CULTURE

See How Five Emerging Photographers Turned 2021 into Art

A collage of photos by Quil Lemons, Djeneba Aduayom, Brad Ogbonna, Isaac West, and Arielle Bobb-Will...
Original photographs by Djeneba Aduayom, Arielle Bobb-Willis, Quil Lemons, Brad Ogbonna, and Isaac West. Collage by W magazine.

For many photographers, there was a bittersweet bright side to the early stages of lockdown: With no commercial or editorial gigs in sight, they could finally focus on their personal work. Now, thanks to New York City’s International Center of Photography, they’re also able to display it. Amidst the chaos of 2020, curator-at-large Isolde Brielmaier commissioned five emerging Black artists to offer a window into the lesser-seen sides of their experiences navigating the pandemic, Black Lives Matter protests, and U.S. presidential election. A year or so later, the results are on display in “Inward: Reflections on Interiority,” a new exhibition featuring Quil Lemons, Djeneba Aduayom, Brad Ogbonna, Isaac West, and Arielle Bobb-Willis. Whether you know it or not, there’s a good chance that you’ve both come across their work—regularly featured in publications like the New York Times and Vanity Fair—and never seen this side of their practices. Take a look, here.

Quil Lemons

Quil Lemons, Melanin Monroe, 2021. © Quil Lemons

Quil Lemons, Genesis, 2021. © Quil Lemons

Djeneba Aduayom

Djeneba Aduayom, Transplace, 2021. © Djeneba Aduayom

Djeneba Aduayom, Invisible Walls, 2021. © Djeneba Aduayom

Brad Ogbonna

Brad Ogbonna, Paul & Peter, 2021. © Brad Ogbonna

Brad Ogbonna, Stella Ngozi & Brad Ogbonna, 2021. © Brad Ogbonna

Isaac West

Isaac West, Untitled, from IN LOVE, 2021. © Isaac West

Isaac West, Untitled, from IN LOVE, 2021. © Isaac West

Arielle Bobb-Willis

Arielle Bobb-Willis, New Orleans 01, 2021. © Arielle Bobb-Willis

Arielle Bobb-Willis, New Jersey 01, 2021. © Arielle Bobb-Willis