The Robert McLaughlin Gallery sponsors an exhibition each year for the winner of the Best Overall Submission during the RMG’s annual fundraiser, RMG Exposed. The purpose of this prize is to raise awareness of contemporary photographers and their work and at last fall’s event, Canada and Brazil-based photographer Stephanie Foden’s work, Front Door, took the highest award.
Artists who win this award often follow through with an exhibition from the same series of work from which their winning submission was chosen. But the RMG and Foden have taken a different approach deciding to show her latest series of works, taken while she has been living in Brazil, and entitled Saudade da Bahia. A graduate of Durham College’s Journalism program, she has been documenting the Brazilian state of Bahia since 2013. As she notes, travel has affected not only her life, but also her practice as a photographer. She writes about her experience photographing in Brazil:
Remarkable Bahia is full of mysteries. In this series we head for uncharted territory in search of Bahia’s secrets, off the beaten path of tourist-flooded postcards. In a world that is so overly documented, it feels as though much of its wonder has vanished. Yet Bahia has a way of surprising and disorienting us. Sometimes incredible, seemingly magical things happen out of nowhere.
Being an avid adventurer since a young age, travel has played a decisive role in shaping Foden’s life and craft. She travels through non-tourist areas, absorbing the sounds, smells and energy while simultaneously enthralled by the area’s history that includes the fact that Bahia’s capital was the largest slave trading port in the Americas.
The resulting images in this, Foden’s first solo exhibition, represent only a small portion of those that she has produced. They give us a sense of the people, culture, and colour that have absorbed this emerging talent for the past few years.