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Chris Craymer: True Romance

Mulberry have sponsored photographer Chris Craymer's first book and the images will be exhibited in the windows of Mulberry stores all over the world.

The latest in a long line of artistic collaborations, heritage brand Mulberry are this time joining forces with London-born photographer Chris Craymer as the proud sponsor of his first book.

Images from the aptly titled ‘Romance’ shall be exhibited in stores worldwide and Craymer will be accompanied by Mulberry’s creative Director Emma Hill. Together they shall be embarking on a whirlwind global tour making stops at New York (May 14), London (May 20), Paris (July 8) and Hong Kong (August 27).

Dazed Digital: You've been working on your first photographic book for several years now, how would you say it has developed from its initial conception through to final publication? Are you pleased with the final results?
Chris Craymer: When I first started this project I just wanted to make one test shoot with a couple. The first attempt was with two models who weren't a real couple and frankly it rather showed. Somehow, the pictures lacked emotion, so I tried the next shoot with a real couple who were really going out together. This proved far more successful and from there I just kept on asking the models who inspired me with if they were interested in doing a shoot with their partner. I was specifically looking for people with a strong sense of personal style and individuality and in the end I worked with street cast couples as well as models.
Once I had a number of shoots together I put them into a special portfolio which I called "Romance". I initially used it as a way of showing my work in a raw form without any outside art direction or fashion concepts. The book is really the development of that particular portfolio of personal work I am totally thrilled with the results and am hoping the book will be a success.

DD: How did you come to decide upon the concept of 'Romance' for your first book?
Chris Craymer: I wanted a subject matter which was essentially emotional rather than intellectual or fashion led. Romance for me was the perfect vehicle to make pictures which are can covey a number of emotions...I wanted to try to make pictures which could be for example sexy, funny, joyful and also powerful and even soulful. I hope I have succeeded.

DD: Do you think photography as a medium does it justice?
Chris Craymer: I love photography for it's ability to convey special moments. I wanted my book to be about these special moments between couples and as such it is the perfect medium. For me even a still life can be evocative of a special moment.

DD: If you had to use any other form of media to articulate the true meaning of romance, what would it be and why?
Chris Craymer: I actually have made two short films of two couples. Both films are in the style of the Romance book .I really enjoyed the whole process of directing and making moving images in the same style as my stills images

DD: How has your own personal experience of romance shaped the creation of this book?
Chris Craymer: This book is part reality, in that the couples were actually going out together at the time of the shoots , and partly my fantasy of what Romance can and should be about.

DD: Describe what you mean by 'pre-mortgage love'?
Chris Craymer: It is meant to be about that special time of an early romance when all is highly charged and also when one is free from expectations and any long term baggage. It is between two mature adults who have yet to encounter the constraints of responsibility. I believe everyone has experienced this at some point in their lives and some are constantly trying to discover it again.

DD: How did the collaboration with Mulberry come about? What were your previous encounters with the brand?
Chris Craymer: I had this vague idea that one day the work might become a proper book but had not really got things together .Then one day I was working with a design agency called Construct London and Georgia Fendley who is the owner asked me if I had ever done anything with the pictures. When I replied that I hadn't she explained that Mulberry sponsored shows for various British artists and that they might be interested in sponsoring my work. Georgia herself is also consultant brand director for Mulberry so we got together and talked about what we both wanted from a collaboration. In the end Mulberry sponsored the book and exhibition in their stores. Construct did the design and did a wonderful job and also allowed me a great deal of input in the final look of the book. The final piece of the puzzle was put in place when Bene Factumm Books became the publishers.

DD: What is next for you, another book perhaps?
Chris Craymer: Yes I am now working on a series of portraits which I hope will become another book one day.

'Romance' will be exhibited at the Mulberry store at 41-42 Bond Street today. It will be available to buy at leading bookstores and at selected Mulberry stores and is also online.