Bieke Depoorter (°1986, Belgium) received a master’s degree in photography at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent in 2009. Three years later, when just 25 years old, she was made a nominee of Magnum Photos, of which she was named a full member in 2016. Depoorter has won several awards and honors, including the Magnum Expression Award, The Larry Sultan award and the Prix Levallois. She has published four books: Ou Menya, I am About to Call it a Day, As it May Be, and Sète#15. She worked together with Aperture, Editions Xavier Barral, Edition Patrick Frey, Lannoo, Hannibal and Le bec en l’air to publish these books.
The relationships Depoorter establishes with the subjects of her photographs lie at the foundation of her artistic practice. Accidental encounters are the starting point, and how these interactions naturally develop dictates the nature of Depoorter’s work. But several recent projects have been the result of Depoorter questioning the medium. In As it May Be, she gradually became more aware of her status as an outsider, both culturally and as a photographer. So, in 2017, she revisited Egypt with the first draft of the book, inviting people to write comments directly onto the photographs. In Sète#15, and also Dvalemodus, a short film she co-directed, she began to see her subjects as actors. Although she portrayed them in their true environments, she tried to project her own story onto the scenes, fictionalizing the realities of her subjects in a way that blurred the lines between their world and hers.
Newsha Tavakolian is known for her powerful work covering wars in Iraq and social issues in her native Iran. With clarity and sensitivity, Tavakolian has photographed female guerilla fighters in Iraqi Kurdistan, Syria and Colombia, prohibited Iranian female singers and the lives of people living under sanctions. Over the years, her practice has shifted from photojournalism to photography as art.
A self-taught photographer, Tavakolian began working professionally in the Iranian press at the age of 16, at women’s daily newspaper Zan. At the age of 18, she was the youngest photographer to cover the 1999 student uprising, which was a turning point for the country’s blossoming reformist movement and for Tavakolian personally as a photojournalist; a year later she joined New York-based agency Polaris Images.