Last year, photographer-cum-filmmaker Luke Gilford received three boxes of Maison Martin Margiela clothing and was asked to come up with an idea. “They gave me a deadline of less than two weeks,” Gilford explains, “so the project featured mostly friends and family, and whatever I was thinking about at the time.” The resulting series of images, first published in Blend Magazine, is a strangely affecting mix of visual non-sequiturs, and accurately represents the rest of the L.A.-based creative’s work. We spoke to him to dig a little deeper into the man and his work.
The Margiela pictures are what David Foster Wallace might have described as “Lynchian”, less a strictly coherent series of fashion photographs than a purposefully gaudy hodge podge of manipulated still-lifes, hand-made and scanned. The images seethe with irony and surrealism and, like much of the photographer’s work, humour. They’ll make you laugh, sure, but they’ll likely make you wince too.
Gilford grew up in northern California and is now based in L.A. The landscape, it seems, is present within his work. “I love the West Coast,” he offers, “and for as long as I can remember I’ve been fascinated by L.A. Hollywood drips this weird creative power all over the city, which allows many kinds of artists to thrive here.”
And Gilford has thrived. The Margiela pictures signify a relationship with the fashion industry, but the creative polymath has far more in his locker. Last year’s projects include an eye-opening documentary of the Miss America pageant (above); music videos for Casey Spooner, Robyn and Blaqstarr; and an intriguing collaboration with porn actress Sasha Grey (below).
Gilford started taking photographs aged 17, but has only recently applied his process to film.
“With photography I try to create imagery within the context of a series – the interpretation of an image can be clarified, complicated or completely re-contextualised based on the image next to it,” he says. “But now I’m interested in the same formula with moving images, within scenes or narratives… [In the future] I want to make a short film, and ultimately a feature. And I just want to keep having fun.”