Olivier Zahm's flash track.
First up: 33-year-old, London-born, Paris/New York-based Mark Borthwick, a former makeup artist who turned to photography after a brief art-school stint in America. His images have appeared in ID, Interview, and Italian Vogue, and he has collaborated with Margiela, Commes des Garcons, and Yamamoto. Working with unprecedented speed, Borthwick interacts with the model in semiperformative situations; the images of fashion that result are characterized by a hybrid status - one somewhere between performance and dance - and they convey a palpable, almost disquieting physicality. (In one recent shoot, he asked the model to wear spike heels and walk on a floor covered in sponges.) It was in photographing the choreography of Martha Graham and William Forsythe that he first began to develop his own photographic style: holding the camera in his hand, he shot the performances without looking into the lens, allowing for the aleatory and the accidental that have come to characterize his fashion shots. Borthwick's work is about the movement of the model through the dead space of the surround, and the serendipity of accidental clutter is as important to his Images as are the garments themselves.
For this series Borthwick presents four photographs taken backstage at the most recent show of Hussein Chalayan. A graduate of St. Martin's College, this 25-year-old designer of Cypriot origin quickly garnered recognition for his use of fabric that is papery in texture but malleable enough to be cut to cling. For Chalayan, the cut, like the choice of materials, is most often guided by his interest in the circulation of information. His first collection, "Cartesia," featured clothing printed with text that was randomly cut off at the seams and thus only partially legible. For singer Bjork's recent tour, Chalayan made beadod dresses decorated with holographic prints. His latest collection, "Nothing/Interscope," featured relatively simple, fitted clothing to which he applied pixilated motifs that appear abstract but are actually digitalized images of flowers and waves designed for him by Japanese illustrators. For Chalayan, these "indelible marks" symbolize the way in which culture modulates, reproducing and preserving itself in virtual reality.
Chalayan and Borthwick share in a decentered vision of fashion - Chalayan moves the garment down the information highway, Borthwick contextualizes it in the real space and time of the encounter between model and photographer. Both have their sights set on fashion's blindspots.
Olivier Zahm is an editor of Purple Prose and a frequent contributor to Artforum.
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|Title Annotation:||profile on fashion photographer Mark Borthwick|
|Date:||Jan 1, 1996|
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