Aesthetica Magazine Issue 102

August / September 2021

The pace at which technology continues to develop amazes me. I have recently come across digital fashion, for example. In its simplest terms, it basically means owning a “digital wardrobe” to dress your virtual self or avatar. It’s hard to believe that the idea of truly existing in an online format is at the cusp of becoming a reality. The metaverse is expanding everyday. It’s incredible how these virtual experiences, environments and assets developed so quickly during the online shift, as a result of the pandemic and its various lockdowns. I believe that these things are here to stay. But I like real life so much.

Inside this 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. I predict that this publication will endure as a time capsule of early 21st century life. Meanwhile, we chat to Namsa Leuba about her vivid images that explore the distinction between “looking” and “seeing” in an in-depth interview about her dual heritage and artistic practice.

We then survey Richard Mosse’s new large-scale project, Tristes Tropiques, which maps the environ- mental 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.

I am also thrilled to bring you 2021’s Next Generation of photographers in partnership with London College of Communication, as well as series from Benoit Paillé, Karen Navarro, Massimo Colonna, Gerwyn Davies and our cover photographer Thandiwe Muriu. Finally, the last words come from Centre national de l’audiovisuel’s curator Daniela Del Fabbro on the ecological impact of agriculture.

Cultural Iconography

Namsa Leuba is a Swiss-Guinean photographer and art director who focuses on African identity as seen through the western gaze.

Disparate Geographies

Massimo Colonna is an Italian photographer, post-producer and retoucher who invents spaces that play with a sense of reality.

Piecing it Together

Karen Navarro calls upon photography, collage and sculpture to investigate the concepts of race, gender and belonging, and how they converge.

Playful Camouflage

Gerwyn Davies is an Australian photographer who makes images that empower and conceal, combining hand-made costumes and edits.

Mapping the Climate

Richard Mosse uses new imaging methods to recontextualise ecological catastrophe. His latest project looks at destruction in the Amazon.

Hybrid Architecture

Santa Fe is a creative hotbed, mixing contemporary modernism with adobe tradition, recalibrating connections to the landscape.

Complex Narratives

Photographs relay information for the viewer, but what happens to the truth in the process? 10 new photographers work with these questions.

Across the Nation

Hawkesworth’s latest project, shot over 13 years, offers a glimpse of Britain and its diversity, a celebration of photography without borders.

Modes of Fabrication

Artists have long sought inspiration in found photos. We consider the ethical implications of collage in an age of visual abundance.

Shooting Hyperreality

Benoit Paillé’s hyperreal image series demonstrates how photography doesn’t, in fact, capture reality, but is an active creator of reality.

A Fresh Perspective

Thandiwe Muriu’s has been widely lauded for her distinctive style: clean, crisp and elegant, demonstrating the skill and vision of a rising star.