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There is a notable absence of one ubiquitous figure in the images of fashion photographer, Anthony Lycett, that are appearing in his solo Paris exhibition at Galerie Isabelle Gounod.
There is no stylist. The portraits in Self Styled capture the avant-garde, the exhibitionists, the wannabes, presented by themselves for our consumption. And we are licking our lips.
What on earth did we do before we had stylists? What did all the pop-stars and red carpet walkers do before there was a phone book worth, ney, an Encyclopaedia Britannica’s worth, of professional stylists on the ready to suggest, create and present fashion for designers and celebrities to get them on the front pages?
The increasing prominence of stylists reflects how an industry that once thought itself beyond such concerns has learnt over the last twenty years or so that success is built on image. Today style equals substance.
So to hark back to an earlier age, when our charismatics, with the exception of the top movie studio starlets maybe, might just have had to get their fingers out and style themselves is a fascinating exercise. That’s kind of what is going on in the ‘Self-Styled’ series by London based photographer, and long-time Flux collaborator by the way, Anthony Lycett.
This is a project that has been building for a long time. Self-Styled started in 2008 and is now home to more than 200 diptychs capturing eccentrics, dandies, punks, goths, transvestites and the avant-garde of London and Paris. The diptychs give the photographed the opportunity to present their ‘day’ and ‘night’ personas.
The subjects of the images on display are not models or style leaders, but they do represent a desire for rebellion through dress. Lycett selects only those whose style is intrinsic to their everyday existence. This is not a ‘dress-up’ for these subjects, nor are the images flawless magazine cover shots. The subjects are actors awaiting an audience, staging themselves with all their inconsistencies on show, bolstered by the opportunity to be captured on film. The common denominator is their singularity expressed with excessive, fanatical detail. A must see if you’re in Paris this winter.
Self-Styled by Anthony Lycett is at Galerie Isabelle Gounod, 13, rue Chapon F – 75003 Paris until February 13th 2016. www.galerie-gounod.com
See more from Self styled at Instagram: @anthonylycettphotography
The Self Styled Book is now available at amazon.