5 Powerful Shots:
LensCulture New York

5 Powerful Shots:<br>LensCulture New York

Kriss Munsya. Stephanie O’Connor. Mackenzie Calle. These are the names of some of the most exciting and talented photographers of the current creative landscape, from Munsya’s vibrant and poignant series Genetic Bomb, shortlisted for the Aesthetica Art Prize, to O’Connor’s tender and detailed portraits, as well as Calle’s vital creative documentary work on the history of queer bodies in space. We’re delighted to see these names also included in LensCulture New York 2024 – a group show celebrating the richness and diversity of contemporary photography in many forms. Here, we look at the work of five highly talented luminaries who continue to push boundaries and redefine the possibilities of image-making today.

Kriss Munsya | Canada

Kriss Munsya is an image-based artist based in Canada. He is a 2023 LensCulture Emerging Award Winner and in 2024, was shortlisted for the Aesthetica Art Prize. Munsya born in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, and moved to Belgium at the age of two. Like many people who have experienced similar emigrations, he carries generational guilt and confusion. He asks: “How are we supposed to come together with our homeland? How can we embrace our roots and at the same time live in a system that is corrupting them?” Munsya’s work raises awareness about difficult topics including racism, colonialism and patriarchy.

Stephanie O’Connor | Germany

Stephanie O’Connor is a photographic artist from Tāmaki Makaurau, Aotearoa (New Zealand), currently based in Berlin, Germany. Her work uses the camera as a vehicle to rework memory through obsessive editing and grading. The images often work in the realm of the imagined site, exploring both reality and simulacrum. She extends these aims to a phenomenological level – exploring notions of belonging, imagination and remembrance. Her series Under the Weight of Flowers is about remembrance, drawing on the words of late poet and artist Etel Adnan and her longtime collaborator and poet Frances Libeau.

Alisa Martynova | Italy

Alisa Martynova (b. 1994) is a documentary photographer is based in Florence, Italy since 2015. Her series Nowhere Near speaks to the migration in Italy. Her work resists stereotyping migrants, and instead looks to the realities of migration – the perilous and difficult journey, as well as the necessity of moving. A 2016 study by the International Organization of Migrants pointed to insecurity, conflict, and discrimination as drivers, not solely economic and work reasons. In October 2020, the Italian government adopted a decree overturning many of the anti-immigration policies introduced by the previous interior minister.

Mackenzie Calle | United States

Mackenzie Calle is a documentary photographer from Southern California, currently based in Brooklyn. Her work blurs the lines between documentary and fiction by exploring forgotten histories. The Gay Space Agency, also longlisted for the 2024 Aesthetica Art Prize, uses surreal imagery and manipulated archival material to question what we hold true. Although 339 Americans have trained as NASA astronauts, none have flown into space as an openly LGBTQ+ person. Calle’s series confronts the American space programme’s exclusion of queer astronauts, with the hope of working towards an inclusive future.

Sarfo Emmanuel Annor | Ghana

Sarfo Emmanuel Annor (b. 2002) uses colour to share the stories and dreams of young people from Koforidua, Ghana. He uses his smartphone to revive the art of portraiture by capturing images of local young people. He remains drawn to the subject of African youth and its “power to shape the continent’s future,” crafting images bursting with potential. Moments from everyday life are heightened by glowing backgrounds, rendered in magenta, majorelle blue and scarlet. In his own words: “I use colour as a language for emotions. It acts as a colour therapy for myself and hopefully for my audience too.”

Lens Culture New York 2024 | 25 – 28 April


Image Credits:

© Alisa Martynova

© Kriss Munsya

© Stephanie O’Connor

© Mackenzie Calle

© Sarfo Emmanuel Annor