Living and working in London at the time, it was facinating to watch the variety of people that make up London. This project was as much as a document to this as it was a journey for me in understanding a very diverse identity.
Identity can can be a very fluid terminology and Londoners can be a prime example of this. Identity is no longer just linked to national origin or perhaps relegious beleves,
although still playing a large roll. In a very fast consumer environment and with the "help" of media we are able to wear our identity in order to portray aspects of our lifes. Glimpses, if you may, to who we are
Subcultures are able to have a visual identity for others to recognize them by. We all strive for individuality and we wanna express that by what we wear. Similarly we can alter peoples perception of who we are by dressing accordingly. Think wearing glasses to your next job interview.
Similar to a uniform, that exists in order to let others know that your a ranking officer or a street cleaner, the "suits" we chose to wear portray who we are. These are so embedded in our western culture, driven by commerce and the promise of belonging to a clan.
Emerging subcultures and trends drive fashion and style. In return we are offered with accessories in order to be identified with, kind-of like visual tells for others to see us as we want them to.
This project took place in Shepherds Bush area, a very well connected part of London were the local nightlife thrived with places like "The Shepherds Bush Empire" and not too far away from the "The Apollo Arena". This drove thousands of people in and out of the area.
In an effort to capture the diversity of the people I began this project. Taking visual references from fashion photography I chose to use a ring flash. This clinical light leaves no shadows due to it nature and is often called an unfaltering light due to its harshness that I though would add an element of expossing the unexposed if you may, to give a fashion like awareness to individual identity.
As a photographer i'm drawn to visual elements and in order to bring this project to life I had to step outside my comfort zone. I knew I wanted to be us unbiased as I could and let the camera and subjects speak for themselves, this was one more reason to chose the specific flash unit. Not long after this project started I realized than being unbiased was almost impossible. I noticed that I didn't ask everyone to take part and only approached people that "clicked" to me. I started choosing the background first and then ask people that would create a discourse in the image, either by contradicting it or juxtaposing it.
Looking at these images we can't help but read what we can. Understand and analyse who we see in those people, the worker, the raver, the wanderer. Fashion and style is supposed to give us the freedom in choosing who we are by what we chose to wear, what we inevitably do is tell the industry who we would like to be or belong with and unfortunately with that we also offer visual elements to how people "read" us.
When we think of Hip-Hop or Punk Rock certain elements that have connotations to those subcultures are inevitably transmitted. Subcultures and fashion changes with time and we went from big old boomboxes to a pair of white pods in our ears. Fashion, films and music are some of the few that play a role in who we admire to be, it is evident that there is a choice for all of us. Which begs the question, do we really strive for individuality and is this even feasible in our capital driven culture