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Work / Photography

CG Watkins’ narratively driven photography conveys mystery and escapism

Photographer CG Watkins creates images that reflect the situation at hand but also his own personal background. Born in the suburbs of west London his family emigrated to Perth, Australia when he was a baby. This move, and his subsequent travelling since, is reflected in images that “observe nuance in the everyday and other peoples’ thirst for escapism”.

CG’s own escapism took form in moving back to London when was 15; he then moved to the North of England but now resides in Paris. “Stepping away from the British music scenes and subcultures that I’ve been so heavily embedded in, I instinctively started applying documentary methods to what surrounds me now – fashion.”

CG’s fashion-focused photography is shown in his longstanding collaboration with biannual men’s fashion publication Masses. This collaboration has grown from the photographer and the publication sharing a similar outlook. “Essentially, I feel that the magazine’s perspective, and indeed its text-free format, allows a great deal of creative freedom and fewer obligations than other fashion magazines,” he explains. “I think that’s why I enjoy working with them so much, and why the images I shoot for them are closer to my personal work.”

The result is a photographic style with a mysterious narrative. This is due to CG’s casting of individuals in his images, “seeking strange landscapes and curious characters… Nobody appears in my stories without a purpose, with believability and character-driven narrative being key”.

Alongside fashion photography, CG creates documentary projects which have taken him to “K-Pop festivals to the underground metal scenes of Los Angeles, from time spent with Bosozoku biker gangs of Chiba into the personal world of online gaming culture”. However there is always one consistent feeling within his photographs which “heroise the mundane, and conceptualise the modest”.

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CG Watkins: Masses issue 06

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CG Watkins: Masses issue 06

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CG Watkins: Masses issue 06

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CG Watkins: Masses issue 08

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CG Watkins: Masses issue 08

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CG Watkins: Masses issue 08

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CG Watkins: Masses issue 08

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CG Watkins: Masses issue 08

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CG Watkins: Masses issue 08