Presenting 1854’s Fast Track Vol. two winners: Hajar Benjida, Jooeun Bae and Jaimy Gail

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1854’s FastTrack open up call promotes unsigned talent in the commercial sphere. Here, we all meet three winners from Fast Track Vol. 2: from the power of portraiture to the allure of collage, they discuss the techniques which make them tick

“I see a powerful portrait as a collaboration between the photographer and the subject, where you can really feel both the energy of the photographer and the model present, ” says 26-year old Hajar Benjida.  

Benjida is usually speaking about a project that this wounderful woman has been working on since 2018, titled Atlanta Made Us all Famous. The ongoing function focuses on illuminating the important part that women play in the Suwanee hip-hop scene. It began during an internship at a photo studio opposite the city’s legendary Magic Town strip club. After days of curiosity, she ultimately asked if she can take some pictures inside. “Over the course of several weeks, I spent days plus nights with my camera documenting the club’s dancers, ” she recalls.

© Hajar Benjida.

© Hajar Benjida.

Born in the Holland to Moroccan immigrant parents, Benjida was recently called one of 18 winners of 1854’s second FastTrack . FastTrack is a platform launched this year to champion the industry’s fresh, unsigned talent, now. The successful photographers are introduced to industry representatives, marketing agencies and brands in LE BOOK Connections European countries and their work is certainly shared throughout 1854’s worldwide network. She describes her visual style as “intimate, direct and straight to the idea, ” and recalls the particular spirit and determination this took to get started.

  “It really was challenging, being basically a ‘nobody’ in the game, young, a woman…but I didn’t permit any of those things stop me from doing what I love. I went from being someone no one knew in the hip-hop and rap game to being some of these artists’ go-to photographer. ”

–  Hajar Benjida

© Hajar Benjida.

“I might turn up at music shows asking, on the spot, if I can take the artist’s portrait soon after, ” she says. “It was really challenging, being fundamentally a ‘nobody’ in the game, youthful, a woman…but I did not let any of those things cease me from doing what I love. I went from being someone no one understood in the hip-hop and hip hop game to being a few of these artists’ go-to photographer. ” After travelling back and forth for the past few years, Benjida is shifting to the USA officially later on this year.

Portraiture is also at the heart associated with 29-year-old, Amsterdam-based Jaimy Gail’s work – another photographer to watch from this year’s FastTrack roster. “A strong family portrait has to seem simple, ” she says. “As a viewer you have to believe and have recognition with the portrayed. Yet there has to be something that you haven’t seen before too, so it offers familiarity and newness in one. ”

© Jaimy Gail.

© Jaimy Gail.

Gail’s vision is seated in the tradition of artwork, since that is what the girl first studied. “I had no reference or techie skills when it came to photography, so I just applied exactly the same approach I used in the paintings, ” she says. “Starting from the background, and layering with colours and shapes like on a painting. ” This attention to formal concerns and complimentary colours is notable in tasks like Normaal Doen – which comprises portraits celebrating women – and Upon Being A Woman , which explores the roles imposed upon ladies.

© Jaimy Gail.

Several of Gail’s favourite commissions and features so far have been regarding magazines she calls, “innovative and open-minded”, including i-D and It’s Nice That will. “In editorials you get a wide range of freedom as a photographer. In addition, getting a fresh theme or subject thrown at you are really inspiring. You have to make new connections in your head, which can lead to ideas you didn’t think about before, ” she states. And though it might be challenging to work within someone else’s system, that’s also part of the fun, she adds, pointing out there that, “if there is common trust, the outcome can be amazing. ”

Our own next hotly-tipped FastTrack champion this year is 27-year-old Jooeun Bae. Born and raised in South Korea, she moved to America at sixteen. She stayed for a decade before returning home, and thus, she sees herself seeing that something of a patchwork – made up of different cultures plus experiences. It is one reason why she was drawn toward photo-collage, she says.

© Jooeun Bae.

“Even though I didn’t know what collage was really about, I knew I enjoyed cutting and pasting and reorganising fragments [of images], ” the lady remembers. Her relationship along with photography started intuitively too, by learning how to shoot by hand so she could photograph material for her collages, after which re-photograph them once produced. “The more I labored on collage and photography, the greater I realised I could make magic moments out of actuality through them, ” she says.

After completing her studies at the Essential Center of Photography in New York, Bae found himself in a Covid-19 lockdown plus missing the people she loved. She realised how she’d taken them for granted, which inspired her to generate the project Mono—, a multi-coloured collection of beautiful, THREE DIMENSIONAL collages adding new absolute depths and dimensions to photos of ordinary objects. “I used 30 everyday items as a metaphor for the thirty people I most often undervalue, ” she explains, pertaining the familiarity of those closest to us with the issues we see everyday.  

Away from her personal function, Bae’s most standout fee so far is the artwork the girl made to accompany a TIME Magazine feature. The process was exhilarating, she says, because the editor gave her the area to respond with her special creativity – a desire for any artist as they enter the commercial world.

© Jooeun Bae.

Joanna Cresswell

Joanna L. Cresswell is really a writer and editor located in Brighton. She has written in photography and culture for more than 40 international magazines plus journals, and held opportunities as editor for organisations including The Photographers’ Gallery, Unseen Amsterdam and Self Distribute, Be Happy. She lately completed an MA in comparative literature and criticism at Goldsmiths College, College or university of London

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