Photographer Ryan Skelton is someone who has intrigued us at It’s Nice That for years. It’s the same for the Skelton family in general really, following a brilliant shoot with the whole clan by Hill & Aubrey back in 2016. We saw the Skeltons in caravans, unpacking a hatchback car, out on a walk in their home of Yorkshire, but stylishly dressed, obviously, considering the career of Ryan’s older brother, designer John Skelton.
Known widely from his regular Instagram posting which consistently grabs the attention of his followers, this year Ryan has moved into publishing, releasing Land Swallow via publishers Enlarge Your Memories. A series of self-portraits, the concept for Land Swallow developed from Ryan “giving up his sexuality and giving it back to the earth,” he says.
Shot over the duration of a year in various locations up and down the English countryside, the book features every season and weather condition imaginable. “In order to showcase all of the seasons and weather that makes up England, Ryan commissioned 12 different designers he knew personally beforehand to create a costume for him for each month starting from June 2016 — June 2017,” explains the publishers of this lengthy process. Each portrait is titled with the month it represents, January, for instance, is barely visible drearily depressing. Light is introduced throughout the photographs as the months go on, reaching a peak of florally inspired shots in April, May, June and July. Ryan’s use of light is played with again at the end of the series in December with the artist standing in front of a town’s classic Christmas light set up.
By combining the multiple creative outlets Ryan dips his toe into, Land Swallow explores fashion, nature via landscape and photography, of course, lensed by the photographer himself. “The result is an exploration of Ryan’s sexuality to the natural world, rather than humanity,” the publisher continues.
Also released with an accompanying film by Saskia Dixie, featuring dance performance by Ryan, both photography and moving image portray Ryan’s exploration, “as well as portraying the relationship he has with the 12 designers involved in the project.”
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