A picture is worth a thousand words. This idiom speaks to the premise behind the 2018 Aperture Summer Open exhibition titled The Way We Live Now. Aperture Summer Open is an annual open-submission exhibition at Aperture Foundation’s gallery in New York. It features work selected by a prominent curator or editor, with the exhibition unpacking critical themes and trends influencing international contemporary photographic practice.
As a point of departure for this year’s exhibition, the photographs from the selected artists and photographers look at how images come to capture and become visual markers of rapid change in society, politics, beauty, and self-expression. The exhibition features 18 artists and the way in which they engage with the “currents and contradictions of life” in the 21st century. These artists and photographers reflect on how we define images and how images define our lives. This year Bubblegum Club was selected as one of the displaying artists.
As an online magazine and content agency reporting on and contextualizing trends across creative practices in South Africa, Africa and across the world, we have developed a fluid aesthetic that responds and contributes to cultural moods. This taps into grunge, DIY approaches to styling and photographic strategies that plug into references that are reflective of the discursive and visual languages present in urban subcultures. The construction of the image becomes a condensed moment in time, a contextualized mirror of current ways of being.
The images chosen by Bubblegum Club were drawn from different aspects of our work, including cover shoots and editorials. Makeup artists Orli Oh, Katelyn Gerke and Nuzhah Jacobs, as well as hair stylist Mimi Duma and styling assistant Lebogang Ramfete, contributed to the creation of the images on show, with styling and photography by creative director Jamal Nxedlana. Lightfarm has continued to assist with post production and with printing. A special thank you to adidas South Africa for supporting the trip to New York.
The 2018 exhibition taking place from 27 June – 16 August is curated by Siobhán Bohnacker, senior photo editor, the New Yorker; Brendan Embser, managing editor, Aperture magazine; Marvin Orellana, photo editor, New York magazine; and Antwaun Sargent, independent writer and critic.