John Edmonds Channels the Spiritual Power of African Art into Compelling Portraits

By Daria Harper

John Edmonds, Tête de Femme, 2018. Courtesy of the artist and Company, New York.
For artist John Edmonds, the way that we choose to present ourselves when we step into the world each day speaks volumes. Through his photo-based practice, he sets out to capture such multitudes. “It’s an epic gesture, I think, to try to synthesize all of these aspects of our being into a picture plane,” Edmonds said in a recent interview. He often photographs Black queer men, including friends, members of his creative community, loose acquaintances, and complete strangers. He portrays them in opulent scenes that explore desire, acceptance, and community, while drawing on references like studio portraiture of the Harlem Renaissance era, Surrealist images by Man Ray, and religious paintings. [More