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Ryan Skelton photography, 16 July 2017

11 September 2017

This was plan B. I’d originally been approached with proposals for a photo shoot at the Laurie Grove Baths on Goldsmiths University campus. The photographer would be Ryan Skelton – a third-year student studying Fashion Communication and Promotion at Central Saint Martins – helped by fashion designer and visual researcher, Alessia Vanini. Subsequently, it emerged a public exhibition was taking place at the baths on our agreed date, so the shoot was relocated to Ryan’s flat and became preparatory to our intended work on location, now rescheduled for autumn.

#NSFW

It was 3pm on a rain-threatened yet particularly humid summer’s Sunday in Elephant and Castle. Ryan greeted me and made tea whilst a friend applied a little make-up to my face. Alessia, Ryan and I then withdrew to a bedroom in which cuttings festooned the walls and rails of clothes busied all sides. About a dozen or so neatly folded piles of vintage garments occupied the remaining floor space. Over the next two hours they adorned me with each set – full dress or fragments that left me semi-nude. We began with an Italian men’s one-piece woollen swimsuit from the early 20th century…


Photography © Ryan Skelton


Photography © Ryan Skelton


Photography © Ryan Skelton


Photography © Ryan Skelton


Photography © Ryan Skelton


Photography © Ryan Skelton


Photography © Ryan Skelton


Photography © Ryan Skelton

The collection of raiments spanned nations, decades and gender norms. Many barely fit me, with a couple of dresses in particular requiring an inordinate amount of writhing and assistance from Alessia to pull on and off. Once suitably or scarcely attired I was directed into pose by Ryan. Several attitudes were inspired by curious shapes I made whilst getting dressed. Others were unflinchingly explicit, occasionally drifting towards 70s porn territory, but never losing sight of the fashion objectives; I was self-conscious only when staring moodily at the lens – I’m more of a gaze-into-space kinda guy.


Photography © Ryan Skelton


Photography © Ryan Skelton


Photography © Ryan Skelton


Photography © Ryan Skelton


Photography © Ryan Skelton


Photography © Ryan Skelton


Photography © Ryan Skelton


Photography © Ryan Skelton

Each pose was photographed on three separate cameras – the most modern of which appeared to be a 1980s model. No digital shenanigans here; just analogue equipment, vision, imagination, reflection, colour, monochrome and many exposures. In this work, Ryan conjures with a basic backdrop, fading light, and the texture of developed film to produce a striking set of images. Some may seem comical, many are unquestionably absurd, but there is a boldness, integrity and a raw honesty about them that I like. He has style, and he captures it well.


Photography © Ryan Skelton


Photography © Ryan Skelton


Photography © Ryan Skelton


Photography © Ryan Skelton


Photography © Ryan Skelton


Photography © Ryan Skelton


Photography © Ryan Skelton


Photography © Ryan Skelton

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