It wasn’t long into the pandemic before the landscape of fashion completely shifted. Just weeks after lockdowns confined the world to their homes, Jacquemus released the industry’s first major Facetime campaign, starring Bella Hadid who was equipped with nothing but an iPhone. It turned out, that was just the beginning,
As COVID-19 persisted, the world adapted. Total digitization went from a relatively future prospect to a current reality. But where did that leave artists, photographers and designers not yet dexterous with cyber-normality? That’s the question Lebanese creative director Ali Kiblawi wanted answered. He wondered, could this be just circumstantial?
His answers came in the form of Voyeurs Journal, a docu-editorial digital platform. For the first edition, Kiblawi brought together creatives from all over the world to shed some light on society’s new reality. From his home-base in Milan, Kiblawi continued his exploration of the subject in the last months for Voyeurs Journal’s second edition, this time bringing along rapper, artist and activist Mykki Blanco to star on its cover
Whilst the first issue looked to the world’s realignment with the digital sphere, the second issue–named ‘BENBEN’–looks deeper within, examining how communities around the world have coped with the pandemic and all the major questions they’ve had to confront.
This time around, the journal’s mission took on an added meaning, too. Voyeurs second issue was created with Lebanon’s queer community in mind, with all its proceeds benefitting the Queer Relief Fund and Beirut’s queer community that was devastatingly affected by the explosion that took place in August.
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COVER GIRL @voyeursjournal . This year has been transformative. It’s revealed the essence of what cannot be taken away. It’s lifted the veil on so much of what so many of us believed to be a “baseline” of normalcy, even if that normalcy never really worked, barely hung on for it’s life. My values have been shaken, my integrity tested and yet I know I’m better for it. Cultivating a fresh start in Paris, I don’t believe Black people and especially Queer Black people have to go along for a ride on anyone’s catharsis roller coaster. . We’ve been the muted sentinels of societies injustices for too long. We’ve been walking targets, invisible and yet glaringly visible at the same time for too long. Time is funny, graceful and ironic. So many nuanced things I spoke of years ago, before it was fashionable, before it was Instagram-able , things I was shamed for, was shouted down and out for saying have become topics of general mainstream conversation, dialogues long over due in our digital diaspora. I’m not even close to the climax of my career. Thank you for continuing to love me along this life journey because as we’ve seen thus far there is still much history to be written. Head over to @voyeursjournal to read the new feature. . @voyeursjournal photographer: Lee Wei Swee @sweerliouslee stylist: Damèse Savidan @Damese Hair: Yann Turchi @yann_turchi make up: Louisa Trapier @louisatrp interview by @louispisano
“This year has been transformative. It’s revealed the essence of what cannot be taken away. It’s lifted the veil on so much of what so many of us believed to be a “baseline” of normalcy, even if that normalcy never really worked, barely hung on for its life. My values have been shaken, my integrity tested and yet I know I’m better for it,” wrote Blanco on their Instagram on their Voyeurs debut.
Alongside the artist, the issue looks to the stories of the Arab world. From Marrakesh, Voyeurs dove into the world of fashion designer Artsi Ifrach. From Egypt, you’ll find the work of Ismail Sabet, better known as Izmatique, a 22-year-old photographer with an eye for Cairo’s talented youth.
Then there’s Malak Kabbani, a young JW Anderson co-signed Egyptian-German photographer who examined post-lockdown perspectives. “I think we have all reconstructed our ideas of “what really matters,” she explains her latest photo series published in Voyeurs.
The young Arab creatives are joined by a world-class roster, among them Antonino Cafiero, who gave a peak into a post-lockdown life in Sorrento, Italy, photographer Francis Buseko shining a spotlight on South Africa, and NYC-based Russian artist and author Slava Mogutin.