By Codi Fant
Portraits by Tom Haonan Zhou
Photographer Rebekah Campbell is shaking up the fashion world, imbuing the pages of editorial magazines with her images of femininity and youth. Fashion may mean a multitude of different things to different people, but for Campbell it is one of art, whimsy, and freedom. “Fashion is purely fantasy. Like art, it exists in a realm of imagination as an enterprise, but that is what draws me to it,” she explained. Many of her pieces depict her fascination with the female form and youthful soul. A haze of nostalgia for an era before her time permeates the scenes she depicts in her work.
Hailing from Oklahoma, Campbell now resides in Brooklyn, New York where she thrives on the diverse and competitive environment. In particular “the brewing of cultures together and people interested in making and talking about art and minds,” she explained, almost romantically. “Living in New York compared to the midwest is vastly different. Slow versus rampant pace, small suburbs versus cramped apartment buildings.” Her photographs emulate this sentiment towards young ambition and freedom; a young girl taking on an old and vast city.
Above all else, to Campbell the fashion world is ready for the female gaze. Most of her subjects depict women in a refreshingly humanized way. Many fashion campaigns utilize women's’ bodies as objects to sell clothing, but Campbell manages to sell a feeling with her photographs; her subjects have depth and stories and lives. For the future of the fashion world she “[hopes] that it can start to stray away from the societal norms that are standard, that all people, genders, colors and faces can be put on a display that reaches an audience.”
While Campbell’s commercial career embraces fashion, her personal work strays more into fine art photography. “My personal work is more a document of my experiences with people and individuals, [where] we can explore the vastness within,” she explained. But do not assume she departs from fashion completely—there is a common thread between her two disparate interests. “Images with humans are much more to my liking,” She explained “I like to intersect [humans with] color and shapes and things that make something anti-fashion. I try to push the picture further in that way too.”
Campbell is ambitious in her exploration of her art and ideals and is ready to push the boundaries of photography and venture into other mediums; she is currently culminating ideas for a book and film. We can assume from her photography that these endeavors will gift us with some incredible visions of femininity and youth.
In the making of DRØME we hope to showcase a community of doers and nourish an attitude of empathy in a world that teaches us to pass judgment rather than practice kindness. The stories, images, and people shared in this magazine are an amalgamation of perspectives often overlooked or explicitly excluded from art and media worlds. The dearth of diverse identities and viewpoints within the arts is harrowing, especially for a young generation that is fighting its hardest to overcome conservative notions of order ultimately practiced as acts of discrimination against the very people and things we find most inspiring. In DRØME, the featured creators and creations encourage us to never shy away from who we are and what we want. Each artist, in sharing their story, embodies their own definition of agency. Against a mainstream ideology that indoctrinates patriarchal, capitalist, and hateful theories turned into policy, the artists in our first issue represent the ways in which art can take power back from society's denigrating control.