“We wanted to draw heavily on our mutual love of early and mid-80s goth, new wave pop and club icons,” says photographer Josh Hight who let his subjects inhabit their own individual looks in his new photo story in collaboration with Matt King.
Developing an early interest in punk rock while growing up in Detroit, Hight then spent time touring as a musician in punk and indie rock bands and these influences can be seen throughout this work and particularly in this shoot which also explores the themes of isolation and voyeurism which he often returns to.
The initial inspiration for the shoot, Hight says, came from a photograph his ex-boyfriend sent to him of a mutual friend at a party with Keith Haring. “There was a group of people cramped together in a kitchen. Some of the faces were obscured by others leaning forward while some were looking off-camera some gazing directly.”
The chaotic composition of the image captured his interest and he teamed up with Matt King on creative direction to create a fictionalised fantasy version of that old scene in the kitchen. Together with hairstylist Sarah Jo Palmer and make-up artist Mona Leanne, Hight highlighted and heightened the individuality of each of his models. “The cast contributed heavily and made it come alive – all very much themselves but amplified.”
Drawing from a fascination with the people and faces he sees around him – “I’m constantly making up stories about who people are and where they may have been,” he says – Hight’s work creates an open narrative between himself, the subject and viewer which reflects what he himself looks for in art. “I like images that invite the viewer to ask who, what, where and why. I find that arresting, requiring me to ask questions and dig deeper into the scenario.”
Photographer Josh Hight, creative direction Matt King, hair Sarah Jo Palmer @ D+V Management using Leonor Greyl, make-up MonaLeanne @ The Wall Group using Mac Cosmetics, photography assistant Jack Snell, hair assistants Chris Gatt, Miki Ly, make-up assistants Georgia Hope, Rachael Thomas, models Akua @ NEVS MODELS, October @ Anti agency, Mar, Bo, Joe @ Success models, Charlotte @ First Model Management, Julian, James @ Nevs, Kiara @ Nii agency