, 2022-11-07 09:35:30,
Inspiration is something Lydia has never been short of, and she cites the “queer documentarians” Catherine Opie, Chloe Sherman and Nan Goldin as being central figures in forming her broader creative approach. For the Close Shave project in particular, Lydia highlights Phyllis Christopher’s book Darkroom as being particularly influential. “To see this archive of Dyke happenings, sex, protest and playfulness is so uplifting and it teaches us so much about our queer history,” they say. “I think it is exciting to feel like you’re contributing to the incredible Dyke archive.”
To craft such an intimate, honest and warm feeling throughout the series, Lydia capitalised on “connection”. She explains: “I wanted there to be a lot of strong eye contact and powerful poses, but I also wanted the portraits to feel relaxed.” To further this focus on relaxation, the subjects wore all their own clothing and accessories, a decision that Lydia also sees as adding to the “effortless” feel of the styling. “People came as they are or brought a Butch look. I like that there is a range of aesthetics, from faded T-Shirts, vintage suits, ties, white vests and boxers. The different snapshots and styles make the series feel full as a whole and it’s very true of the community as I experience it.” The project was shot in a studio with lighting by Jody and everyone’s hair was styled by Zara, “collectively creating a special Dyke experience”, Lydia adds.
Realised in black and white, the series has a classic, refined feel to it – something that Lydia highlights in some of her favourite images from the series. The one of Gabby, for instance, depicts “a strong moment, the eye contact the hands on hips. It feels so intimate and confident”. And the portrait of Zara sees hands in their pockets, staring straight down the lens of the camera. “It was such a satisfying moment to photograph them in all their butch glory,” Lydia reflects. “I love how classic and editorial it feels. It’s a bit moody, and a bit romantic.” Then, sandwiched between are the moments of tenderness Lydia was so intent to document: a leather-bound embrace, moments of laughter, the beginnings of a smile breaking through.
Looking back over the project, for Lydia, what stands out is the “iconic collaboration”. On teaming up with Zara and Lucy, Lydia says: “It’s amazing to work with people you trust and admire so much, and they understand you and what you’re…
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