London-based creatives Imran Ciesay and Solomon Boyede – better known as Ciesay and Soulz – have spent the past decade nuturing their passion for photography and style through their brand, Places+Faces. A cultural hub connecting and inspiring people from all walks of the industry, the taste-making duo produce magazines, design streetwear and throw parties in cities around the world, capturing moments on their signature 35-millimeter film. Their latest venture, however, favours the Polaroid with the launch of the first ever Places+Faces portrait book.
Debuting this week with a special exhibition of the original Polaroids at Protein Studios in Shoreditch, the hardback consists of over 50 photos taken on Ciesay’s Big Shot, the same camera model used by Andy Warhol. “The main inspiration behind the book was just our love for photography and playing on the different ways we can showcase it,” says Ciesay. “We’ve done magazines before, so for our first book we wanted to do something different and unexpected. That’s why we chose to use our Polaroids.”
With photos dating back as far as 2014, the book features images of people spanning the worlds of music, fashion and film. A$AP Rocky, Iris Law, Skepta, Idris Elba and Tyler, the Creator all make an appearance, alongside a surprise shot of Quentin Tarantino – a moment that happened by chance. “We met him at a party and because we were big fans we just couldn’t pass up the moment to shoot him,” Ciesay explains. It was the GQ Awards afterparty held at 180 The Strand in London, in September 2021.
Getting up close and personal with your hero is great – especially someone like Tarantino, who rarely lets strangers take his picture in social settings – but for Ciesay, it’s the portraits of his famous friends that mean the most. He loves a photo he took of Skepta, where the rapper is holding a physical copy of his invitation to the lateVirgil Abloh’s first ever show in Paris as Louis Vuitton men’s artistic director. Another favourite is a shot of British R&B singer Mahalia, who he captured in a pink fur puffer. “[I love it] because she’s dressed like Cam’ron,” he says.
Photography has always been the root of Places+Faces. The brand, once a humble Tumblr page, is now globally recognised for mixing apparel with social exploration and an established community. “With this book we want to give people a glimpse into the Places+Faces world and the essence of the brand,” Ciesay adds. “We want to highlight the relationships we have with people all over the world ranging from musicians, to designers, actors and other creatives.”
Alongside the book, Ciesay and Soulz are dropping limited t-shirts, hoodies and tote bags printed with select portraits, including the Tarantino shot, all of which is now available for purchase on the Places+Faces website and at Dover Street Market London. “Photography is everything to us,” says Ciesay. “It’s what we are most passionate about, being able to capture moments in time that can exist forever.”
Polaroids: Places+Faces is launching at Protein Studios and Dover Street Market. The accompanying exhibition is at Protein Studios from 19-20 February 2022