The Colombian photographer didn’t suspect that a photograph in his series Mexican-American Gothic would go viral. “I thought that they were just going to be hung in [my boss’s] office,” he says. But the photograph’s popularity wasn’t a surprise either. Forero has spent a career making work that probes into the cosmopolitan landscape of photography, upending styles and perspectives that attach themselves to what’s most popular now. He prefers a slight swerve in “the wrong way.” And he just as well dishes out upright irony as he plays with sly humor.

I spoke to Forero over email about his thoughts on photography and his work.

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Marianna Rothen Interview: Photos that Look Right at Home in 70s Art Cinema


At the heart of every photograph is a dilemma of conscience. From the very first to the last, each artistic choice that you make is another step farther from what’s in front of the camera and one step closer to you. Imagine if all the photos in your phone were projected at your wake one by one. Which story would this private series of photos tell? A story describing the world? Or one describing you?

Plump with retro-tinged colors and burnished with big wigs, big drama, and even bigger design, the photos in Marianna Rothen’s most recent projects use as many folds of narrative as it takes to step outside a one-off reading. Trusting your impulse to tease out meaning from an assemblage of symbols, she offers a chance to not simply look at the women, who are shot in various states of distress or liberation, but to understand their story. It’s in the fiction, the series of artistic choices that pull reality from artifice, that Rothen shows you where to look. “My approach is to create something that’s original and truthful,” she says. “If something is not labeled, it forces people to look at it innocently.”

I spoke to Rothen over email about her photobook Snow Rose and Other Tales and her approach to photography.

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PhotoWhoa’s “Shoot What Makes You Happy” Photo Contest

Hey, photographers! We’re holding another photo contest. The last one was too much fun. Over 1000 photographers entered. And you left us wishing we could have given away more prizes. But wishing isn’t doing. So we’re very pleased to announce that you have another chance to win.

We’re keeping the idea simple for this contest. You just have to shoot one thing that makes you happy. Yes, that’s all. Shoot what you love. No genres. Nothing’s off-topic. It can be something that always makes you happy or something that made you happy today.

Some ideas: photograph an old friend, a new one, your dog, your husband, your wife, your city, your night sky — whatever, however. Just has to be one thing that has made you happy. The entries may be any genre. You decide. (Keep it legal, though.)

As for me? This makes me happy. Everytime.

A glass of Sangria and talks about everything under the sun with my BFF’s


For now the prizes are a surprise, but we’ll announce them along with the jurors soon! Again, just shoot what makes you happy. The contest is now open and runs through Midnight PST, 5th May. The winner will be announced on 9th May. Selected photographers will be sent instructions to claim their prize.

Submit your entry here

Elena Perlino Interview: Incisive Portraits of the World’s Dark Economy

Elena Perlino

Each year, according to the I.L.O., nearly 21 million women, men, and children are trapped into an economy of forced labor. These victims of coercion — whether facing overt physical threats or subtle manipulations of illiteracy and debt — provide $150 billion to the world’s economy. About half of the victims are migrants. And an estimated $99 billion, from the $150 billion total, is the result of sexual exploitation, or prostitution.

Starting in 2005, for her project Pipeline, Elena Perlino, who was awarded a Magnum Emergency Fund this year, has been documenting the lives of women trafficked into Italy, one of the world’s main destinations for sexual exploitation. The photos in Pipeline capture, with sharp clarity, the bearing of deep privation, while also recording evidence of bonding, endurance, and self that rises through the catastrophe of human slavery.

In this interview, Perlino talks about the human trafficking in Italy, her project Pipeline, and one of my favorite series of hers Sea of Light.

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Emine Gozde Sevim Interview: Cinematic Portraits of the Middle East’s Protests

Emine Sevim

Emine Gozde Sevim is one of eleven photographers who were awarded this year’s Emergency Fund from Magnum. Given to projects that Magnum considers in need of critical attention and support, the grant helps experienced photographers continue work on documenting social issues. Sevim received the grant for her on-going project Homeland Delirium, a project that started in 2013 during the Gezi protests in Istanbul.

Sevim shoots in what she calls an impressionistic style — merging cinematic aesthetics with documentarian subjects. Her projects are as much about her thoughts and feelings as they are about the people and conflicts she’s photographing. I spoke to Sevim over email about Homeland Delirium and her first photobook, Embed in Egypt, that will be published this summer by Kehrer Verlag.

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