Most of us have only heard of IKEA as that place where, as Jonathan Coulton said, “they sell things for apartments smaller than mine, as if there were smaller apartments than mine,” so their induction of Annie Leibowitz as their first Artist in Residence comes mainly as a surprise, one that is even further improved by the fact that Ms. Leibowitz will be mentoring six young photographers in a project slated to finish in early 2024.
All images provided to the Phoblographer to be used with permission.
According to IKEA and their Life At Home report, roughly half the population do not feel like their life at home is regularly represented in the media, something that —from my rather personal point of view— shouldn’t need any investigative report to find out.
This finding, though, has inspired the Swedish company and Annie Leibowitz to collaborate on this photography project, which will have Ms. Leibowitz traveling to Italy, India, the United States, Germany, Sweden, Japan, and the United Kingdom to document how real people live their life in their homes.
I believe this would merit a news piece on its own, even though some places (like, ahem, Spain) could do with some extra representation. Having six up-and-coming photographers as mentees? Paying them for their work on the project? That’s an enormous cherry on top, so let’s talk about that!
After a global open call in June 2023, the applicants were narrowed down to a shortlist. Annie Leibowitz and Marcus Engman, the creative director at Ingka Group, set down to handpick five photographers. The quality was so high that they decided to extend the number to six.
These mentees will be paid by Ikea for their work on this project, and will have their work shown up next to Annie Leibowitz once the project is finished, something slated to happen in early 2024.
These are the mentees, and let me assure you… we’re looking forward to seeing what they do with this opportunity.
- Ka’Vozia Glynn, 22, United States
- Zélie Hallosserie, 19, France
- Praise Hassan, 23, Nigeria
- Toma Hurduc, 21, Romania
- Elena Kalinichenko, 25, Ukraine
- Trâm Nguyen Quang, 23, Netherlands
What will this mentorship consist of?
The six mentees will be mentored by Annie Leibovitz and the Annie Leibovitz Studio team, together with Marcus Engman and other IKEA representatives. Their assignment will be to take portraits, interpreting insights from the annual IKEA Life at Home Report through their camera lens, the same assignment that Leibovitz has worked on for IKEA.
Speaking about the program, Leibovitz said: “When I was at art school, our work would be critiqued by the teachers. But I found that the discussions and learnings among the students were just as beneficial to us. I think the mentees in this program will learn greatly from each other.”
Marcus said: “At IKEA, we care about people and their life at home. We are always looking for new perspectives, and new voices to lift to the fore. The six final mentees that we chose showed passion and potential in their creative vision and their unique takes on what life at home means to them. In fact, we had originally planned to only select five mentees, but the breadth of the talent and the opportunity to see life through even more lenses made it impossible to choose just five.”
Truly, we hope that the photographers also gain valuable networking skills needed to be a photographer that we wish we had at their young ages. Considering her thoughts on portrait subjects, we’re very curious to see what’s made about people in their homes.