Inside the issue we look at the critically acclaimed The British Isles by Jamie Hawkesworth, which offers a portrait of Britain from 2007 through to 2020. The photographs, shot across those 13 years, capture the beauty and diversity of the UK. The title is highly relevant as the continued struggle for equality resonates now more than ever.
We then survey Richard Mosse’s new large-scale project, Tristes Tropiques, which maps the environmental destruction unfolding across Brazil’s “arc of fire.” The series is an example of what cartographer Denis Wood has termed “counter-mapping” – a form of resistance mapmaking that exposes endangered landscapes, depicting the extent of human activities that threaten our climate and ecosystems.
We also chat to Namsa Leuba, a Swiss-Guinean photographer and art director who focuses on African identity as seen through the western gaze, challenging the legacies of colonial perspectives. She notes: “I have always been characterised as the ‘Other’, whether I am too ‘African’ to be European, or too ‘European’ to be African.” Each image includes bold backgrounds, authentic props and original styling, exploring the various signs and symbols of mixed cultural heritages.
Meanwhile, the Santa Fe landscapes mixes contemporary modernism with adobe tradition. We consider its hybrid architecture, and decades of artistic inspiration, from Georgia O’Keeffe to James Turrell.
As part of Aesthetica’s ongoing collaboration with London College of Communication, University of the Arts London, we select 10 talented photographers who work with these challenging questions. This compelling selection of images focuses on aspects of privacy and intimacy, holding the viewer’s gaze through moments of intervention and interruption. We are invited into deeply personal spaces, and asked to consider the implication of our presence, whether we’re close up or far away.
In photography, Benoit Paillé, Karen Navarro, Massimo Colonna, Gerwyn Davies and Thandiwe Muriu push the boundaries of image-making through digital renders, camouflage and jigsaw portraiture. Finally, the last words come from Centre national de l’audiovisuel’s curator Daniela Del Fabbro on the ecological impact of agriculture.
Signs and Symbols: Issue 102 is available now. Subscribe & Save 40% + Free Tote Bag.
1. Model: @belengakuany. Makeup: Sinitta Akello @sinittaakello. Clothing: AAchera Atelier @a_achera. Photographer: Thandiwe Muriu @thandiwe_muriu.
2. Jamie Hawkesworth. Image from The British Isles (MACK, 2021). Courtesy of the artist and MACK.
3. Jamie Hawkesworth. Image from The British Isles (MACK, 2021). Courtesy of the artist and MACK.
4. Burnt Pantanal II, Tristes Tropiques. © Richard Mosse. Images courtesy of the artist, Jack Shainman Gallery and carlier | gebauer.
5. Namsa Leuba, Untitled IV, Cocktail (2011). Courtesy of the artist.
6. Namsa Leuba, L’Attraction (2019). Courtesy of the artist.
7. Stucco, glass, and stone residence by Studio Dubois. Santa Fe. Photo by Casey Dunn.
8. Karen Navarro, Subject #2 Variation 1 (2019). Archival Inkjet Print, 18 x 14 in.
9. Karen Navarro, Subject #3 Variation 1 (2019). Laser-cut embossed archival inkjet print,18 x 14 in.
10. Gerwyn Davies, Okinawa 1 (2018).