The striking portraits of South African photographer and activist Zanele Muholi (previously) are easily recognizable. Shot in stark black-and-white, the images utilize heavy contrast and center on single subjects dressed in elaborate garments. These wearables are sculptural in construction and made from commonplace objects: clothespins are strung together as a necklace, dried grasses splay outward like the brim of a hat, and rolls of toilet paper cascade over a figure’s shoulders.
Muholi often works in self-portraiture and is known for photographing Black queer subjects as a way to explore the radical nature of identity and as a means of celebration and respect. “The work that I produce is meant to be for every person,” they say in an interview. “It could be a teacher. It could be a mother whose child is queer and wants to have a reference point to show their kids and say that you are not alone. And it could be for LGBTI people themselves to understand their worthiness.” Muholi views all of their works as collaborations with the sitters, who often gaze at the camera with direct, empowered expressions.
Many of the photos shown here are part of the group exhibition Dig Where You Stand, which is on view through October 9 at Savannah Centre for Contemporary Art in Tamale, Ghana. A project of African Artists’ Foundation, the group show engages with questions of decolonization and restitution and will travel to Lagos, Lusanga, and Lisbon in the coming months. Until then, find more from Muholi on Instagram.
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No matter the city, there are certain fixtures that are universal among urban settings: corner stores, infrastructure for public transit, pockets of green space, and of course, newsstands, which are the subject of a compelling series by Los Angeles-based photographer Trevor Traynor.
Traynor began capturing the small kiosks back in 2012, when he snapped his first image with his iPhone 4S. During the next seven years, he visited 20 cities around the globe—the list includes New York, Jersey City, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Barcelona, Lima, Cusco, Punta Arenas, Venice, Milan, Rome, Naples, Pozzuoli, Jerusalem, Dar Es Salaam, Tokyo, Kamakura, Cairo, and Marrakesh—and photographed the ubiquitous stands and their operators. Taken from the same angle, the images highlight both the similarities in construction of each space and the periodicals, advertisements, and snacks that vary by location.
Having wrapped up the series with 100 images, Traynor plans to compile all the works in a book slated for release next year. Until then, view the entire series on his site, and follow him on Instagram for updates. (via Present&Correct)
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An Arctic Ptarmigan Takes Flight in the 2022 Bird Photographer of the Year Competition’s Winning Capture
During the summer months, ptarmigans sport plumage of gray, brown, and black with white bellies and wings. Breeding in the high mountains where winter brings snow, the birds naturally camouflage by turning completely white. Norwegian photographer Erlend Haarberg’s capture of one of the upland game birds taking flight in the dramatic mountains of Tysfjorden won the grand prize in the 2022 Bird Photographer of the Year competition.
The world’s largest bird photography competition welcomed more than 22,000 submissions this year. Award-winning entries document the incredible diversity, habitats, and rituals of avian life around the world, from an elaborate mating displays to the range of landscapes they inhabit. This year’s contest raised more than £5,000 for Birds on the Brink, a charity that provides grants to smaller organizations working on conservation efforts. The top photos, which are now compiled in a book available in the competition’s shop, highlight a range of behavior and environments, from the first moments of flight to the keen wit and strength of urban dwellers.
The 2023 competition is now open and accepting entries from global bird photographers of all ages, and you can find more information on its website.
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Since its inception, photography has dominated the way we visually remember and describe the world around us and where we are within it. It has tapped into desire, joy, grief, and superstition, such as in the Victorian era, when some believed it could be a channel between people and spirits in the afterlife. In portraiture, photography immortalizes its subjects and has transformed artists’ ability to express themselves and tell stories. For Ethiopia-born, South Sudanese photographer Atong Atem, who is based in Melbourne, the medium enables a salient exploration of the African diaspora and migrant narratives by focusing on the relationship between figures and the interior spaces they inhabit.
Sometimes referred to as Naarm, Melbourne comprises the traditional lands of the Kulin Nation, itself a collective of five Aboriginal tribes. Paralleling her exploration of the nature of place, culture, and postcolonial narratives, Atem’s series of powerful self-portraits focus on how perceptions of identity are shaped through relationships between place, dress, and custom and the way they change over time or merge when people move. Occasionally referencing art history, such as “Blue Face” modeled after Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring” (c. 1665), her works also nod to groundbreaking 20th century photographers Malick Sidibe, Philip Kwame Apagya, and Seydou Keita, who expanded traditions of studio portraiture. In a similar spirit, Atem explores intersections between place, people, and time to create a visual representation of the connection to culture.
This year, the artist’s first book of photographs, titled Surat (Sudanese Arabic for “snapshots”), was commissioned by Photo Australia. The second edition is due to be published by Perimeter next month, and you can find more of the artist’s work on her website and Instagram. (via ART RUBY)
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Historic Photographs in ‘Love Immortal’ Celebrate the Timeless Relationship Between Dogs and Their People
After the first known photograph was taken in 1826 by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce from the upstairs window of his home in Burgundy, France, the world became enthralled by the newfound ability to capture their loved ones—and their furry friends—for posterity. Love Immortal, a new book by antique dealer and collector Anthony Cavo, underscores the timeless and universal recognition that, to many, dogs are a fundamental part of the family.
When he was seven years old, the author began trawling New York City neighborhoods with his red wagon on the hunt for treasures. A chip off the old block—his father was also an antique dealer—Cavo grew up with a deep-seated love and appreciation for vintage objects, especially photographs, and for more than fifty years, he has been compiling an incredible catalogue of images, including hundreds of portraits of dogs and their doting owners.
The new volume published by Harper Design features more than 200 photographs made between 1840 and 1930 that span the medium’s technological spectrum, from Daguerrotypes to Ambrotypes, tintypes to cartes de visite, to sepia and black-and-white images. Portraying beloved terriers, retrievers, or hounds as expressive and lively as if they could leap off the table, run out of the frame, or—doing what dogs do best—doze off at any moment. You can find a copy at Bookshop.org. (via PetaPixel)
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African Parks, a nonprofit focused on conservation and protecting endangered species, is behind several efforts to address the loss of biodiversity across the continent, and its latest initiative is to preserve 30 million hectares of parkland by 2030. Prints for Wildlife is supporting the effort through its annual fundraiser, which sells limited-edition works from more than 100 photographers around the globe. This year’s collection includes a diverse array of animals and environments, including multiple vulnerable or engaged species like the western lowland gorilla and polar bear.
Now in its third year, Prints for Wildlife has raised $1.75 million since it launched in 2020, and 100 percent of proceeds benefit African Parks. Shop the sale through September 25. (via Feature Shoot)
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Editor's Picks: Photography
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.