December 8, 2023

Alex Wilson's latest foray into photography captures the conjunction of anachronistic photographic modes in conversation with the contemporary. A synchronisation of former stylistic modes of aesthetic representation reimagined in today's context, utilising the role of the modern model. Paying respect to the inspirations of Guy Bourdin and Bettina Rheims, the outcome is a playful and imaginative sequence of photographs that beautifully captures the essence of the project itself.

The series "In-Between" exists in the negation of perceived spatiotemporal constructs belonging outside of the normalised function of time. Wilson works as a director, a puppet master, who recreates outside the possibility of internalised temporal constraints through the juxtaposition of old and new. Analogue construction, with the use of film in conflict with the modern digitisation of photographic styles, leads to a harmonious dialogue that forces the viewer into a questioning, reflexive state. By harnessing the historical emotive responses one engages with when using the semiotics of a bygone Hollywood, Wilson manipulates our responsive process of these images by offering a contemporary reimagination of those times, allowing the viewer to recognise and be in touch with the pictures. Not feeling as if they cannot associate with them, but rather connect with the time they belong to for they are our times.

Following the events of the 'It' girls through their adventures at a hotel, the photographs offer a story: a two-fold reminiscing of a time gone by and the perspective of it happening nowadays. An in-house project, Wilson worked closely with Montana Cooke, who styled the shoot and is the centre of the project, existing as a creative and the direct product of the creative process.

"In-Between" bridges a gap between periods through the use of lighting, styling and the surrounding elements. The harsh use of flash directly from one side provokes the portrayal of shadows, bringing the image's desired focus to the forefront and forcing the viewer to concentrate directly on it. This technique actively highlights the image's subject whilst simultaneously distorting the surrounding environment or, conversely, bringing it to life. Allowing for the attention to be taken away from the garments that are adorned, thus not being a part of traditional fashion photography but, in doing so, radically forcing us to pay attention to the clothing.

Layering our continued engagement with the images, the viewer accesses more information with each further interaction. The lighting accentuates darker colours whilst diminishing the presence of colder colours, giving the photographs a sense of warmth. Warmth one feels when experiencing the more playful photos in the series. Yet, the harsh lighting works in unison with the aggressiveness felt by the direct eye contact of the models. They stare through the lens at the viewer, bringing to life an intense connection between them and us.

The "In-Between" is full of contradictions and agreements, a continuous dialogue between dichotomies that ends in a full-bodied series. Get dirty in these images, force your fingers through its food for thought, and eat its substance whilst the models eat with you.


Photographer ALEX WILSON