Spotlighting four incredible, auction-fresh works from our ULTIMATE offering in London this May.

Spotlighting four incredible, auction-fresh works from our ULTIMATE offering in London this May.

Micaiah CarterAdeline in Barrettes, 2018. ULTIMATE Photographs London

Whether the first or the last, a one-off or sold out, each work in Phillips' ULTIMATE collection is on offer exclusively in our 16 May London Photographs auction. To kick off the latest iteration, we highlight four artists whose practices speak to the spirit of human connection across cultures and environments. 

Micaiah Carter

I want to feel free to what our imagination can be and what we can be, breaking the barriers of what Blackness is and making it feel like we’re people versus a trend.

—Micaiah Carter

Micaiah Carter’s evocative practice focuses on “family lineage, community and blending of the past and present in African American life.” In Adeline in Barrettes, 2018, we see this combination of nostalgia, contemporary culture, and spontaneity in equal measure. It shows the back of musician Adeline’s head, her hair adorned with multicolored, plastic barrettes in the shapes of carousel horses, butterflies, and bows. During a shoot for Vogue with Adeline at New York’s Afropunk Festival, an annual event celebrating Black culture and music, Carter asked her to turn around and photographed the back of her head, transforming a behind-the-scenes moment into a celebration of Black voices and true diversity while “giving a nod of homage to the cultural lineage behind us.”

Featured in British Journal of Photography’s “Ones to Watch” in 2020, the artist has shot for international publications such as Vogue, Vanity Fair and GQ and has collaborated with many high-profile brands, including Nike and Apple. His work has been exhibited internationally and his debut monograph Micaiah Carter: What’s My Name, featuring photographs he has created over the last decade, was published in 2023, Additionally, he is one of the founders of See In Black, an artist collective highlighting and supporting the advancement of black photographers.


David Uzochukwu 

David Uzochukwu, Wildfire, 2021. ULTIMATE Photographs London.

I focus on the vulnerability that all living things share.

—David Uzochukwu 

Austrian-Nigerian artist David Uzochukwu’s image-making process involves digitally layering multiple images, allowing him to visually dissolve boundaries between humans and the environment. In Wildfire, the subject appears strong and composed against a burned landscape as she looks directly at the camera, holding our gaze. “The dark plume of smoke rising from the woman’s head turns her into a force of nature,” the artist explains, “but also calls attention to a precarious state of being.” This powerful work reminds us of the duality of fire as an element that destroys and renews.

Wildfire is the work that launched Uzochukwu’s ongoing series In the Wake, in which he presents Black bodies within scenes of natural destruction “to learn from histories of exploitation and imagine new ways of being.” Nominated for the 2021 Prix Pictet, the world’s leading award for photography and sustainability – and gracing the cover of the accompanying publication – the work has been exhibited globally, and other prints of the image are held in the Collection Pictet, Geneva, and at the Musée de la Photographie de Saint-Louis, Senegal.


Renell Medrano

Renell Medrano, Ultitled from Pampara, 2019. ULTIMATE Photographs London.

The people, the environment and the vulnerability are what I carry with me in my practice.

—Renell Medrano

Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, Renell Medrano spent carefree summers in the Dominican Republic sun with her extended family. For her candid series Pampara, the artist returned to the island for the first time as an adult to explore the “energy and beauty” of her roots and her parents’ homeland. As explained by Medrano, the series title is a popular saying referring to “how bright Dominican Republic is, how lit it is.” In the work offered here, we see a peaceful moment shared between two boys lying back-to-back on the sand, basking in the Dominican warmth. “We always give this masculinity to the boys in the Dominican Republic,” the artist comments. “But it’s okay to have a soft side, and that’s what I wanted to show in these images: that vulnerability.”

Medrano has received the 2024 International Center of Photography’s Infinity Award for Commercial and Editorial Photography, as well as the New York Times’ Lens blog award in 2014. Her work has been widely exhibited, including as part of Aperture’s groundbreaking traveling show The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion from 2020 through 2023, and published in such leading publications as Vogue, GQ, Harper’s Bazaar and the New York Times. 


Kennedi Carter

Kennedi Carter, When Hands Touch, 2018. ULTIMATE Photographs London.

There’s this vulnerability that comes from being with someone that you allow to get this close to and truly touch you, whether it be physically, mentally or just emotionally.

—Kennedi Carter

For her series East Durham Love, Kennedi Carter stages her subjects who have never met before as couples, bringing fictional love stories to life. Focusing on Durham, North Carolina, Carter aims to capture the essence of her hometown while exploring “the power of affection and the beauty that exists within the fabric of the American South.” When Hands Touch portrays a scene of tender connection and love, showcasing a couple engaged in an intimate moment. The bold cropping, interplay between light and shadow, and the pop of color with the bright-gold cross together imbue the work with an expressive, painterly quality. Through her lens, Carter captures the “overlooked beauties of the Black experience: skin, texture, trauma, peace, love and community.”

In 2020, when Beyoncé selected the then 21-year-old photographer for her Vogue shoot, Carter became the youngest cover photographer in the history of British Vogue. Carter has exhibited internationally, notably her 2023-24 solo show Kennedi Carter: Sight Unseen at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture in North Carolina, as well as Aperture’s The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion. Her work resides in collections, including at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and Huis Marseille, Amsterdam.


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