Photography at Hyères

Words by Lucy Staartjes and Katy Pang

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In the 32nd edition of the Hyères International Festival of Fashion and Photography, ten emerging photographers from countries including France, United States, South Africa, Sweden and Armenia among others, were shortlisted for three major prizes. The prestigious prizes include the Grand Prix Du Jury Photographie, Prix De La Photographie American Vintage and Prix Nature Morte.

The ten photography finalists at Hyères were each so special and interesting in their own unique way. We did not recognise a harmonious theme in the photography, but we did notice a reoccurring object of using the human body in their imagery. LCF MA student Lucy was lucky enough to find herself in conversation with a couple of the photographers, receiving insight into their images and the stories behind them.

Lucy Staartjes:  One particular photographer stood out to me and so I felt I had to have an in depth conversation with him about his work. His name was Themba Mbuyisa and he gave me a real contextualisation of his work about the South African culture and fashions. He used techniques like superimposing in some of his imagery to create multiple perspectives using the same model. What I found especially interesting about his work is how it really told a story about how the young generation were re-educating the elder generation on modern values. He has captured images of real life scenarios of elder generations being baptised by younger people and had these images framed next to the more staged and superimposed imagery. This amalgamation of images next to each other sent a very powerful message of change and identity in the South African culture.

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In addition, I had the privilege to speak with a couple of the photography jury members: super-model Edie Campbell and London fashion designer Molly Goddard. It was fascinating to get their opinions on their favourites and to hear about how they enjoyed their experience on the panel for the photography finalist competition.

Lucy’s personal favourites were:

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Nancy Newberry (UNITED STATES)

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Themba Mbyuisa (SOUTH AFRICA)

Katy’s personal favourites were:

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Nolwenn Brod (FRANCE)

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Luis Alberto Rodriguez (UNITED STATES/SWEDEN)

Unfortunately, we the LCF team did not get the opportunity to talk to any of the winners, but were delighted to see their work.

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Daragh Soden (IRELAND)

Irish photographer, Daragh Soden, was awarded the Grand Prize in the festival with the theme of “Young Dubliners”. With combining text and images, his work captures the anxiety and struggle to be a young Dubliners under a difficult economic situation. Soden’s series of photographs also reveal his own personal stories and experiences of growing up in Dublin.

The American Vintage Photography Prize as well as The Public and City of Hyeres Award went to Luis Alberto Rodriguez from United States/Sweden. Rodriguez leaves the audience with a strong impression, capturing distorted human form through motion. Before specialising in photography, Rodriguez’s profession as a dancer explained his fascination of archiving emotion through movement. He recalled that during the photo shoot, he gave direction to models on not only how to move, but how to activate materials.

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Luis Alberto Rodriguez (UNITED STATES/SWEDEN)

Another photographer to highlight is Roos Quakernaat from Netherlands, who won the Still Life Prize this year. The photographer questioned about the social standard of beauty with a series of women portrait.

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Roos Quakernaat (NETHERLANDS)

The high level of imagery and talent was a joy to witness and we look forward to seeing the unfolding bright careers of this creative generation.

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