Monthly Archives: November 2011

The current style for wearing trousers extremely low, has bemused me for some time. Trousers are worn so low, that a belt is needed to fix them mid buttock, or even below the bum cheek (an almost non existent bottom is needed for the latter). This fashion for wearing jeans and trousers so provocatively low, really accurately illustrates the generation gap to me. It is something that I haven’t thought about too much as I have got older. I have become more aware of fashions and trends, without necessarily adopting them myself, but this way of wearing trousers does just leave me baffled.

If you were born before 1980 this look is completely and unfathomably ridiculous. If you were born after 1980 it is cool. I think the cut off point is as defined as that. (Your comments are welcomed on this.)

The fashion is known as ‘Sagging’ and originates from the U.S., where the prison system prohibited the use of belts (which could be used to commit suicide). The style was then popularised by Hip Hop culture and adopted by young people as a symbol of the rejection of mainstream society’s values. Dressing provocatively and pushing the boundaries of acceptability are a right of passage for each new generation.

My own generation, labeled generation X, of people growing up in the 80’s got to express their angst and disproval of the mainstream through a whole variety of trends – Modern Romantics (boys dressing like girls), the Rave scene (taking drugs (or not) and dancing in a field). For me most of my fashion influences were from the music of the time – Pepsi and Shirley, Bananarama, and Human League. I remember expressing my individuality by bleaching my own jeans, just like everyone else, and wearing them ripped at the knee, thigh and bum.

This is what I find really interesting about fashion, not the shallow side of just following the latest trends and being overly concerned about how you look. But the influences behind why some trends are adopted and where they originate. It makes me consider what is going to come next and where those influences will come from… Something you could take a guess at, but no one could predict.

Thanks to Corey and David.

This is the start of a new project for me, titled ‘Saturday Girls’. I want to create a series of portraits that capture  that feeling of freedom that Saturdays can bring. The choice to wear whatever you like, and be whoever it is you really want to be. On the one day of the week, ( Sundays don’t count – no one is going to see you on a Sunday), for many of us, we are not bound by work clothes or school uniforms.

For a lot of young people and girls in particular. Saturday is about dressing up (or down), meeting up with your mates and going into town. To shop, if you have some money or to hang out. I have started to work on a series of portraits of girls and young women out and about on Saturdays. Free and easy and dressed how they want to be, being able to express their growing and developing identity, through their clothes, accessories and attitude.

This is Fen and Flo who I met last Saturday outside Primark ( a popular spot), in Bristol city centre. I particularly like how they have posed for the camera. It is very posed and self aware. These girls know what they are doing with their legs. For a while I tried to get my subjects to stand very plainly, but have  learned that a picture gives more away if you allow someone to present themselves as they wish others to see them.

This portrait is another in the ‘Pink Princesses’ series (see Polly post, 5th Oct). I wanted to really explore how deeply the colour pink has become associated with femininity within our culture. I came up with the idea of photographing a boy wearing pink. My idea was that as we are all so immersed in our own culture and it’s values, that we might at first glance see a boy wearing pink to be a girl.

I tried to keep everything else in the shot very neutral, so the only element that could be interpreted as feminine was the colour pink itself. This was not easy from the start. When I went shopping for a plain pink T-shirt I actually couldn’t find one that was without a frill, ruching, or embellishment. I bought the plainest pink T-shirt I could find which has a frill at the shoulders. ( I would love to see a shop selling fun, brightly coloured, plain and unisex children’s clothing.)

For me, because I know Henry I cannot see him as a girl. I just see Henry. So I am really interested in other people’s initial response to this picture. I think I have ended up with quite a romantic image due to the lighting and it might have been better to do a more straight shot with eye contact too, but I am keen on the idea and will be doing more portraits of boys in pink.

Henry was a joy to photograph. He was really interested in the whole process and I gave him my Nikon SLR to take some photographs on. Part of me wanted him to say “Pink!, that’s for girls. I’m not putting that on!”, but he was way too cool for that.

Thanks to Henry, Donna, Mabel and Phil.