In this project, a young photographer Hajar Benjida takes a look inside the world of Atlanta Strip Clubs. She focuses on women behind the success of many hit rap songs, those who play a big role in the hip-hop music scene, and brings them to the foreground. The scenes are often approached and captured by men, and she decided to solely capture the women, therefore completely leaving the male perspective out. I was impressed by the directness and immediacy of the portraits as well as the powerful visual language.
Combining analogue photographic processes and collage techniques, Silvia De Giorgi successfully reconstructs the archaeological folds of human and natural traces found in the landscape. Her sensitive and timeless approach reflects the fragile and changing world around us as well as the fragmentation of memory.
In every photograph of Terra Fondriest’s work, I am struck by the intimacy and tenderness of how she captures the lives of people, including her family, in the Ozarks, a rural region in Arkansas, USA. From their daily rituals to rites of passage, Terra’s thoughtfulness and care seeps through her portrayals of both the quiet in-between moments and the harsh realities of life in this remote area. Her exploration into their lives is deeply authentic and compelling.
In considering fashion beyond utility as a primary mode of expression, Matei Focseneanu’s projects elevates photography as a medium from the role as a documentarian to a perforative image exclamation. The photographer and three fashion designers collaborate with people in incarceration to articulate personal identity through garments and gesture. This project shows the generative power of photography towards restoration, and in reconstructing individual identity towards a personal healing and renewal. It is also exemplary in showcasing the potential applications of photography in giving voice to the underrepresented and marginalized populations.
Imagine you are a mother of a black child in America. Every day you fear for his life in today’s brutal, hate-filled society — where men with guns, on the side of the law, might shoot him down or strangle him instead of protecting him.
“Stranger Fruit” is a very emotional series of photographs — each its own story, each part of a broader, sad, nationwide tragedy. It’s a protest, it’s a plea, it’s an expression of outrage and anguish.
The varied settings and details from locations around the USA help us to imagine the horrible potential loss of life and love, hope and joy. Instead, with the loss, we feel a mother’s fear, isolation, and a terrible sense of injustice and confusion.
Felipe Jacome depicts the tragic situation of Venezuela in his series and the complex situation takes on a new meaning under his demanding gaze as he navigates between a visual arts and a photojournalistic approach.By using the country’s banknotes, which have lost all value because of massive devaluations, Felipe sheds light on the refugees who leave the country to survive.
Reclaiming the heteronormative space of his teenage years, Guanyu Xu’s project is personal, urgent, daring and visually appealing. Documenting the one-day transformation of their family home in Beijing to a more “queer friendly” environment, Guanyu’s photographs become surprising and intriguing reflections of the collage that temporarily plastered the walls and windows of the home.
This year, many works approached the subject of sexual and gender identity with great sensitivity and creativity, though one stood out for me: Marvel Harris’s very personal journey from woman to man. The black-and-white photography, justifiably employed in this case, puts the focus the intense personal suffering that leads to someone making such a serious and life-changing decision. This aspect often gets lost in the debate about the ethical and moral issues of gender identity and change, but Marvel manages to inject the discourse with an empathy and honesty that will touch even those without personal experience of this issue.
Anna Dannemann is Senior Curator at The Photographers’ Gallery in London. She has curated numerous exhibitions, including the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize (2016-19) and has organized several solo exhibitions, among them Simon Fujiwara’s Joanne (2016), Charlotte Dumas’ Anima & The Widest Prairies (2015), Viviane Sassen’s Analemma (2014), and William Burroughs. Anna regularly contributes to catalogues and other publications, and received an MA in Art and Visual History from the Humboldt-University of Berlin.
Kim Knoppers is art historian and curator at FOAM in Amsterdam, The Netherlands where she has worked on significant solo exhibitions and group shows. She initiated a series on photographic archives of historical photography studios from Turkey, Albania, United States and Iran, and is a lecturer at the MA Photography at ECAL in Lausanne, Switzerland where she initiated and developed the course Do Not Disturb – Curating in Progress. Kim is the founder of Artists’ Recipes, which explores the intersection of art and food, and contributes regularly to Foam Magazine.
Jacqueline Bates is Photography Director of Pop-Up Magazine and The California Sunday Magazine, winner of the National Magazine Award for excellence in photography in 2016 and 2017. Previously, she was senior photo editor of W Magazine and worked in the photo departments of ELLE, Interview, and Wired. Bates holds an MFA in photography from the School of Visual Arts and her work has been exhibited internationally.
Marina Paulenka is the Artistic Director of Unseen Platform, one of the leading platforms for contemporary photography, and former Artistic Director of Organ Vida, an International Photography Festival based in Zagreb. She is an international juror and nominator, educator, and curator at many organisations, schools, festivals and museums, curates photography exhibitions, and takes part in many discourses on current trends in contemporary photography in numerous countries. Marina features as expert in numerous portfolio reviews all over Europe, and is an external associate lecturer at the Academy of Dramatic Art in Zagreb.
Dagmar Seeland worked as an editor and photo editor for a variety of lifestyle magazines before joining German weekly magazine STERN as a photo editor in 1999. At STERN Dagmar worked with and commission some of the biggest names in photography, and was able to discover and nurture a host of new talent. As a writer herself she is particularly passionate about photography’s role in storytelling, and understands the process and collaboration that is required to make visual ideas work.
Laura Pressley has been at the helm of CENTER in Santa Fe for over 12 years, a non-profit organisation known for the long-standing programs, including the Review Santa Fe Photo Festival, CENTER Project Grants, Santa Fe Prize and other offerings that have launched dozens of photographers’ careers. In addition to CENTER, Pressley has co-curated and produced many photographic exhibitions and most recently was a selected co-curator for the 2019 Korea International Photo Festival in Seoul.
Benoît Baume founded Fisheye Magazine in 2013, imposing a new style of photo printing. He was named by Le Journal des Arts as one of the 10 most influential people in photography as a result. Beyond the printed medium, Benoît is also actively working on new media, including virtual reality and immersive experiences. He created the VR Arles Festival within the Rencontres d’Arles and advises, with his teams from Fisheye, the biggest brands in matters of photography, images and immersive creations. Before Fisheye, Benoît was the editor of Images magazine for seven years.
Jim Casper is the editor-in-chief 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.
Congratulations to all 25 photographers! And to everyone who entered, thank you. We are inspired by the work you do and we are always delighted to discover new voices and fresh talent. We look forward to seeing more of your work in the future!