Project Shortlist 11.24.14: Zachary Rosen

Project Shortlists share recommended portfolios, sites and projects. A recommendation does not mean more than that - just a recommended look. These shortlists are archived on the site links page.

Today's guest for Project Shortlist is Zachary Rosen.

Zachary Rosen is a writer/photographer based in Washington DC. He is a frequent contributor to the website Africa Is a Country and recently co-organized the Ba re e ne re Literature Festival in Lesotho.

Through his writing and images, Rosen seeks to awaken public consciousness about the subtleties of visual representation.

Nataly Castaño helped organize this post.

Here is a list of ten exciting African photographers working today:

© Sipho Gongxeka

Sipho Gongxeka's Township Youth Portraits
Young South African photographer Sipho Gongxeka documents the creative flair of the township with his portraits, capturing the style, energy and relationships of contemporary urban youth. A graduate of the Market Photo Workshop, Gongxeka was a 2013 Tierney Fellow and has been mentored by the photographer Pieter Hugo.

© Michael Tsegaye

Interview with Michael Tsegaye
I appreciate the way Ethiopian photographer Michael Tesgaye rejects labels with his images. He is unconcerned with stereotypical portrayals of "Africa" and instead documents social phenomena in Ethiopia in order to understand them better, taking on issues of death, prostitution and urban life. Tesgaye's images have been shown in Paris, New York, Oslo and Bamako.

Afrikan Boy, 2013 from the series "My Rockstars" © Hassan Hajjaj

Hassan Hajjaj's "Rockstars"
It's amazing how Moroccan image-maker Hassan Hajjaj has added life to the studio portrait by incorporating bright colors not only into the image's visual content, but into the actual frame as well. He photographs friends and artists that he respects with an ongoing series he calls "My Rockstars," creating playful works that incorporate items of popular culture and the bright textiles found in many African styles of dress.

© Namsa Leuba

Namsa Leuba: Guinean-Swiss Fashion Remix
I find Namsa Leuba one of the most exciting photographers working in fashion today. With Swiss and Guinean roots, Leuba has crafted her own style that creatively blends a West African aesthetic with traditional studio photography. Leuba is a master of remixing unexpected textures, patterns, objects and colors into gorgeous images with vanguard style.

Breakfast at Onomo’s, 2013 from the series "ONOMOllywood Series" © Antoine Tempé

A Senegalese take on Hollywood
A collaboration between Senegalese photographer Omar Victor Diop and Dakar-based French photographer Antoine Tempé, the series ONOMOllywood integrates African actors into images of popular Western cinema, taking on The MatrixPyschoBreakfast at Tiffany's and American Beauty. The point, Diop says, is not to take "revenge" on Hollywood, rather it’s to demonstrate that with a great story and characters, the actors can look like anyone.

From the series "Black History March" ©Anthony Bila

Recreating Vintage South African Images
Johannesburg-based photographer Anthony Bila worked with the fashion collective Love is African to create a photo series called "Black History March" that emulates vintage South African photography in look and feel.  With their simulated dust and scratches, these stunning images appear timeless. Not usually a fan of heavy digital manipulation, but this series is quite well executed.

© Mehdi Sefrioui

Fashion Photography goes Infrared
Mehdi Sefrioui, a Paris-based Morrocan photographer, has allowed the fashion world to see portraits in a new light. Inspired by the designers unafraid to use dark-skin models, he photographed a fashion collection with pink-hued infrared aesthetic that he called Infro.

Jun. 19, 2013. Payer time at Eko Akete Grammar school, Lagos Island, Nigeria
© Andrew Esiebo

Everyday Nigeria on Instagram with Andrew Esiebo
A huge number of African photographers are making their mark on Instagram these days including Andrew Esiebo, based in Lagos. Through his elegantly composed street scenes, Esiebo demonstrates the wonders of the decisive moment in everyday Nigerian life.

Thobe and Phila I, 2012 © Zanele Muholi

Queer identity in South Africa
Zanele Muholi documents the tenderness and trials of same-sex relationships in South Africa. Though constitutionally legal, these relationships are not always socially accepted. Muholi’s work responds by brilliantly capturing the intimacy, strength and struggle of these individuals and their community.

© Lakin Ogunbanwo

Breaking the Nigerian Fashion Mold with Lakin Ogunbanwo
Nigerian photographer Lakin Ogunbanwo has shown himself to be a master of light and form with his high contrast fashion images. He boldly breaks the conservative Nigerian aesthetic mold with his explicit presentation of male and female bodies, skin powdered, splattered, shimmering and glowing.