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.
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 that, Campa 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.”
“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.”
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.
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.”
“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.
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.
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.
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
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.”
Saye presented her final series Crowned, which 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.
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 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:
On 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.
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.
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.
is a documentary photographer and filmmaker. Her body of work concentrates on social conflicts, contradictions and the young generation of Iran.
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.
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.
— 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
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:
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:
For more images from this series, view The Promise of Sublime Words in its entirety here, and be sure to follow Ewa on Instagram.