I have become accustomed to looking for incredible instances of how fashion mimics the natural and man-made world because of my background in fashion photography. Here are my top five images that illustrate this theme.
“NUDE STUDY II” – DUNES: LANDSCAPES EVOLVING
While traversing the larger than life dunes of Namibia I eagerly looked for distinct forms created by light and shadows. Upon nearing the crest of each dune I was excited to see what discoveries lay hidden beyond their peaks since the endless desert would occasionally reveal sensual shapes mimicking the female body. One of my major goals for this series was to capture the most perfect natural visualization of the female form I could find, and I especially love this image because the ‘form’ looks not only human but also somehow impossibly relaxed. Moments after taking this photo, the light began to change and the shape became darkness where there was once form. It is a reminder of the endless cycle of birth and rebirth in Sossusvlei.
“ADORNED” – DESERT SONG: COMPOSITIONS OF KENYA
While the patterns of the beads within Rendille necklaces are of the utmost importance, I found the textures of them, especially as they are worn in quantity, to be equally as alluring. The modern cloth shirt worn in conjunction with hand-crafted jewelry creates a mixture of new and old that seamlessly works together in an unexpected high fashion sense. Making this series was one of my favorite approaches yet to fusing together fashion influences and ethnographic portraiture so that both the similarities and differences in cultures across the world are apparent and celebrated.
“UNTITLED 5” – OMO: EXPRESSIONS OF A PEOPLE
I asked this Karo man to hold this tortoise shell above his back because it mimics his back muscles, and these are people who pride themselves on physical aptitude fitness above all else. In many ways, physical strength goes hand in hand with survival, so there is an innate sense of pride present within the community especially among the fittest of men. In looking at musculature, as is especially evident here, I often find myself thinking about the sensuous curves and ridges from the human form that can be both unrecognizable and familiar at the same time.
“UNTITLED 10” – OMO: EXPRESSIONS OF A PEOPLE
On my visits to photograph unique tribal communities, I have found that confidence through posture, especially when self-expression is involved, is universal. This is especially true in communities, like those in the Omo Valley, who place importance on dress and traditional displays of culture; it is as if they want the world to see this proud representation of life there. In this image, a Hamar woman wears her leather apron decorated with beads and cowrie shells. A common sight within this community, the decorations are unique to her own design. The empty, negative space on her right lets the eye focus on her pose and dress.
“DOWNWIND” – SAIL: MAJESTY AT SEA
The shape of this sail extended over the ocean reminds me of a dress billowing behind a woman as she walks. I chose to shoot this image using the lens choice of a fashion photographer to help define details and curves. From the shape to the perspective, I kept the composition cropped so as to maximize the effect of the sail’s grand form.