>> exactitudes – a visual tribes encyclopedia
Posted by The Wardrobe Planner on April 4, 2008
As a fashion theory student at university years ago, I soon became acquainted with the works of social anthropologist Ted Polhemus. His thorough and unique approach has since the mid-1970′s set a milestone in the observation of streetstyle, urban tribes, underground cultures from an image/dress code point of view.
A meticulously detailed visual update to his works comes at the hands of Rotterdam-based photographer Ari Versluis and stylist Ellie Uyttenbroek and their imposing oeuvre Exactitudes, which is now showing at Selfridges in London.
[image via exactitudes.com]
They call their series Exactitudes: a contraction of exact and attitude. By registering their subjects in an identical framework, with similar poses and a strictly observed dress code, Versluis and Uyttenbroek provide an almost scientific, anthropological record of people’s attempts to distinguish themselves from others by assuming a group identity. The apparent contradiction between individuality and uniformity is, however, taken to such extremes in their arresting objective-looking photographic viewpoint and stylistic analysis that the artistic aspect clearly dominates the purely documentary element. [from their press release]
The impressive amount of pictures mainly have the streets of Rotterdam as their set, but Versluis and Uyttenbroek have also wandered the world in search of real-life archetypes, from Rio de Janeiro to Casablanca to (only just recently) London. They have been doing so since 1994, and the exhibition has also been running from venue to venue for the past 10 years or so.
It is only showcased in a small space in the lower ground floor at Selfridges, but it can still take ages to go through every group of images, and dwell on the details, the poses, and the striking effect each of them achieve in the juxtaposition and the blending of diversity and uniformity. Visually striking, sociologically accurate, conceptually accomplished. Highly recommended.
The exhibition only runs until April 20, 2008.