Alexander Fury: Selfie? I’d rather go old school in sequinned Marc Jacobs

Wear, what, why, when?

As the narrow-eyed stare of my byline photograph suggests, I have a pathological hatred of having my picture taken. I have the utmost respect for models: I can’t think of anything worse than being subjected to a constant barrage of shutter snaps.

In the 19th century, Native American tribes believed that photography could steal the soul. My fear is more concrete, namely that a bad fashion choice, bad hair day or just a badly timed grimace could be immortalised. The advent of Google image search, Facebook tagging and Instagram means that they’re immortalised and accessible. It’s a phobia I know many other share. Hence the proliferation of the “selfie” – the idea being that you can control your own depiction, and decide if it’s worthy of publishing.

So it was with trepidation that I agreed to have my picture taken by the artist Walter Hugo as part of his latest series of portraits. Hugo uses a giant camera obscura to capture his images the good old-fashioned way, fixing them on plate glass with silver nitrate. He’s installed himself in the basement of Paul Smith’s newly expanded shop on Albemarle Street in London for an exhibition opening tomorrow to run during Frieze Art Fair.

Of course, it brings up a whole host of Dickensian issues. Firstly, there’s no retouching on the plate glass. Secondly, there’s no re-shooting. Both anathema to contemporary fashion photography. Hugo recently shot a series of lookbook images for Smith with the same olde-worlde provisos.

The process is nothing I’ve experienced before: the exposure takes 17 seconds, the opposite of an iPhone snap. There’s a clamp to hold your head in position. And it took me a long time to decide on what to wear. It’s sequined Marc Jacobs. Which may be a foolish seasonal choice as, bar the glass plate’s propensity to smash, Hugo asserts that the image can last for 500 years, much longer than a paper counterpart.

It didn’t get me over that photographic phobia, but interestingly I don’t hate the results. Even though it’s about as far away from an arms-length “selfie” as you can possibly get.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

    £37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

    Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

    £25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

    Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

    £16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

    £25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

    Day In a Page

    The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

    They fled war in Syria...

    ...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
    From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

    Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

    Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
    Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

    Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

    Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
    From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

    Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

    From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
    Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

    Kelis interview

    The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea