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Catherine Losing: MoMA, Items: Is Fashion Modern?

Work / Photography

Photographer Catherine Losing uses objects to tell stories referencing culture and history

When still life photography is done well, it’s nothing short of captivating. Slick, glossy and often indecipherable in terms of how it has been achieved, it’s subtle and incredibly satisfying. It’s in this space that London-based photographer, Catherine Losing’s work sits. Although her practice spans more than just still lifes (increasingly including moving image as of late), perfectly composed collections of objects are a personal favourite of hers – and ours too.

“I really like using objects to tell a story and create conceptual images,” Catherine tells It’s Nice That, “I’m a still life photographer at heart.” Having studied business, sociology and media alongside photography, Catherine’s obsession with the genre stems from an interest in referencing culture and history at large. Over the years, she’s made work for Vogue, Polaroid and The Guardian but it was a recent commission for the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) that really struck a chord with her.

Catherine was approached by the museum’s senior curator Paola Antonelli to create a series of images for its first fashion exhibition since 1944: Items: Is Fashion Modern?. The show presented 111 items of clothing that have had a profound impact on the world in the 20th and 21st Centuries. Catherine’s images hero 18 of the items that were included in the exhibition, its catalogue and the encyclopaedia style A-Z publication created for the show.

“It was a bit of a dream brief,” Catherine explains, “They gave me a really free brief and I was able to work with my longtime collaborator, set designer Anna Lomax, to create some really fun photos.” Also working with stylist Grace Joel, the resulting images – which feature items like the Nike Air Force 1 – are beautifully photographed yet perfectly reference each object’s cultural significance.

More recently, she worked on a series for Riposte entitled Forbidden Fruit, with long-term friend and collaborator Sarah Parker. The pair met when they were both assisting, so their careers have developed alongside each other. “We’re planners, so we’ll generally go into a shoot with a really good idea of what each shot will look like,” she explains. For their latest collaboration, Riposte approached the duo to visualise an article about female masturbation.

“I was a little embarrassed at the prospect of creating a photo story on the subject at first,” Catherine adds. “However, I was then emboldened at the thought of how much airtime male masturbation gets in film, music, the media and society as a whole.” Using visual double entendres, the series utilises meticulous compositions to embody writer Tori West’s “frank and personal” article.

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Catherine Losing: MoMA, Items: Is Fashion Modern?

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Catherine Losing: MoMA, Items: Is Fashion Modern?

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Catherine Losing: MoMA, Items: Is Fashion Modern?

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Catherine Losing: MoMA, Items: Is Fashion Modern?

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Catherine Losing: MoMA, Items: Is Fashion Modern?

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Catherine Losing: Riposte, Forbidden Fruit

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Catherine Losing: Riposte, Forbidden Fruit

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Catherine Losing: Riposte, Forbidden Fruit

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Catherine Losing: Riposte, Forbidden Fruit

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Catherine Losing: Cherry Bombe

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Catherine Losing: Cherry Bombe

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Catherine Losing: Cherry Bombe

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Catherine Losing: Wellcome Collection

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Catherine Losing: Wellcome Collection