VISUAL TRADITION

Even people who wouldn’t dream of having anything so trashy as Grazia on the kitchen table, who claim not to be interested in the state of Lindsay Lohan and Sam Ronson’s relationship and despise the gutter tactics of other self-obsessed celebrities will be gripped by the online photographic diary of Hedi Slimane.
Every time I veer away from fashion photography and look at his work, I feel the same rush of visual excitement! Mild scandal and tragedy are poetically represented through highly sexual characters like Lindsay Lohan, Kate Moss, Courtney Love and Pete Docherty. Hedi Slimane knows that there is great potency in showing someone young, beautiful, broken-hearted and close to the edge. With extraordinary talent, he gives us a modern day picture of the young and famous accompanied by savvy romanticism and formal clarity.
His artistic versatility is a combination of many talents including photographer, fashion designer, furniture designer, cultural anthropologist (his youth culture investigations are inspiring) and diarist. And he seems to do it all with a mixture of sophistication and passionate innocence, expressing his observations without interruption from external influences.
I love the fact that his online diary is coherent in a classical way. It is simply based on his obvious relationship with teenage culture, music, photography and a logic which allows him to include himself in this cycle of youth.
I really believe he must have looked at a lot of classic photography before embracing the camera. His use of black and white, his compositions and controlled precise framing show an uncompromising acceptance of literal photographic descriptions. At a time when so much technology is available and retouching widely used, his images almost seem willfully old-fashioned.

All images courtesy of Hedi Slimane

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