Aesthetica Magazine Issue 115

October / November 2023

What’s an idea and where does it come from? We all know there’s a lot of noise in society right now, and sometimes it’s hard to find the time to think beyond the moment. The biggest challenge I have is figuring out how can I carve out space to muse. There always seems to be something urgent to do. I talk about the human story a lot and I have visited many palaeolithic sites – places that were inhabited by people 35,000 years ago. It’s extraordinary to learn from the drawings they left behind. But there’s one thing that I do know, an idea leads to another, and another, and another. Fast-forward to present-day and here we are in a world that is defined by innovation. This issue of Aesthetica is a love letter to ideation.

Inside this edition we speak with Iwan Baan about his genre-defining architecture photography and new show opening at Vitra Design Museum. You’ll know his images, they document the growth of global megacities and showcase buildings by today’s most known architects including Herzog & de Meuron, Rem Koolhaas and Zaha Hadid. Elsewhere, we look at Micaiah Carter’s new book. He has become known over the past decade for capturing youth culture and street style. His works are authentic, delicate, stylised and have come to define a new era in contemporary portraiture. Next, we are pleased to catch up with an Aesthetica Art Prize alumnus, Ellie Davies, who has recently launched a new series that fuses imagination and environmentalism. Lastly, we chat with Tamara Dean about play and expression. In photography, we explore the boundless possibilities in image-making with Anna Laure Étienne, Elsa Bleda, Justin Bettman, Laura Stevens and Simon Norfolk, alongside our cover photographer Fares Micue. Finally, Viviane Sassen’s Last Words are about her retrospective at Maison Européenne de la Photographie.

Cherie Federico

Quiet Moment

Laura Stevens crafts quiet, filmic portraits and landscapes that ripple with emotions. There’s a palpable sense of an intimate story unfolding.

Nostalgic Portraiture

Beauty. Fashion. Lifestyle. New York-based artist Micaiah Carter has a singular creative vision. It is rooted in core values of empathy and connection.

Building the Picture

The story of architecture in photography is being written. Vitra Design Museum foregrounds what’s next through the lens of one key image-maker.

Objects in Focus

Justin Bettman’s colourful and retro still life images feature nostalgic Polaroid cameras, analogue alarm clocks and walkie talkies.

Seasons of Change

Simon Norfolk follows Afghanistan’s central highlands across the four seasons, watching summertime bleed into autumn and winter.

Surreal Expression

Feathers, leaves, balloons, paper cranes and butterflies. Fares Micue returns to Aesthetica with her joyous, inspiring self-portrait series.

Free to Improvise

For French photographer Anne-Laure Étienne, taking pictures is as much about shooting as it is about freedom, movement and performance.

Stepping into Nature

Themes of empowerment, authenticity and play are central to Tamara Dean’s practice. Her works explore human connection with the landscape.

Storm on the Horizon

Elsa Bleda turns her gaze skywards, picturing lightning as it strikes tumultuous clouds. The images are made at midnight in South Africa.

Magic in Wilderness

Photographer Ellie Davies revels in feelings of mystery provided by forests, using the lens to address climate issues in the UK and beyond.