Types to Watch 2021: Silvana Trevale

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Each year, British Journal of Photography presents the   Ones To Watch – a selection of 20 emerging image-makers, chosen from a list of over 400 nominations. This artist can also be one of five talents chosen for Futures , an Europe-based platform bringing together the global photography community to support and nurture the professional development of emerging performers across the world.

The Venezuelan photographer seeks to highlight the refined beauty of her culture along with images that connect

For 27-year-old Silvana Trevale , the formula to have an affecting portrait comprises two key aspects: a sense of ambiguity, and a shared energy or experience between photographer and sitter. “Light and color play a part in making a photograph solid, but there needs to be a purpose, or a real connection at the rear of it, for it to become powerful, ” she says.

Currently based in London, Trevale grew up in Venezuela’s capital, Caracas, a city she identifies as, “hectic, with lovely light, beautiful people plus warm air”. Her journey into photography was an organic one, and from an early age she used a camera to explore her social and physical surroundings.

“I consider my work to become a fusion between documentary and fashion, and I seek to celebrate the intrinsic beauty of the human body, my Latin American roots, youth, womanhood and the realities of people around me personally, ” says Trevale, that has already had notable achievement in the commercial sphere, with commissions from Adidas, Dior plus Vogue . “With photography I feel such as I carry the power and responsibility to represent my culture and I see this kind of beauty in our history. I am in love with where I come from, my family, my country, and today my experience as an immigrant too. ” 

From the series Venezuelan Youth © Silvana Trevale.

From the series Venezuelan Youth © Silvana Trevale.

“Trevale perfectly exemplifies how the hybridisation of genre can create something new. Her seamless merging of documentary and fashion is a conscious photography, debunking the belief that integrity and aesthetics are not compatible”.

Chiara Bardelli Nonino, Image editor of Vogue Italia .

Out of these feelings grew her continuing project, Venezuelan Youth – a series of sun-soaked and poignant portraits exploring how the economic, social and political turmoil in her home country will be impacting young people. “The rage I felt towards the scenario propelled me to make this particular work, ” she explains. “In the early stages from the project, students were getting shot and killed at protests around the country, and am remember thinking that they are fighting for a Venezuela they’ve never ever had – a more secure Venezuela, one not observed since our parents had been growing up. I’m drawn to the clash between their innocence and the harsh realities they will face. ” Trevale began shooting the project within 2017, and takes more photos each time she earnings. She wants to create a comprehension of what’s happening inside Venezuela, but “from the perspective of hope, along with a celebration of strength”.

From your series Venezuelan Youth © Silvana Trevale.

The second chapter of Venezuelan Youth – a series named Warm Rain – explores the same themes, but focuses on three families from different financial backgrounds. “One of the aims was to display that even the families in Venezuela who have economic indicates still struggle to get by, ” she explains. The images in Warm Rain are usually contemplative and softly lit, following the children of the family members as they hang out together, spend some time at the beach and go to college.  

© Silvana Trevale.

“Trevale perfectly exemplifies how the hybridisation of genre can create something new, ” explains Chiara Bardelli Nonino, photo editor associated with Vogue Italia . She nominated Trevale, describing her “seamless merging of documentary and fashion” as “a conscious pictures, debunking the belief that ethics and aesthetics are not compatible”.

Trevale is also creating work that will explores the roots she is establishing in the UK. “I have discovered another home here, with that I have created solid bonds with people, some of who are Latin American immigrants too, ” she says. Comadres , a collaboration with Venezuelan stylist Daniela Benaim, will be on her agenda. “We’ve already been exploring together, and we’re hoping to expand on that will as we continue to grow the communities, ” she claims.  

Joanna Cresswell

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

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