Long-term collaborators on the Charles Jeffrey-helmed Loverboy fashion label and the Dalston club night of the same name, Charles Jeffrey, Jack Appleyard and Gareth Wrighton have now made a zine. Independently published and stocked at the Fashion East Store at Selfridges, Boys in Pain features two editorials from the three creatives. One is by Charles Jeffrey, the other by Jack Appleyard, both are shot by Gareth Wrighton.
Charles Jeffrey borrowed his inspiration for the shoot from Francis Bacon. Shot in the labyrinthine corridors of Somerset House, where Charles has his studio, he employed the help of M.A.C’s Terry Barber, who turned the models into living manifestations of Bacon paintings. For his shoot, Jack Appleyard considered the idea of “cruising Hampstead Heath via 1645 via 1939 via 2016.”
Exclusively for It’s Nice That, the three creatives talk about the stories behind the images.
I’ve been shooting with Charles and Jack for a couple of years now. I started off shooting a few of the Loverboy club night posters in 2014 and 15, where Charles was always very proactive in arranging these editorial-like club poster shoots. We’d have shot after shot of everyone dressing up to promote the night, I think for the 2nd year anniversary night we had a 40-image editorial on the event page — totally ridiculous! But from the start there’s just been such an effort to shoot new imagery and include the beautiful faces and talents around us. So when we started working on shoots like these for fashion editorial, there’s no one I feel more confident shooting with than Charles or Jack. We’ve all got wildly different eyes that hone in on so many elements that makes these kind of projects creatively empowering.
I’d also shoot during the club nights as well, in a particular candid, snappy way, with a compact flash digital camera. It’s become a second nature way of shooting for me now, so I wanted to really push myself with these projects. I looked at sculpting with light more than I used to.
With Charles’ shoot, we were so heavily inspired by George Dyer’s story, and the work of Francis Bacon, that I wanted a more painterly approach to image-making. Many of the shots were taken through a continuous ring light, to get a beautiful, soft but flat look that washes over our models. As well as that, many shots are taken through either a fisheye lens or one of those big magnifying sheets. This meant that Terry Barber’s painterly brush strokes would blend and morph into Edwin Mohney and Liam Johnson’s slime concoctions, to really create some quite post-human body shapes.
With Jack’s story, I worked in a similar way to the documentary photography, with the mounted flash on my camera. There was a much faster, snappier, urgent quality to the shoot, but I had a disco light pointed at the models in most shots, that would leave the most peculiar smears of coloured light on the faces and clothes, almost extraterrestrial. Shooting on the Heath at night was also divine: the models would catch the harshness of the light while the background enveloped into this rich, inky black. Where we spent three days on Charles’ shoot, Jack’s took three hours. Jack’s comes off as this weird, almost Facebook album of snaps from some awkward ritualistic gathering. He stuck a GoPro to the head of one of the models, and we drew a number of shots from that, as well as a drone in the sky, to create a really immersive narrative.
Putting the shoots together in the zine we just found a sort of synergy between the two stories that wasn’t intended. There’s a desperation, a sense of fatigue and exhaustion between them, but Charles story is very submissive, where I find Jack’s to be antagonistic.
The idea of gatherings or protests is something I guess we can’t escape right now. I liked the idea of taking something current like that and telling a personal, reflective story within it. We chose a bunch of people who sort of look like me. One of them wore my Mum’s wedding dress, which she made herself. The act of making something yourself in this age I find is very important: it’s ceremonial, and self-validating. We ran around Hampstead Heath with burning torches.
We were thinking a lot about the way a mob, or a gang, views each other in a group. Mob mentality mixed with intimacy, mixed with partying and that type of coming together — a sort of fighting — I think you see that in the pictures. There’s violence and romance. One of the models wore a GoPro on their head, so those shots mix with Gareth’s and a drone to allow us to play with different perspectives."
The purpose of making this zine was to showcase all of the other image-making work we do as a brand, in the form of something people could buy which is something we haven’t done before as a standalone product. Making work like this is a big part of our research and development for the collections, and enables us to work with people we admire in the industry, who we wouldn’t necessarily get to otherwise. _Boys in Pain _ reiterates the bond that Jack, Gareth and I have in the pursuit of image-making as a source of creative relief.
The shoot I did with Gareth was based on the relationship of George Dyer and Francis Bacon. I wanted to explore violence in the styling by having the models clothes pulled and tugged. We also referenced Bacon’s figures in his paintings directly, through the make-up. Working with Terry Barber was a dream. To be able to work with someone of that calibre is so rewarding: the way he transformed Harry Appleyard (Jack’s brother) and our friend James Spencer into living paintings was astounding.
We shot over three days and worked within the unused corners of Somerset House, where my studio is. With the help of Edwin Mahoney and Liam Johnson, current MA fashion students at CSM, we could transfer a dusty spaces into backdrops worthy of a triptych! I commissioned them to make forms that represented Bacon’s brushstrokes. They came back to me with the idea of using this “gunge”. I loved the playfulness of it, it lifted the shoot up from being something too dark. Gareth’s patience and amazing eye, transformed a funny setup into something painful, as well as painterly.
About the Author
Bryony joined It's Nice That as Deputy Editor in August 2016, following roles at Mother, Secret Cinema, LAW, Rollacoaster and Wonderland. She later became Acting Editor at It's Nice That, before leaving in late 2018.