Will Scarborough is a recent Central Saint Martin’s Fashion Communication and Promotion graduate with a keen eye for photography. In his latest work Hurtence, Will captures a series of thoughtful and theatrical portraits inspired by the bespoke, hand-stitched hats by a label of the same name. Will’s images are honest and carefully executed as he manages to distil his sitters’ distinct personalities into every shot.
“My interest in photography probably stems from my eternal identity crisis. I was one of those annoying kids that had to constantly reinvent themselves for attention. So eventually I stopped and began designing other people through the medium of photography. I got a DSLR at the age of 15 and began setting up shoots with my friends in my bedroom. Then, at the encouragement of my art foundation and university tutors, I began to take it more seriously,” Will tells It’s Nice That.
Hurtence is Will’s friend Maddie’s company that creates superb hats out of repurposed material. “They are so vibrant and have a great creative energy to them – they are an image in themselves,” Will says. White pleather cowboy hats and crushed velvet lover bonnets, Will’s eagerness to document them comes as no surprise; Hurtence hats are masterpieces in their own right. “I had been shooting this style of portraits for over a year so it seemed like a good fit. I approached Maddie to see if she wanted to work together and, with the help of our good friend Eilidh Duffy, we did it. It was quite impromptu.” The outset may have been spontaneous but the outcome is a masterful series of considered photographs.
“Aesthetically speaking I’m mostly concerned with casting and composition – a line or a strong silhouette. The Hurtence hats have both those things so it was easy to place them within so much negative space,” the photographer says. Will’s photography is defined by the bold lines that derive from the contrast between the black backdrop and the robust, lively figures. The neutral setting declares the sitter as the photographic centrepiece, placing a sharp focus on the human figures, their expressions and costumes.
Hurtence is populated by odd and dynamic personalities – particularly the nylon sock-wearing character – which are in part created through immaculate styling and fantastical make-up by Olivia Wiles. Will emphasises the communal atmosphere that evolved on the day of the shoot, as many already knew each other and were either friends or friends of friends. “The photographs had to reflect the energy of the hats within the photos so we tried to have a laugh with it and make it a little bit off-kilter.”
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