Ícaro Fortes introduces AFRICA IS NOW to a freelance photographer whose arresting black-and-white images have a quiet, meditative quality that adeptly draws in the viewer. The 24-year-old Magno Daniel is based in Luanda, Angola, and also works as a creative director for visual projects and as a curator.
Daniel, as he’s known to acquaintances and artists, has been working in the world of photography for the past four years and has travelled to several cities around the world, capturing them via the lens of an outsider. He’s since returned to his hometown, where he has been exploring his chosen medium in its various forms: lifestyle, portraiture, fashion and urban-scapes.
At the end of 2018, Daniel was featured in issue 3 of DREAM, a Spanish magazine which is described as ‘a visual platform that deals with the world of matter and explores the connections between objects and their owners’. He worked on a series of photographs: Amulets. Daniel also curated and produced his first solo exhibition at Elinga Teatro entitled Eudaimonia (Greek for ‘human flourishing or prosperity’; ‘blessedness’).
At the beginning of 2019, he was given the opportunity to curate an exhibition with Angolan artist Muamby Wassaky. The exhibition, entitled Prosopagnosia, was by Angolan artist and filmmaker Wyssolela Moreira, who’s currently based in Toronto, Canada. Prosopagnosia, also known as face blindness, is a cognitive disorder in which the ability to recognise familiar faces, as well as your own (self-recognition), is impaired. The artist says that she created this project ‘to help and heal the Angolan society and many other African nations from their social-prosopagnosia’.
The photographer’s eyes are always aware of his surroundings and his passion for photography is fed by the flow of life.
Daniel says he shoots mostly in black and white with a digital camera. Lately, he has been spending his time capturing life in Luanda. His images are a reminder of the frailty of life and the harshness of city living. The photographer’s eyes are always aware of his surroundings and his passion for photography is fed by the flow of life.
In terms of the unmistakable ease and intimacy captured in his portraiture, Daniel says: ‘The intimacy with my subjects often starts with some research on the proposed concept and the result we intend to achieve. When shooting people, I further my knowledge and understanding of what can be done for that specific project, making it flow spontaneously. However, when directing the photoshoot, capturing an individual’s personality can be challenging and it requires communication skills and planning to make the concept and subject as intimate as possible.’
He also loves to play with negative space. So where does the beauty lie for Daniel in these quiet spaces? He says that negative space is an effective way to simplify his search for beauty. ‘Whether it is fashion, portraits, street photography or landscape, negative space attracts my viewers and me to engage in the subject from a distance, creating a relationship between the surroundings of the subject and the concept or feeling behind it. It makes my work more relatable to some people because it does not disturb them by throwing too much information at them to process. It rather selects a point making the viewer’s eyes move throughout the scene while reading the photograph in perfect harmony.’
Check out his website here.