Tuesday 1st May

| BY Finn Blythe

Here Are Five Of Our Photography Highlights From This Year’s Hyères Festival

Hy6Since 1986, a selection of individuals endowed with artistic talents far greater than we, have converged in the south of France for the esteemed Hyères International Festival Of Fashion And Photography. As the title suggests, the talent hail from every continent, showcasing their ability with a camera or cut of fabric to please a panel of jurors that make up a who’s who of the creative industry’s most influential names. From critics to art dealers, museum curators and art directors of glossy fashion bibles, if your work can impress this bunch there’s a good chance that you should in fact give up your day job. And given the proximity to the world of fashion, the festival has a knack for unearthing tomorrow’s most exciting talent while positioning them firmly in the minds of potential future employers. Find below a list of highlights from this year’s photography competitors.

Eva O’Leary, winner of the Photographie Grand Prix

The big one. Irish photographer Eva O’Leary scooped up the main award with her Spitting Image portraits of American girls aged 11 to 14 captured as they gaze into a (two-way) mirror. Each face traces their individual character; dreams, fears and insecurities are laid bare in this extraordinary series that explores self-perception and early teenage angst. The reaction of each girl as they see their reflection tells an individual story that’s often slightly heartbreaking, if totally relatable.

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Sarah Mei Herman, winner of the American Vintage Photography Prize

Dutch photographer Sarah Mei Herman is interested in intimacy. Why do we need physical contact? How do those needs change? She’s particularly focused on the familial kind and that which exists between siblings, owing to the fact she grew up an early child. Lucky break if you ask us. Her project Xiamen was shot in the Chinese city of the same name, where she was inspired by the intimacy between friends she noticed while there.
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Csilla Klenyanszki, winner of the Still Life Prize

Is Ms. Klenyanszki not the most super of hero mums you’ve ever heard of? Quite apart from her skill with the camera, she shot her prize-winning series Pillars of Homes in the intervening schedule of her newborn son’s nap times. She could only get half an hour at a time, an hour if she was lucky, and so with maximum efficiency she set about creating the domestic installations that would win her the Still Life Prize. We salute you, Csilla.
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Allyssa Heuze, winner of the Wallpaper* magazine Prize

Combining still life with intimate portraits, half-French, half-Filipino photographer Allyssa Heuze chooses to reconstruct childhood narratives in her surrealist style. At least, that’s part of what she does. Oi, the project for which she was nominated for, studies what we associate with sex, from squeezing toothpaste out the tube to popping champagne bottles and the washing of cucumbers (OK, that one’s not exactly subtle), the project is definitely worth seeing for yourself online.
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Sanna Lehto, winner of the Public and City of Hyères Award

Based in Helsinki, Sanna Lehto is no stranger to the world of fashion photography. Having already shot extensively for editorial, her submission for this year’s festival was the below man, whose face she artfully substituted for a bearded bouquet. We’re reminded of Giuseppe Arcimboldo, he who painted faces made of fruit and veg, but we prefer the below. We’ve never been one for that whole five a day malarky anyway.

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Images, from top:
© Eva O’Leary Spitting Image 2018 
© Sarah Mei Herman Xiamen
© Csilla Klenyanszki Pillar of Homes
© Allyssa Heuze Oi 2017
© Sanna Lehto