French luxury house SAINT LAURENT presents the seventh part of their Self project curated by Anthony Vaccarello, that brings an artistic commentary exclusively captured for the brand by six photographers. The brand simultaneously organized six exhibitions (from June 9th to June 12th) in six different cities. Photographer Alex Webb, who has published more than fifteen photography books, presented his work in New York, Olivia Arthur, known for her in-depth work examining people and their personal and cultural identities, showcased her work in London, Harry Gruyaert, known for his photographic work on color, presented his artwork in Paris, Daesung Lee, known for his own conceptual approach in documentary photography playing between fiction and reality through an enigmatic visualization, showcased his work in Seoul, Takashi Homma, who won the 24th Ihei Kimura Photography Award for his photo book “Tokyo Suburbia”, was part of Self project in Tokyo, and Birdhead, consisting of Song Tao and Ji Weiyu, known for digesting and applying the thinking mode of conceptual art into the context of their image interpretation, presented their work in Shanghai.
City streets are alive with vibrant color, bold geometry, layers of light and movement, and rich diversity. They are the dynamic meeting places where the many worlds of the city cross paths, often in surprising and surreal ways. As a street photographer, I’ve long been drawn to the brilliant color, searing light, and intensity of life that I first encountered in the streets of Latin America and the Caribbean. So when I was asked by Anthony Vaccarello to photograph Los Angeles in the spirit of Saint Laurent for SELF 07, I immediately thought of three culturally-rich downtown neighborhoods – the Pinata District, the Flower District, and the Fashion District—whose deep shadows, brightly painted walls, and vibrant streets are reminiscent of Mexico, where I’ve often wandered. This exhibition brings together my new work from the streets of Los Angeles in conversation with my past work from Latin America and the Caribbean. – Alex Webb
So not so” is a series that explores the human relationship with our bodies, our own physicality and the importance of touch and connection. Working with Anthony Vaccarello’s creations for Saint Laurent SELF 07, with movements, interactions, and play, I looked to show the way we touch, connect, and relate to each other. An exploration of the physical world in natural and unnatural forms is also key for me in showing the limits of our physicality. Our virtual worlds have grown to become a genuine reality and as technology creeps we need to remind ourselves of the hard feeling of a hand on a wall or the clatter of pebbles falling over each other. Incorporating elements of make-believe and play, the real sometimes becomes surreal. And as bodies and heads blend in and out of the spaces around them, it is also intended to serve as a reminder of both our strength and fragility. – Olivia Arthur
I have always been fascinated by airports. They are places that concentrate everything that usually catches my eye as a photographer: the interplay of light, transparency and reflections, the effects of superimpositions that create a loss of reference points and give this very strong impression of being between two worlds. And then, there are the signs – arrows, numbers, letters – that mark out the frame. I have always liked the vocabulary of signage. When I was invited by Anthony Vaccarello to participate in SELF 07 for Saint Laurent, I immediately thought it would be interesting to shoot in this setting and to associate these images with some of the ones I had done before and which are gathered in the book Last Call. – Harry Gruyaert
Spring 2020 was surreal but real. The whole world stopped. No one could easily describe such a feeling in words. Ironically, nature revived and came back to us once we stopped being indoors. Nature gave us back all the forgotten senses. The sky was so blue, more than ever, birds were singing so loudly out of my apartment window and the leaves of the trees in the streets were greener than ever. It was such a surreal experience. Since then, I no longer see the world in the same way. In the meantime, I often had to escape to an imaginary nature in my mind to stand the uncertain future. It was a strange spring. I attempted to visualize that strange experience during lockdown. An imaginary nature, that you can only see in your inner self, that you can only feel in your own senses. We all lived in our own universe during that time. The SELF project was a unique, exciting, and challenging opportunity to explore and express my inner self in visuality. I hope you can also find yourself in these images. I especially thank Saint Laurent and Anthony Vaccarello, artistic director, and curator of the SELF 07 project for his constant support to artistic freedom of expression and creativity. – Daesung Lee
The City and Fashion. We live in a huge city called Tokyo. We, dressed in clothes, live and act in the environment of Tokyo. Our actions are in fact constrained and guided by the pressure of the city of Tokyo. I used the camera obscura technique to capture and exhibit the Tokyo environment that surrounds us. The city and fashion are always in a one-to-one relationship. I was pleased to have the opportunity to participate in Saint Laurent’s SELF 07 curated by Anthony Vaccarello. – Takashi Homma
This collaboration is based on the format of photographic matrix — the signature style in “Birdhead World”. Inspired by the harmonic and symbiosis relationship between species that exists in nature, the work exhibits the tangible connection between photographs. The overall contour lines up the cityscape, clothing, and body with natural elements like clouds, trees, and stones. This outline combined with the structure of different light and shade blocks, creates a smooth and free sense of integration, just like the gesture of the cursive script in Chinese calligraphy. Each photograph consists of the work that is the original photograph taken in analog, without any cropping or reframing. Additionally, through the SELF 07 project curated by Anthony Vaccarello, Birdhead adopted inverted negative photographic prints in their work for the first time. The characteristics of Saint Laurent’s SELF project provide a high degree of freedom, allowing artists to transcend boundaries and explore the possible new resonance of art and fashion in each special era from different perspectives. – Birdhead