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A celebration of the gap tooth

Joshua Woods photographs a playful series that pays tribute to what he once considered a flaw

“Just gaps.”

That’s the answer that photographer Joshua Woods gives when I ask what he was looking for when casting his story Gap for Dazed Digital. A delightful celebration of anyone with a gap between their two front teeth, Gap also acts as an exercise in self-reflection for Woods and the acceptance of what he once considered his flaw – revealing that someone once told him his gap was so large they could kick a field goal through it.

It’s a playful side to the Harlem-born-and-based photographer’s work, which typically involves shooting lookbooks for Alexander Wang and editorials for publications such as King Kong, as well as short films about Hood By Air for Dazed Digital and Dior Homme for Document Journal.

Below, he drills deeper into the inspirations and personal anecdotes that inspired the shoot.

What was the idea behind the shoot?

Joshua Woods: The idea behind the shoot was to capture people who have gaps.

Why did you want to shoot this story?

Joshua Woods: Well as I’ve grown as a person I’ve started to pay more attention to the things that make me unique as an individual. So for a while, I started noticing everyone who had a gap, as people were fascinated with my teeth so was I with theirs. Every person I’ve met in the past year, we’ve instantly gravitated towards one another – like crazy gap magnets.

How did you cast it – were you looking for any specific characteristics or just gaps?

Joshua Woods: Just gaps.

“Every person I’ve met in the past year, we’ve instantly gravitated towards one another – like crazy gap magnets” – Joshua Woods

In terms of the overall art direction of the shoot – colours and props – what references or moods were you looking at?

Joshua Woods: Well it was mainly a self-reflective story in a way. Some of the things I used to look at or do, like looking at my teeth marks on an apple or me putting things in my teeth unconsciously.

Tell us about your own experiences of having a gap – because this is where the shoot stems from. Were you always proud of your gap?

Joshua Woods: Not always. I remember a kid telling me that my gap was so big that he could kick a field goal through it, to times as an adult when girls asked me if they could lick my teeth. I sometimes would put a tissue in between my teeth to look and see how I would look like without it. That came to a dead end though, it didn’t feel right.

What do you hope to show people with these photos?

Joshua Woods: That people who have gaps are the coolest in the world. More so identity – that’s the most important thing. Embracing who you are through your imperfections.

What are you working on next? 

Joshua Woods: Well when you hit a ceiling shooting fashion shows you have to ask yourself what else or what’s next. So for me I’ve been shooting a bunch of fashion editorials and personal stories such as this. Lately I’ve been reflecting on Freedom Identity Control and Time as topics to explore with my medium. I’m working on shooting exonerees who’ve spent 20-30 years in prison and were completely innocent. The idea of spending so much time incarcerated and being innocent fascinates me. I also have a fashion video I’m directing that addresses disabling systematic principles.

Follow Woods’ work here

Special Thanks to my mom who always encouraged me to embrace my teeth

Special thanks to everyone who helped out on this shoot and helping me bring it to life

Producer/Casting: Roxanne Doucet

Production Assistant: Melissa Hudson

Wardrobe: Sara Van Pee

Make Up: Tiffany Patton

Hair: Nico Weddle