Motherhood & Pregnancy by Simone Steenberg

10.05.2020 | Art , Blog , Culture | BY:

When looking at motherhood and its lineage within the canon of art history, images of Madonna and Child are at the forefront. A prevalent symbol in Christian iconography, depictions were greatly diversified by Renaissance masters such as Leonardo Da Vinci and Caravaggio. Yet it was only in the last century that motherhood emerged from the skirts of the Madonna into a space of critical and conceptual practice. During the 1970s second-wave feminism nudged a more rigorous and expanded consideration of women’s issues into the arena. Take artist Mary Kelly’s Post Partum Document 1973 – 1979; a six-year documentation of Kelly’s relationship with her newborn son that includes drawings, annotations, and recorded conversations. 

Naturally, photography became a popular medium through which to depict motherhood and to reflect the fascination and controversy it attracts. Sally Mann’s Immediate Family series from 1992, capturing her naked and roaming free children highlights a departure from the stereotypical portrayal of motherhood that dominated contemporary visual culture. 

Like photography itself, the expectations and demands of motherhood are in flux; both subject and medium grapple for new meaning in a changing world. Simone Steenberg’s series Motherhood & Pregnancy explores just this, as she records the transformation that women experience on this journey. Capturing this transitory state of the female body is simultaneously an exploration of their strengths and vulnerabilities. 

Steenberg’s subjects are observed in varied guises. Some are adorned in flamboyant and playful outfits positioned in both assertive and contrived poses within the studio setting, some proudly nurse their new-born within the familiar domestic setting, while others are immersed in water, gracefully floating in what appears to be their natural habitat. Ultimately, Steenberg’s series showcases how women navigate an experience that is both collective and deeply personal. 

Using analog film cameras, Steenberg began documenting mother and child three years ago;

I’ve always been intrigued by the different states women go through, the physical and psychological transformations, and especially the different shapes of the female body. The women I photograph are a mixture of friends, women I cast through Instagram or women who contact me directly. I shoot everything with analog so it’s a very performative and intimate process. I love shooting outdoors in nature and I feel the pregnant body relates so beautifully to mother earth, its curves, and diverse landscapes. “

With a background in fashion photography, Steenberg was sensitive to the stereotypical image of the pregnant woman; 

Maternity/ Pregnancy shoots have always been done in a certain way, very polished and not hugely sensual or empowering. I want to produce images which challenge the norms and beauty ideals inherent in society, and where women have ownership of their bodies and are allowed or free to express pleasure and desires. I want to create a special experience, an exchange between me and my subject, where we reveal things about ourselves to each other. It is very much about intimacy and trust.

The dialogue Steenberg fosters with her subjects allows for images that present the reality of motherhood; beautiful, personal, raw – matter of fact; one of the main elements in this project is that everyone involved learns and grows from working together. 

The intimate bond between photographer and subject is reflected in her documentation of various mothers breastfeeding their children; a natural and universal exchange, yet one that has forever been tainted by cultural perceptions. Steenberg wishes to celebrate this intimate bond, yet without sentimentality; “I’ve done many images of women breastfeeding where I highlight their milk leaking. I want to open up a dialogue about this phenomenon, and also celebrate this state and the natural wetness created from women’s bodies.

Acknowledging that she has yet to experience motherhood, Steenberg draws on her fascination with the relationship between women and water. We observe it in the milk that oozes from her subject’s breasts and the mouths of the naked, heavily pregnant females surrounded by water reeds, or those who flow freely in the lakes near to her hometown in Copenhagen; 

I see water as reflective, always bouncing back and forward, like an exchange. I grew up in Copenhagen, surrounded by the ocean, and have always felt very close to the water. I am fascinated by the effect it has on us, which is why I believe it has become such an essential part of my photography. 

The mother has unprecedented visibility and influence in both our cultural and political spheres. As a result, our evolution into a technological dependent and consumer-driven planet has given rise to an obsession with social platforms that host a growing number of communities.

‘The Mummy Blogger’, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are vessels for celebrity bumps and babies; literature and film regularly take mothering as their main storyline; and in society, debates around women’s work-life balance and childcare are in regular political focus. Instead of fetishizing the mother, Steenberg offers a reflective and safe environment where her subjects are allowed to express their connections and experiences of motherhood. Steenberg’s images are consistent in that they always manage to convey the intense power and beauty inherent to mothering. Pain and happiness are paired with the exhaustion and vulnerability of motherhood; all of which must be acknowledged as part of this collective and deeply personal journey. 

Be sure to keep up with Simone’s journey and her latest series via instagram.

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“Inside Helmut Newton 100″ – A Digital Initiative

07.05.2020 | Art , Blog | BY:

Helmut Newton is known by many as one the most dexterous photographers of the 20th century. His notorious black and white work pushed the boundaries for fashion and fine-art photography, as he was one of the pioneers to explore themes such as sexuality and femininity within fashion.  The Newlands House Gallery was recently opened which is a space located in Petworth dedicated to contemporary art, photography and design. 

The space’s inaugural exhibition titled HELMUT NEWTON 100, which debuted in March was temporarily closed as a result of the current health crisis, but in response the gallery has introduced “Inside Helmut Newton 100.”

Curated by the gallery’s artistic director, auctioneer, art dealer and DJ Simon De Pury, the digital exhibition features a virtual tour of the exhibition which can be viewed via instagram and facebook as he takes the audience through the collection of iconic portraits, landscapes and fashion images, as well as glimpses of some never before seen artwork from the photographer.  The virtual initiative will also feature a section titled “friends of Helmut” which will engage some of the photographer’s friends such as Mary McCartney & Juergen Teller in discussion . Keep up with gallery’s digital endeavours by following Newlands.House.Gallery.

Jenny Capitain, Pension Dorian, Berlin, 1977’ by Helmut Newton
Neewlands House Gallery by Elizabeth Zeschin
Neewlands House Gallery by Elizabeth Zeschin

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Imagining the Self by Adaeze Ihebom

30.04.2020 | Art , Blog , Culture | BY:

London based, Italian-Nigerian photographer Adaeze Ihebom makes intimate self-portraits, turning the camera on herself to explore her identity, the lives of Igbo women and the power of the gaze. In her ongoing body of work Imagining the Self, Ihebom uses the camera to explore her duality as an Igbo and Italian woman. Creating a project on the self brings the viewer into intimate and private moments.  But, by being in control of the camera, Ihebom’s project is ultimately an act of empowerment as she retains control of her own narrative and the gaze. 

The title of the project, Imagining the Self, alludes to an element of performance. For Ihebom, these photographs are a mix of performance and reality. Through exploring her identity as an Igbo-Italian woman living and working in London, she is staging a conversation with herself. The series was created in response to an identity crisis that she experienced during her teens — when Ihebom had refused to let people take her photograph. ‘I had low self- esteem’, she recalls, ‘and, as a result, I have no pictures of my adolescence. Photography has helped me overcome that and portraying myself makes me feel empowered.’ She recreates some of these lost moments in the project and through this act, regains control over these periods of uncertainty. We see Ihebom in a number of intimate and private scenes. In one image, she is in the bath, looking directly at the camera. She is holding our gaze, as if she isn’t afraid to be seen in this way. In another, she is in her underwear looking in the mirror, a private moment we can all resonate with.  We also see her lying on a bed with the light streaming through the window. Was someone originally there with her to share this moment she is recreating?

Images of women are often subjected to the male gaze. By taking self-portraits, Ihebom is in total control of her image and can capture herself in authenticity. When it comes to others taking her photograph, she is aware that she ‘is losing that control’ which makes her uncomfortable: ’weirdly I am more at ease with photographers that I know or love because in a way I can sense that they can capture my true essence.’   

The process of making the image is as important to Ihebom as the final outcome. This is particularly visible in her project Igbo Woman in which she performs different fictional characters inspired by China Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart. In this series of self-portraits, she ‘traces the evolution of family identity from pre-colonial, through colonial and post-colonial times.’ Her clothing and pose are particularly important as each character represents women from different time periods. We see Ihebom dressed as Ezinma Okwonkwo who was born in 1900. Here, she is wearing a white head wrap, beads around her neck and stands bare footed, looking directly at the camera. In another, she is dressed as Reverand Sister Mary Uzoamaka Okwonkwo from 1930. She is wearing religious dress, looking down at the prayer beads in her hands. We then move through time to see Ihebom as women from 1950, 1960 and 1967. By the time we get to 1972, we see her as Alexandra Daberechi Okonkwo. Here, Ihebom is sitting on a high stool, sitting casually, her hair in an afro, wearing sunglasses and platform shoes. We move through 1981 and finally finish on Ihebom as Claudia Onyeka Okonkwo in 2015. Here she is wearing an off-the-shoulder dress and heels, holding a book and looking directly at us.  In this final image, she is representing the modern Igbo woman, giving them a voice and their own identity. 

‘I knew there was a need to represent them as there is an enormous lack of visual illustration and narrative. I feel that history has not portrayed the Igbo woman in her rightful perspective. She is customarily shown in images that correspond to a supposed African man’s world and the idea of feminine submissiveness to the man. The series is a way to challenge this mistaken notion and to show how colonialism has further removed feminine freedom from the Igbo woman. I want the spectators to question if these ideas have always been there or colonialism has planted that idea into us.’

Ihebom originally planned to shoot different women but realised that by using herself and becoming both the photographer and model, she could connect more closely with the characters.  Ihebom describes the image-making process as ‘really fun’ – she listened to music, danced and created a positive atmosphere. She meticulously planned each image, creating storyboards of each character she portrayed. When it came to actually taking the image, she removed herself from the world, turned off her phone and imagined herself in the lives of each individual. Through this perfectly staged act of self-portraiture, she reimagines the characters as real women, tracing them through time to give them their own story. Through turning the camera on herself, Ihebom brings us into her world, while also creating visibility for Igbo women who have historically been misrepresented and left out of the visual narrative. 

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The global drag community in quarantine captured by Damien Frost

28.04.2020 | Beauty , Blog , Culture , Fashion | BY:

Cover image: Left: Luke Harris, Right: Sakeema Peng Crook

Damien Frost is a London-based Australian-British art director / graphic designer who spends his time during the day working in the theatres of The Big Smoke and immerses himself to document the city’s alternative queer life by night. His latest project is an ode to social distancing as he uses his opportunity in isolation to portrait creative compositions featuring some of the world’s most dynamic drag queens. 

 “I began the Social distancing project when we first went into lockdown in March as I quickly realised i was going to miss capturing the ephemeral art of the people I normally document and not only did I want to find an excuse to keep using my camera but I also needed to focus on something to distract me a little from the unfolding drama and try and document it in some safe way.

Julius Reuben @luisbenlon

Around the same time that I began the project many people who work in the nightlife economy had their livelihoods and cash flow immediately cut off – there were parties due to happen that people were depending on to pay their rent and some of these people began to pivot towards creating online social content – doing smaller scale performances form their bedrooms or party organisers moved the parties to be Facebook live feeds where the do’s would still play and people would tune in, dance around their lounge rooms and still talk shit over drinks (or warm tea even) and collectively solve the worlds problems albeit via text chat rather than the smoking area of a club, and so I’ve been capturing people before they do a show or after they do a performance or makeup tutorial video and present these portraits in The Social Distancing project,” Frost commented.  

Chloe Doherty , @chlodoh

Each portrait from the series carefully captures each queen’s individual character in the comfort of their homes as they transform themselves for their respective performances which creates a raw outlook / performance out of the concept of social distancing in itself. 

“I find the term Social Distancing fascinating for it’s inherent oxymoron being social and distant at the same time and so this project is exploring that, how we are connecting with each other during this strange moment in time. I wanted to show the process also- the image quality of the photos is mostly terrible as it’s very dependent on both the video call connection, the camera the other person is using on the other end and the lighting they have available and then I’m just taking photos with my camera of a pixelated video feed on an old iPad but this poor quality is also partly the point – the technology we have is imperfect and nothing can replace the personal social experience but at the moment this is all we have and so we make-do.

At first I thought there wouldn’t be a lot of people doing transformative looks during this period but I’ve been surprised by just how many people are still practicing their craft – using this time to play with new ideas, engage with challenges with other artists and just keep ploughing on. Despite the fact that many people are in extremely precarious and difficult circumstances and often not knowing where they will get the money for the next rent payment people are trying to keep positive in the knowledge that we are all in this together and there’s a strong desire amongst everyone I talk to that hopefully we can all learn from this situation and we might come out of this situation more thoughtful about each other and the delicate balance of the world we live in.

Keep up with the artist and view the full version of the artists featured @damienfrost.

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Twin Magazine For NHS Fund – a print initiative

21.04.2020 | Art , Blog , Culture , Twin Life | BY:

Cover image by Yaniv Edry

In the light of the coronavirus health crisis, Twin Magazine has partnered up with a few of our contributing artists for the sale of 10 printed photographs in charity of the National Health Service (NHS) Fund. The initiative launched this morning, features 10 photographers including Benedict Brink, Ben Weller, Daisy Walker, Jo Metson Scott, Joyce NG, Julia Noni, Marianna Sanvito, Scott Trindle, Stefanie Moshammer & Yaniv Edry who have donated 1 image each for the project.

All prints have been framed and moulded from the highest quality real black wood and UV reflected as they have been carefully packaged by our handmade sponsor G.F Smith . The cost of each print ranges from £125 -£175 depending on it’s size. For more information on how to purchase directly , visit Twinfornhs.com

Image by Joyce NG
Image by Marianna Sanvito
Image by Julia Noni

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Artist Paul Mpagi Sepuya debuts new work

08.04.2020 | Art , Blog | BY:

New York based photographer Paul Mpagi Sepuya has recently published a body of working featuring the work a prominent up and coming NY based photographer. The artist is known for shooting studio photographs of friends, artists, collaborators and himself, exploring upon traditional portraiture through different manners by way of collage, layering, fragmentations, mirror imagery and the perspective of a Black queer gaze. In this series , the artist gives glimpses of the imperfect human elements of picture taking, including fingerprints, smudges and dust. 

“A reflection in a mirror is a perfect, depthless form, never as complex or shifting as the real body staring back at it. Sepuya chops up these reflections for us, refusing us neat or cohesive views. In his work, the mirror’s imperfection enables us to see the imperfections within ourselves, further refracted by our relationships with others.” – Evan Moffitt . 

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100 PHOTOGRAPHERS FOR BERGAMO Initiative

02.04.2020 | Art , Blog , Fashion | BY:

Cover Image by Mario Sorrenti

In the last few days many have been lending support to the Italian health system, which has been recently severely threatened by the Coronavirus outbreak.

A group of local photographers have also joined the efforts with the creation of an initiative in favour of the intensive care unit of the Papa Giovanni XXII Hospital of Bergamo,  which at the moment is one of the most affected hospitals.

The project was born following a testimony of one the hospital’s doctors, who told the fundraiser’s organizers about an extremely dramatic situation for which all possible help is seriously needed.

Rome, Italy by Alec Soth

100 PHOTOGRAPHERS FOR BERGAMO is a call to some of the most influential voices in the world of Italian fashion, art, architecture and portrait photography, an invitation to donate their images, which can be purchased at a cost of 100 EUR on https://perimetro.eu/100fotografiperbergamo 

The operation, coordinated by the community magazine Perimetro and the non-profit organization Liveinslums, initially involved some of the most important names in the contemporary Italian photography scene, who have generously intervened and immediately accepted the appeal of doctors and healthcare workers, battling on the frontline of the COVID-19 emergency.

Among these photographers are: Davide Monteleone, Alex Majoli, Oliviero Toscani, Michelangelo Di Battista, Toni Thorimbert, Giampaolo Sgura, Maurizio Galimberti.

The 100 photographers for Bergamo has already collected 350,000 euros in 5 days and today thanks to the help of the international network Linke Lab, other important international photographers will join the ranks, including Alec Soth, Susan Meiselas, Adam Bromberg, Ed Kashi, Christopher Morris, Ami Vitale, Pep Bonet, Michael Ackerman.

The funds will be entirely donated to the hospital to support the intensive care unit in the purchase of specialized technical equipment.

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Twin Flames by Justin Aversano – Documenting shared tulpae of genetics

16.03.2020 | Art , Blog , Culture | BY:

Cover image: Vera & Barbara Ann Duffy and Jimmy, Saoirse, and Albie

Over the period of a year and two months, New York based photographer and creative director Justin Aversano photographed 100 sets of Twins from all across the world which he has recently published in his latest hardcover photobook Twin Flames.

“I photographed 100 sets of twins, aiming to create a body of work focused on the existence of multiple births and the phenomena of twindom through an immersive portrait survey. Twins and multiple siblings provide a lens on the magic and causality of biology. In our everyday society, twins, triplets et al. have an assigned position within all current and historical cultures—a shared tulpa of genetics, fate and timing. Twindom has a deep root in shared storytelling, its visuals conjure metatextual manifestations across the astrological, the mythological, the academic and the popular, stringing together tangents of the everyday and simultaneously karmic,” explained Aversano.

Asha & Ayanna Diaz and Chris & Clayton Griggs

Bahareh & Farzaneh Safarani
Valeriia and Anna Lyshcenko

Each image was shot using three formats of film Polaroid, by focusing on the simple idea of seeking an “intentional phenomenology” by direct image making and facilitating a broad and reflexive photographic engagement that is about these unique individuals and their presence in a collective nature.

The full hardcover compilation of images Twin Flames is currently available for purchase online.

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To Survive On This Shore – A Compelling Visual Documentary of the Older Trans Community

13.03.2020 | Art , Blog , Culture | BY:

All images are Courtesy of the Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago

Cover Image: Hank, 76, and Samm, 67, North Little Rock, AR, 2015

Over the past five years photographer Jess T Dugan and social worker & professor Vanessa Fabbre traveled throughout the United States in documentation of the stories and imagery of transgender and gender nonconforming older adults in the country. Traveling from coast to coast , the duo sought out subjects whose experiences of life exist in the intersections of gender identity, age , race , ethnicity , sexuality, socioeconomic background &  geographic location. The result of their venture, a moving body of work giving voice & visibility to an underrepresented group of older individuals with a wide variety of narratives spanning throughout the last ninety years, offering a historical record of transgender experiences & activism in the USA in the form of a book and several exhibitions. 

“So many trans-related stories in the media are about people being murdered orare about discrimination of some kind. With this project, I wanted to create representations of many different ways of living and aging as a trans person. I also wanted to record the history of people who, in many cases, paved the road for the world we live in now. I worried their stories were at risk of being lost or forgotten, and I wanted to record and preserve them,” explained Jess T. Dungan.

“For me, part of the inspiration for this project also came from thinking about the limits of knowledge dissemination in the social sciences, especially in terms of our ability to engage in broader cultural forces and public discourse. I saw the potential to make an impact beyond academia by creating this project together, ” added professor Fabbre.

Each story, each image captured and included in the photo series, shines a brighter light on stories that have been long overlooked, and in many ways creates blooms of hope and validation for onlooking generations of trans individuals.

Dee Dee Ngozi, 55, Atlanta, GA, 2016

“This coming into my real, real fullness of knowing why I was different is because I was expressing my spirit to this world. And I didn’t know how God felt about it, but I believe in God and I have a deep spiritual background and I talk with the Holy Spirit constantly who’s taken me from the Lower West Side doing sex work to being at the White House.” – Dee Dee Ngozi .

Sky, 64, and Mike, 55, Palm Springs, CA, 2017

One of the hardest things in terms of transitioning was the difference in personal space. When I was perceived as female, there wasn’t a lot of touching. Women don’t get into each other’s space. When two women are attracted to each other they don’t immediately put their hands on the other woman’s body. It’s not considered appropriate. Whereas the way men cruise, there’s about two seconds of eye contact, and then an approach, and either hands on your chest or hands in your crotch or some other type of immediate physical contact.I started out with a lot of insecurity in terms of my body, insecure about myself, and it has taken time to build confidence.” – Mike

Duchess Milan, 69, Los Angeles, CA, 2017

“I just know I’m me. I don’t think in terms of names and forms and all that. It doesn’t matter.I’m just myself and that’s who I am.I am at peace with myself. It is the most wonderful feeling in the world because you’re never in a hurry to get somewhere, you know, to prove to anyone that you’re who you know you are. I know who I am, and what other people think about me is none of my business. So that’s who I am. I identify as the Duchess.

I knew that I might lose family, that people might reject me. But I weighed that, and I thought,“If I lose everything and everybody, but I keep me, that’s all that matters. That’s all that matters, because I’m not going to live a life that I’m not happy in, for other people.Why?It doesn’t make any sense.”So I put my money down and took my chances. My family accepted me. They came to accept me, and I’ve had kids around me, I’ve gone to all the weddings, all the funerals, and it’s a situation that everybody just thinks of me as who I am. It’s not even an issue anymore. “Oh, you mean her? Oh, that’s just Auntie.” – Duchess Milan

David, 63, Hull, MA, 2015

“When I was five years old,I found my older brother’s first communion suit. It was a very cool looking suit, white and double-breasted, and it fit me perfectly. I wouldn’t take it off.I wore it everyday. Day in and day out, until my parents got so tired of seeing it on me, they turned it into a Halloween costume as a way to get rid of it.When I was older,I played in this little rock band and one time whenI was over at my friend’s house I heard his mother mention a story about a person named Christine Jorgenson who had “changed sex.”I couldn’t keep my mind on practice after that!I wanted to find out more about this person, but you couldn’t Google it, of course, and so it took me months to find it. I was finally able to piece together that this was a person who knew their gender and went somewhere and there were people who could help.” – David

SueZie, 51, and Cheryl, 55, Valrico, FL, 2015

When we got married, I never imagined that someday my husband would become my wife,” Cheryle said. “Right from the start, SueZie confided that she identified as female on the inside, but transition never appeared to be an option. But, I never had a problem with her wearing lingerie. You know, it’s just clothes. I fell in love with the person inside, and what’s on the outside is more about what they feel comfortable with.”

For more information on the ongoing exhibition and book purchases visit To Survive on This Shore.

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BODY by Lotte Van Raalte – An Ode to The Female Body

10.03.2020 | Art , Blog | BY:

Post-production of all images by Dutch Retouch

Within the past 16 months photographer Lotte van Raalte shot 46 women age ranged from 13 to 46 in their most natural forms, which she has compiled into the launch of her first photo book entitled BODY.  The book is a visual documentary of the photographer’s encounters with these women and on a larger scale it is a celebration of individuality, life and the beauty found in both vulnerability and strength throughout the female body and experience. 

“With my photography, I’m always on a quest for candid in-between-moments. It takes genuine interest and care to capture people in their most authentic and free way of being. BODY originally started as research towards the female body. Each time I photographed someone, I was left fascinated, curious and inspired at the same time. I think my fascination with the female body comes from different angles: the fact that women are dominantly sexualised and unrealistically portrayed in the fashion, movie and music industry. The fact that the female body is the carrier of new life, and the tremendous impact that has. And last but not least, the fact that I’m a woman myself, ” the photographer commented. 

The book is currently available for purchase online and will soon see a launch event on the 26th of March Oaxaca Mexico at La Señora Gallery following the local launch event in London a few weeks ago. 

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Polar Night – a visual poem of Alaska’s changing snowscape by Mark Mahaney

04.12.2019 | Art , Blog | BY:

American photographer Mark Mahaney is one of the talented creatives who contributed to Twin Magazine’s latest print issue. His feature which included a short photo series in the issue is expounded in his recently published hardcover book entitled Polar Night. Mahaney creates a compilation of images documenting a passage through the rapidly changing landscape of Alaska’s northernmost town of Utiqiagvik. 

“It’s an exploration of prolonged darkness, told through the strange beauty of a snowscape cast in a two month shadow. The unnatural lights that flare in the sun’s absence and the shapes that emerge from the landscape are unexpectedly beautiful in their softness and harshness. It’s hard to see past the heavy gaze of climate change in an arctic town, though Polar Night is a visual poem about endurance isolation and survival, ” reads it’s foreword.  

Polar Night is now available for pre-order here, and will beginning shipping shortly. 

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Unsigned – a new zine curated by BBH dedicated to showcasing diverse undiscovered talents

04.12.2019 | Art , Blog , Fashion | BY:

Unsigned came to fruition by dint of strong will, creative vision and a desire to celebrate emerging talent in all its forms. 

Surrounded by creatives struggling to find sufficient avenues to showcase their work, Tom Burns felt inspired to provide an event that allowed just this. Working alongside Art Director Stephanie Flynn, Film producer Nnena Nwakodo and Strategist Sofia Bodger at the global advertising agency BBH – they saw an opportunity to do just this at the agency. Through its creative department UP @ BBH – the cultural heart of BBH, a curated programme of art, music, film, technology, talks and events – this team launched the first Unsigned in 2018. 

Twin spoke with the Unsigned team and a selection of artists included in the most recent issue of it’s zine to learn more about its journey towards democratising the creative industry. 

The idea itself was initially pitched as a talent fair to be hosted at BBH; The idea would be to invite a variety of artists into the agency to pitch up a space and showcase their work, with their books and prints on show for people to view. When the idea was given the go ahead, and the team established, they went on to develop the concept and see how it could be best placed within the industry.

 Unsigned grew out of their close and insightful collaboration. The team explains; 

“Our observation was that the advertising industry was losing relevance. In 1990, 31% of UK adults thought that the adverts were as good as the programme, in 2018 it dropped to a meagre 14% (TGI, 2018). One reason for this is that we too often resort to established talent over emerging talent. More so than ever before. Tighter deadlines and smaller budgets mean it’s easy to become complacent. To take the safe route. Brands are nervous and need to sell, which leads to producers and creatives alike defaulting to that ‘safe pair of hands’ talent rather than taking a risk.”

Unsigned was created as a tool to challenge perspectives within the agency, opening its eyes to the plethora of individuals working within the creative and cultural realms who may often be overlooked for commissioned work due to a lack of experience; Unsigned was an opportunity for us to observe the pool of fantastic, diverse makers surrounding us. 

Attending degree shows, using social media, call outs, word-of-mouth, and recommendations to source talent, the team explored every avenue in order to find and showcase raw, cutting edge and diverse content; 

“Over the months, the artists would be invited into the agency to meet and chat through their work. They’d often bring in a portfolio, or perhaps an iPad and go through their projects. It’s been an incredibly exciting experience meeting all these artists and has massively enhanced the team’s art buying knowledge. It’s also been an invaluable way to remain educated on current trends within the art world, and take note on some of the key narratives that lead their work.”

Speaking with photographers and visual storytellers Anett Pósalaki, Jonathan Wykes, Daniel Jackont and Domino Leaha from this year’s issue provides insight into the events success as offering visibility to emerging talent within the creative industry. 

Born in Hungary, Anett Pósalaki’s images are not replicas of a reality, not even composed alternative dimensions. Instead, they are lucky segments of life, where everything has found its perfect place. Pósalaki explains;

“these little details become a manifesto of quietness, leaving a sense of what life should be. My work is to show all the tranquility around me, around everyone. “

For Pósalaki, the zine gave her the opportunity to showcase her work to a new audience, offering up potential collaborations with designers and magazines. Similarly both Daniel Jackont and Domino Leah highlight the access that Unsigned provided for them as foreigners to London’s creative scene. 

Living and working in Tel Aviv, Burns came across the photographic work of Jackont through instagram; 

“Earlier this year, Tom discovered my work and invited me to join the Unsigned exhibition. The event’s concept gave me an opportunity to make acquaintance with new approaches and mix different styles of photography and visual arts. Presenting my work alongside brilliant artists and creators from all around the globe. Thanks to the exhibition, I was noticed and have been contacted with regards to inquiries and UK representation.”

Originating from a small village in Italy, Domino Leaha’s images are often intimate snapshots into the lives of her subjects; 

“I like to capture their vulnerability, without touching them. I think of them as delicate objects. They are precious to me. I want to see their scars I want to push their boundaries and see how far they will let go. I am interested in those boundaries that lie between strangers. There is an immense mystery in that space, it is a place where anything is possible. “

Describing herself as shy, Domino explains the importance of Unsigned to help elevate and promote her work; 

“I don’t like to share or advertise my work a lot so for me it was really a challenge to be able to do this and I felt great. Also the opportunity to be seen and that people can actually asked to work for them or share your work is amazing. “

Image by Jonathan Wykes

British photographer Jonathan Wykes draws inspiration from popular culture – with an interest in fashion and hair styling – fusing these elements together to present a fantasised version of his subjects. For Wykes, Unsigned was the first public showcasing of his works; 

“It introduced me to a community of other unrepresented artists out there, having the opportunity to be featured in an exhibition of upcoming talent has definitely been an exciting experience for me. The exposure from the show has been beneficial and I’m extremely grateful to Tom Burns and the rest of the team for recognising all of our work and for bringing us all together.”

Since 2018 the Unsigned zine has grown from featuring 31 artists across Film, Photography and Illustration to now include an additional total of 49. This year’s exhibition to celebrate its second issue attracted over 600 visitors, featuring 33 large scale prints and over 350 prints as well as 9 individual screenings for the directors, which included an installation by exciting up and coming filmmaker Starkie Reay. 2019 also featured a live performance from soul sister duo, The KTNA. The team itself expanded in its second year to accommodate its fine execution, with Beth Mechem, Thandi Mibre, Lauren Gillies and Angus Lees completing the Unsigned team. 

This BBH initiative will continue to bring underrepresented emerging talent to the fore, providing a platform for this work within the agency and the wider industry. Stay tuned for Unsigned’s 2020 plans, which Burns explains are to make it: … “bigger, better and even more collaborative. We want to push the creative potential, and make sure we are vigilant of being as inclusive to all different diversities along the way.”

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“The Mirrors Within” , by Bolade Banjo

03.12.2019 | Art , Blog , Fashion | BY:

Photographer Bolade Banjo recently announced the release of his photographic story “The Mirrors within” in the latest issue of i-D Magazine. The inspiration behind the series stemmed from the work of photographer Anna Puschel’s book Layer of Reality where she explores experiences with the concept of Synesthesia, which is the condition of connecting colours, emotions and memories. From this , the photographer took away the knowledge of how the tonality of colours hold connections to memory and inherit acts as an emotional factor of life. Which is how he began exploring the archive of his reportage shot in the past few years and was able to spot the moments which these patterns had manifested themselves and now had been evident as emotive inspirations for samples of his present day work.  

“I’ve come to understand reflection is a process that allows for personal expansion and greater awareness, something that has taken me some time to accept. Looking back at this rhythmic arrangement. I’m able to connect all these collected moments to navigate the ever-changing world, ” he explains. 

Throughout the series, Banjo takes his audience on a sensorial journey throughout the  concerning nature’s various channel of perceiving memory as he connects moments and images that from a wider view, acts almost as an visual auto-biography of his artistic journey. The full version of the story can be found in i-D Winter issue NO.358 – 2019. 

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“The Invisibles” by i-D & Jermaine Francis

17.10.2019 | Blog , Culture | BY:

Next week , photographer Jermaine Francis in collaboration with i-D will present an exhibition titled “The Invisibles.” The expo is a documentary of  London’s Homeless crisis through the photography of tents that serve as temporary homeless shelters around the city. 

Francis initially began shooting this project a few months ago and had the final project — The Invisibles featured in i-D’s most recent issue. 

“I didn’t enjoy making this project. About a year ago, I began noticing tents popping up around the urban landscape. I already knew that homelessness had increased and increased everywhere, not just in London — but the tents cemented it. Research from Shelter has revealed that there are about 300, 000 homeless people in the UK, an increase of 13, 000 in the past year alone . This means that one in every 200 people in Britain are homeless. If you add in those who are unrecorded, or sleeping two and three to one tent, that number is even higher. 

It felt strange seeing so many homeless people living in tents here in Britain; we’re the fifth largest economy in the world. This is a place that’s supposed to be able to help the most vulnerable in our society. I decided to document them,”  the photographer wrote in an article about the project. 

In addition to Jermaine’s photography, there exhibition will also include an auction of work from artists such as Robi Rodriguez, Lena C Emery, Mel Bles, Vinca Peters and others. All of whose proceeds from the draw will go towards supporting charities such as Shelter’s Home Team &  Family Support Service.

“The Invisibles” will take place on the 23rd of October at Protein Studios 31, from 6-9pm.

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Fashion Film Festival Milan presents edition NO.6

17.10.2019 | Art , Blog , Film | BY:

Cover Image: Still from Kenzo Memento by Thomas Traum

In a few weeks, the annual Fashion Film Festival Milano will present its sixth edition of screening since its establishment by Costanza Cavalli Etro five years ago. Set to take place from November 7th – 10th, at the Anteo Palazzo del Cinema, the festival will showcase a selection of 200 films from over 50 countries divided by curator Gloria Maria Cappelletti into categories under themes such as feminism, social diversity & inclusion, and environmental sustainability. 

From this selection of 200 films, the festival’s jury will be tasked to select winners for 16 categories including Best Fashion Film, Best Director, Best Green Fashion Film and the newly added category of Best New Italian Designer/Brand. The association has also partnered with Istituto Marangoni on The Gaze of The Future Fashion Film Contest, which will set an evening for the screening of films by emerging talents as well as a conversation, giving advice on pursuing a career in the industries as a young creative.

This year’s jury is lead by Giorgio Armani, and features fashion and art industry executives such as photographer Cass Bird; founder of Brazilian brand Osklen, Oskar Metsavaht; top model and human rights activist Waris Dirie; founder and creative director of Petronio Associates Ezra Petronio; actress, creator and producer Cristiana Captondi; Artistic Director of Pirelli HangarBicocca Vicente Todoli; Fashion Critic Angelo Flaccavento and Vogue Japan Editor-at-large Sissy Vian.  

Apart from the screening of films, additional festivities will also include conversations discussing topics such as Independent Publishing from a Female Point of View and issues surrounding female rights and female genital mutilation and a special screening of The Times of Bill Cunningham — a film directed by Mark Bozek honouring the memory of the later fashion photographer Bill Cunningham. The four day event will then conclude with the Italian premiere of Peter Lindbergh: Women’s Stories, a film directed by Jean-Michel Vecchiet documenting some of the works of the iconic fashion designer who recently passed away while some of his muses including Naomi Campbell, Astrid Lindbergh, and Helga Polzin discuss his legacy. For more information about the festival visit Fashion Film Festival Milano.

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Fragile Face Laid Flat: A coup for Matches Fashion as Venetia Scott turns the focus on her own photography work with gallery duo Sion & Moore

26.09.2019 | Art , Blog | BY:

What’s in a face? What expressions do they hold. What do they aim to reveal, and what do they choose to conceal to the viewer.

Venetia Scott, Fashion Director of Vogue whose own photography work spans over a decade, has put the spotlight on some of the most famous faces she has shot, cropping down the image, and spotlighting a tight frame on nothing above the crown and nothing below the neck.

The result? Mesmerising faces entrance and envelop the viewer, as we are caught in their beam. The graininess of the zoom only enhances a sense of retrograde nostalgia about the shots: are we looking back into something or forward?

Scott developed the idea for the work whilst blowing up parts of her images – she noticed that, whilst detail is lost in the zoom, a new quality arises – one that draws you in. The portraits are beautifully eerie, looking as if they might have been taken from missing person files. The face of each girl captivates the viewer but stops short of telling us everything we might want to know. 

The name of the exhibition came about after Venetia saw it written on the side of a packing crate in Paris. Is it a face of fragility or resilience? Is it a two dimensional shot or is the woman looking right back, while sealed in the frame?

With all the images being of faces made famous from fashion shows and magazines, notably many from Venetia’s intrepid career, we are also presented with faces some of us have grown up with and have shaped our ideas of beauty and grace. They are familiar, from Lindsey Wixon to Lineisy Montero Feliz, and yet we hardly know them at all. 

In conjunction with the brilliant Sion & Moore, whose duo of former photography agent Kim Sion and creative consultant Lucy Kumara Moore, director of Claire De Rouen Books, have launched quite the partnership in a contemporary gallery project, the exhibition also heralds a new movement coming into play in Matchesfashion. Exploring the overflow of fashion into other creative spheres, the exhibition hopefully signals many more photography expositions in the 5 Carlos place address. Matchesfashion, as ever, has the finger on the creative pulse, and by celebrating the arts in all its fascinations, they are opening their doors wide for a new stream of showcasing and celebration. 

Fragile Face Laid Flat runs until 28th September at Matchesfashion, 5 Carlos Place, Mayfair, London

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Alexander Binder lends “A Glimpse Into The Bardo”

14.05.2019 | Art , Blog | BY:

German photographer Alexander Binder has been known as a self taught photographer gifted with the abilities of taking his viewers on psychedelic trip into a universe full of contrasts, and oddities using his craft vintage lenses, prisms and optical toys. His work has been featured in several mainstream media outlets including Vice Sleek and even Twin’s 2011 issue.

In his work, Binder explores the blurred lines between the real and surreal, fiction and fantasy, but his latest work is a venture into what is known as the subconscious. Inspired by Sigmund Freud’s famous paperback “The Interpretation of Dreams,” Binder’s series entitled “A Glimpse Into The Bardo” explores the abstract and symbolic aspects of consciousness. In an effort to make this venture as accurate as possible, the photographer had to learn to suppress his conscious control over the photographic process and in aid of this he used pinhole lenses, double exposures and various filters which made it nearly impossible for him to predict the final result. For an even further “Glimpse Into The Bardo,” we sat down with the artist himself to discuss the process. 


What was it like suppressing your conscious instincts during the creation of this series? Were you ever tempted to check if everything was going well? 

Our brain is pretty creative in inventing excuses to exert conscious control over everything we do. Not to forget that we live in a time where “thinking”, “control” and “rational behavior” are highly valued competences. We monitor our health-status 24/7 via fitness-trackers and we love listening to people who explain our world in rational terms.

So actually it was difficult and I had to use several methods to trick myself. I guess it helped a lot that I have been working with self-made lenses, prisms and pinhole cameras for more than a decade because these tools make it almost impossible to predict the final results in detail.

Another way to limit my conscious thinking was a chaotic timing for the whole editing process. Some of the images were on my hard drives for more than three years before I even had a look at them – and some of the photos were made in less than three days.

How long did it take you to create the entire series?

Several years and I am still working on new images for this constantly evolving project.During the process I realized that this specific series maybe doesn’t need a real beginning or an end. I don’t want to sound too esoteric but it just “is”.

What from Sigmund Freud’s “The interpretation of dreams sparked this concept? 

There is actually one paragraph that caught my attention:

“The dream-content is (…) presented in hieroglyphics, whose symbols must be translated, one by one (…). It would of course, be incorrect to attempt to read these symbols in accordance with their values as pictures, instead of in accordance with their meaning as symbols.”

(Source: “The interpretation of dreams” 1913 / Chapter 6 “The Dream Work”)

This is exactly the way that I wanted to look at the photographs. There is nothing to understand about these images with your rational mind. They are abstract symbols that have to be interpreted step by step. Something like a Rorschach test that helps to assess an individual’s personality – or at least trigger some questions about yourself, your hopes, fears and desires.

Being inspired by Sigmund Freud’s “The interpretation of dreams , a book which speaks to the exploration of dreams as our “unconscious wishes,”  do you think the end result from this series may hold some personal underlying connotation to you as well?

Yes, I think so. When I look at the series today I see a deep, almost romantic wish for some kind of nature mysticism.

What’s your favourite image from the series? Why?

There is one image that stuck in my head and I don’t remember when or how I took the photo. It’s one of the most abstract images of the series and it has – at least for me – a very strong, symbolic quality.

Honestly I don’t even know whether I like it or not but it resonates with me on a very subtle level. It makes me think about much more than a blurry black-and-white photograph, a bright light or the vague depiction of a wing-like object. As Symbolist poet Mallarmé said it’s not about the thing, but the effect which it produces. (See Below)

What would you like viewers to take away from this series?

The series doesn’t have a single-minded message or narrative. It doesn’t help trying to “understand” these images in the classical sense, e.g. recognizing specific objects.

Like Freud said, these are more or less hieroglyphics. And everybody has to interpret them in his own way and look for a personal meaning. So the only thing that I wish viewers would do, is that they took their time and let the photos open the doors to their subconscious.

What are you up to next? Will you continue to explore the subconscious? 

The exploration of the subconscious is one of the key motivations and goes far beyond my photographic activities. There is so much to read, learn and also experience that one lifetime is not enough.

I just returned from Northern India where I had the chance to get a deeper understanding of Tibetan culture and especially the Tibetan art in its various forms – from mesmerizing Thangka paintings to otherworldly bronze statues. So there will definitely be a photo project not about, but heavily influenced by this journey.

Keep up with Alexander and his work at Alexander Binder or on instagram 

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Playing For Keeps: Molly Matalon & Caroline Tompkins – May 23rd – June 29th

06.05.2019 | Art , Blog , Culture | BY:

Later this month, creative studio Enlarge Your Memories, in partnership with Italian  lens-based bookstore Micacamera will open the doors to an exhibition entitled Playing for Keeps,  featuring the work of American photographers Molly Matalon and Caroline Tompkins.

This exhibition, set to open in the Micacamera space in Milan, will tell the tale of a contemporary woman’s viewpoint of romanticized America. With its infamous patriarchal history, the typical photography that addresses American ‘landscape’ has tendency to only display the postcard values of automobiles, family values and great outdoors.  However, in 2019, the idea of American lives have been expanded on by a wealth of cultural and artistic effort.

Throughout this exhibition Molly Matalon takes on a domestic point of view as she explores the narrative of the housewife. She explores the part of the typical housewife’s world not shown on camera. Portraits of home visitors, palpable sexual tension etc. With the compilation of images, she addresses the freedoms and power plays commonly associated with men in like-environment and in photography. On the other hand, Caroline Tompkins’ work embodies the female YOLO America. It displays a narrative of the fast life, climbing the highest trees, hiking the tallest mountains, getting too close to the fire.

Tompkins’ work denounces gender stereotypes and strives for a reclamation of the pseudo masculine American landscape as she schools her audience on how gratifying it is to live life with the wind blowing through one’s hair. In Playing For Keeps, the photographers explore and update the ideas of humour, sexuality, ownership and power play within today’s contemporary America. 

Image by Caroline Tompkins
Image by Molly Matalon

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Love Me by Stella Asia Consonni – April 25th

23.04.2019 | Art , Blog , Culture | BY:

This Thursday Italian photographer Stella Asia Consonni is set to open the doors to her solo exhibition entitled Love Me . The showcase, set to take place for one night at Protein Studios in Shoreditch, London, will feature a compilation of intimate images of with diverse couples as subjects.

The photographer first began shooting for the project a year ago, with the intention of creating an online photo series as a means of healing as she overcame her then-recent break-up. One of the images from the original series, featuring two men mid-kiss was uploaded by the photographer via instagram and was soon after deleted by the platform for “not following community guidelines.” Instagram later issued an apology and allowed the image to be re-uploaded but the second time around Consonni was met with homophobic comments and slurs in reaction to the image.

This was when she decided the best way to contest the homophobes and bigots was to create an entire exhibition in celebration of the many colours and forms of love. In addition to the photo series, the photographer will also debut a short film complementing the series by documenting short bits and pieces of these love stories. 

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Foam Talent Exhibition: May 15th

19.04.2019 | Art , Blog , Culture | BY:

For the third year in a row,  Amsterdam based international talent organisation Foam returns to Red Hook Labs in New York for their annual group exhibition Foam Talent. Set to debut on May 15, the exhibition will feature the work of twenty international photographers who were selected through the organisation’s annual talent call from a pool of 1853 creatives under the age of 35. 

The showcase will feature the works of these artists under several tabs of contemporary themes and topics such as social politics, nostalgia, night fall, homesickness and grief. A few of the names featured will include French duo Durimel,  Chinese photographer He Bo, Australian Sophie Gabrielle, Italian Salvatore Vitale, British Maisie Cousins, among others. For further info on how to cop tickets visit Foam

Cover image: “Untitled” from the series Worry for the Fruit the Birds Won’t Eat, 2018 by Sophie Gabrielle

“Kaelyn and the girls” from the series Frères dune île pas très proche, 2018 © Durimel
“Ants” from the series grass, peonies, bum, 2018 © Maisie Cousins
Model Angela and her personal story”, 2016, from the series Separation Anxiety, 2018- ongoing © Dima Komarov
“Untitled” from the series How to Secure a Country, 2015-2018 © Salvatore Vitale

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