Anti Fashion Photography by Lizzy Nicholson
London based portrait photographer Lizzy Nicholson talks to us about her views on modern fashion photography and why she's determined to break down fascism within the industry. Her portraiture celebrates real people and avoids archetypes. Enter Lizzy Nicholson - the post modern photographic activist.
I am a London based photographer who hates fashion and has a penchant for wooden panelled walls and weird props. I like to capture the wit and character of my models; I feel like the world is growing bored and restless with the thousand-yard-stare of airbrushed, young fashion models. I also feel that our industry is very cliquey and hostile, I aim to change that by sharing my knowledge and resources wherever I can to help others.
Tell us more about yourself and your practice.
I’m a London based photographer and stylist – doing what I do, I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else in the UK. London is where all of the people with bright ideas congregate, and always will do no matter how heavy the gentrification becomes. These are the people who I want to shoot.
What was your creative process for this series or for your work in general?
Press play on a Lonnie Smith record, take a sip of black coffee (it used to be a puff of a cigarette, but times have changed) and stare out of the window until I have an idea.
What work inspires or has inspired you?
It’s rarely other photographer’s work, you know; films make me want to do what I do. Old films are stylistically the best and they’re full of cryptic visual cues – Solaris (1972) is stunning. I also watch a lot of Wong Kar Wei, Eric Rohmer and Jim Jarmusch to get my brain juices going. I think this is why I like taking pictures of half smoked cigarettes and empty glasses.
Are there any artistic movements you enjoy in particular and why?
I’ve definitely romanticised 1980’s New York (my spirit city). Via stories and pictures, I’ve picked up that people seemed less precaucious, more rough ‘n’ ready and there were lots of squat parties.
Do you have any opinions or ideals underlying your art?
Imagination tops all, and bun the Tories.
Tell us more about your anti-fashion mission. Your images, although fashion based, really carry a strong narrative through. It’s like the fashion of narrative in a sense. Fashionable characteristics rather than general public ideal of beauty. Can you comment on this and tell us more about your practice?
It’s an anti-facist mission. Most of my models are musicians, artists or actors - or I’ll see an interesting, tough looking face in the street. The idea of a modeling agency is quite dystopian – who gets to tell us that these are model humans?
Such a pertinent response. Have not thought of it like that before but hearing it in this context it totally makes sense.
Any words for aspiring artists?
Understand why you’re doing what you’re doing; make change in the world. Read books, listen to Lonnie Smith, and don’t be afraid to be weird.
Is there anything you’re currently working on?
A few mix tapes, my boxing skills, my frame of mind and vintage jazz tshirt collection. Walking in heels, trying not to smoke, some magazine and book projects, and I’m also working on getting better at retaining important information.
Where else can our readers view your ongoing work?
Follow me on Instagram @lizzygrooves to see photographs, and Twitter @lizzygrooves_ for a nonsensical stream of consciousness.