Go inside the worlds of art, fashion, design, and lifestyle.
For most travelers preferring comfort to sartorial statements, air travel is not the place for high fashion, not to mention fashion shoots. Crammed in a constricted space and given only the Sky Mall Magazine, a collection of bizarre gifts and odd contraptions, the uncomfortable space of an airplane does not easily lend itself to the glamorous, artistic world of fashion photography. However, photographer Lyndsy Welgos, with the always clever and postmodern DIS Magazine, found inspiration within this restricted world of air travel for her new series “Upright Sleeper.”
Known for her unique, unexpected and unconventional fashion shoots as well as her work as a contemporary art photographer, Welgos captures the alienation and physical strain of air travel in “Upright Sleeper” with the use of a Sky Mall-sold contraption of the same name, designed to allow a passenger to sleep on a plane. Through the use of the sleeper, the models’ bodies contort in fascinating ways, resembling sculptures and allowing Welgos to play with the positioning of the body. Transcending the genre of fashion photography with her conceptual photographs, Welgos represents the odd imprisonment of air travel while still deftly highlighting the clothing.
Catching up with Welgos, we found her busy preparing for the launch of her new fashion portfolio website, Topical Cream. Planning to completely separate her fashion from her art photography, Topical Cream will be the sole domain and identity of her fashion work.
Welgos spoke to us about her new witty series “Upright Sleeper” with DIS Magazine, the launch of Topical Cream and how her family, which has pursued photography for generations, influences her views on photography.
WHITEWALL: Your new series Upright Sleeper uses a device called the “upright sleeper” – designed to aid sleeping on planes – as a conceptual object for a fashion shoot. Where did you get the idea of using the “upright sleeper”?
LYNDSY WELGOS: I worked with Eric Wrenn and Alice Newell-Hanson to come up with a solid story line and concept for the shoot. Then we pitched the idea to Solomon Chase and David Toro and they loved it for DIS. We wanted to mix early Raf Simons and David Sims collaborations with a luxury item from Sky Mall.
WW: With the sparseness of the photographs, along with the use of lighting and unique concept, the series reminded us of early 1990s fashion photography where the concept is sometimes more important than the clothes. What were your artistic inspirations?
LW: I think we were inspired more by magazines like early versions of The Face, ID and Self Service, which had really strong ideas about experimenting with fashion and lifestyle. I think Sky Mall has a lot in common with those publications, which is what we wanted to exploit.
WW: You are launching a new site entitled Topical Cream in June 2013. What is Topical Cream and what can we expect from it?
LW: I’m really excited about Topical Cream. It will be my strictly photo-based website with all the fashion work I’ve done in the past as well as original content.
WW: With the launch of Topical Cream, you will completely separate your work as a fashion photographer from your art photography. This separation of styles and genres is certainly not the norm in photography or in contemporary art. Why have you decided to separate the two?
LW: [Laughing] I can hold two ideas in my head at the same time, right? I think the old idea that everything has to blend together in clean ways is just so boring and doesn’t work any more in the age of technology. It has also just never worked for me. So with Topical Cream, I have completely separated them out in a way that makes sense with how I actually work.
WW: You seem to have a unique approach to your work – from your complete separation of art and fashion photography to your fresh concepts for fashion editorials. How did your view of photography develop?
LW: My family has worked in this medium for a long time. My grandfather took some of the first color tests for Eastman Kodak and he was a big believer in self-direction. I’ve never felt that I had to live or work within any particular categorical imperative and I guess I haven’t.