The American photographer shoots the Swedish brand in New York – and stages an exhibit of the results
Quirky Swedish fashion label Monki has invited American photographer Ruvan Wijesooriya to collaborate on imaging the A/W12 season. The collection, which intends to give the customer the clothes to create an entirely personal expression reflecting who you are, takes in craft, jewelled collars, quirky prints, knits, woven chiffons, flowing jersey and leather.
With all my shows, I like to share – in this exhibition, people are literally able to take some pictures off the wall and go home with them. With the grid, I was inspired by both Gilbert and George and the old photocopy format
Shooting in Downtown NYC, the photographer - who’s worked for L'Officiel, British Vogue and shot record sleeves for LCD Soundsystem - decided to make the project the focus of an exhibition at Stockholm's Snickarbacken7 gallery, which opened last Thursday. Unique to Ruvan is his style of printing his images on thin photocopy paper and displaying them as tiled mosaic. The bohemic touches to the collection perfectly merged with Ruvan’s carefree photography and relaxed attitude. Dazed Digital caught up with the American creative, who splits time in Sweden, to find out more.
Dazed Digital: How did you get involved with the project?
Ruvan Wijesooriya: Monki had been collaborating for a while, though before when we'd talked it was much more studio-driven. They'd been to my exhibition in Gothenburg that Dazed Digital actually covered a long time ago, Seen and Heard, all my music stuff. I don't know that a lot of photographers can create moments to capture – and that's what I do. There's no place for it in magazines and it's not really suitable for walls either. Monki decided it would be cool to do something free and more fun.
DD: What were you shooting on?
Ruvan Wijesooriya: Five to eight different cameras, each one of which has a different function. I really love to create archives of images and pull from those different things. DD: Who are the girls? Ruvan Wijesooriya: Quinta is a model from IMG and another I met through my friend Hissa Igarashi of Twelv magazine. A lot of times models have more personality than the magazines or photographers portray, so I just wanted the girls to do their thing. The brief was really loose – which is how I like to shoot. There was a rack, the girls would throw it on... We had a place we were based in SoHo, New York City and the whole thing was done over a day.
DD: The way you've displayed the images is as crucial as the images themselves. Can you tell us about the tiling?
Ruvan Wijesooriya: In a way, the images are just images. It's easy to make images, as the rise of Instagram proves. With all my shows, I like to share – in this exhibition, people are literally able to take some pictures off the wall and go home with them. With the grid, I was inspired by both Gilbert and George and the old photocopy format.
I think it's gonna die soon and I wanted to embrace it and its imperfections, the lines that go through create a unique work – it's up to the machine and the problems it's having that day. A lot of the film I was using, some of it expired in 1983. Being able to shoot in that way – none of the pictures are retouched, only some are corrected for dust. It allows for this great volume of images.