Alexander Fury: Selfie? I’d rather go old school in sequinned Marc Jacobs
Wear, what, why, when?
Alexander Fury is a fashion journalist, author and critic. He is fashion editor of the Independent, i and the Independent on Sunday newspapers and was awarded the inaugural Editorial Intelligence Award for Fashion Commentator of the Year 2014-15. He was named one of InStyle magazine's 20 most powerful people in fashion in 2015.
Monday 14 October 2013
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 & Style blogs
What marriage would look like if we actually followed the Bible
Overly-controlling parents cause their children lifelong psychological damage, says study
What do the emojis on Snapchat mean?
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Men who buy sex share 'key characteristics' with aggressive sex offenders, study claims
- 1 What marriage would look like if we actually followed the Bible
- 2 If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
- 3 The Chinese city where men have 'three girlfriends because there are so many women'
- 4 'Heartbreaking' Syria orphan photo wasn't taken in Syria and not of orphan
- 5 Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...
£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...
£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...
£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...