At the 31st edition of the festival, the shortlist focuses on image-makers presenting a new vocabulary, says the festival's photography director
“It’s a good one!” says Raphaëlle Stopin of this year’s photography shortlist for the Hyères International Festival of Fashion and Photography – the 31st edition of the festival, and the fourth she’s looked after as the sole photography art director. The shortlist of 10 emerging photographers includes two from countries that have never reached the final before – Vendula Knopova from the Czech Republic and Sasha Kurmaz from Ukraine. Stopin is very glad to have the Eastern Europeans on board, and very happy to have such “a good mix”.
As the festival’s full name suggests it is closely associated with fashion, running a prize for emerging fashion designers and sponsored by companies such as Chanel, LVMH and Chloé. But the photography award has long danced to a different beat, shortlisting interesting photographers whatever their focus, and recognising image-makers such as Jessica Eaton, Anouk Kruithof and Thomas Mailaender long before they hit the big time. This year, the full shortlist is: Anaïs Boileau; Jojakim Cortis & Adrian Sonderegger; Maja Daniels; Louise Desnos; Jason Larkin; Emilie Regnier; Ilona Szwarc; Fleur van Dodewaard; plus Knopova and Kurmaz. They have been nominated for documentary projects such as Larkin’s series on South Africans sheltering in the shadows, and more conceptual projects such as Knopova’s eccentric take on family life.
“We focus on emerging photographers but we have no age restriction and no [fixed ideas on] genre,” says Stopin, who is also art director of the Pôle Image Haute-Normandie centre. “What matters is the sense that they are presenting a new vocabulary or a new way to look at the world, and that this aesthetic is not only on the surface or visual, it is also an interesting subject matter. “For example, I was quite happy to see the kind of photographers who engage with the world [shortlisted this year]. But still the focus is on the way people look at the world, their stylistic approach and aesthetics.”