If you stay to watch the sunset reflected in the Frank Ghery refracted tower of Luma Arles, you’ll notice an incredible array of oranges and pinks that bounce off the mirrored surfaces. The colours seem to brush the streets of Arles, which are so full of energy this time of year, as the annual Les Rencontres d’Arles convenes photography fans to see over 40 exhibitions that are staged within some of the most historical heritage sites in the Southern French city. Established in 1970, the photography festival has been recognized as one of the world’s best at amplifying both the unknown and the celebrated image-maker, from documentary to fashion visuals and turns the streets into open-air galleries themselves. 

So it makes sense that this year marks the 6th edition of the Dior Photography and Visual Arts Award for Young Talents, sponsored by Dior Beauty, a competition that highlights the freshest new talent working with light in different ways. Partnering with renowned international art and photography schools around the world to identify a shortlist for a jury to shortlist even further to 12, with one winner announced, the prize was  launched in 2018 in partnership with Luma Arles and the École Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie in Arles.

The works of all 12 finalists are being exhibited at the Grande Halle at LUMA Arles from until September 24th, 2023, providing a platform for their talent and creativity to be celebrated by art enthusiasts and visitors. In fact, the exhibition neighbours prolific American artist Theaster Gates exceptional Min / Mon show which had opened a week prior, bringing his Japanese ceramics and incredible Black Image Corporation Archive to Arles for the first time and upping the stakes for the works of the young talent next door.

Luckily, the finalists can hold their own next to art-world establishment. Among the finalists were ones-to-watch talents such as Soyan Alexander Issa from École de Recherche Graphique in Brussels, whose series "The Invisible Part" explores the complexities of his relationship with his brother's mental health struggles. Kyle Keese from École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris presents "Baker-Miller Pink," a series and video that challenges traditional wedding conventions. András Ladocsi from the Royal College of Art in London captures intimate moments and bodily expressions in his series titled "There is a Big River, in which there is a Big Island, in which there is a Lake, in which there is an Island, in which there is a Small House, Where a Life is Growing in a Womb." Wen Leng from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing explores the unsettling beauty of everyday objects in her vivid and saturated still lives titled "Cross the Sea."

The 2023 jury was presided over by Brazilian fashion photographer Rafael Pavarotti, Belgian photographer Barbara Iweins, French art historian and photographer Damarice Amao, Peter Philips, Creative and Image Director for Dior Makeup, Maja Hoffmann, President and Founder of Luma Arles, and Simon Baker, Director of the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris.

This year's winner is Iris Millot a French photographer who gathers evidence on the relationships human beings weave with their environments. A special mention went to Jermine Chia, from Central Saint Martin's whose video asking intergenerational subjects their word associations fed by the artist provide insight into humanity today. 

For Dior Beauty, The Art of Colour reaffirms its commitment to supporting young talents who colour the world with their unique perspectives and creativity, a parallel to the brand's day job of offering luscious makeup and tools to enhance and play. By offering young creatives an opportunity to showcase their work on an international stage such as Arles, Dior Beauty once again demonstrates the power of art to provoke dialogue, challenge norms, and inspire new perspectives. 

All photos courtesy of Parfums Christian Dior

Read more about Dior Beauty's initiative HERE
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