Studio 1854

Star Wars Families: The photographers

© Carlotta Cardona

This weekend 10 photographers will document Star Wars Families in 10 countries across five continents, paying homage to fans of the Skywalker saga as it reaches an epic conclusion for generations on both sides of the screen

In advance of the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Lucasfilm and British Journal of Photography present Star Wars Families: an immersive photographic and editorial project that sheds light on families who have enjoyed the magic of Star Wars for nearly half a century. 

This weekend, the 10 photographers selected for the commission will document the lives of families in 10 countries; Ying Ang in Australia, Carlotta Cardana in Italy, Daniel Chatard in Germany, Josh Adam Jones in the United Arab Emirates, Kovi Konowiecki in the US, Jason Koxvold in India, Piczo in Japan, Camila Svenson in Brazil, Pascal Vossen in South Africa, and Alice Zoo in the UK.

Just as the Skywalker story arc echoes through the Star Wars galaxy, so our own family narratives bind us together across generations. Star Wars Families will celebrate the family unit in all its diverse incarnations through a series of images constructing a narrative around the idea of the family portrait. Accompanied by a videographer, the selected photographers will record the personal relationships and stories of each family and what the Star Wars galaxy means to them.

Meet the 10 photographers below. In-depth features exploring their work will be published on BJP-online and starwars.com ahead of the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the ninth and final instalment of the Skywalker saga.

© Ying Ang

Ying Ang – Australia

Ying Ang is a photographer working between Australia, Singapore and the US. Exhibited internationally, Ying has also been published in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Time and Vice Magazine. Her photobook, Gold Coast, won the New York Photo Festival and Encontros Da Imagem book prize for 2014, was acquired for the Rare Books Collection at the Victorian State Library and honoured with a nomination for the Prix Pictet. Ying’s current work, Bower Bird Blues, was a Vevey Images Grand Prix finalist, honourably mentioned in the Julia Margaret Cameron Award, exhibited in a solo show for Rencontres d’Arles in 2019 and is currently being produced as a book.

What was it that drew you to the Star Wars Families commission? 

“I grew up reading fantasy books. I was a huge nerd living in a town where I felt really misunderstood and found refuge in the ideals of good vs evil and the utter escapism in sci-fi and fantasy. Being able to work on a commission that was about a real family that might also find solace in these ideas, especially in the context of such an iconic story (i.e. Star Wars!), was really exciting.”

Favourite Star Wars quote 

“You are nothing. You came from nothing. But not to me.” Kylo Ren to Rey, Star Wars: The Last Jedi

© Carlotta Cardana

Carlotta Cardana – Italy

Carlotta Cardana is an Italian portrait and documentary photographer based in London. She regularly contributes to magazines such as The New York Times, Style Magazine, De Volkskrant, L’OBS and DRepubblica. In her personal practice, she looks at indigenous spirituality, the relationship between humans and their environment and how one’s identity is shaped by the space and the culture he/she inhabits. Carlotta’s work has been awarded and exhibited in international galleries and festivals and is included in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery and the Parliamentary Art Collection.

What was it that drew you to the Star Wars Families commission? 

In my practice I’m interested in looking at how culture affects our identity and the way we present ourselves. I’ve also always been fascinated by family portraits and exploring the dynamics between individuals. Star Wars is a cultural phenomenon that spans decades and which has created a bond shared between different generations. For hard-core fans it can even be a sort of religion, shaping their lives and relationships. This commission brings together themes that I feel really close to, so I was naturally drawn to it.

Favourite Star Wars quote 

“I find your lack of faith disturbing.” Darth Vader, Star Wars: A New Hope

© Daniel Chatard, Nanna Heitmann

Daniel Chatard – Germany

Daniel Chatard is a Franco-German documentary and portrait photographer based in Hanover, Germany. Daniel is interested in the relationship between individuals and their societies, exploring how collective identities shape the human experience. Daniel’s work has been published and awarded internationally. He is currently continuing his studies in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the University of Applied Arts and Sciences of Hanover, having recently completed an exchange semester at the Tomsk State University (Russia).

What was it that drew you to the Star Wars Families commission? 

“I realised that the narrative of Star Wars would allow me to explore the universal theme of family again from a new perspective, getting to know a family I didn’t know yet, which was very appealing to me.”

Favourite Star Wars quote 

“Your focus determines your reality.” Qui-Gon Jinn, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

© Josh Adam Jones

Josh Adam Jones – UAE

Josh Adam Jones uses photography to communicate stories about often misrepresented places and those who live there. From the ageing Irish populations of UK towns and cities to the expatriate communities in the Middle Eastern, Josh aims to facilitate conversations about identity, home and interculturalism through his work. Since graduating in 2018 from UWE (Bristol), Josh has gone on to achieve agency representation with Lisa Pritchard Agency (LPA Futures), been commissioned by British Council & Ffotogallery for a multinational project and is now making new work as part of the Photography Masters course at UWE (Bristol).

What was it that drew you to the Star Wars Families commission?

My brother (who is also called Luke) and I used to play out the lightsaber scenes simultaneously with the films in the background on TV. These are really fond memories for me, especially as he now lives in Australia, so I don’t see him that much. Of course, he was always Luke. I used to remember saying, “Luke. I am your father.” This line is probably the most well-known but also the most misused. The actual quote is: “No, I am your father.”

Favourite Star Wars quote 

“I am your father.” Darth Vader, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

© Kovi Konowiecki

Kovi Konowiecki – USA

Kovi Konowiecki was born in Long Beach, California, and is currently based between Long Beach and Mexico City. He holds a BA in Media Communications from Wake Forest University and an MA in Photography from University of the Arts London. After playing professional soccer in Europe, he turned to photography as a way to document the things around him and shed light on different aspects of his identity. He was selected as a Red Hook Labs Artist in 2018 and has exhibited his work in spaces such as ROSEGALLERY (Santa Monica, CA) and The National Portrait Gallery in London. In 2018, Kovi co-founded a small publication, Mula Press, to explore his love for book making and to publish personal projects and special artist editions.

What was it that drew you to the Star Wars Families commission?

“Aside from being a fan of Star Wars, I was drawn to this commission because of the freedom it allowed in terms of sticking to my photographic style. I also love meeting new people and exploring different themes through my portraits, and I felt that this was a great platform to do so.”

Favourite Star Wars quote 

“You can’t stop change any more than you can stop the suns from setting.” Shmi Skywalker to Anakin Skywalker, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

© Jason Koxvold

Jason Koxvold – India

Jason Koxvold is an artist based in Brooklyn, NY with a focus on neoliberal economic policy and military strategy. He has published three books: Knives, YWRAA, and Calle Tredici Martiri, and has worked in every corner of the globe, from Arctic Russia to South Africa, Afghanistan and Nigeria. You can find his work in magazines including Wallpaper*, the FT Magazine, Wired, Slate and National Geographic.

What was it that drew you to the Star Wars Families commission?

“When I heard about the project I was excited by the challenge of finding thematic connections to the Star Wars story. The story has a universal and unifying appeal which is especially relevant in today’s context, so I hope to bring some of that out in my photographs.”

Favourite Star Wars quote 

“The truth is often what we make of it; you heard what you wanted to hear, believed what you wanted to believe.” Obi-Wan Kenobi, Star Wars Rebels

© Piczo

Piczo – Japan

Born in Osaka Japan, Piczo first discovered photography when studying at the Musashino Art School in Tokyo. He later moved to London to further his studies at The London College of Communication. His first notable commission was for i-D magazine who were attracted by his timeless and graphic, lifestyle, fashion and portrait work. He now shoots for i-D regularly and other titles such as Jalouse, Union and Numero Homme and has collaborated with brands such as Dunhill, Sunspel, Wooyoungmi and Studio Nicholson.

What was it that drew you to the Star Wars Families commission? 

“I have always found family such an interesting subject to photograph. Whenever I go back to Tokyo I always shoot images of my own family… and this time, not just my own family.”

Favourite Star Wars quote 

“I have a very bad feeling about this.” Luke Skywalker as the Millennium Falcon approaches the Death Star, Star Wars: A New Hope

© Camila Svenson

Camila Svenson – Brazil

Camila Svenson is a Brazilian interdisciplinary artist based in Sao Paulo working with video, photography, text and objects. Her research-focused work investigates identity, affection and fiction, to reflect on the many conceptions and representations a photograph can have. Her process is to seek out multiple experiences of encounters with the other, and how these encounters happen and are modified when mediated by a camera. She explores incoherence, elaborated lives, ordinary objects, rough bodies, frustrated feelings, lies and relationships and how fictional narratives can be told through different devices and platforms. Camila is also part of the Amapoa collective – a photo/video collective that is born from the need to reflect on women’s space and LGBTQ+ in photography and contemporary art, using images as the initial trigger for dialogue.

What was it that drew you to the Star Wars Families commission? 

“I have always been drawn to photographing other people’s private spaces and intimacy. Almost all of my projects have this central point – no matter what the subject is, I will always be looking for the intimate and trying to relate to what I am photographing in a way that makes sense. Also, I just love how BJP deals with identity and its focus on the importance of the photographer’s singular aesthetic and approach. I’ve never had a commissioned gig where I could have the freedom to use my voice to lead the narrative. The idea to have the freedom to shoot the way I shoot for myself is what drew me most.”

Favourite Star Wars quote 

“Your eyes can deceive you. Don’t trust them.” Obi Wan Kenobi, Star Wars: A New Hope. (This has a lot to do with how I think about photography and the relationship I have with Images.)

© Pascal Vossen

Pascal Vossen – South Africa

Pascal Vossen is a Dutch photographer based in London. Through his work, he explores the relationships between people and their direct environment and the impacts they have on each other, whether through personal crisis, troubling socio-economic times, or other external factors. Questions related to identity, fatherhood and masculinity are of particular interest to Pascal and drive his long-term project documenting a young father and his family in a forested region of middle Sweden. His journey into photography began as an intern at ‘NOOR’ collective in Amsterdam, after which he decided to complete an MA in photojournalism and documentary photography.

What was it that drew you to the Star Wars Families commission?

“I applied for the commission because of the focus on the family unit and how I would be able to explore the power of a legacy to bring generations together. It also touches upon the topics that particularly interest me, like identity, youth and subcultures.”

Favourite Star Wars quote 

“The greatest teacher, failure is.” – Yoda, Star Wars: The Last Jedi

© Alice Zoo

Alice Zoo – UK

Alice Zoo is a documentary photographer and writer based in London. She graduated from the University of Oxford in 2014, and in 2017 completed a Masters with Distinction in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the London College of Communication. Her photographs have been exhibited and published internationally, including in publications such as BBC News, The Economist, The Guardian, and the Washington Post, and she has been recognised by awards such as the Magenta Foundation, the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, and the Royal Photographic Society. Her work is portrait-led and seeks to explore the emotional experiences of her subjects, especially around themes of community and identity. She is particularly interested in the interaction between photography and text.

What was it that drew you to the Star Wars Families commission?

“I’m interested in exploring the cultural context around particular communities, and I’m often drawn to photographing intimate spaces like the family home, so Star Wars Families seemed like it was matched well with my photographic interests. It also presented an opportunity to explore fandom and its effect on family bonds, as well as to spend time getting to know a family and making an extended portrait of them that they’re personally excited about and invested in; hopefully, in this way, the shoot will feel like an exchange or a collaboration.”

Favourite Star Wars quote 

“It’s a trap!” Admiral Ackbar, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi

The Star Wars Families commission is organised by Studio 1854 in collaboration with Lucasfilm. For more information on sponsored content, visit 1854.studio

To hear about upcoming commission opportunities, register with 1854 Commisions.