Thursday, 21 July 2016

Thursday 21st July: MADE YOU LOOK, Dandyism and Black Masculinity

"MADE YOU LOOK, Dandyism and Black Masculinity" is a new exhibition at The Photographer's Gallery, curated by Ekow Eshun.  It charts history since the turn of the century till the present day from a collection that spans the world, cultures and photographic medium.  For example the earliest portraits (top image) date back to 1904 in Senegal and the most recent being a fashion shoot in Soweto Chiawelo, Johannesburg by Kristin Lee Moolman (bottom image).  My favourite is Jeffrey Henson Scales street-style "staight-up" shot of a "Young Man in Plaid" from NYC in 1991.  This photographer began documenting the Black Panthers in the 1960's when he was just 13, going on to become the editor of the New York Times shortly after this piece was taken in the 1990's.  Other incredible documentary series include "The Black House" from a housing project hostel on the Holloway Road in 1973 and more recent subcultures discovered by Liz Johnson Artur.  Set against these spontaneous snaps are set-up studio compositions by Malick SidibĂ© and Samuel Fosso's Self Portraits from "'70's Lifestyle" thru to Hassan Hajjaj's contemporary multicolour patterned poses from Afrikan Boy and Joe Casely-Hayford, OBE.  The entire exhibition is a joy to take time in reading and learning each context to decode the setting.  It's also complimented in the gallery's latest magazine edition with commissioned content from my fave image-makers Campbell Addy and Harris Elliot.

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