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Aesthetica Magazine Issue 103

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October / November 2021

State of Mind
What does it mean to be engaged? What does it mean to be bold? What does it mean to be different? These questions underpin this issue of Aesthetica. The politics of identity aren't easy to navigate, and as we move further and further into the 21st century, it’s refreshing to see many of these ideas being deconstructed and re-shaped. It makes me hopeful for a new society that redefines the parameters of choice. The pandemic has transformed our sense of place. I’ve heard that it's a state of mind, but I have to question that notion a bit further. I’m very pleased to be re-adjusting to certain aspects of life pre-pandemic. It makes me optimistic and, in some ways, more creative, allowing for moments of serendipity.  

Inside this issue we take a look at work that is both self-reflexive and outward-facing. Thomas Wrede's Glaciers project foregrounds retreating ice in the Alps – and how Swiss glaciers are dying. We had this damaging idea that the climate emergency was something happening “faraway” – but here it is, right in front of us. Wrede is offering a huge wake-up call, but is there anything changing quickly enough?  

Diana Markosian’s latest series at the International Center of Photography, New York, blends creative documentary, archive and personal memory. We then take speak to Casey Orr, photographer of Saturday Girl, a fascinating series that explores individuality through 600 images of young women on the high street. It’s a survey of shifting trends, and how geography plays a large role in identity creation.  

Meanwhile, we bring you photography projects from Kevin Cooley, Andreas Gefeller and Markus Guschelbauer. Alongside these features, Jessica Backhaus' abstract still lifes embrace colour and texture. We also publish an entire series by Sophie Holden, the winner of the Aesthetica / LCC Next Generation Award, a photographer to watch as her career burgeons. Finally, Fares Micue’s images offer bold narratives through careful lighting and playful, but considered, choreography. Dive in and enjoy.