These Photographers Are Ones to Watch, According to People in the Know

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Photography by Rhea Dillon, Courtesy of Red Hook Labs

As Red Hook Labs’ annual New Artists photography exhibition opens, we spotlight seven of the 25 exhibited image-makers and their captivating work, chosen for the show by a jury of fashion and photography industry leaders

Red Hook Labs in Brooklyn, New York, hosts an annual summer exhibition showcasing work by a group of emerging photographers. The 2019 edition of the show, New Artists III, opens tomorrow, and boasts work by 25 independent photographers selected by a jury of fashion and photography insiders, including Kim Jones of Dior Men’s, British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful, Chantal Webber of Webber Represents, Dazed’s arts and culture editor Ashleigh Kane, stylist Ib Kamara and Red Hook Labs co-founder Jimmy Moffat. Since its inception, Red Hook Labs has prioritised youth arts education and offered a platform for emerging artists, with New Artists III continuing in this spirit by channelling profits from print sales back into the organisation’s community projects.

As the exhibition opens in New York, we’re spotlighting seven of the 25 featured photographers.

Rhea Dillon

Rhea Dillon is a London-based visual artist – and currently still a student at Central Saint Martins – who recently found acclaim for short film The Name I Call Myself, a poignant portrait of Britain’s black LGBTQ+ community (previously, she debuted film Process with NOWNESS). With compelling references – which range from Audre Lorde’s Zami: A New Spelling of My Name to W.E.B. Du Bois’ theory of double consciousness – and a distinct style, which she deems “Humane Afrofuturism”, Dillon has proved herself as a creative force beyond her 23 years. On what inspires her, she told Dazed (where she is part of this year’s Dazed 100): “The power art can hold in changing society; the strength of blackness across history; and what it means to be a master.” 

Andrew Nuding

Ireland-born photographer Andrew Nuding has found recent success as a fashion photographer – he photographed the Simone Rocha x Moncler lookbook, alongside Dazed’s creative director Robbie Spencer – though Making Strange, a personal series taken in native country Ireland, saw him nominated for the prestigious Hyères Festival Grand Prix. Those photographs will feature as part of the Red Hook Labs exhibition: combining still lifes of discarded crisps, cider, McDonald’s bags and flowers with striking portraiture photographed among Ireland’s distant landscapes, the series takes its name from the Irish expression which means to act nervous or shy when encountering an unfamiliar situation. 

Kyle Weeks

Kyle Weeks began taking photographs as a teenage skater in Windhoek, Namibia, where he was born. Now, living and working in Amsterdam, the country of his birth remains central to his work: Palm Wine Collectors, his 2015 series taken in Namibia’s Kunene Region, documents the process of collecting the sap of makalani palm to make wine, and received a slew of awards (including ‘Single Image’ at the Magnum Photography Awards 2016). His tender portraits – most of which are shot in various countries on the African continent – seek to dismantle stereotypes: “my role as an African photographer of Western descent is to tell a positive story of the continent with as much clarity and conviction as possible,” he recently told Dazed (for their summer issue he photographed a story alongside hairstylist Jawara). At Red Hooks, he will show six portrayals of youth in Africa, taken during his travels between Cape Town, Accra, and Kinshasa.

Olya Oleinic

Moldova-born, Amsterdam-based photographer Olya Oleinic recently told Dazed that she likes “to play with the definition of truth within the photographic culture, and the possibilities of telling a story without a necessary notion of being an undetachable part of it”. Oleinic leaves her images open for interpretation, be they snapshots of a global roadtrip taken with fellow photographer Kyle Weeks for the decade anniversary of Raf Simon’s collaboration with Fred Perry or carefully composed and slightly surreal still lifes. While previous series saw the photographer engage with animation, vivid colour and visceral textures in her work, Oleinic’s more recent fashion, portrait and documentary photography takes on a quieter aesthetic (with computer-generated figures popping up subtly in black and white). The images she has submitted for New Artists III are from a number of different projects, but much of her photography stems from “simple observations” as she turns her lens to everyday life around her.

Whitten Sabbatini

Whitten Sabbatini’s publication, Another Day in Paradise, comprises images the photographer took on various trips to his home state of Mississippi from Chicago, where he is currently based. Lush landscapes and intimate portraits come together in the series of black and white images, which Sabbatini self-published last year. There is a similar laid-back familiarity to Another Day in Paradise as was seen in There’s Worse Things Than Being Alone, a 2014 series the photographer created while at university in Memphis that garnered acclaim.

Daragh Soden

Since winning the Grand Prix at 2017’s Hyères International Festival of Fashion and Photography with his series Young Dubliners, Daragh Soden has taken his camera all over the world – from France and Ghana to Peckham and back to Ireland – creating documentary and portrait photography. The Irish photographer’s most recent publication, In the Heart of Darkness, revisits Ghana’s Volta region, where he captured some of the first images he ever made, he says, while teaching in a primary school six years ago. The trip was punctuated by the unexpected death of one of the school students, and Soden has created a tribute to the young boy, Nelson, for In the Heart of Darkness. Last year Soden went back to Ghana to create a series of sun-drenched, emotive photographs, which feature in the Red Hook Labs show. 

Luther Konadu

Luther Konadu was born in Ontario, Canada to Ghanaian parents, and continues to work in the country as a writer, image-maker and editor, running online publication Public Parking. His medium is portraiture – he invites friends, and friends of friends, to sit for him, and can occasionally be glanced in mirrored backdrops – though the resulting work is less easily defined: his photographs might be photocopied or collaged, or attached together with shards of tape or coloured Post-It notes (sometimes, they will even appear in another photograph, held as printed images in a subject’s hand). His work is enjoying growing success: he has been commissioned by the New Yorker, and has won various prizes – recently, the New Generation Photography Award from the National Gallery of Canada – cementing Konadu as a young creative to watch. 

New Artists III is at Red Hook Labs, New York, from July 11 – 28, 2019.