And you thought 2020 was intense! 2021 has put us all, as creatives, through trials and tribulations aplenty.

However, many have shined through the mud and the following photographers cleverly used their lens to portray and zoom in on the many changes – political, creative and industrial – that we have witnessed take place. 

Daniel Oyegade’s Portraits In Manchester

Placing his subjects – usually clothed in simplistic, clean-cut fashion pieces – against backdrops of concrete pillars, disused brownfield sites, and metal fences, Daniel’s photography raises questions of how local city spaces influence how we identify. Buildings also feature heavily in Daniel’s work and he attests to always having had “an interest in the visual language architects use in infrastructure.” Striking stuff.

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Olivia Harris’ photo book has the power to make us feel…nostalgic about the first lockdown

From household birthday parties to sunbathing on our front door steps, Harris’ images capture the unique and momentous elements of the shock caused by Covid. Harris describes Days of Repeat as a “sun-soaked, dazzling take on Londoners coming to terms with the lockdown”. “There was a dreaminess and unreal quality to that time. After the initial buzz of panic, a sense of common purpose and community emerged,” the photographer reflects. “It was beautiful to witness how people came together by being apart. I guessed that it would be a unique, fleeting moment and I wanted to capture it.”  

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Where Dreams Get Shattered: Jermain Cikic’s Photo Series Highlights the Refugee Crisis in Greece 

Last summer, Jermain was visiting the island of Samos with an NGO from Berlin called Mare-Liberum. On this trip, he met with people of all ages who had to flee their country. In portraying the intimacies of their life, Cikic was inspired him to start working on a photographic project named Where Dreams Get Shattered.
The portraits are also accompanied by a journal which records the conversations held between Cikic and some of the refugees he developed friendships with. One refugee from Samos spoke of their “unpleasant journey” to reach the “land of dreams”. They wrote: “You come to find out it is just a prison that cannot be escaped, surrounded by the sea on all sides, where you miss all the basics of life.”

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Sex Work is Real Work: Ezekiel’s Erotic Photography Book – photo and book

Ezekiel turns a lens onto the role and perception of sex work, asking us all to question the ways in which female sexuality and queerness is perceived in society. While working on their thesis, Ezekiel decided to examine the topic of “alternative queer pornography” and, specifically, how lesbian directors were creating a “new wave of films which undermined the problematic tropes and representation of female sexuality found in commercial adult films catered for a straight audience.” This inquest continued and, throughout their research, Ezekiel started to question their own gaze: “the queer gaze” and a means of celebrating female sexuality, rather than objectifying it – which is something we’ve long laid witness to over the years.

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