Current research question:
New Revival: can the dress and style of a covert, re-enactment based subculture act as a lens through which explore fashion image making?
I am a professional fashion photographer and magazine editor. I have wide personal interests including politics, sociological phenomena and the interpretation of the all pervasive visual and aural imagery that exists in the realm of contemporary culture.
I attended a state secondary school in Cornwall during the 1970s, an apparently golden epoch, when less privileged children were offered great opportunities and much was expected of them. In 1974 I joined my local Surf Lifesaving Club and started a continuing love affair with surf and skate culture. Although Cornwall was a wonderful place to be a teenager, fervent Cornish nationalism showed me that the contemporary notion of 'identity' also has a dark side.
Fully embracing Punk music and style, in 1977 I left Cornwall and sort the stimulation of the London I had studied so carefully in the pages of the New Musical Express. By 1979 I had already embarked on another lifetime obsession: revival style, and explored the city on a 1971 Vespa Rally 200. Mod revival was the first step on a ladder that would take me to live in Italy with a revival based on Italian neo-realistic film of the 50s and 60s, to graphic design, to fashion photography and now to research at the RCA.
My current research project attempts a double outcome by exploring the rites, rituals, dress and style of an obscure contemporary subculture, that I have named the New Revivalists, by initiating a new genre in fashion image-making (photography and video). In specific terms: I use the aesthetics of the New Revival subculture as a lens through which men's fashion and style can be viewed. I liken this approach to that of an engineer who, when investigating a series of mechanical problems finds the need to invent a totally new set of tools with which to find a solution to those problems.
I approach my research as a committed participant observer following my personal interpretation of revival style that includes most elements of everyday life. After testing the aesthetics of re-enactment through a theatrical reconstruction of the final years of the life of the slave Spartacus, I have, since 2008, been eating and training as a Roman soldier. 1000 thrusts with a lead weighted wooden gladius each day – and not a hint of irony. This might well result in some sort of re-enactment performance work towards the end of 2010.