While fashion tends to pay highest fidelity to aesthetics, at least one fashion photography festival seeks to focus on the common ground between ethics and aesthetics. Photo Vogue festival is in its sixth year, and the theme, Reframing History underscores “projects that have reclaimed an alternative, different way of telling a tale, from projects that reframes omitted, forgotten, and overlooked historical figures to the ones that reclaim an idea of beauty that has been diminished, stereotyped or exoticized.”
The show includes 35 artists who were selected from an applicant pool of some 25,000 images by an international jury with diverse perspectives and experience. Some of the jurors included cultural manager and director of the Contemporary Photography Contest of Mexico and Latin America Alfredo De Stefano Farías; curator at Barbican Art Gallery Alona Pardo; art historian, critic, and curator Christine Eyene; and Azu Nwagbogu, founder and director of the African Artists’ Foundation. These are just a few of nearly four dozen jurors who sifted through the open call submissions to create an impactful exhibition at the crossroads of ethics and high fashion. Launched in 2011 by Alessia Glaviano, PhotoVouge “has always been to champion talent, improve visual literacy, and shape a more just, ethical, and inclusive visual world,” according to a press release.
The international coterie of artists-participants presents voices and visions from Africa, Europe, the United States, South America, and Asia — all curated with a keen eye for aesthetic excellence to complement cultural authenticity and fair representation.
A special section of the exhibition titled 12 Chapters explores and expands Black creators’ take on the theme. This section features Akinola Davies Jr, Ashley Peña, Campbell Addy, Daniel Obasi, David Uzochukwu, Kennedi Carter, Lakin Ogunbanwo, Mary Sibende, Namsa Leuba, Omar Victor Diop, Stacey Gillian Abe, and Trevor Stuurman.
The full exhibition takes place at BASE Milano from November 18–21, with the program viewable online from November 18. The virtual exhibition will be supplemented by a live events program, including talks and portfolio reviews, which will appear online over the course of the festival. An accompanying program celebrates 10 years of PhotoVogue, with a video that features more than 500 of the most compelling photographs from a decade of publication on the platform — a pool that includes some 257,000 photographers and over 700,000 photographs from 210 countries. Following the site launch in 2011, the Photo Vogue Festival was created in 2016 in Milan to bring the community together and further the conversation around the promotion of creativity, diversity, and justice in image-making.
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To do so before they have returned the Maqdala treasures and the Benin Bronzes and the Easter Island statues and the Maori heads, before a coherent set of precepts for decolonization has been articulated, would affirm the wrong principle.
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