Avaunt magazine has released two starkly different covers for its latest issue, out tomorrow. The first, photographed by Matilda Temperley, is a brazen portrait of a Mursi woman in Ethiopia holding a gun; the second, shot by Frédéric Lagrange, depicts Alaska’s glaciers and mountains.
“Matilda’s cover shot, which we have chosen to run despite some negativity from distributors, is bold, provocative, intriguing, and unmistakably beautiful,” says Avaunt’s director of photography Madeleine Penny. The photograph is part of a ten-year series published in the issue, capturing the people of the Omo Valley. “Her body of work is an awareness campaign, bringing light to the destruction of the lifestyles in the valley. I love the unashamed way she shows her backdrops in some images, removing her subjects from their environment so we focus entirely on faces, expressions and tribal markings.”
The second cover by Frédéric Lagrange is part of an “adventure and fashion story,” documenting an Alaskan bush pilot. Shot on film, the cover image exemplifies “the isolation, the sheer enormity of the landmass, and the insignificance of the mechanical object within it,” says Madeleine.
The photographic styles of the two covers, and in fact across the issue, are an eclectic mixture on purpose, Madeleine explains. Magazine photography can become “formulaic and prescriptive,” she says, but when commissioning she gives photographers free rein to allow them to tell the stories in the best way possible, so they are fully invested in the project, and readers are hopefully surprised and intrigued as to “what might come next”.
Other features in the issue feature shoots by Daniel Stier and Klaus Thymann, among others. Daniel’s is a no-holds-barred depiction of scientific laboratories for a feature on antibiotic resistance. “Daniel is a curious and intelligent photographer,” says Madeleine. “What I love about the shoot is the chaos and artistry of the lab. It’s far from a typical clinical scene, and instead is a riot of colour.
While Daniel’s shoot is unceremoniously honest and raw, Klaus’ shoot is dark and otherworldly, showing the previously undiscovered underwater caves of the Mexican jungle. “The caves are claustrophobic and dangerous,” says Madeleine. “The photography is dramatic and the underwater amphitheatre like backdrop is the payoff for the bravery of an exhilarating adventure.”
The magazine’s creative director Matt Willey designed the issue, including both covers, working alongside design director Alex Hunting.
Avaunt issue four is published 26 October.