Alchemical Portraits: an exhibition at SHED

Throughout the month of May I had my first exhibition at SHED, an amazing studio space and cafe' in East London. As always when self curating, some of the images don't make the cut, although there is sometimes not a rational reason, just a choice in a particular momenta. Here are a few that didn't make the exhibition but perhaps still deserve a bit of exposure.....

(from the exhibition press release)...

Any fashion photographer is inevitably caught up in an idealized and unrealistic ideal of beauty that is incessantly drilled in by the usual advertising and editorial cahnnels. Many of the sitters for these portraits are either models or work in and around the fashion industry in some form, some are reprints from previous fashion shoots and some are taken backstage during london fashion week. This body of work looks to counter the expected canons beauty through a process of distress and transformation. Where traditional beauty decays (in this case artificially), new beauty can always be found and a new cycle can emerge. the element of chance also plays a role as different textures occur when chemicals mix and drip on the page, which can be controlled only to a degree. Through this process, every print is compeltely unique and individual, again at odds with the disposable, replaceable and infinitely reproducible models of beauty models that exist in fashion.

Backstage at London Fashion Week AW17

This season I was shooting again backstage at London Fashion Week for Fated and Fabled magazine, this a collection of my favourite shots. Many of these didn't make the editors cut but they are none the less some of my personal favourites. I decided to include just the black and white ones shot on my Leica for this particular set. Fashion shows I covered include Pam Hogg, Mark Fast , Ashley Isham ,  Cimone and many more but I'll let the fashionistas pair up images to designers. It's not really the intention of this blog post to make a fashion statement, just to convey a little bit of the atmosphere of those backstage moments.

Notes on the chromoskedasic process for the Film Shooters Collective

One of my favourite printing techniques involves the use of chemistry to get colourful images out of black and white paper. Here is an article I wrote about it recently for the artist collective I'm part of, the Film Shooters Collective.

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https://www.filmshooterscollective.com/analog-film-photography-blog/a-chemical-beauty-or-making-rainbows-out-of-silver-ralph-whitehead-11-2

Mexican standoff

Every now and then a project comes along where you can quite liberally draw inspiration from some great artist from the past. This was certainly true for this shoot for a really cool young brand Koua Mexico , inspired by the great Frida Khalo. I always loved those early colour photographs of her by Nikolas Muray, the technique for those original 1930s tri carbro prints is almost impossible to reproduce nowadays so I opted for a cinematic 1960s type classic movie look. Modelled by blogger Laura Blair, these were taken in the hottest (no pun intended!) Mexican bar in London, Tonteria.