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Behind the Scenes at Foam Talent

During a private tour at Red Hook Labs, Aperture Members learned about the up-and-coming photographers taking the field by storm.

On March 24, Aperture Members met at Red Hook Labs for a private tour of the annual Foam Talent exhibition, hosted by the Amsterdam-based, international photography museum. Since 2007, Foam has organized a yearly scout for “exceptional talent,” which includes a traveling exhibition, a dedicated magazine issue, and the possibility of entering the Deutsche Börse collection. The call has, in artistic deputy director Marcel Feil’s words, a very simple premise: “If you are a photographer and you think you have talent, let us know, share your work!”

Feil began by presenting the organization’s vocation of being an “open house for photographers and photography.” Feil stressed that Foam’s foremost concern is to display a range of work covering diverse subjects, areas, and styles so as to better grasp the state of photography today. After describing the process of narrowing down the submissions, Feil presented each of the featured artists. Some photographers are absolute newcomers, such as Weronika Gęsicka, whose playful and surreal collages comment on the constructed role-playing in the television-mediated image of suburban baby boomer lives, and Wang Nan, who photographs her young pupils’ uncanny imagination as a means of helping them unleash their potential in a repressive school system.

Others, like Vasantha Yogananthan and Erik Madigan Heck, have enjoyed online and festival attention. Yogananthan’s ambitious project A Myth of Two Souls (2013–ongoing) reinterprets the epic poem The Ramayana’s prevalence in contemporary Indian culture, while Heck’s futuristic and minimalistic fashion images explore ideas of beauty in an industry both influenced and burdened by art history. Feil provided insightful keys for engaging with the projects. Despite the intention not to constrain the exhibition to a particular genre, Feil noted a tendency among some of these emerging photographers to channel our society’s topical concerns in an almost activist way.

At the end of the tour, each Aperture Member received a copy of the current issue of Foam. Participants asked questions and talked about the work they’d had the chance to discover with Feil, in a convivial atmosphere.

The Photographers Selected for Foam Talent 2018:
Sushant Chhabria (India), David De Beyter (France), Mark Dorf (USA), Alinka Echeverría (Mexico/UK), Weronika Gęsicka (Poland), Wang Juyan (China), Thomas Kuijpers (The Netherlands), Quentin Lacombe (France), Clément Lambelet (Switzerland), Namsa Leuba (Switzerland/Guinea), Erik Madigan Heck (USA), Alix Marie (France), Martin Errichiello and Filippo Menichetti (Italy), Wang Nan (China), Kai Oh (South Korea), Viacheslav Poliakov (Ukraine), Ben Schonberger (USA), Sadegh Souri (Iran), Harit Srikhao (Thailand), and Vasantha Yogananthan (France).

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Aperture Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that relies on the generosity of individuals for support of its publications, exhibitions, and public and educational programming.

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