We’re super excited to introduce you to Nafisa Kaptownwala and Sekyiwa Wi-Afedzi. First up, we chat with Nafisa about her game-changing modeling agency Lorde Inc., their mission for inclusivity and why selfies matter. Then, get to know Sekyiwa, the beauty behind our holiday campaign, as we quiz her on all of her favorite things.
HOW DID YOU START THE AGENCY? I started the project in London with a friend. It was actually his idea and I had all these ideas for logos and what I wanted the website/roster to look like, so I started building it and, soon after he was pretty overwhelmed doing his PhD, he had to bail. I started by contacting friends and friends of friends that had some modeling experience. I mostly wanted to just highlight the beautiful that I know and had my friend Arvida Bystrom shoot our first faces.
DO YOU THINK THE ISSUE OF DIVERSITY IN MODELING HAS EVOLVED? It’s evolved in terms of diversity becoming a buzzword and it never actually being fulfilled in a sincere way. Diversity is now used to refer to having one light skinned woman of color in Colgate commercials among mostly white women. I kind of try to refrain from using the term diversity as much as I’m working towards inclusivity. Diversity these days often still tokenizes, fetishizes, excludes many folks and still adheres to heteronormative European beauty standards.
HOW DO YOU RECRUIT MODELS? Online is a great way to recruit models because people often post photos of themselves or selfies, and it gives a pretty good sense of whether or not they like to have their photo taken.
Made up of husband and wife team, Jeremy Warmsley (the multi-instrumentalist) and Elizabeth Sankey (the voice), Summer Camp is the dreamiest indie pop duo from the UK. Before the two paired up, Jeremy had a rocking solo career with two critically-acclaimed albums and Elizabeth was (and continues to be) a journalist and writer. You can see her work in the likes of NME, Guardian, LOVE Magazine and VICE. It’s hard to pinpoint Summer Camp’s inspiration; their sound and aesthetic draw from an array of eras in American pop culture. But we can’t stop listening. Mega-babe Elizabeth gave us a behind the scenes look at the inner workings of the dream team as they put the finishing touches on their third album, Bad Love, out next month.
The legendary fashion and portrait photographer Richard Avedon famously said: “A photographic portrait is a picture of someone who knows he is being photographed, and what he does with this knowledge is as much a part of the photograph as what he’s wearing or how he looks.” That complex exchange, between the photographer and the subject, is what up and coming photographer Hannah Burton explores in her work. Based in London, and a recent graduate of the London Collection of Communication, she focuses on portrait photography and is a contributor for Dazed & Confused, Accent Magazine, The New British and more. We originally fell for Hannah’s graduate project, an intimate series of her mother that has since been turned into a book. We had to know more, so we asked and she answered.
WHAT DREW YOU TO PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY? It’s always been about people for me, characters or people that have a certain look about them is what draws me in. I’m interested in the way we behave and perform out our identities. By holding still a moment’s expression, the photographic portrait offers us a unique perception that has the potential to reveal something authentic and genuine about the human condition.
HOW DO YOU FIND YOUR SUBJECTS? Anywhere really, walking around, doing things, meeting people, some things stick and make me want to return to and make work about in some way.
IF YOU COULD PHOTOGRAPH ANYONE, LIVING OR DEAD, WHO WOULD IT BE? Elvis.