The premise for the initial photocall took inspiration from an old African proverb that says, “Until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.” This edition of the festival seeks to give a platform to the lions. One of the lions in question is Leonard Suryajaya. As a queer Buddhist immigrant now settled in Chicago, Leonard has experienced the juxtaposition of many different cultures, as well as the tensions between them. He explores these themes through meticulously staged photographs made up of vivid and often clashing patterns, occasionally incorporating his family into the works as further subjects. This culture clash that can be seen in his works perfectly aligns with the exhibition’s aim of defying conventional narratives.
Another artist whose work will be on display is Dimakatso Mathopa. Her work resists aesthetic convention not only thematically, but also in a physical sense. As a South African, Mathopa questions and subverts the colonial gaze and fights against the hegemony of its depictions of Black women. As well as this, Mathopa employs the Cyanotype process to develop her photos, which had previously been approaching obsolescence. This method produces stunning monochrome blue photographs and gives the images a truly ethereal quality.
A collection from Swiss-Guinean photographer Namsa Leuba will also be on display. In an interview with METAL from when she released a previous photoset, Leuba characterised her work as “documentary fiction impregnated by an aesthetic of fashion and performance;” these slightly surreal shots are just as visually loud as that description suggests.
The aforementioned artists offer just a glimpse of a tantalising array of forty-seven photographers, whose works sadly cannot all be fitted within the framework of this article. However, from November 18, they will be available in all their glory as one grand show. PhotoVogue Festival has now undeniably cemented itself as a landmark fixture in the calendar of world photography. So, whether one sees it in person or online, this is a show not to be missed.