The French photographer talks us through the logic behind his first solo exhibition of City Suits in high-heels and handbags
On Friday, KK Outlet Hoxton unveils the first solo show of French photographer Franck Allais’s work. Convicted with typical wit, the exhibition is made up of two projects, Subverting the City and The Weight of Words, where Allais deletes the passing vehicles on London’s roads, leaving behind their branding suspended in mid-air.
Here, Franck talks us through five images from Subverting the City, a series of images that deliberately subvert our expectations of the “City Suit”.
“Tower Bridge acts as a somber marker in the background. I took this shot in the morning, as city workers were hurrying to work. The leg of the shadow on the left gives this photo a rhythmic composition, but it also adds a certain normalcy and ambiguity to the shot. The serious intent of each man, chest out, (or head bent with thoughts of work) is undermined, albeit playfully, by the addition of a dress or skirt.”
“The city is prosaic to the point of blandness; a big glass office, another street corner, a businessman turning to check for traffic before he crosses the street. But the addition of a skirt is an act of exposition.”
“When I shot In Passing nobody took any notice of me. More to the point, my camera went unnoticed. I spent days in the city taking shots and perhaps because of the constant surveillance, nobody really minded. Or maybe they were too busy too notice or they thought I was taking pictures of buildings?”
“In terms of the “dress code”, [I think] women have won the equality war: what man would wear a pencil skirt to work?” “I became really interested in the serious intent with which people move around the city (specifically the financial district), and also the code of clothes: the uniform and the uniformity. Grey and black suits abound. The notion of flamboyancy or even just a little bit of bottle green, violet or yellow is not kosher.
Another thing I noticed is that men generally occupied the middle of a path, whilst a woman walking alone will walk nearer to the wall. [I’m not sure what that means exactly] but it’s interesting.”
In Passing runs 8 -26 February at KK Outlet, 40 Hoxton Square