Jamie Morgan knows good styling. The iconic photographer who shot to fame in the 80s as part of the Buffalo collective has always had his eye on the narrative behind an outfit. It’s never just about getting the frame or the shot. Jamie thrives off of the story his shoots are telling.
For the summer 2014 issue of Dazed, the photographer collaborated with fashion director Robbie Spencer on a shoot that takes the signature codes of Buffalo and remixes them for a new vision. With the theme being the physical sense of touch, model of the moment Binx Walton, draped in menswear, gets familiar with everything from houseplants to a squid. It sounds odd, but ‘Touch’ makes a visual statement that matches everything Buffalo was: tough, slick, loud and let’s face it – fucking cool.
“I like Robbie’s work basically,” Jamie explains when he sits down with me in North London, his stomping ground. “I thought we could collaborate. When you go in the studio it’s the start of something. From looking at his work I thought I could trust his aesthetic and we could both bring something different to the table and create something new.”
You could say newness is what it's all about when it comes to ‘Touch’. For anyone worth their weight in fashion knowledge, the Buffalo collective lead the way for many when it came to style inspiration for music heads and night dwellers. From it, Jamie shot legendary covers for the likes of Culture Club, Sade, Soul II Soul and Neneh Cherry. As well as all of the hugely influential shoots for The Face magazine. And now – thanks to ‘Touch’ – we get a fresh take on menswear and casting from the photographer.
“Casting Binx was mainly Robbie’s choice,” Jamie explains. “He was like, ‘oh she’s kind of got that Buffalo thing going on. She’s slightly masculine and also she’s got a really cool attitude, plus she’s the girl of the moment.’ So we went with her.”
Speaking of people of the moment, given that Jamie was the go-to talent to capture rising musical stars (let’s not forget he also co-wrote "Buffalo Stance" with Neneh Cherry) we wondered what he thought of the current crop of young Brit talent. Cherry’s daughter Tyson McVey of Panes and Dazed cover star FKA Twigs included.
“Well there’s a lot of similarities to the Buffalo collective,” Jamie says. “I like that they know it’s not about being part of the establishment or part of the mainstream. It’s that freedom to not run with the crowd and sort of kick against mainstream fashion. With Tyson and Panes, she’s grown up in a place where she’s been encouraged to do her own thing and create her own identity.”
And what about rising talent he’d like to photograph? “The thing is that it moves so quickly,” Jamie tells us – “There’s no underground anymore. So, the up-and-coming happens so quickly. There used to be an underground where things used to incubate on the streets for months and years and eventually they’d find a way to the magazines and to the established industry but now it’s so quick, so you know, most people get shot very, very quickly. I’d be tempted to go for somebody on the street, an unknown face. I kind of tend to go for unknown characters.”
Unknown characters or famous faces, Jamie Morgan’s work is still a huge reference point for a great number of fashion insiders. Even now, brands and magazines seek him out when they need a certain spirit captured. And that spirit boasts a young, renegade attitude that feels as new and fresh as it did decades ago.
'Touch' first appeared in the summer 2014 issue of Dazed.
Hair Raphael Salley at Streeters using Schwarzkopf Essence Ultime, developed with Claudia Schiffer; make-up Pep Gay at Streeters; set design Janina Pedan at The Magnet Agency; Model Binx at Next Model Management; photographic assistants Ben Duah, Rory Cole; styling assistants Lizy Curtis, Katy Fox, Samia Giobellina, Maxime Claire Di Giacinto; set-design assistant Ilarla Micell; digital operator Henri Coutant; retouching Catalin Plesa; casting by Noah Shelley.
Follow Robbie Spencer on Twitter here @RobbieSpencer