A new Los Angeles exhibition will explore the marriage of music and photography

Joey Badass photographed by Ashani

Founded in London, Foreign Exchange is a project organised by artist and writer Undine Markus along with brand consultant and visual artist Holly Rae Jones.

Exhibiting portraits of musicians from leading music photographers, the event aims to celebrate “the intersection between fashion, documentary and conceptual photography.” The event will consist of a day-long takeover of the Ace Hotel in Downtown LA.

The photographers being exhibited are Ashani, Karoni, Neva Wireko, Othello Grey, Sam Balaban, Milah Libin, Lusha Alic and Sydney Lauren Levy. The exhibition will include portraits of Brent Faiyaz, Smooky Margielaa, Billie Eilish, Syd, Tyler, the Creator, RAYE, PartyNextDoor, Joey Bada$$ and Princess Nokia.

The exhibition will be supported by a panel discussion and party. Moderated by the curators, the discussion will address the current climate of the industry and offer practical advice to young professionals and photographers. This will be followed by a party featuring DJ sets from MadBadTing and Ssticks. RSVP for the event here.

Tyler the Creator photographed by Lusha Alic

We spoke to Holly and Undine about the project over email.

Tell us a little bit about the vision behind this event?

The event is a continuation of a project that begun in London back in March of this year called Foreign Affairs. This first exhibition, previewed at the Axel Arigato Flagship store, featured the works of 12 young and international photographers. Works explored the theme of identity, gender and belonging and included perspectives from around the globe. We noticed our subjects having a common theme: musicians. For Foreign Exchange we wanted to hone in on this reoccurring theme and embrace two subjects very close to our hearts: music and photography. Visually we love works that are striking, energetic and nearly always super colourful. You’ll notice lots of primary colours in the line-up, which is fun!

Why does this feel like a particularly good moment to explore the link between music and photography?

Now, more than ever, the success of a recording artist is dependent on their visual branding and its curation. With a worldwide reach, visual language is the only accessible means that speaks to each and every fan in a direct way, surpassing geographic borders and language barriers. With a new breed of creatives that handle the visual presentation – from personal photographers to creative directors – it has become one of the main methods to break independent artists and maintain the careers of those at the top of the charts. We really want to showcase the importance and work of the people behind the scenes, particularly the photographers.

How will the event work in terms of exhibition and discussion?

We really wanted the event to be more than a display of work by young and successful photographers and filmmakers lacking any background information on how these creatives got to where they are. We want the project to open the doors to those just starting and give them an insight into what it takes to land their first editorial commissions and build their own brand.

The panel discussion will feature prominent commissioners, creative directors and label representatives who will share their thoughts on the current industry climate. We will moderate the event and seek to promote a discussion about the ways they’ve navigated the online realm, built their own brand and clientele, as well as assemble advice on shooting branded content, and more. All emerging creatives are welcome to stop by, the event is free of charge and open to the public.

What are some of your personal favourite images being exhibited?

Through the curatorial process we’ve selected a wide spectrum of photographs that represent various facets of the industry, as well as the offline lives of some of today’s A-listers. It’d be hard to pick out specific works, but we’re really excited to be finally adding a moving image aspect, screening films that dive deep into the personal lives of artists like Metro Boomin.

The panel and party takes place at the Ace Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles on 26 July. Find out more here.