Emerging photographers: a guide to the global rising stars

Yoshiko Yap


1 day ago


By Holly Hay, Sophie Gladstone

Emerging photographers: the global rising stars

Introducing Wallpaper’s directory of emerging photographers from around the globe. Discover the most exciting new talent in international photography here

At Wallpaper*, we bring together the best talent across our pillars, from the most recognisable names in the industry to new graduates. For this column, we are highlighting emerging photographers who have established a practice and are being noticed by, as well as contributing to the photographic community. These artists not only demonstrate bold dedication to their medium, but also an eagerness to experiment, push boundaries and make waves in the industry. 

We are thrilled to present this ever-evolving list of emerging photographers to reflect who will be defining and redefining the photography landscape in the years to come.

Emerging photographers: the ones to watch

Joanna Wzorek

Joanna Wzorek, Twins, 2019 

London-based Joanna Wzorek’s work celebrates her Polish heritage, distilling art, politics, history and culture into her expressive and abstract compositions. She recently self-published a zine titled Summer, Farewell as an homage to her homeland. Through freeing nudes and luminous colour, Wzorek created what could be viewed as a postcard from her childhood memories of Polish summers. While she is an alumnus of London College of Fashion, Wzorek’s aesthetic crosses between fashion and documentary, with images that bounce off the page to greet you, rich with spontaneous bursts of colour. Interviewed for Wallpaper* recently, Wzorek described her practice in three words: ‘Empathy, intimacy and humanity.’ 

Chieska Fortune Smith

An image from shoot featured in the July 2021 issue of Wallpaper* (W*267). Trench coat, £2,500; bag, £4,700; shoes, price on request, all by Dior. Tights, £13, by Calzedonia. Photography: Chieska Fortune Smith. Fashion: Jason Hughes.

Born in Baltimore, Chieska Fortune Smith now lives in London. After studying international studies and Japanese art history at the University of Maryland, Fortune Smith then lived in Japan for eight years, where she experimented with street photography and began to record close personal relationships between family and friends. Mostly self-taught, Chieska explains that her work is ‘rooted in classical timelessness and stories. When looking at one of my photos, I don’t necessarily want you to be able to place when it was taken.’ Chieska Fortune Smith recently discussed her shoot for our March 2021 issue, reimagining a future of beauty in our post-Covid-19 world. 

Mahmoud Mfinanga

Mahmoud Mfinanga, Noguchi

Mahmoud Mfinanga is a multidisciplinary artist born in Detroit, now based between Brooklyn and Los Angeles. Notably, he founded Emmazed, a platform for community-driven projects designed to empower artists and encourage transparency, which has been growing steadily for the past eight years. Mfinanga is as adept an interviewer as he is a photographer and art director, creating refreshing imagery with clarity and openness. In Brooklyn, he is focusing on collaborations with local community-led art and photography projects while building an impressive body of photographic work revolving around cars. 

Liam Sielski Waters

Liam Sielski Waters, Inversion A

Through photorealistic 3D renderings, London College of Communication graduate Liam Sielski Waters blurs the boundaries of human identity in the age of technology and globalisation. With an experimental and ambitious take on photography’s possibilities, Sielski Waters creates artworks that ‘oscillate in limbo between the real world and the digital’. The artist and designer is currently working on a project exploring notions of gender and binary structures through abstract still lifes and sculptures, taking symbols and elements of things we associate with gender and redefining them.

Romain Duquesne

Romain Duquesne, Public display of physical prowess

While he was growing up in rural Western Australia, photography was essential escapism for Belgian-born Romain Duquesne. The artist, now London-based, moves between commercial and personal projects, creating contemporary narratives that tease out themes of power, tension, irony and the absurd. Duquesne is a regular Wallpaper* collaborator, often working closely with our fashion director Jason Hughes, most recently for our October 2021, 25th Anniversary Issue. In 2020, Duquesne self-published Hi, Hello!, which saw the performance of modern masculinity gently unravel with thoughtful metaphor and humour. Duquesne’s practice offers fresh social commentary with an unmistakable aesthetic. §

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