Here are 50 amazing photographers — emerging talents — who we think you should know. We believe “emerging talents” should be celebrated without regard to age or how long they’ve been practicing photography but rather by two criteria: excellence in the visual language of photography and the fact that they are not yet widely known internationally. The photographers presented here may have already achieved success and recognition on a local or national level where they live or work—but we think they are now ready for the world stage. Read more »
What’s special about these 50 photographers (who hail from 29 countries on six continents) is the distinctive manners in which they are using photography. With fluency and nuance, they are able to engage diverse audiences on wide range of topics in unique, intriguing ways. They help us to see the world through their eyes, and thereby expand our knowledge and understanding of important ideas, make us ponder complex situations, and allow us to appreciate instances of pure beauty (or horrible injustice) that can be found every day when looking with an energized, open mind.
After viewing entries from photographers in over 120 countries, this selection represents some of the freshest and most memorable work that the jury discovered. It surprises, delights, informs and inspires — and hopefully will help you see in new ways.
LensCulture Emerging Talents 2016 Jurors’ Picks
Each of the eight jury members selected one photographer from the Top 50 Emerging Talents to be awarded special distinction and a cash grant. Here are the jurors’ special selections, with a brief quote from each juror explaining what they especially appreciate about these photographers and their work.
There are a huge number of projects that rework vernacular images but few are as arresting as these from Polish-born visual artist Weronika Gesika, who creates compelling layered works with found material acquired from image banks. “Traces” consists of a selection of fun, sinister and surreal photographs that demand attention, ranging from the believable to the impossible. The series is a collection of subtly rearranged, interpreted and manipulated photographs that piece together and create new fragments of suspended time, memory and the unexpected.
Yoshikatsu Fujii makes family trauma—his parents’ divorce—the subject of his series “Red String.” Combining new photography with archival family photographs that have been collaged and re-worked, Fujii offers a poignant excavation of fraught familial history and a reflection on the fictions and performances found in the family album.
Wiktoria’s work is both emotionally compelling and visually intriguing. Her work is playful at times, questioning the notion of memory, while it continuously situates you in the challenges and horrors of war. I was really impressed by the way she installed the work and the careful consideration she gave to the viewer’s experience in a gallery setting. Her grid of soldiers’ portraits is remarkable. This is an artist everyone should keep an eye on.
Today, the territory of the image covers an incredible variety of fields, depicting human activity and the objects that shape our daily cultural, political, economic and social life.Travelling through this extreme diversity, it is astonishing to encounter new visions on seemingly familiar subjects, especially those that have been approached since the origins of photography. For example, architecture is one of those iconic representations of our world that photography has been questioning since its inception.
Among the many images entered in this competition, I was especially marked by the original work of Ben Thomas, which offers us a new look at the meaning an architectural object can carry. We all know the famous quotation of Le Corbusier, “Architecture is the masterly, correct and magnificent play of masses brought together in light.” The subject tackled by these images is precisely that of abstraction by light and color.
For chemical reasons, photography's original abstract approaches to representing reality were made at the exclusion of color, instead focusing their vision solely in black and white.Today, everything seems technically possible, from black to transparency, white to global illumination.
With undeniable efficiency and precision, Thomas' work offers us a redeeming vision of the architectural monument. Initially, as an adventure of light projected onto clean geometries. Then, beyond this frontal and luminous glance, we discover the documentation of functional objects that enjoy the happiness of space and frozen time.
Memory and time are one of the fundamental questions of human experience and, in particular, are important factors in photography as a medium. In each country, preserving and passing on the negative memories of the past is done as a form of asset management—though inevitably, the intensity lessens as time goes by.
In this work, Gesche Wurfel approaches the vital problems of memory and time in a direct manner, looking at the vulnerability of our recollections to inadvertent alterations that happen in the brain. This affects us not only personally but leads to the instability of history in general, as our collective story is constantly being reshaped or erased in order to serve the present. By using long exposures, Wurfel is able to visually express the negligence of human beings towards the past, while appealing to our senses by taking advantage of photography’s instant intelligibility and physical immediacy. This brilliant work communicates a clear and important message on the subject and brings a unique perspective to our sense of history.
Photographer/activist Johnny Miller has developed a very clever, fresh strategy to make us aware of the still startling divide among rich and poor, white and black, in post-Apartheid South Africa. By using a drone to photograph social/geographical borderlines in multiple communities, he delivers the information with instant clarity and visual impact. And by writing compelling, fact-filled captions for each photograph, he encourages deep reading and understanding about the current state of affairs and inequality in these still-divided communities.
Tine Poppe’s work is a combination of fiction and non-fiction, of surreal landscapes and highly charged political quotations, of a haunting, almost nightmarish present and a dystopian future. She plays with photographic genres in clever and disturbing ways. In fact, she is one of the few photographers to be highly political without concentrating on the faces of the candidates during this recent US election season. As a result, her work is both local and global in its stance.
Zachary’s work made me stop in my tracks, especially the Amish work. Not only did I want to see more, it truly felt like he was telling a story. There were so many talented photographers in this contest, so many that really captured a spirit, had skill, and had a command of storytelling. But not only did Zachary's story seem incredible poignant for the work he presented here, there was something about this one particular photo, the one of the Amish boys watching the elder play a baseball-like sport, that seemed so naturally poetic that I wanted to see more. And that is really what I wanted to do with this, really look at a photographer that I felt was onto something, and this idea of identity in the American Family, something that is so increasingly at question with this past election and whole campaign season, really drew me to Zachary's work.
Emerging Talent 2016 International Jury
New York, USA
Michael Famighetti is editor of Aperture Magazine. He has edited numerous photography books, including volumes by William Christenberry, Robert Adams, John Divola, Jonas Bendiksen, and a series based on the website Tiny Vices. His writing has appeared in Frieze, Bookforum, Aperture, and OjodePez, among other publications. Famighetti has degrees from Bard College and Columbia University, where he has also taught. He has served as a judge for the American Society of Magazine Editors National Magazine Awards. He speaks and reviews portfolios at leading photography events around the world.
International Center of Photography
New York, USA
Fred Ritchin is Dean of the School at ICP (the International Center of Photography), serving more than 5,000 students each year in graduate, one-year certificate, continuing education, and youth photography programs. Prior to joining ICP as Dean in 2014, Fred Ritchin was professor of Photography and Imaging at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Director of the PixelPress, and co-director of the NYU/Magnum Foundation Photography and Human Rights educational program. Previously the picture editor of the New York Times Magazine (1978–82), executive editor of Camera Arts magazine (1982–83), and founding director of the Photojournalism and Documentary Photography Program at the International Center of Photography (1983–86), Ritchin has curated numerous exhibitions, and written and lectured internationally about the challenges and possibilities implicit in the digital revolution. His books include In Our Own Image: The Coming Revolution in Photography (Aperture, 1990), After Photography (W. W. Norton, 2008), and Bending the Frame: Photojournalism, Documentary, and the Citizen (Aperture, 2013).
QUAD and FORMAT International Photography Festival
Louise Clements has been the Artistic Director of QUAD, a center for contemporary art, film and new technologies in Derby, UK since 2001. She has also been the Artistic Director of FORMAT International Photography Festival since 2004. An independent curator since 1998, she has initiated commissions, publications, mass participation, art, film and photography exhibitions. She is a juror, portfolio reviewer, workshop leader, speaker and award nominator throughout Europe, America and Asia. She has served as a guest curator at such places as Les Rencontres Arles, Discoveries (France), Hamburg Photo Triennial (Germany), Venice Biennale (Italy), Photoquai Biennale (Paris) and many more...
Pier 24 Photography
San Francisco, CA, USA
Christopher McCall is the director of Pier 24 Photography in San Francisco, one of the largest exhibition spaces devoted to photography. In 2002, McCall received his MFA in Photography from California College of the Arts, studying under Jim Goldberg and Larry Sultan. After teaching for seven years, he joined Pier 24 Photography in 2009 as the inaugural director, assisting in the conceptualization of the organization’s mission and operating principles. Since opening the doors of Pier 24, McCall has overseen the presentation of five exhibitions and spearheaded the creation of the Larry Sultan Visiting Artist Program, a program in collaboration with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and California College of the Arts.
Agence VU’ & Galerie VU’
Xavier Soule is the president and director of Agence VU’, one of the most renowned agencies and galleries for photographers in France and Europe. The aim of Galerie VU' is to affirm, on the walls, the diversity of contemporary stylistic photographic approaches, and to compare and contrast current viewpoints, so they can dialogue with their differences. Galerie VU' works like any other commercial gallery: it is simultaneously a space for exhibiting and selling collectors' editions, offering monograph approaches as well as hosting authors' dialogues, group and thematic approaches.
Mutsuko Ota is Editorial Director of IMA magazine. Born in Tokyo, 1968, she started her career as an editor at Marie Claire and worked at several men’s magazines such as Esquire, GQ and others as a feature editor. Besides collaborating with several magazines as a freelance editor, she became involved in various fields including art projects, book and catalogue editing, and film promotion. She became the editorial director of IMA magazine in January 2012. In 2004, she helped produce a physical space called IMA CONCEPT STORE in Tokyo, with the goal of popularizing art photography in Japan.
San Francisco, CA, USA
Evan Pricco is the current Editor-in-Chief of Juxtapoz Magazine, a leading international art and culture magazine founded in 1994. He has worked with the magazine for over 9 years, curating groundbreaking special issues and projects on public art, political art, contemporary African art, as well as Juxtapoz' book series. When he was younger, Evan wanted to be a baseball player. Then a writer. Then a therapist. Then a baseball player again. He has since settled on art editor and appreciator of Frank Stella, Takashi Murakami, and Steve Powers.
Jim Casper is the editor-in-chief and publisher of LensCulture, one of the leading online destinations to discover contemporary photography from around the world. As an active member in the contemporary photography world, Casper organizes annual international photography events, travels around the world to meet with photographers and review their portfolios, curates art exhibitions, writes about photography and culture, lectures, conducts workshops, serves as an international juror and nominator for key awards, and is an advisor to arts and education organizations. He serves on the board of directors at SPE, the Society for Photographic Education, the world’s largest association of photography educators.