Celebrating Black History Month with Fervor & Vitality

The month of February is known as Black History Month, and what better way to celebrate than to relish in the imagery created by black women photographers? I suppose, seeing the work in person would be better tenfold, but for now, let these photographs settle into your sights.

A big part of my search for these women was part recollection: whose work have I already come to know and love? I wrote eight names down. The second half of my search was uncovering the 1985 book, Viewfinders: Black Women Photographers, written by Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe. The book is described as a bible of sorts to some black women creatives, as it is a collection of diverse photographs from black female photographers from the mid-1800s to the late 1980s. An introduction to Viewfinders lead me to an important article by Vogue, which presented a new book that took on where Moutoussamy-Ashe left off.

Mfon: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora was created some 30 years later by two Brooklyn born photographers, Laylah Amatullah Barryn and Adama Delphine Fawundu. Barryn and Fawundu have come together to preserve and document the work of more than 100 women photographers of African descent from around the world.

I highly suggest picking up Mfon, and visiting your local library to pick up Viewfinders, or snagging it on Amazon. But first, enjoy the works by these 16 women photographers below, and truly allow them to make space for what you don’t often see in the world of Western eyes. Don’t scroll past! Put a timer for 5 minutes for each photo if you must. Have some control over what you’re digesting, and really let these works sink in:

 

Michelle Agins
Michelle Agins, James Baldwin in Chicago, 1983.

Michelle Agins

Michelle Agins, is one of the longest-running staff photographers at The New York Times. She has worked since June 1989 as a staff photographer with the NY Times, and has been documenting life in major cities like New York, Chicago, and Baltimore as a journalist since the 1970s.

Agins first got her start as an intern for The Chicago Daily News and in less than a year  became a sports photographer. In 2001 Ms. Agins and her colleagues won a Pultizer Prize for National Reporting on the series How Race is Lived in America.

In her famed photo of James Baldwin, the novelist introduces his new Book “Evidence of Things Not Seen” at the Home of Lerone Bennett in Chicago in 1983, Agins captures the writer, host and friends conversing round a kitchen table. A pack of cigarettes and a lighter, glasses and plates, all dictate the mood of what otherwise might be a leisurely conversation. Yet Agins places herself just above the table, to show us how well she can record the moment without breaking the intensity of Baldwin’s sightline.

Website
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Carrie Mae Weems Woman Standing
Carrie Mae Weems, Untitled (Woman Standing) from the series Kitchen Table, 1990.

Carrie Mae Weems              

Carrie Mae Weems is one of the most noted black women photographers in art history. Her 1990 photographical series Kitchen Scenes was inspired in part by the influential essay “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” (1975) by the critic Laura Mulvey, which addressed the lack of non-objectified representations of women in film and other cultural expressions.  As such, Weems offers a valid portrait of an often overlooked subject, in this case, a modern black woman.

Weems’ gelatin silver prints trace a period in the woman’s life as she experiences the blossoming, then loss, of love, the responsibilities of motherhood, and the desire to be an engaged and contributing member of her community.

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Five Day Forecast by Lorna Simpson
Lorna Simpson, Five Day Forecast, 1991.

Lorna Simpson

Lorna Simpson is an American conceptual artist whose works deal with identity politics as a black woman. In her piece, Five Day Forecast, Simpson combines image and text to examine the processes through which meaning and understanding takes place. In these early works Simpson often used the image of a black woman, photographed cropped, or from behind, against a stark background, and accompanied by text panels. Both text and image are deliberately austere in style. Five Day Forecast was first conceived in 1988, at which time Simpson made two versions of the work using Polaroid photographs; one of these was subsequently damaged. In 1991 she decided to remake the work in an edition with silver gelatin print photographs which she shot with a large format 5 x 4 camera.

The words, with their negative connotations, imply a repeated breakdown in communication, within personal, professional and racial relationships. At the same time, the pun on ‘mis/miss’ raises questions of gender and identity and the exchange of power within such relationships.

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Deana Lawson, The Garden, 2016.

Deana Lawson

You’ll probably recognize Deana Lawson’s striking work as the cover of musician Blood Orange’s third released album, Freetown Sound. Lawson’s photographs are erotic in nature, and at times intimate, conjuring thoughts of mortality, motherhood, and protection.

What I love most about Lawson’s way of seeing is her approach to her subjects. Taking to the everyday aspects of life, Lawson engages with her subjects in subways, grocery stores, and out on the streets location scouting. In a conversation with esteemed photographer Catherine Opie, Lawson answered how she chose the subjects in her photograph, The Garden. En route to a field of grass, Lawson asked a woman and a man if they would pose for her. The two, strangers at first, sit in the grass where we gaze upon a moment of tenderness we would presume belongs to a loving couple with child.

No matter how bare fleshed her subjects can be, and no matter how much appreciation we can take from the human form, the image and the moment is for the subject and photographer alone. That is something I always try to digest when I view Lawson’s work, and it blows my mind every time. Just when imagination takes hold, the truth in the photograph reveals a mutual respect, trust, honesty, and above all, representation.

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Nichole Washington - Me I'm Supa Fly
Nichole Washington, Me I’m Supa Fly, from the series For My Girls, 2016.

Nichole Washington

Nichole Washington is a visual artist from the suburbs of Minnesota. She is a graduate of the School of Visual Arts, where her 2016 series For My Girls expresses the confidence and poise of black womanhood through dynamic portraits, utilizing a painted layer to add to the boldness of each subject.

“I grew up listening to women like Queen Latifah, Missy Elliot, Da Brat and so on. These women were role models for me as a young black girl. They were confident, they were in charge and they were all so unique when it came to personal style,” reflects Washington.

“Through manipulation of my images I am creating super heroine characters based on the subjects unique physical qualities and my imagination. I hope that my work will inspire women to live boldly, and confidently from the inside out.”

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Instagram


Endia Beal - Am I What You're Looking For
Endia Beal, Kyandra and Shakiya, from the series Am I What You’re Looking For? 2016.

Endia Beal

Endia Beal is a photographer based in North Carolina who uses “art as a vehicle to deal” with what the photographer is going through emotionally. Her 2016 series, Am I What You’re Looking For focuses on young educated black women who are about to transition into the corporate world. Each woman expressed their personal struggles with discrimination in the workplace, and shared the feeling that to be deemed professional was to be white. This notion causes black hair styles to be seen as unprofessional and problematic by colleagues and superiors. Names were confessed to be “too difficult” to pronounce, suggesting the young women alter themselves for the job at hand.

Beal shared the very same uncertainties and fears of the corporate world as an intern in the I.T. department at Yale. In fact, the backdrop Beal uses for her series is of a hallway from the very offices of her internship.

Framing her subjects between their home and the office backdrop, the photographer exposes bits and pieces of the women’s everyday life. A baby photo, silky ribbons, silver and gold trophies, grad photos in their frames, and home decor burst at the edges. Some of Beal’s subjects stand confidently, defiantly, while others seem to be unsure.

“It’s from the way that you talk, it’s what you have on. You almost have to mute yourself in order to fit into this space. And sadly, the girls have been told that the have to do the same thing,” says Beal in an interview.

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Instagram


Namsa Leuba
Namsa Leuba, Untitled from the series Tonköma, South Africa, 2015.

Namsa Leuba

Namsa Leuba’s diverse photographic practice examines the representation of African identity through the Western imagination. Spanning documentary, fashion and performance, Leuba’s visual imaginary explores the signs and symbols of her cultural heritage, from rituals and ceremonies to statuettes and masquerades. Whether executed on location in the artist’s ancestral hometown of Guinea or in a constructed studio environment, Leuba’s projects combine an anthropological interest in traditional customs with an aesthetic that is informed by fashion and design sensibilities. Adopting a theatrical approach with careful attention to props, colors and gestures, Leuba questions the relationship between fact and fiction, action and representation, as well as the sacred and the profane.

Also, please take a look at her zine What We Want (2010) which features a re-enactment of scenes of the Black Panthers. It’s incredibly well done, and unsung.

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Instagram


Arielle Bob-Willis
© Arielle Bob-Willis

Arielle Bobb-Willis

Born and raised in New York City, with pit stops in South Carolina and New Orleans, Arielle Bobb-Willis is a young photographer working within her own color-rich, abstract world. There’s something truly special about the way she moves people – in the physical sense and in the emotional sense. Specializing in contorted figures, her audience has come to understand her humble purpose and image-making process through her knack for gently pushing herself and those around her. To the viewer her photographs might seem abstract, but dig just a little below the surface and it’s clear her vision is ever-lucid.

Her work focuses on color, fashion, and figurative movements to create shapes one could find within the ordered chaos of an abstract painting. Each shape celebrates strength amongst chaos, a feeling Bobb-Willis knows all too well herself.

In an interview with Rookie, Bobb-Willis explains “I want my pictures to showcase what it feels like when one is comfortable with being uncomfortable.”

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Nadine Ijewere - Same Difference
Nadine Ijewere, Victoria & Jennifer from the series Same Difference, 2016.

Nadine Ijewere

Nadine Ijewere is an editorial and commercial photographer. Her work spans from the cover of the British Journal of Photography, to Vogue Italia, Stella McCartney, GAP and Asos. One of my favorite editorials by Ijewere is with Office Magazine, where she captured some of the best sci-fi vibes.

In an ongoing portrait series Same Difference, Ijewere points her lens at siblings, capturing their similarities and differences in an editorial fashion. The portraits are stunning, vulnerable and strong, and entirely worth your attention.

Website
Instagram


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Zanele Muholi, Phila I, from the series Somnyama Ngonyama, 2016.

Zanele Muholi

Zanele Muholi is a South African artist and self proclaimed visual activist amongst the LGBTQ+ community working with conceptual photography, video and installation.

In an ongoing self portrait series Somnyama Ngonyama (meaning Hail, the Dark Lioness), Muholi uses her body as a canvas to confront stigmas against homosexuality in South Africa, while questioning the way her black body is perceived. Everyday objects transform into loaded historical props, such as the latex glove pictured above, addressing domestic servitude. Other props like plastic and rubber tires often references global waste, and some add to Western fascinations with exoticised representations of African cultures.

“My reality is that I do not mimic being black; it is my skin, and the experience of being black is deeply entrenched in me. Just like our ancestors, we live as black people 365 days a year, and we should speak without fear.”

Website
Instagram


Sol Bela 'Hair Stories: African Threading'
Sol Bela, Untitled from the series Hair Stories: African Threading, 2018.

Sol Bela 

Barcelona based photographer Sol Bela is one of my favorite newly found photographers to date. Her ability to capture raw emotion with her subjects is what immediately caught my interest in her series Hair Stories: African Threading.

Hair Stories embodies the diaspora and memory of the many hairstyles that Bela’s mother used to do during her childhood. The series also strongly shows how versatile and beautiful Afro hair is.

“As a Black African woman I’ve struggled with my identity and the oppression of my hair in a European Country. I want to show girls who are in the same situation that our hair is beautiful no matter the shape, colour or texture,” says Bela.

Having spent half of her life in Spain, Sol Bela’s roots are in Guinea Equatorial. Bela started a fashion blog after she had come to the realization that her interests in the genre were exceptionally lacking of cultural diversity. From her experience behind the camera, Bela wanted to represent her roots in tender warmth, unapologetically.

Website
Instagram


The Girls Who Spun Gold
Nydia Blas, Untitled from The Girls Who Spun Gold, 2016.

Nydia Blas

Nydia Blas is a visual artist living in Ithaca, New York with her two children. She holds a B.S. from Ithaca College, and received her M.F.A. from Syracuse University in the school of Visual and Performing Arts. Her photos delicately weave stories concerning circumstance, value, and power and uses her work to create a physical and allegorical space presented through a Black feminine lens. She is drawn to matters of sexuality and intimacy and calls upon her lived experience as a girl, woman, and mother. The result is an environment that is dependent upon the belief that  in order to maintain resiliency, a magical outlook is necessary.

The Girls Who Spun Gold, was inspired by an African-American adaption of Rumpelstiltskin (a classic Brothers Grimm fairytale) about a woman who is chosen to become the wife to the ruler of the land because of her ability to spin gold. Blas explores this idea while working with girls participating in the photographer’s girl empowerment group she founded.

“I wanted my subjects to reclaim, explore, and protect their bodies and sexuality, and to  reveal the magic that happens between women and self. I would like this work to state that black and brown females have a right to pleasure and a right to fantasy.”

Website
Instagram


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Sophia Nahli Allison, To Those of My Sisters Who Kept Their Naturals—Gwendolyn Brooks, 2016.

Sophia Nahli Allison

Sophia Nahli Allison is an experimental documentary filmmaker, educator, and time traveler. Born in 1987, and a native of South Central Los Angeles, she is passionate about excavating and reimagining dreams, ancestral memories, and the archives of black women and girls.

In 2017 she was named the Student Video Photographer of the Year by the White House News Photographer Association. She was a participant of the Eddie Adams Workshop, the New York Times Student Journalism Institute, and the 2nd Annual New York Times Lens Blog Portfolio Review. Her work has been featured on the cover of PDN, online with The AtlanticPBS, Fusion and more. She has interned at The Seattle Times, Tampa Bay Times and The Chicago Reporter. As an educator she’s taught photo and video to youth in Chicago and Los Angeles and is a grateful recipient of the Chicago 3Arts Award, a $25,000 grant for her work as a teaching artist.

She is currently working on a new documentary and completing her graduate degree at The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill as a Roy H. Park Fellow. She received her B.A in photojournalism.


Close up portrait of Chyna Pace in the parking lot of her Inglewood, CA home.
Oriana Koren, Close up portrait of Chyna Pace in the parking lot of her Inglewood, CA home, 2017, for California Sunday Magazine.

Oriana Koren

Oriana Koren is an editorial photographer and writer based in Los Angeles, CA whose work is anchored in food, culture, and travel. Interested in the intersections of food, history and community, Koren’s work is a fusion of personal narrative and in-depth documentary practice focusing on the principal contributions of people of color, immigrant, and womxn’s communities within American foodways and food culture.

Molding narrative and documentary, Koren develops a blend of beautiful portraits in her commissioned piece, Underground Chefs. Koren focuses her lens on the home cooks like Chyna Pace (photographed above) of South LA who transform their homes into a place of business, where they can build on their craft to feed their passions and communities, all while making a name for themselves.

Koren is part of PDN’s One’s to Watch, and her clients include The New York Times, and Washington Post. Feel free to watch this wonderful video of Koren on “Breaking the Barriers to Success” which provides major insight on how to make it as a woman of color in the editorial industry.

Website
Instagram


Samantha Box, INVISIBLE: The Shelter, The Street, 2005-2012
INVISIBLE: The Shelter, The Street is a documentary series that describes the impact of homelessness on LGBTQ youth. © Samantha Box, 2005 – 2012.

Samantha Box

Samantha Box is a documentary photographer based in Brooklyn, New YorkSince 2005, she has documented New York City’s community of LGBTQ youth of color, the social issues affecting these young adults, and the structures of family, intimacy and validation that bind and protect them. The resulting body of work, INVISIBLE, is a continuing multi-chapter exploration into the lives of this young community.

“The young people that I photograph are some of the most resilient people that I have ever met: despite facing the societal animosity of homo- and transphobia, and the burden of a broken system that conspires to keep them homeless,” she says, “they continuously work for a future where their talents and intellect can be used, where they have a home, a family and a life of stability.”

Website
Instagram


Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, Hard Hats
Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, Hard Hats, Rochelle, New York, 1972.

Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe

I’d like to conclude this roundup with the way it began, through my discovery of Viewfinders, by Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe.

Art has been a life-long pursuit for Moutoussamy-Ashe. Her mother, Elizabeth Moutousammy, an interior designer and father, John Moutoussamy, an architect, encouraged her artistic abilities at an early age. Taking advantage of the opportunities available to them in Chicago, she began her formal training at age eight when her parents enrolled her in classes at the Art Institute of Chicago. When it was time for undergraduate studies, Moutoussamy-Ashe moved east to New York and received a B.F.A. degree in photography from The Cooper Union School of Art. After graduating in 1975, she worked as a graphic artist and photojournalist for WNBC-TV.

Her photographs contain strong narrative and documentary elements. Documenting her travels in West Africa, her book about the Gullah community of South Carolina, Daufuskie Island: A Photographic Essay reveals the most intimate black and white portraits of residents of the community Moutoussamy-Ashe shares her immediate personal experience in Daddy and Me, which features photos of her late husband, Arthur Ashe, and her daughter, Camera living day to day as her father, a well known tennis champion, father, husband and gentleman who died of AIDS in February 1993.

 

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Foto Infinitum’s Holiday Gift Guide

Holiday Gift Guide

Everyone loves a photo goodie, but sometimes you just want to treat yourself, am I right? Shop my picks for the photographer in your life! Even if that photographer may very well be you.

So if you’re treating yourself, (or getting some holiday shopping done) you’re going to love these pieces. Get your online shopping carts ready! There’s something here for everyone.

Keep scrolling to see what my current favorite photo goodies are! 


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For your everyday, casual photo encounter, get a load of these everyday beauts!

  1. STAK Bloom Ceramic Phone Vase by STAKCERAMICS
  2. Holga enamel lapel pin by Lost Lust Supply
  3. Polaroid Prism graphic tee by Altru Apparel

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For those with a knack for design, and all things neatly displayed, try out these frames:

  1. 12″ magnetic wood poster rails available on Parabo
  2. Project 62™ Gallery 11×15″ Float frame available at Target
  3. Threshold™ Geometric Gold 4×6″ frame available at Target

4To all the night crawlers out there, this is for you.

  1. Joby GorillaPod DSLR tripod – get the mini version on Adorama
  2. Donut and Burger Snack Cap Lens Caps available on Photojojo
  3. Wire Pull Color Smoke Grenades by Enola Gaye Grenade Co.
  4. Magic Hour Photo Club snapback by the one and only BOOOOOOOOM

 

Did you find a favorite? Share in the comments below!

Cherished & Celebrated: The Women of Photographer Victoria Campa’s Portraits

Madrid based photographer Victoria Campa has always been fascinated by cameras. When she was only seven years old, her aunt and uncle had a Polaroid where she became as instantly obsessed with the medium as the print itself. She grew up borrowing point and shoots, phone cameras, whatever she could get her tiny hands on. It wasn’t until high school that she became acquainted with her film camera, “which is now my main baby,” she gushes.

Victoria Campa
© Victoria Campa. Akua in fighting metanoia, from the series “Goodbye to all that”.

Invested in the online photo community a-la Flickr, Campa began to pursue photography.  “I spent a lot of time looking at photography online and in the library,” she admits, “and I was taking a lot of photos, too.” Campa started with fashion, creating concepts and approaching friends with the question to pose before her camera. Now, in a lot of ways her direction has changed. “It took me a long time to call myself a photographer, and to take ownership of the work I was producing. I think this recognition is an important step for all of us, no matter what we are doing.”

In her series Goodbye to all thatCampa endures the end of an era in New York. “I was entering my last year of college, and as a pretty nostalgic person, I knew that the four years I had spent living in New York had been monumental for me as an individual, but also for my photography.” The collection of images celebrates Campa’s personal experience living in the concrete city the only way she knew how: through photos.

“It is not possible for me to separate my last year in New York and this series from the political events that were occurring at the time. They were central to my friends and my experiences, and also coming from a women’s college, we were constantly thinking and talking about these issues. On the day of the women’s march we spent the morning in our living room, painting signs with the sun streaming through the window.”

Victoria Campa - Womens March
© Victoria Campa. Women’s March, NYC from the series “Goodbye to all that”.

“There was always music playing from my roommates’ speakers, and I have a very clear memory of us all sitting around, talking and decorating our signs. It was very special to get on the subway and see other people holding their signs too, all of us fighting for the same things. We marched, we chanted, and although we were angry and disappointed, it was a celebration of who we are and what we stand for. It was amazing for so many people to come together, for 5th avenue in the middle of Manhattan to be completely closed down in the middle of the day. It was a powerful moment in time and I don’t think any of us who were there will forget it anytime soon.”

There is a duality in the series where Campa presents us with the combination of New York city life versus more singular, withdrawn moments. “New York City is very individualistic, and my work in many ways is as well,” she says. “I am drawn to the inner workings of an individual, which leads me to photograph a lot of the more quiet moments,” she explains her subject matter. And it’s true. There are very open and honest moments where, at the majority, women are existing on their own, and what Campa describes as “a sort of isolated bubble” is formed. Campa is able to captivate us to this bubble with “the notion of the public versus the private life, and how the city combines the two.”

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© Victoria Campa. Mimi on her couch, from the series “Goodbye to all that”.

Currently backpacking around India, Campa has found herself “inspired by street life here. Waking up before the first light and sitting on the sidewalk with cows and dogs as I drink my morning chai. I’m inspired by the colors of the sky when the sun is setting, and by the stories of all the people I have met.”

I asked about her ever changing process with photography. “Sometimes I photograph what I see, and sometimes it is more of a gut reaction than a conscious thought.” What she often attempts to do before formulating her images, is to find a location and look for a subject that is able to tell or create a story. “I work very closely with whoever is in front of my camera to allow them to show me what they want to express,” says Campa.

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© Victoria Campa. Shriya, from the series “Goodbye to all that”.

Photography is in many ways a testament to our world, and how we make sense of it, yet it’s also an imprint of Campa’s existence, and the women who are very much a part of it. One of my favorite portraits by Campa is that of her friend’s grandmother [pictured below]. The setting of leafy limbs framing the woman sitting in her plastic chair seems so casual, but also gives us a glimpse of the very women Campa cherishes. “I am so lucky to be surrounded by many women I admire,” Campa declares. “There is no power like the power of a woman, and I hope to communicate their strength and beauty in my images.”

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© Victoria Campa. Fani’s Grandma (Vela Luka), from the series “I Remember”.

“It doesn’t matter where you are from, what your age is.. your perspective and your life is both different and unique from anyone else’s. You can teach someone so much just by capturing your world,” Campa shared. The photographer’s world is now being shared at the Tate Modern in London for their after-hours exhibition Uniqlo Tate Lates  which features an eclectic mix of art, music, talks, film and workshops. Campa is also working on a collaboration project entitled Layers of Synergy, with fellow photographer Victoria Zavala Carvajal. So be on the lookout!

To view more of Victoria Campa’s work, check out her website and Instagram below.

Website
Instagram

Zero Hour by Amy Li

00:00 (Zero Hour) is a series of dreamscapes filled with the hidden truths concerning death and memory in our everyday, ranging from portraiture, landscapes and objects. Photographer and artist Amy Li began working on the series in late 2014, but it wasn’t until the Flint water crisis took hold that same year, where cost-cutting measures led to tainted and toxic drinking water, truly got the project going.

“I was thinking about rising political and social turmoil that was happening in the US,” Li recalls. “Race relations were tense and the discussions surrounding water were starting to take place. The water crisis in Flint was the initial inspiration of the project because it had involved two subject matters that were extremely important to me: racism and environmental concerns. It had never occurred to me that those two separate discussions could happen simultaneously.”

The series begins with an open Nike shoe box (a size 6 of Air Force 1’s to be exact) filled with overlapping childhood 5x7s. “For most people, their first introduction to photography is the family photo,” says Li. The cardboard box takes on the role of the family album, encasing each stored memory as a nonlinear daydream. These snapshots play on the photographer’s love for the vernacular image.

I really love vernacular photography for its mystery and intimacy. I always strive for those characteristics within my personal work.

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Suspended in Amy’s world, we catch ourselves taking in the contrasting warm and cold lights of these nameless places and nameless faces. “I think the way the internet presents photography is very similar to looking through photographs in a bin, box or album.”

In the digital realm, where time and space is disintegrated, flattened and illuminated by a bright screen; images are forced to sit at a stand still — a purgatorial dimension where they drift aimlessly. The bright light blinds us all but we still gaze longingly.

 

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Amy Li is an American photographer living and working in New York.
To see Zero Hour in its entirety, have a look at Amy’s website below.
Website | Instagram

 

In Remembrance: Khadija Saye, young photographer loses life in London’s Grenfell Fire

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LONDON — The world sinks heavily after learning about the rising death toll (at least 79 are dead, missing, or presumed dead) from the Grenfell Tower fire that took place early morning on June 14. As we mourn the loss of many, one of the confirmed victims was young artist, Khadija Saye, 24 who lived and worked on her photography from the 20th floor with her Gambian mother, Mary Mendy (who is also missing, and presumed dead).

The art world only saw a glimpse of what talent Khadija Saye displayed through her photography. Her wet plate collodion tintype series, Dwelling: in this space we breathe is currently exhibited at the Diaspora Pavilion during the 57th Venice Biennale. Saye described her series as an exploration of “the migration of traditional Gambian spiritual practices and the deep rooted urge to find solace within a higher power.”

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Khadija Saye self-portrait, from the series Dwelling: in this space we breathe © Khadija Saye, courtesy International Curators Forum
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Khadija Saye self-portrait, from the series Dwelling: in this space we breathe © Khadija Saye, courtesy International Curators Forum
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Khadija Saye self-portrait, from the series Dwelling: in this space we breathe © Khadija Saye, courtesy International Curators Forum
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Khadija Saye self-portrait, from the series Dwelling: in this space we breathe © Khadija Saye, courtesy International Curators Forum

Saye presented her final series Crownedwhich encapsulates Afro-Caribbean hairstyles, a project she began working on that expressed her Gambian heritage for her graduation project from UCA Farnham in 2013.

What aches the most is the inclusion of Saye’s mother in Crowned.

The portraits were taken in a makeshift home studio on the 20th floor; I recall with tenderness the tutorials during the making of this work, Khadija would burst in with work prints and talk with joy as she recounted her mother’s nervousness at being photographed

— Natasha Caruana, senior lecturer in photography at UCA Farnham, in an interview with the British Journal of Photography.

There is something familiar about being a student in photography, and turning to subjects that you know whole heartedly. More often than not we aim our lens inward to the ones who gave us life, and we appreciate them within a single frame, unknowingly documenting them for the world to see.

Khadija Saye and her work will forever be remembered. Let us not forget her kindness, her love of others stories, her struggle, accomplishments, her vision. She has left it all behind for us to remember and celebrate, and I hope it inspires our youth, especially young girls, to continue their art, to follow through with scholarships, and to never regret asking for help, or guidance. Collaborate, pursue mentorships, and above all, be proud of where you come from.

Rest in power, Khadija Saye. You are truly a source of inspiration to all.

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From the series Crowned © Khadija Saye, courtesy Nicola Green
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From the series Crowned © Khadija Saye, courtesy Nicola Green
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From the series Crowned © Khadija Saye, courtesy Nicola Green
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From the series Crowned © Khadija Saye, courtesy Nicola Green
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From the series Crowned © Khadija Saye, courtesy Nicola Green
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From the series Crowned © Khadija Saye, courtesy Nicola Green

All images appear under the British Journal of Photography’s obituary for Khadija Saye. Image credit is given to Saye’s mentor, Nicola Green, and the International Curators Forum.

Delphine Blast Captures the faces of Bolivian Womanhood in her series, Cholitas

Delphine Blast is a French documentary and portrait photographer based between Paris and South America. She has dedicated several works to the situation of women in Latin America, drawing in on the humanitarian dimension of life, while bringing out the emotional response and engagement of her subjects.

On a two month journey in Bolivia, Delphine discovered what it meant to be a cholita in today’s modern world. In the capital of La Paz she met dozens of cholitas and decided to honor the women by taking their portrait in a recreated photo studio based on backgrounds featuring traditional Bolivian fabrics.

A series of 35 portraits was born, entitled Cholitas, the revenge of a generation. The images highlight their unique outfits inspired by Andean traditions, but above all it reveals the women’s femininity, elegance and dignity.

Discriminated against for a long time, the cholitas are now very much a driving force in Bolivia. In scenes that were unimaginable 10 or 20 years ago, nowadays they have real clout in the economic, political, and even fashion worlds. The cholitas have managed to find their place in modern society without denying their collective past. They are an expression of the dignity of Indian populations.

Delphine’s photographic series aims to renew insight into Bolivian womanhood. It also carries new identity affirmations and reflects the social changes on the march in the country.

Take a look at Delphine’s stunning portraits below:

Cholitas, la revanche d'une génération
© Delphine Blast. From the series Cholitas, the revenge of a generation.
Cholitas, la revanche d'une génération
© Delphine Blast. From the series Cholitas, the revenge of a generation.
FOTO INFINITUM | From the series, Cholitas, by Delphine Blast.
© Delphine Blast. From the series Cholitas, the revenge of a generation.
Cholitas, la revanche d'une génération
© Delphine Blast. From the series Cholitas, the revenge of a generation.
Cholitas, la revanche d'une génération
© Delphine Blast. From the series Cholitas, the revenge of a generation.
Cholitas, la revanche d'une génération
© Delphine Blast. From the series Cholitas, the revenge of a generation.

The 5 Iranian Women Photographers in ‘Art Brief III: The (Un)draped Woman’ You Need to Know

abiiiOn Thursday, February 9th, join LA based visual artist platform, ADVOCARTSY, in celebrating the opening of their third Art Brief installment entitled, Art Brief III: The (Un)Draped Woman. 

The exhibition features 14 artists of Iranian origin whose works speak to the timely and internationally relevant issues surrounding the representation of women. ADVOCARTSY’s founder and curator, Roshi Rahnama, is hopeful that the exhibition’s intent to encourage viewers to go beyond pre-conceived perceptions will help engender a new dialogue regarding the image of women in Iran and beyond.

Featured in this showcase are renowned photographers Shadi YousefianSepideh SalehiShadi Ghadirian, Gohar Dashti, and Tahmineh Monzavi.

Preview their featured works below:


SHADI YOUSEFIAN

is currently based in San Francisco. Yousefian’s mixed media work reflects and addresses issues that touch on universal themes such as loss, dislocation, alienation, and personal reinvention.

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Shadi Yousefian. Social Identity (2003). Photographic print mounted on wood panels. Image courtesy of the artist and ADVOCARTSY.

SEPIDEH SALEHI

is based in New York City and works in collages, paintings, printing, photography, and video animation. Her works revolve around the poetics of the veil, or chador, as well as stories from her country of origin.

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Sepideh Salehi. Mohr Portrait (2014). Photograph and frottage on Japanese paper. Image courtesy of the artist and ADVOCARTSY.

TAHMINEH MONZAVI

is a documentary photographer and filmmaker. Her body of work concentrates on social conflicts, contradictions and the young generation of Iran.

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Tahmineh Monzavi. Tina (2010-2012). Archival digital pigment print. Image courtesy of the artist, Robert Klein Gallery, and Azita Bina. 

SHADI GHADIRIAN

is a photographer residing in Tehran. You may have already seen Ghadirian’s sepia toned work in her series, Qajar.  Ghadirian’s imagery comments and portrays the contradictions between tradition and modernity for women living in Iran and dichotomies present in daily life.

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Shadi Ghadirian. From the series Be Colorful (2002). Image courtesy of the artist, Robert Klein Gallery and Azita Bina.

GOHAR DASHTI

mainly addresses social issues with particular references to history and culture through her photographs. Her practice continuously develops from life events and the connection between the personal and the universal, the political and the fantasized.

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Gohar Dashti. Odalisque (2014 – 2015), from the series Stateless. Image courtesy of the artist, Robert Klein Gallery and Azita Bina.

Art Brief III: The (Un)Draped Woman opens Thursday Feb. 9th at Arena 1 Gallery from 7pm to 10pm. ARENA 1 Gallery is located at 3026 Airport Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90405

Screen Printed Self Portraits of Photographer Zohra Opoku

Zohra Opoku is a German/Ghanaian multidisciplinary artist living and working in Accra.

With a keen and disciplined eye for textile and design, Opoku employees installation, sculpture, and photography at the helm of her practice. She conceptualizes West African traditions, spirituality, the thread of family lineage as they relate to self authorship and the politics of her hybrid identity.

A globalized social consumption and the commodification of all things African are a driving force in what Opoku sees as the nemesis of her thesis, and the relevance of cultural credentials within this state of being.

Have a look at her beautiful screen printed self portraits below:

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Zohra Opoku, Wisteria (2015).
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Zohra Opoku, Rhododendron (2015).
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Zohra Opoku, Pyracantha (2015).
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Zohra Opoku, Cyperus Papyrus, (2015).
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Zohra Opoku, Ficus Carica (2015).
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Zohra Opoku, Dicksonia Antarctica, (2015).

 

 

The Promise of Sublime Words by Ewa Doroszenko

Sent to us by Ewa Doroszenko, a visual artist based in Warsaw, Poland. Her project The Promise of Sublime Words started out as a means to show Ewa’s favorite statues she had learned about during her art history doctoral studies. Her time studying brought her face to face with many books on the Classical era’s sculptures.

Cutting out fragments of the images, Ewa incorporated platforms, and made small compositions of the elegant Greek gods. The ancient philosophers and leaders are treated like paper figures in Ewa’s distorted views.

Once Ewa finished her compositions, she would reshoot them and begin printing on a larger scale than the original to create a hybrid of photo sculpture works. Take a look below:

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For more images from this series, view The Promise of Sublime Words in its entirety here, and be sure to follow Ewa on Instagram.

Olga Wysopal

Sent to us by Olga Wysopal, a 25 year old student from Krakow, Poland.
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Olga best describes her work as a glance, a brief or hurried look, flash, or gleam of light.
Her personal search for harmony between light and place, light and people, dream and reality is the foundation of her photographs.