It’s here! When You’re a Boy…(spoiler alert!)

Apologies for the protracted absence, I’ve been flat out working 15 hour days on a shampoo commercial coinciding with a run of ‘Christmas-in-July’ press days. I’m pooped!

Anyway, Simon Foxton’s much anticipated exhibition, When You’re a Boy was finally unveiled yesterday at The Photographers’ Gallery. The menswear stylist has worked with Penny Martin to create an insightful exhibition which shows the different sides of his arresting work. What attracts me to Foxton’s work? I think it’s the always-human element present in his styling. Much of it is portraity and the work that isn’t will have a humorous or playful element or be somehow more than about just the clothes and more about the character. I guess I like his street casting a whole lot too.

My favourite Foxton i-D shoot, ‘Strictly,’ featuring a boyish Edward Enninful poses ‘questions about ethnicity, Englishness and masculinity’ and looks as fresh today as it did when it was first published in 1991.

The wall of framed portraits by a range of different photographers provides a genius personal touch – I love the one of the boy in double denim with his back pockets overflowing with colourful bandanas (no close-up unfortunately, I didn’t want to ruin the surprise).

In the centre of the room is a long glass cabinet housing Foxton’s precious scrapbooks which I decided to save til last. Ever the scrapbook fiend, this for me is a crucial part of an exhibition like this and I’m glad Penny Martin as curator decided the scrapbooks were worthy of inclusion. As with photographer Tim Walker’s scrapbooks and sketchbooks, it shows something of the artist’s inspiration and creative thought process. Apart from this, it’s fascinating to be reminded of long-lost male faces from the 80s fashion scene and rather sweet to see Foxton’s ballet ticket stubs and 80s club flyers so neatly archived.

For those interested, there is a programme of accompanying events. Check on The Photographers’ Gallery website for info.