Every year, Hyères, an idyllic city in the South of France transforms into the hotspot for new and aspiring fashion and photography talents. At the annual “Féstival international de mode et de photographie”, a jury of renowned photographers and fashion designers award the most promising wunderkind in their field. We had a look at this year’s candidates for the photography prize and have some suggestions for model Edie Campbell and Tim Walker who, amongst others, constitute the jurors for the 2017 festival. Here are our top five talents in the run for the Hyères photography award:

1. SOFIA OKKONEN
With her work, the Finnish fashion photographer Sofia Okkonen tries to demask the artificiality and staging of images. By openly presenting the process of composing the perfect picture in the photographs themselves, Okkonen aims to pose questions on why we feel the need to present ourselves in a “perfect” way. She is especially interested in how the stereotypes of femininity turn out when intentionally exhibited in photographs. Her series “Rose” is a collection of almost painting-like photos that want to examine exactly these rigid female role models.

Work in progress – fixing prints #sofiaokkonen #rose #portrait #studio

Ein Beitrag geteilt von Sofia Ok-nen (@sofia_okkonen) am

2. LUIS ALBERTO RODRIGUEZ
Having a background as a dancer partly explains why New York-born Luis Alberto Rodriguez’s photographs are all about motion. In his fashion images, he tries to create a symbiosis between the model and the clothes he or she is wearing. Rodriguez wants the body to feel an either emotional or kinetic connection with the fabric and capture this reaction in his work. With his festival entry “Patina”, the artist breaks down the objectivity of the textiles while simultaneously encouraging new growth by connecting it to the liveliness of his model’s body.

RACHEL #bluntfrunttoo #luisalbertorodriguezphotography #contemporaryphotography #sunset

Ein Beitrag geteilt von Luis Alberto Rodriguez (@luisalbertorodriguezstudio) am

3. DARAGH SODEN
Daragh Soden’s images of young Dubliners is a sensitive portrait of a generation that suffers under the extern economic circumstances of the country while at the same time struggles with the typical problems of youth like boredom and anxiety about their future. Soden experienced the repetitiveness of these problems by being reminded of his own teenage years in the city. “Young Dubliners” consists predominately of still photographs accompanied by some moving images and poetry.

Young Dubliners

Ein Beitrag geteilt von Daragh Soden (@daraghsoden) am

4. NANCY NEWBERRY
There couldn’t be a more relevant topic for a series of photographs than playing with the stereotypes of the Wild West set on the Texas-Mexico border. Nancy Newberry who, with an Italian mother and Texas upbringing herself, had always been inspired by spaghetti Westerns, explores the stereotypes that have been made famous by the genre. With “Smoke Bombs and Border Crossings”, the photographer prepares the characters of her portraits in a playful sense for a fight at the Mexican-American frontier, combining fact and fiction and reminding us of a possible reality shall the racist vision of Trump will come true.

Working on new prints #makeportraits #nancynewberry

Ein Beitrag geteilt von Nancy Newberry (@nancynewberry) am

5. CORDULA HEINS & CAROLINE SPEISER
The project “Ali” by the two German photographers Cordula Heins and Caroline Speiser deals with the situation of refugees in the recent asylum politics. Being pictured in their tiny rooms in almost comic but confusing ways, the images become metaphors for people who suffer from the incapacitation of the Western politics to provide human accommodation. This way, Heins and Speiser show that they believe in the capacity of photographs to smash and provoke already established illusions.

Header image via Instagram