Aesthetica Magazine Issue 99

February / March 2021

Have you ever had a song stuck in your head for days, weeks, even months? Throughout this time period there have been a few that have stuck with me, In My Life by The Beatles, Sinnerman by Nina Simone and Take Me Home, Country Roads by John Denver. All of these songs must be 50+ years old, but they resonate with me, perhaps because they are all about memories, time and place.

We’re coming up to one year living in a pandemic. The global experiences of Covid are near immeasurable. For those of us who have never had the virus, or those who have had it and recovered, there must be a moment of reflection to appreciate just how very lucky we are. To all the families grieving for lost loved ones: I can’t even begin to understand your pain. For all the people who have been affected by loss of work, or for businesses that have had to close down: I am so genuinely sorry.

This life-changing virus has altered everything about the way we live and interact, think and engage. I am a glass-half-full kind of person; I guess I was born that way. I know that our lives will be marked by this forever, but when we come out the other side, we will be stronger and more resilient. This issue features the work of several pioneers, innovators and trailblazers. We speak with Gulnara Samoilova about Women Street Photographers, a new book published by Prestel. We start off by looking at the canon of street photographers and notice how women are missing from this list, or those only added posthumously. Samoilova is using social media to propagate a new narrative.

We also look at Fotoclubismo: Brazilian Modernist Photography, 1946–1964, opening at MoMA in New York. It is the first major exhibition of its kind outside of Brazil, looking at São Paulo’s Foto-Cine Clube Bandeirante. Yet again, this show asks us to question the canon and really probe who is included and why. We are also fortunate to feature inspiring photographers exploring isolation, identity and the future. The Last Words go to Anna Dannemann about the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize.

Moments of Uneasiness

Brooke DiDonato’s work sits within a contemporary reading of The Uncanny in photography, making unsettling and alluring images.

Updating the Records

MoMA dismantles the narrative of photographic history, focusing on an understudied chapter from the heart of São Paulo in the mid-20th century.

Concealed Topographies

Auckland sits on an active volcanic field; ancient networks have been formed by lava. Chirag Jindal’s images examine these hidden landscapes.

Under Moonlight

The moon has been a consistent source of wonder for humanity. Alexis Pichot’s spectral images revel in a sense of stillness, with milk-white rockfaces.

Evocative Storytelling

“Even if I had the means, I would still shoot on iPhone.” Malick Kebe is one of Abidjan’s rising talents, with a strong understanding of colour.

Images with Intent

Evan Sheehan’s work is at once spontaneous and choreographed – calling upon eye-popping primary colours and dynamic environments.

Visual Harmony

Barcelona-based Salva López loves architecture. His images provide a personal take on recognisable buildings, published by gestalten.

Building Communities

Beazley Designs of the Year’s groundbreaking projects show how architects are approaches the world’s major social and environmental issues.

Laying the Foundations

Gulnara Samoilova is determined to spotlight women photographers, from IG to the gallery, and now, with a groundbreaking publication.

Playful Variations

Parisian photographer Laura Bonnefous makes experiments – where colour can be a source of abstraction, inspiration and calm simultaneously.