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Posts by: Yannis Guibinga

These Photos Challenge Representations of South America

Imagery has historically been the thing that has shaped our views of the world, and especially of the regions we could only imagine but would never get to. Famous photographs, postcards and illustrations of places influenced the way the rest of the world was thinking about and interacting with them. While certain places like Africa and the Middle East were depicted as underdeveloped and dangerous, others like South America were exoticized and almost fantasized about. In any case, these places, commonly located outside of what would be considered the “Western world”, were stereotyped and diminished to reductive caricatures and depictions.

Elsa Leydier is a photographer using her work to question the representation of South American territories, such as the Amazon forest, in media. It’s with vibrant and vivid colours that Elsa tells what she defines as “alternative and lesser known stories”. The careful deconstruction and reconstruction of existing images of these places, overlapped with images she took herself, is part of a process done by the fine art photographer to remind viewers that the way we see these images are visual representations created by a third party and therefore, not an accurate and real representation of the place itself. The result: ethereal, surrealist-looking and almost phantasmagoric images. Follow Leydier on Instagram for more. 

Electric Portraits Touch on the Nuances of the African Diaspora

Philadelphia-based photographer Shawn Theodore has had an incredibly inspiring and productive year– between a successful exhibition in Philadelphia last June titled Future Antebellum, a feature in Apple’s MacBook Pro commercial, and more. To sum it all up, Theodore has seen his work reach new heights, and deservingly so.

Known for his bold use of vibrant colors and clever shadow play, the Philadelphia artist is now taking his work to New York City in his very first solo museum exhibition titled Church of Broken Pieces, at the Richard Beavers Gallery in Brooklyn. Described by the artist as an “homage to an ever-changing, ever-moving diaspora of cosmic afropolitans who remain unfettered and unburdened,” this series is faithful to Theodore’s usual mastery of the light and contrast seen in the way he captures his black subjects.

A New Creative Collective for the Digital Age

Kinship © Benedict Adu / Sunday School

The rise of the digital age brought along with it a newer appreciation for photography, storytelling and other creative endeavors. Additionally, the growing presence of the Internet in most people’s daily lives has facilitated a new desire for them to create works and share them with others. Oftentimes, however, young creatives lack the skills or knowledge to accomplish what they truly intend to and what they initially imagined. In this current age ruled by a digital world in which sharing and creating has never been easier, collaboration and guidance are sometimes necessary. By providing a platform allowing creatives from different fields to create visually stimulating and inspiring visual stories, Josef Adamu’s Sunday School represents the creative hub par excellence and the future of visual collaboration in the digital age.

Modeling, creative direction, and styling among many other things are the areas in which the Toronto-based creative shine the most. Through Sunday School, a creative agency founded by Adamu last April 2017, the multi-hyphenated creative is able to use his many skills by collaborating with fellow creatives looking for a place to hone theirs. It is through photography, videography but also written content that Josef and the other members of the school aim to convert real-life stories into digital experiences.

The ‘Illegal’ Project Sheds Light on the LGBT Community of Nigeria

The new generations of African creatives have been able to offer a more authentic, accurate and multifaceted version of Africans who, despite their strong ties to their history and cultures, remain connected and in conversation with the rest of the globalized world.

While a lot of contemporary African photographers are driven by a need to move away from the stereotypes that have always existed in Africa since the “discovery” of the continent by European colonialists, a lot of the same photographers also have made it a point to also criticize the oppressive systems within their own communities. Corruption, political oppression, gendered violence and homophobia are things that African artists like Ousmane Sembene or Zanele Muholi have talked about through their work in the past, sometimes to the point of said work being banned due to controversy in their respective countries.

Today, more young artists aim to contribute in a similar way. Daniel Obasi is a young Nigerian artist who, despite still being early in his career, already has an impressive resume. He worked with some of Nigeria’s most talented and sought-after fashion designers (Orange Culture and Maxivive, just to name a few) and has been published in publications like Hunger Magazine. In an editorial he shot and styled for the African luxury retailer Oxosi, Obasi comments on the discrimination faced by the LGBT community in Nigeria and the policing of sexuality and identities in the country.

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