Is Fashion Modern?
This year, completely out of the blue I was lucky enough to be approached by The Museum of Modern Art, New York to create a photo story for their first fashion exhibition since 1944. I was chosen to contribute along with 3 other young, emerging photographers from around the world. The show presents 111 items of clothing and accessories that have had a profound impact on the world in the 20th and 21st centuries. The exhibition traces the history of each item in relation to cultural forces past and present, touching on labor, marketing, technology, religion, politics, aesthetics and popular culture.
Working along with Set Designer Anna Lomax and Stylist Grace Joel, I produced 18 photographs in total. The shots are featured as part of the catalogue and an encyclopedia-style A-Z book accompanying the MoMA show. Our eclectic list of subjects ranged from iconic Levis 501s and the advent of the bikini through to street style favourites, Nike Air Force 1s and concept pieces from Comme Des Garcons "Body Meets Dress, Dress Meets Body" collection.
Having being tasked with creating a photo story featuring very specific items I wanted to use my skills as a still life photographer to celebrate each of the pieces and share the detail and craftsmanship with the viewer. However, I also wanted to push the boundaries of traditional catalogue photography, keen to avoid the static and archival style usually employed by museums in their accompanying literature. I researched each object, eager to include references to the pieces’ historical significance in a contemporary way. Life in 2016 and 2017 has also provided lots social, political, economic and environmental reference points for the question - “Is Fashion Modern?”.