Image © Namsa Leuba.
Namsa Leuba has been selected as one of BJP's 20 photographers to watch in 2013
Author: British Journal of Photography
14 Jan 2013 Tags: Ones to watch
Namsa Leuba graduated from ECAL/University of Art and Design Lausanne last year and has already won the ECAL prize, the Elinchrom Prize, the Hyères PhotoGlobal Prize 2012, a three-month residency in Paris, a six-month residency in South Africa, and a commission from New York magazine. It’s an impressive list but her triumphs also show how one thing leads to another – Leuba won the ECAL, Elinchrom and Hyères prizes for her final project, Ya Kala Ben, and it was while at Hyères that she met Jody Quon, director of photography on New York magazine. She shot the commission, some of which is shown here, while on the Paris residency.
“I had the chance to meet Jody at Hyères [in April] and in August she contacted me to start a new fashion story,” says Leuba. “It was very exciting because I had the freedom to do what I wanted. At first, they sent me an idea about the clothes, then I sent them my opinion on how to find a good direction.”
Leuba’s mother is Guinean and Ya Kala Ben, which shows local people dressed to look like ritual statuettes, was shot in the Guinean city of Conakry. The images were not fashion shots, but something of their spirit lives on in Leuba’s fashion story on Fall’s Best Knits, which is also inspired by statuettes.
“There is another context, another meaning, in a fashion story,” says Leuba. “I always expose myself through the lens. I visualise a photo and get a full understanding of an image… I try to make sure the series is not boring.”
Image © Namsa Leuba.
Leuba worked on the shoot with Swiss stylist Celia Latangu, who she has worked with before and who has “the same mind” as her when they work together. Leuba had a clear idea of what she wanted to achieve, sketching out each image and choosing to work in the studio “so I could control everything and not be disturbing anyone”. Even so, her plans sometimes went awry and she experimented as she went along with different gels to give various lighting effects.
“I like to do fashion projects sometimes, but working in a fine art direction with a fashion aesthetic,” she says. “I try to do something fresh.”
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