A chat with Ming Smith – the photographer whose work is soft, intimate & bathed in community through its documentation of the black American experience.

22.07.2020 | Art , Blog , Culture | BY:

Cover image: America Seen Through Stars and Stripes, New York City, NewYork Painted, 1976, by Ming Smith

Ming Smith, not necessarily a name widely known in photography, was the first Black woman to have her photographic work accepted into the Museum of Modern Art, in 1975.

The only female member of the Kamoinge Collective, and a dedicated image maker to capturing the humanity for the Black Experience, Ming Smith’s imagery and life trajectory is due a mighty relook. Currently staging an online exhibition of a selection of Smith’s work, from her image of Grace Jones as a Ballerina, to the playwright August Wilson, Pippy Houldsworth Gallery has moved the exhibition online through Vortic

We caught up with the photographer from her apartment in New York. 

How did you first get into photography?

I borrowed my mother’s camera on my first day of school in kindergarten and I took photographs of some of my school mates. The class was predominantly white, and we were about 10% of the class. I had a lot of friends and classmates that I took photographs of. 

Did you feel looking back that there was a central focus for your photographs?

It was just a natural thing. My father was a photographer. He was a hobbyist but he was really artistic: he drew, painted, did films and things like that. However he worked 12 hours a day as a pharmacist, so he didn’t do photography a lot, however I think it then became for me a natural thing to do. 

You trained to be a doctor initially, and then you decided to focus on a career in photography. 

My grandfather would always say that he wanted me to be a doctor. I liked that because he taught bible school, and my grandmother was helping all the neighbours, so I felt that being a doctor was a way of helping people. I know that might sound pretty naive but that was what I wanted to do. I did volunteer work at the children’s hospital when I was young. I saw a lot of pain around me, so I wanted to help.  Being a doctor was a way of trying to help. Then I read something about artists, and they were talking about the system and how your work could help humanity, and you work could be outside of the system, instead focusing and turning ideas into something that would be healing. 

Child Porter, Abidjan, Ivory Coast, 1972 by Ming Smith

There is such a sense of intimacy and connectivity about your images. How do you capture that? What do you look for in your subject matter? 

Well there are stereotypes of the Black community, but there is so much love in the community, from people who were making and doing the best spiritually or going to church. There was just this stereotype of Black people, you know, and I never saw those types of images with the love and the empathy and the humanity with the people that were around me in my community.

You have become renowned for your portraiture for Black cultural figures and icons What did you hope to profess or present in these images of these icons?

I hope that other young people or students will find inspiration in what they are teaching: the struggles and what they went through to get to where we are now. For example, August Wilson, I went to Pittsburgh and photographed his hometown and economically depressed neighbourhoods and shot some of the places he talked about in his plays. He documented the comic and the tragic aspects of the African American experience in the 20th Century. The characters in Pittsburgh were the same characters that I knew in Ohio where I grew up, or Detroit, where I was born. 

Lou Drapper’s Pick, 1973 by Ming Smith

What would you say the main challenges you have faced in your career?

I would say being taken seriously. I am a better photographer than a talker. I am quiet, and I like that with photography you can be by yourself, you don’t have to talk. Being shy, photography was a way of me being in it but out of it at the same time. If you are a quiet person it’s harder to take you seriously.

I went to a gallery seeking representation, and the gallerist didn’t hardly even look at my photographs; it was very disappointing. Just like “ok, thank you”. Just total dismissal.

Did you have a lot of other female counterparts and friends that were experiencing the same in the art industry or the creative industry?

I am sure there was, and I’m sure there is, but I have really continued to be a loner and doing photography was almost like a friend or a companion and was how I spent my time. Being a photographer was a way of expressing yourself and going through your own challenges, and needs, and so I spent my time not really talking to anyone else. 

Ethiopian Crew, 1973 by Ming Smith

What was New York like when you arrived? What were you focussing your photography on?

When I got to New York I was photographing but I came for money, and one of the first jobs I had was as a model. It was like 100 dollars an hour: an Ohio pharmacist back then was making 100 dollars a week. 

Someone told me ‘you should be a model’, and so I tried it for a bit. When I first met Grace Jones, she was an aspiring model also. 

You were part of the Kamoinge Workshop: did you feel like things changed then, that you were a part of a group of like-minded individuals?

Going to the meetings, I was first introduced to photography as an art form. Prior to this I had not committed myself to being an artist.  I didn’t think of myself as a photographer as I was still studying pre-med curriculum. So when I came to Kamoinge, I had first heard about the collective on an assignment, where a photographer was talking about whether photography was an art form. I was invited into Kamoinge by Lou Draper, who also printed for Eugene Smith. He used to tell me stories about Lorraine Hansberry, who I loved. that was when I first learned about the goal of Kamoinge: to own and interpret our own images. Roy Decarava was one of the founders of Kamoinge, which came out of the Black Arts Movement, where they started plays, and there were writers, musicians, painters, artists. That is where I learnt about lighting. I remember one member saying that his neighbourhood grew up in Harlem, and that all the young men that he grew up with were all dead. That opened my eyes to the politics. 

Oolong’s Nightmare,Save The Children (for Marvin Gaye), New York City, New York 1979 by Ming Smith

Tell us about your experience of fashion photography.

In New York I never knew about fashion photographers and advertising: it was a completely new world. I had a chance to go into both of those worlds, as I was modelling. I met people like James Moore who was a beauty photographer, or Arthur Elgort or Deborah Turberville, who I loved. She photographed my lips for a Bloomingdales bag! She did fine art photography besides that; I really liked her. I lived in the Village, so I knew Lisette Model, and I would go eat at this little dinner, the Waverley – the cheapest diner! You could buy a meal for five dollars there, and that was where Lisette Model would eat too! She would tell me stories about Diane Arbus, and she would call her Dion. For the longest time, I didn’t realise she was talking about Diane Arbus as she called her Dion!

You documented some of the greatest spokespeople of the African American experience. 

August Wilson really told our stories through his plays: the comic and the tragic of the African American experience. That is what connected me to him, to go to Pittsburgh and photograph him. Eugene Smith did a famous series on Pittsburgh, but the African American experience wasn’t documented. This is another aspect of my work. We also have Katherine Dunham. She was an anthropologist, choreographer, writer. She was an activist as well: she wouldn’t perform in places unless they de-segregated the audiences. There is always a struggle, that is extremely distressing of the black American community. They simplified the experiences of the black community in the 20th Century. Katherine went to Haiti and Africa and notarised the dance technique. When she won the Kennedy award, she talked about how hip hop came out of her technique, meaning the isolations and different notations of moves and contractions and release. Now we have dance, twerk, afro-latin, west African, Haitian, rumba, Caribbean, west African beats. We have had all these different classes come out of the diaspora. That is what Katherine Dunham did. 

Flying High, Coney Island, 1976, by Ming Smith

How do you get inspired?

I follow mainly instincts and my heart about things. I hope to say these things in my work: that is the intention. 

Would you say your photography is driven by intuition?

Definitely. Intuition, which is also very spiritual. It is like there is a spirit that speaks within me, and I go with that. I trust that more than I trust my brain. 

What changes do you see in the photography industry now? 

There is a lot more inclusion, and participation. There are different avenues for photographers – there are now young black American fashion photographers, and I think a lot of the hip hop generation are participating in that inclusion, you can go into documentaries, they work with the NYT. I think this is not only in America, but globally. 

Beauty, Coney Island, 1976 by Ming Smith

Do you think there are still many racial obstacles that need to be overcome in the art industry?

I think of course, but I am in the middle of it, and sometimes it is harder to see, but of course I think there has been many steps in the right direction. Dr Deborah Willis, she started doing books on black images, she started this in publishing and the School – she has made a life of that. I remember she came to Kamoinge to do a book. It wasn’t easy for her to receive support so I think that we have a voice now greater than before and it is growing. People are conscious of it, and they are trying to make it right, or more honest: the documentation of us, including us. Not just the stereotypes. More human.

Do you see more women photographers being showcased?

Most definitely, but I also think that there is more of an option. Before, it was a question of what could you even do with photography! Photographers and artists now, there are different avenues and you can earn a living from it! I see this more and more. Before, what could you do with it, how could you earn a living? Now, photographers both men and women are like ‘oh I could do photography, portraiture.’ 

There wasn’t any kind of show, exhibitions, talks, creating a book… there wasn’t those options. You did it out of pure love in the beginning. You did photography as an art form.

Self Portrait Nursing (Total), 1986 by Ming Smith

Do you still photograph regularly?

Yes I do! The main obstacle with that is everything is digital now. I am doing a book at the moment for Aperture, and so taking it from film to digitising it, to having to re-edit everything over again… it’s a lot! I need a lot of help with the translating of it. 

What do you hope viewers take away from your works?

I think just the personal struggles, the empathy or the humanity or the altruism or just being supportive. Maybe the humanity, and that being exposed to the people I have photographed, they will know what to do. It was like when I heard my first August Wilson play, or the drum, and I went and took my first dance class and the teacher told me he was a Katherine Dunham dancer. People will get what they get from my photography: hopefully an experience that will inspire them in some kind of way. 

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Atomic Punk by Berber Theunissen

20.07.2020 | Art , Blog | BY:

Images courtesy of Berber Theunissen

Dutch photographer Berber Theunissen’s project Atomic Punk offers a rare and intimate perspective on the North American road trip. Having experienced an unexpected pregnancy, a miscarriage, a marriage and a honeymoon, Theunissen and her partner took to the road to “capture the moments, emotions and memories in which these intense situations were revolving around [her].”

Theunissen addresses personal experiences in this body of work. Women often carry the burden of miscarriages – they are rarely spoken about in public or in the media, and women feel bound by the ‘13 week rule’ leaving many people isolated and alone. Atomic Punk captures this period of isolation and anxiety through the lens of the classic North American road trip. Theunissen’s work is often based on things that affect her personally: “things that I love, but things that make me feel vulnerable.” In one image, we see Theunissen slumped over a chair in her underwear. An intimate scene full of raw emotion, one that could only be captured behind closed doors. 

I could never have imagined the possible impact of a miscarriage until I’d experienced it myself. One out of four women will experience a miscarriage in their life, and there is still a big taboo on the subject. So yes I’m also sharing my story so that you’re not alone, and that you are allowed to feel whatever it is you feel. 

The project is full of contradictions. It is on one hand a cathartic journey to process feelings of loss. And on the other hand, a time for celebration. Wide expansive landscapes, stretching across California, contradict with private scenes in motel rooms. As Theunissen has said, “It’s all about the vibes and the mood. I think the landscapes and the portraits reinforce each other. They enhance the emotion of the story.” The camera gives Theunissen a sense of security, allowing her to “observe [her] life in a more objective way,” and so photographing these moments was the obvious reaction for her.  There is a disconnect between taking images during a moment of intimacy and then publishing them after for the world to see, this takes courage as emotions are laid bare. Theunissen and her partner have a coping mechanism for this, a way of protecting themselves: “some photographs are just for us and some will be published. Sometimes it takes a while before we share the photo, when the quiet has returned.”

In another image, Theunissen and her partner are on a bed, light streaming through the window, but neither of them are looking at the camera. We wonder what has just been said, what is going to be said and by who? Sometimes these are recreations of events that have already happened, but most of the time, Theunissen is capturing it as it happens. “Before I was a mother and there was no toddler with chubby grasping hands, my camera was almost always on standby on a tripod.” This reveals how a project like this can exist, how the camera can become the third member, recording moments of intimacy, tension and vulnerability. 

The romance of the North American road trip has lured photographers for years, inspired by some of the greats like Robert Frank and Stephen Shore. But these experiences are usually seen through the eyes of male photographers. The intimate approach to Atomic Punk, that explores intimacy, loss and love, shines a new angle on this type of photography. The motel rooms become places of privacy, the roads places for discussion and healing. Theunissen’s images provide a glimpse into a moment in time, allowing the camera to record and save the journey, and while it is a personal story, it has resonance for other people going through similar experiences. And as always, a Californian road trip provides a fitting backdrop for a cathartic journey to unfold. 

Prints of the series are available to buy at Open Doors Gallery in London

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Looking Through Lockdown with Jessica Madavo

16.07.2020 | Art , Blog | BY:

All images courtesy of Jessica Madava

Exploring the self during London’s lockdown, photographer Jessica Madavo took the time she found herself immersed in to turn her photography on her own form. Being granted this time to explore her own representation, Jessica shared her images captured and spoke to us about her own motivations and artistic drive.  

Tell us a little about your book you have just created

Its a book full of self portraits I took during lockdown. 

What compelled you to create this book?

I’ve been alone during lockdown, and that that meant no people around me to shoot. I then started experimenting more with different ways I could capture myself and really loved the process. I did find it strange to begin with, as I don’t see as being in front of the camera. 

How did you get into photography?

I moved from Johannesburg when I was 15 years old, five years ago and had the most amazing photography teacher Mr Wallace. He really encouraged me to spend as much time taking analogue photographs, building small light box cameras and working on the images in the darkroom and it kind of kept on going from there. 

What subjects and themes do you explore in your photography?

I’m super interested in people, and faces specifically. It’s interesting to me, how I am able to convey how that person is making me feel in an image and that’s the collaboration that keeps me going. 

What power has photography proved in the last few months for you?

Photography really has become a tool for me to look at the world, and in a sense respond visually to issues I see as important. That, and really just being able to almost have a document for each of the periods in my life. 

What photographers have you taken inspiration from?

I always find this a hard question because I have a lot of love and appreciation for a few photographers, for a lot of different reasons. Someone who jumps to mind immediately because of his dreamy use of light is Paolo Roversi, while Leo Colombo’s colour images constantly catch my eye. Other favourites are include Malick Sidibé, and probably Vivanne Sassen. 

What inspires you in a broader sense?

Since leaving South Africa, I’ve really loved relearning parts about my heritage that I pervious hadn’t really thought about. Music too is something that I truly love. 

What is on your horizon?

I’m still studying, so I’m hoping to go back to university in October, but apart from that I’m just collaborating as much as possible and keeping an open mind to my work. 

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GUCCI x Bruce Gilden Beaten & Blown by the Wind

11.07.2020 | Art , Blog , Fashion | BY:

Gucci’s latest venture is a limited edition hardcover art book shot in Rome by photographer Bruce Gilden and entitled “Beaten & Blown by The Wind”. The book features a portfolio of street portraits and imagery of the house’s pre-fall 2020 collection with faces like advocate Bethann Hardison, Singer Achille Lauro and actress/model Benedetta Barzini. 

“I have never made a book in this way before, which I viewed as a photographic challenge, and the end result is a creative collaboration with Alessandro Michele. Having Rome as the backdrop was great, the city really inspires me—the beauty of the architecture and its age and watching how the Roman people move around their unique surroundings, as well as discovering the statues in the park high above Rome that mix with beautiful clouds, and the panorama of the city below… it all lent itself for some good pictures,” explained photographer Bruce Gilden.

The images are all featured in black and white and give insight into the city of Rome and all its wonders through Gilden’s lens. It is presented in a format that takes inspiration from vintage tomes with a luxurious feel that create an interesting contrast with the earthy reality of its contents. ‘Beaten & Blown by the Wind’ is currently distributed by IDEA Books and will also be available at Gucci Garden in Florence and the Gucci Wooster Bookstore in New York.

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“My Queer Blackness, My Black Queerness” – The Project / Fundraiser highlighting the beauty of Black Queerness

24.06.2020 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

Cover image: Black Dolls by Campbell Addy & William Ndatira

“My Queer Blackness, My Black Queerness” is an ongoing digital initiative launched by Twin’s online editor Jordan Anderson as a celebration and exploration of black queer identity. “It is a protest , a celebration that frames blackness as a polyphony, a genre or melody with a vast variety of notes & textures, denouncing both white queer racism and black queer antagonism by way art , film and literature.” The initative launched yesterday is an initiative that holds 3 aspects, the primary being a limited edition  print sale / fundraiser featuring the works of 12 photographers Tim Walker, Campbell Addy, Michael Bailey Gates, Sackitey Tesa, Hao Zeng, Daniel Obasi, Florian Joahn, Kennedi Carter, David Uzochukwu, Emmanuel Sanchez-Monsalve, Justin French & Myles Loftin who have given their interpretations of black queer identity through imagery — 100% of proceeds of which will be split between two charities centred around Black Trans Lives. The second aspect of the is a weekly updated journal, shot by photographer Damien Frost, who documents and trans / non binary people of colour from all around the world as the site provides a virtual space for them to exist and be celebrated in all their glory.

The latter aspect of the project , is a weekly film screening of filmmaker the late Marlon Riggs’ films who document the history of the Black Queer Identity within American society. The project will run for three weeks and will carry weekly updates and reminders on the MQBMBQ instagram . To discover more information, visit MQBMBQ.COM  

Gully Queens by Tim Walker

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The Earth Issue’s Freedom Fundraiser – Round 2

09.06.2020 | Art , Blog , Fashion | BY:

Cover image : Lauren Mary Fan Gerstel – Bus Driver, 2017

Last week The Earth Issue — a collective of artists and creative professionals working at the convergence of fine art and environmentalism — launched the first instalment of their Freedom Fundraiser. The initiative entails a print sale put together to raise funds for bail contributions and to support organisations fighting for social justice in response to recent events in America regarding the murder of George Floyd and the great movement which has followed. The Earth Issue has taken this opportunity to stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement by donating to the cause. The first wave from last week featured the work of over 80 artists and photographers from around the world , and has managed to raise over £70,000 in 3 days  100% of which will be donated. 

Markn , Joseph Siblings, 2020

“I was feeling really upset about what was going on and just feeling kind of helpless as a white person , so I wanted to make sure that I contribute, so I decided to start this print fundraiser and initially reached out to all of my contacts to try and see if I could get anyone to donate, and in a few hours we thankfully managed to put together over 90 artists. My entire team, which is a collective of people from different origins and backgrounds came together  and pulled on their respective resources and got it done in about 20 hours , which I’m really grateful for, ”explained Elena Cremona, The Earth Issue Founder,  Creative Director & Print Media Coordinator 

The collective now gears up for their second wave of the initiative to be launched tomorrow morning, where another round of limited edition prints will be put on sale including artists and photographers such as Chieska Fortune Smith, Johanna Tagada-Hofbeck , Edwin Antonio, Olivia Rose, Harley Weir,  Justin Tyler Close among many others. A 100% of the proceeds after printing and shipping raised  from this wave will be split amongst the organisations on Bail Funds: George Floyd and the 4Front Project. 

“ We want to thank the artists who donated their work to this initiative , and of course everyone who contributed by purchasing prints. We are overwhelmed by your quick and generous response — the power of the global and creative community to rally together and support community struggle in a time of need has been truly heartening.” 

To keep up with the launch of the The Earth Issue Freedom Fundraiser’s second wave , visit TheEarthIssueFreedomFundraiser.com

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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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