Archives for posts with tag: London

Zed_Nelson_Photography

As our role models become ever younger and more idealized, we are so afraid of aging that the quest for youthful preservation generates an almost pathological obsession with our bodies. As we align our sense of self-worth with self-image, the psychological and emotional consequences are tortuous. The one thing we do know for certain is that our body will always, in the end, betray us.
—Zed Nelson

Love Me is a series by London-based photographer Zed Nelson that explores the insidious power of the global beauty industry and reflects on the cultural and commercial forces that drive pathological obsessions with youth and beauty. Shot over the last five years in 18 countries across five continents, the series brings into question our place within a culture that compels us to endlessly judge, and be judged, by our appearance. Taken from Feature Shoot

All images © Zed Nelson

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Jooney_Woodward_Photography

London-based photographer Jooney Woodward’s affinity for diverse landscapes and the open road has drawn her to Wales for the last 10 years. With rugged landscapes and a multitudinous sheep population, the country of the ancient Britons offers itself as a geographical treasure chest for the photographer. Wandering from one village to the next, Woodward captures many a singular personality to be found at community events. She also reveals Wales’ less considered landscapes beyond epic views of snowy peaks and deep-set valleys. In her recent work Jooney explores the spirit of Wales’ agricultural shows. In the openness of the atmosphere the photographer observes each potential subject unawares before approaching them. Jooney presents to us a real-life cast whose idiosyncrasies appear amplified ten-fold and frozen in the most emphatic of facial expressions. At times such a result relies solely on the spontaneity of the first frame. It is in the singular instant of the nine year-old’s clasp of a Vimto can, or the cross-legged lean of the young equestrian; the poker-face of the pensioner card-player, or the furrowed stare of the bulldog breeder that Woodward portrays the warm confidence of a community which remains largely foreign to the UK’s urban population. Woodward is the winner of the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2011. Taken from Feature Shoot

All images © Jooney Woodward

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London-based photographer Todd Antony recently spent some time in Sun City, a retirement city boasting 37,000 residents situated near Phoenix, Arizona, where he came across ‘The Sun City Poms’. They were very happy to be photographed striking their best pose against the immaculate backdrop of their sunny paradise. Antony says on his blog that spending time with these ladies made him consider how Americans view the aging process; at one end of the spectrum are the child beauty pageants (kids trying to fast-track their years) whilst at the other end are these fabulous pom pom ladies who are successfully and gracefully holding them back. Taken from Feature Shoot

All images © Todd Antony

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Daesung_Lee_Photography

While at the Sony World Photography Awards Show at Somerset House, this series by Paris-based Korean photographer Dae Sung Lee was what impressed me most (he won 3rd prize in the Contemporary Issues category). The shots depict the inhabitants of an island called Ghoramara off the West Bengali coast and the powerful effects of land erosion caused by the rising sea levels. The islanders are mostly farmers and fishermen whose livelihoods are in such jeopardy that the Indian government has already formulated plans to relocate them. Taken from Feature Shoot

All images © Dae Sung Lee

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Joakim_Blockstrom_PhotographyWhen I was 5 years old my grandfather gave me this ‘stuffed’ baby crocodile. It was already a very old specimen. He claimed it was found on the banks of the Nile in 1904. Whilst it probably dates from around this time, I think he may have made up the story to appeal to a child’s imagination! I thought it was incredible and it became my most treasured possession. It was the centre-piece of my bedroom ‘museum’ and undoubtedly sparked an interest in taxidermy and curiosities. Many years later I discovered just how ordinary such things are, but it never lost its appeal. It now has pride of place housed under a glass dome in my ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ at home and it’s my children’s favourite piece.—Alexis Turner, Natural History Dealer and Founder of London Taxidermy

While our identity in the present most often rests at the forefront of our minds, it is where and who we came from that feels forever intriguing. Past, present and future, we are made up of stories, and what we’ve inherited, be it object or not, helps us to piece those stories together. Swedish, London-based photographer Joakim Blockstrom has started a collective piece called The Heirloom Project in which he “is trying to investigate the links between those ‘hand-me-downs’ and how that has made an impact on us as individuals.” He has created an ongoing library of heirlooms coupled with personal stories of identity, memory and nostalgia, reminding us that so much can be contained in an object, the magic inside growing more powerful with age. Blockstrom invites your stories, saying “this project is about and depends on your contributions.” You can contribute here. Taken from Feature Shoot

All images © Joakim Blockstrom

Joakim_Blockstrom_PhotographyMy grandfather was a great sailor and taught me a lot about boats and sailing. He always carried a ‘Leatherman’ sailing knife, which he was constantly using. Whether cutting ropes or just tinkering, it was always with him. I remember how he kept it so well oiled and it smelled like his workshop. He passed away a few years ago, and unfortunately we had to sell his yacht, but I tried even harder at sailing hoping to make him proud. My grandmother wanted to give her grandchildren one special thing to always remind us of how gentle and nice he was and I was given his sailing knife. I now sail all the time, training and competing around the country and always hope that he can see what I’m achieving. I carry the knife in my kit bag everywhere and use it just like my grandfather did and hopefully, when I am older I will own a yacht and use it as much as he did.—Stan Chick, Age 13

Joakim_Blockstrom_PhotographyEver since I can remember I’ve had this paperweight, playing with it as a child I payed close attention to it’s cold touch and it’s rough texture. It once belonged to my Australian grandfather, a person I never met and know very little about. Although I have always known it was his its significance never occurred to me. Only now do I look at it and wonder who he really was. Sometimes I think this sleeping wombat knows more about my grandfather than I do.—Luke Cave, Biochemistry Student at UCL

Joakim_Blockstrom_PhotographyNo one in my family ever seemed to notice how weird it was that one day my grandmother started wearing a Swatch. I have no idea how it came to her, or when. Ok, it wasn’t a fluoro coloured glow-in-the-dark Keith Haring edition.
It was a relatively demure black one with a white face and roman numerals. But still, it was a Swatch.

Visually, I’d always thought of my grandmother as a prototype “little old lady”. Classic, a bit elegant, with no particular acknowledgement of current styles or trends beyond the comfort zone she’d mapped out years previously.

Throughout my childhood she wore the same delicate thin gold watch with a very tiny face, in keeping with someone born in an earlier part of the twentieth century. She wore it with black leather open toe shoes, forties style, opaque white stockings and dresses. Always. From these givens I could take some unintellectualized kid comfort. When I first caught sight of the Swatch on her wrist, I couldn’t quite process why I found it so curious. But the disconnect between my grandmother and this plastic disposable pop-up fashion item was so huge to me, I wondered what else I might have to re-evaluate in my life. The reverberations were potentially massive.

From that day on, I could think of my grandmother in no way other than Swatch-wearing. And it never became any less curious to me that the gold watch had mysteriously been replaced with something from another era. The one we were currently living. When she passed away I knew I had to inherit her Swatch. Just that. Nothing else mattered. No one really understood my obsession. It was happily handed over to me.—Valerie Phillips, Photographer

Joakim_Blockstrom_PhotographyI inherited this bible after the death of my grandfather, Manuel Simeão da Silva, but the most important thing I inherited from him was his stories. My memory of him wasn’t so much as an ardent bible reader but as the adventurous young man he once was and for his playfulness. He lived in another state and I was about 4 years old when I first met him. I remember him swinging me on a hammock, feeling terrified by his wrinkly face and dark skin every time the hammock swung close to his face. He was a cafuso, his mother was Brazilian Indian and his father an African. It was only later when he came to live with us, after my father’s death, when I was 11 that I got to know him better. He had mellowed by then; he wasn’t the severe man I had heard about. In fact, I think his old age regression matched my age at the time.

He was a great storyteller, telling me the wild tales of his youth and how he was quite the Don Juan. There were many stories about travelling through the jungle, and in particular his encounter with a dangerous snake. How he had eloped with my grandmother and how her father contracted bounty hunters to kill both of them. It was only much later that I realized I was the only one he told those stories to. At times, I would get bored of listening as he repeated them over and over again. In hindsight I can see the wisdom of the repetition, because I can now remember those stories.—Viviane Carneiro, Psychotherapist

Joakim_Blockstrom_PhotographyAfter my parents divorced in 1948, I went to live with my grandparents in Carnerigasse 35 in Graz, Austria. Almost every day grandpa would tell me stories about his time on the Eastern Front during WW1. They featured Cossacks mounted on horseback skewering Austrian soldiers with long pointy iron lances. During an attack in Galicia he was shot in the head but survived. Sometimes I was allowed to poke my little finger in the bullet hole inside his head.—Otmar Thormann, Photographer

Joakim_Blockstrom_PhotographyMy dad died when I was just a lad leaving me with just a few vague memories of things we did together. The things I tend to remember more are the things he did funnily enough. He was always doing something, be that making furniture, printing his photography in the darkroom, screen printing, painting, or just sitting drinking whisky late at night playing his guitar. He never made it feel like we couldn’t join in though, it was just he was busy and we were all happy to fit in around him because it made him what he was.

Memories can be triggered by many things, none more so than our sense of smell. So If you put a bottle of Rotring ink under my nose today I know I’d be straight back to dads study. His wooden swivel chair, his blood red desk, Letraset pages scattered all over and his Rotring pens all laid out, whilst he toiled over his latest poster for a local theatre or communist party poster . I always loved the coloured collars they all had and thought they must be very special. By Day his proper job was teaching kids with behavioral problems at a local school, but at night he’d let loose on his current creative outlet and we might not see him for hours. Its funny but as I write this I realise i’m becoming exactly the same. Every night I escape to my studio at home, somewhat oblivious to everything around me, and sit there and make music or work on images until the wee small hours. Got a lot of my dad in me I guess, although I never did get the taste for whisky.—Owen Gale, Picture Editor

Joakim_Blockstrom_PhotographyIn the early 1970s I was nine years old when my family scrimped, saved and borrowed to take a train from Liverpool to Jersey for our first and only holiday ‘abroad’. The hotel had palm trees and a swimming pool, and seemed like the most exotic place in the world. My sister Joanne was five years younger and hadn’t yet learned to swim, but on our first evening she walked backwards into the swimming pool. There was nobody else around, so I jumped in fully clothed and lifted her from under the water to the side of the pool. I was more concerned about being in trouble for getting my clothes wet, but my parents were beside themselves with gratitude, and recounted the story to everybody in the hotel.

We never had much money at the time, so I was amazed when they offered to buy me a watch the next day while out in the town. They were thinking of something small, inexpensive and age-appropriate, but I pointed to a large, ostentatious diver’s watch, which was well out of their budget. We left the shop empty-handed, and I thought nothing more of it until the next day when they surprised me with the watch. I wore it constantly for years after, and now it sits in the bottom of a draw, but in my mind it will always be a most valued possession to pass-on, representing the love and selflessness of my parents.—Ian Pendleton, Creative Director

Joakim_Blockstrom_PhotographyMy father’s mother built this house in the mountains near the small town of São Francisco de Paula in Brazil, in 1954. There was only her house and my mother’s aunt’s house there. My mother was born there and would later go back for holidays, as did my father. They met only because of this house. They could see each other from the windows as the houses were 300m apart. This was before the trees they planted grew: over the years many trees and other houses grew up nearby. Looking at this picture now, it’s hard to recognise the place. We went there on holiday – extreme summers, hard winters – a place for reading, dreaming, eating, playing. The only time I have seen demons, red and hairy, was there.—Lucia Koch, Artist

Joakim_Blockstrom_PhotographyMy dad was a fundamentalist born-again hellfire preacher, and I grew up in a very antagonistic relationship with him. My normality as a teenager was hoping new girlfriends wouldn’t notice the faith-healing, amens and hallelujahs going on in the front room. I left home as soon as I could and it took me over a decade to sort out the mess that kind of religion leaves you with. Then I was able to notice the man my friends had – funny, eccentric, generous (he loved cartoons, he regularly gave away more money than he could afford, he taught himself Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic so he could read ‘what the bible really said’). We still disagreed on almost everything, but we found we had a lot of common interests.

Shortly before he died he gave me his sermons. It was a brilliant, tongue-in-cheek gesture from him (mixed with some earnestness). They’re dated, with where he preached and what hymns they sang, and they’re passionately annotated and reworked. They were the thing that I most wanted, because they were him put down on paper. I can never read more than a couple of lines though, because they’re so intolerant, aggressive and angry, and that’s not how I want to remember him. But that’s also why they’re so great, because their accidental message to me is about not being too hasty to dismiss someone because I dislike their attitudes. I’d have missed some great conversations that way. My heirloom reminds me that we’re all weird, and we only think we aren’t because we choose friends who are weird in the same way as us.—John Wyatt-Clarke, Photographic Agent

Joakim_Blockstrom_PhotographyI inherited Cassie from my mum years ago – guess I kind of just took her one day, as she had been shoved in a cupboard for years, and was wearing no shoes, no knickers, no top, just a rather chunky, unattractive knitted pink skirt and braces, and even though the smile (obviously) remained intact, looked somewhat chipped and neglected! I felt a bit sorry for her. She was my mum’s first doll, and sported hair ‘back in the day’, but like a well loved grandad, I’d only ever know Cassie as a baldie! But the broad metal staples that held three strategically placed tufts of hair remain in her head – another reason to feel for her!

My Mum passed away a few years back, so Cassie’s presence in my home has taken on even more significance. I like to move her around a bit, so that I never quite take her for granted! Although most visitors think she’s rather creepy, to me she’s always just my Mum’s Cassie, and I think she looks really rather magnificent in all her naked, ebony glory, albeit a bit chipped!—Suzanne Stankus, Creative Director/ Stylist

Joakim_Blockstrom_PhotographyIf you have every wondered why Architects of a certain age stereotypically wear bow ties; the reason is simple practicality, not sartorial elegance. Before working with a computer screen and a mouse, Architects spent hours hunched over a drafting board putting pencil to paper. Those Architects who wore normal ties were forced to either invest in a tie clip and look like a 1950’s accountant or throw their tie over their shoulder like a World War One flying ace.

Part of drafting, prior to the undo button, was erasing which created large deposits of rubber and paper debris. To clear one’s drawings, all Architects kept a drafting brush to hand. My heirloom is my Grandfather’s drafting brush. Dating from the 1950’s or 1960’s, it was manufactured by the German firm of Dietzgen from 100% sterilized horse hair. The brush also features the letters “BE” carved into the timber frame. These are the first two letters in his surname, Berry. The rest of the letters have been rubbed away with time. When I started architecture school, my Grandfather passed on his drafting tools to me. While a majority of the tools were of sentimental value only, the brush proved its usefulness over three years of graduate school and seven years of drafting before my board was replaced with a 21” monitor. The brush has now found a third life for itself. Despite my best efforts to keep it hidden away in my man drawer, my young daughters are convinced it is really a crumb brush and should, like in a fancy restaurant, be used to clean the table between dinner and dessert.—Philip Keller, Architect

Joakim_Blockstrom_PhotographyMy dad, Eddie Garrett, was a Telegraphist Air Gunner in the Fleet Air Arm during World War II. He mainly flew in the old open-canopied Fairey Swordfish bi-planes, affectionately known as ‘stringbags’. This was the same type of plane that famously pursued and sank the German flagship, Bismarck. He sat behind the pilot, facing backwards and was responsible for staying in communication with his base just using morse code, and for defending the plane from attack from above and behind.

This is dad’s leather flying helmet, which he kept after being demobbed and gave to me some time before he passed away. The tubes connected to the ear pieces are not electronic but merely open pipes which plugged into the console in front of him and allowed him to converse with the pilot above the noise of the engine.

In the early 60s it was clear that England was still living in the shadow of WWII. Consequently people such as me, who grew up through that period, have a curious sense of nostalgia for aspects of the war even though they have no actual memory of it. This helmet gives me a direct and enduring physical connection both to my dad and to a period of history from which I am obviously disconnected yet feel strangely familiar with.—Malcolm Garrett, Graphic Designer

 

david_stewert_Photography

We talked to London-based photographer David Stewart last year about his series Teenage Pre-occupation, of which at that time was in the design stage of becoming a book. The series explores teen culture and experience from Stewart’s point of view—the awkwardness and insecurity, the search for belonging, the need to be cool. With a generation of teens hooked on the internet and technology, the work contemplates not just the virtual world they live in, but what will become of them post-highschool. Stewart celebrated the book’s launch this past month in a fashion that served as an extension of the project. The night featured live performance and details taken from themes in the book—guests entered on a cornflake carpet, pot noodles were served by teens, and teen action could be viewed through letter box peep holes. Taken from Feature Shoot

All images © David Stewart

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From the launch party:

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Olivia Arthur

In 2009, London-based photographer Olivia Arthur was invited by the British Council to teach a photo workshop to a group of women in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Her experience there evolved into a balance of teacher and student, and was the impetus for Jeddah Diary, a series documenting the lives of young Saudi women. Arthur took three subsequent trips back to Jeddah, capturing an intimate portrait of these women combined with the underlying restrictive social mores that surround them. Taken from Feature Shoot

All images © Olivia Arthur

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Dana Popa

Dana Popa did a brave thing. She took her talent for photography and used it to expose an illegal trade, a predominantly hidden industry which depends on selling women for profit. Now an internationally recognised problem, sex trafficking is often compared to the slave trade in its vulgarity and severity and yet there is still a lot to be done to alleviate the problem and get to the point of convicting these criminals and protecting women worldwide. I was interested in Dana’s experience in meeting these survivors and also her thoughts on the difference she believes photography can make to situations like these. Dana Popa is a Romanian photographer based in London. Her series not Natasha has received international acclaim, including Amnesty International, Foto8, FOAM, BJP and Portfolio magazine. The book not Natasha was published by Autograph ABP in 2009. Presented like a notebook or journal of these women’s experiences it creates a personal interaction with the subject matter and the reader in a poignant and hard hitting manner. Taken from Feature Shoot

All images © Dana Popa

Dana PopaNatasha is a nickname given to prostitutes with Eastern European looks.

What brought you to the point of doing a series on women who have been trafficked?
“What triggered my work was purely finding out what sex trafficking really means. At the time there was not much visual coverage of the illegal trade. Sex trafficking is the most profitable illegal business since the 1989 fall of the Soviet Union; it’s a form of violence against women from my society. Little do people realise what this illegal trade is and how big and profitable it has become.

“So I decided to try and get a closer look at sex trafficking and record what it means for the women to survive sexual slavery. I chose to have a glimpse of their souls – which at the time seemed very difficult to do, but that is what I was most interested in. After having heard their stories, I wanted to look at their traces – at what women who had disappeared for years and who are believed to be trafficked and sexually enslaved leave behind. This became an essential angle and part of the narrative.

“After being involved with this project I realised that its beginnings might have been triggered by my interest and knowledge of the woman’s position in societies like the one I was born in. I acknowledge this story as a way of standing up against the societies that know what happens to their women and hide it without even doing anything about it.”

Dana PopaSex-trafficked girls hate it.

Did you find it difficult to get access and how did you navigate this?
“Getting access was the hardest aspect and most frustrating part all along the years I made this work. I worked a lot to establish all sorts of connections with NGOs fighting sex trafficking in different countries. I received less than half of the help I needed to make the story. The rest I had to do myself, which was difficult and took a long time. During the first year I worked with two local NGOs in Moldova, IOM Moldova and Winrock International. Later on, I worked with the Police in London and I also went on my own into Turkey.

“The women accepted me in their lives, some for three weeks, some only for a few hours, depending on where I would meet them. I had to be both discreet and protective, respectful to their wishes, and always asking for their consent. It was not hard to explain the reasons of my work. The social workers allowed me to visit some of the women who survived trafficking and were now living back in their homes, or wherever they returned to.

“The most pleasant part of the learning process was when I spent time at one of the shelters that offered them psychological assistance and accommodation for a month or so. I had spent 2 weeks with girls that had just escaped sexual slavery. They were spinning stories about their ordeals every evening. This is what actually helped me frame the story and urged me to continue it at a later stage.”

Dana Popa‘My husband-to-be sold me for $2200.’—Dalia

What impact did the project have on you as a woman/person?
“I am not sure it had such a strong impact on me as a woman/person on a long term. It rather opened my eyes on the type of issues I feel it is important to make work on. It became clear my interests lie within subjects concerning women and human rights. Whilst making the project, the girls’ confessions about the torture they went through brought me so close to their ordeal and shocked me at the beginning. Their words stayed with me, and they are very much an important part of the book I made. It’s their voice, and bringing their voice close to the audience that matters to me.”

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Your background in photojournalism seems paramount in training you to face tough situations and difficult scenarios, what was the best advice you received and held onto for this series?
“I don’t think I received any advice regarding this series as I did not tell anyone I was working on it until I started editing it. In general one of the best pieces of advice that I had received in regards to portraying survivors was to approach them with respect, to firstly see and show their humanity and dignity through my photography. Also, to have patience, something that I needed a lot in this long term and slow making project.”

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Although the series is journalistic in style (real life events, personal stories, raising awareness etc) it also covers a fine art approach in the style of images (with a blend of subtle imagery such as a covered pram, juxtaposed with writing and shown alongside more narrative pieces). I sense that photographic genres are overlapping more than ever. Bearing this in mind, how did you view the final edit? What were your aims in putting this work together?
“I usually work in a very intuitive way and the pictures and editing are not a result of a deep introspection. This work was no exception. Of course I have a photojournalistic background which probably shapes my style but on the other hand what I really want to capture in a picture is not what’s directly visible in it. So I think that’s why you can see the work has an artistic approach. At the time I was definitely not aware of any overlapping trend, even though I agree that it is quite obvious these days.”

Dana Popa

How do you feel art-based photography and photo-journalism can best compliment each other?
“I think there has been beautifully complex (in the way you are suggesting) photography since the very beginning. I feel tempted to say that perhaps now there is that type of analysis but the overlapping has always been there. Like I was saying, I never realised I could be an example of such; I just photograph. To me photography is not only about capturing a fragment of visible reality. One could even say that that is actually impossible and in a frame there are always several dimensions of a reality, even in studio photography.”

Dana Popa‘I was twelve years old. I don’t want to talk about it.’—Alina

What impact do you think photography can have in helping actual change happen for people such as these?
“Actual change… It’s a bit late to talk about change in the case of the ones who had been sold into sexual slavery (except if you consider that the images helped raised funds for the NGO to continue offering them support). But on the other hand being involved in a project like this can be used as therapy for the survivors and I hope it was a positive thing for the girls I photographed.

“Of course the impact photography can have is significant, in making us all shocked by the reality that’s happening much closer to what we might think. But it would be more effective if for instance police had real funds to tackle the issue and the reality is that lots of those funds have been in the recent years cut down.”

Dana Popa

What change has not Natasha made to the best of your knowledge?
“Well, it has raised awareness in a fantastic way worldwide and it raised funds to go to the NGOs who work with the survivors as well as to prevent other people being trafficked. I was investigating a hidden reality: the underground world of trafficking with the severe implications it has on the survivors of sexual slavery; only the fact we now talk about it and the audience can be aware of this reality is a huge step in the direction of the change we all want to happen.”

Dana Popa‘The pimp tried to induce an abortion by administering pills, but it did not work. So I was carrying a dead fetus in my womb for two months. I was still forced to do three, four clients a day. Only the thought of my baby daughter back home stopped me from taking my own life…’—Dalia

What did the girls think of the final product and are you still in touch?
“I am still in touch with a few of the women I met in this journey and in more often contact with a couple of them. As a reaction, they were interested to see my work. One of them decided to help me continue my visual work on sex trafficking as much as she could and another one looked on the book dummy with curiosity since she had been very much part of the project both as a survivor and a great help in translating and making the liasion with other girls at the shelter. When she reached the end of the book, she closed it and said: ‘Ok, from now on, we won’t be talking about this anymore.’ We still keep in touch.”

Dana Popa


This lovely editorial is the work of London based photographer David Ryle from a series entitled ‘Steam’. Art Director: Gem Fletcher, Stylist: Natasha Freeman, Hair and Makeup: Ellie Tobin. Taken from Trendland

All images © David Ryle

Nadia-Lee-Cohen photography

Nadia Lee Cohen is a 22-year-old London-based photographer currently going for a BA in photography at the London College of Fashion. Eye-popping and delightful, Cohen’s photographs channel motifs of Americana and Britain from the 1950s, 60s and 70s; melodramatic hair and make-up, saturated colors, and the characters to fit. She is a master of setting the scene, styling her subjects and incorporating her own props which she spends plenty of time collecting. This year, Cohen was selected for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize exhibition. Her photograph, American Nightmare, is on display at the National Portrait Gallery through February 8, 2013. Taken from Feature Shoot

All images © Nadia Lee Cohen

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