It’s an understatement to say that it’s an exciting time to be an image-maker. As more and more people use photography to express themselves on social media, we’re seeing a huge resurgence of innovation in the art form. Tons of young artists with diverse viewpoints are making work about issues that are close to them, and reaching audiences who appreciate their stories.
As a photo editor and artist myself, this is thrilling to see. But this proliferation of images can also make it difficult to cut through the noise—to find a distinct style that will make your work stand out. When emerging photographers ask me how to achieve that, I always begin with one guiding question: What story is yours to tell?
New Visions, a new exhibition I had the pleasure of curating in collaboration with Fotografiska New York, features 14 young photographers from all over the world whose work answers that question with exciting clarity. Whether it’s Texas Isaiah’s intimate images of fellow Black transmasculine people, or Cristina Bartley Dominguez’s photographic negotiations between her Mexican heritage and American upbringing, each portfolio is an example of an artist making the medium more honest. In turn, that honesty offers audiences new, authentic ways of seeing the world.
Along with Texas Isaiah and Bartley-Dominguez, New Visions includes Eui-Jip Hwang, June Canedo, Laurence Philoméne, Luis Alberto Rodriguez, Matthew Morrocco, Noma Osula, Sasha Phyars-Burgess, Silvia Grav, Stefanie Moshammer, Tamara Abdul Hadi, Yuan Yao, and Zhongjia Sun. Their work is on view at Fotografiska New York, a brand-new Manhattan outpost of the Swedish photo museum known for its highly immersive exhibitions, through June 28.
But the exhibition doesn’t end there. Throughout my years at VICE, photography—often showcased in the pages of our print magazine alongside some of our best storytelling—was always not only about artistry, but about the conversations it started. With New Visions, we wanted to share some of those conversations. So, we paired each artist in the show with one of our favorite, fresh voices in culture writing today.
Given the photos as an open-ended prompt, the 14 writers—including poets, essayists, critics, and journalists—collectively produced a series of essays, articles, and interviews that focus on not just the photos, but the actual feelings they inspire. Kristin Yoonsoo Kim wrote about the way the work made her feel about her mom; Zoé Samudzi reflected on the Victorian family portrait as a tool of colonialism; and Rahel Aima explained why we should all care about the unexpected creativity found in Palestinian barbershops.