Four SVA Alumni Win Surface Magazine’s ‘Avant Guardian’ Awards

November 2, 2015

Surface magazine recently published the winners of its 15th annual Avant Guardian competition and of the 10 “emerging photographers” selected, four are SVA alumni: Paul Jung (MPS 2013 Fashion Photography), Kenneth Lavey (BFA 2015 Photography), Matin Zad (MPS 2013 Fashion Photography) and Zhe Zhu (BFA 2015 Photography). surfacemag200

Surface adheres to a specific style, and the work chosen shares a visual and conceptual clarity,” Stephen Frailey, chair of BFA Photography and Video and co-chair of MPS Fashion Photography, told SVA Close Up. “And although there are figurative elements in some of the work, as a whole the photographs could be understood as being still lives—muted and reserved.”

In his editor’s letter for Surface’s October 2015 Avant Guardian issue, editor-in-chief Spencer Bailey writes: “Don’t let their ages fool you: These are serious talents, each showing great promise, chosen by a star jury and Surface’s editors.” SVA Close Up also asked Bailey to share his thoughts on the works by the SVA alumni winners specifically. Here’s what he had to say.

shirt425On Paul Jung: “Paul’s the rare photographer who can combine fashion and abstraction without having one overpower the other. That’s not an easy thing to do.”

lavey425On Kenneth Lavey: “The use of color in Kenneth’s pictures is very compelling. I also admire that there’s a mysterious aspect to his work. His images leave you asking yourself: ‘What exactly am I looking at?'”

zad425On Matin Zad: “Matin’s aesthetic is right in line with Surface. There’s great focus in his photographs. He knows how to draw your eye in and leave you looking.”

Zhu425On Zhe Zhu: “Zhe’s images of urban China are haunting. The use of scale is particularly striking.”

Surface magazine’s Avant Guardian contest has helped launch the career of many celebrated talents. Past winners have included Nicholas Duers, Sarah Silver, Joshua Jordan and Vanina Sorrenti, to name just a few. For more information about the contest, click here. And to see more work by the SVA alumni winners, pick up Surface‘s October 2015 Avant Guardian issue.

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