Tag Archives: menswear

Jonathan Daniel Pryce

Jonathan Daniel Pryce


Words & Portraits Kirk Truman


“I want to photograph people who look genuine. Subjects who look like they live a full life…”

Jonathan Daniel Pryce and I are walking around a three-bedroom apartment in New Oxford Street’s Centre Point. Beneath our feet lies Soho, and beyond it a stunning vista of the capital city which has helped him become an award-winning photographer of high fashion and street style. He takes out a vintage Canon camera and begins to photograph the skyline; meanwhile, I capture him at work from behind my own lens.

“London is constantly evolving. I feel like there’s something new and undiscovered emerging every day,” he says, looking down onto the city streets. “My mother is from London and when I was growing up she would tell me stories of walking down Carnaby Street in the 1970s, all dressed up. At home we had a stack of photographs from her modelling days, in a folder hidden at the back of a cupboard. I loved to take them out and look through them. To this day, I remember being amazed by these foreign-seeming images from another world: the poses, the clothes, the way the light looked – everything. At the time I didn’t realise it, but now I understand how important images were to me.”

Jonathan grew up in Glasgow. He was given his first camera when he was seven – a plastic 35mm point-and-shoot. As a youngster in Scotland, he was fascinated with the process of taking an image: you shoot, you wait and you don’t know what you’re going to get. In some ways, nothing has changed for Jonathan and his work today. The wait may not be as long, but with every new photograph he takes, he’s still hoping for that perfect end result.

As a youngster, his greatest passions were painting and drawing. Photography re-entered his life at the age of 17. While at university, he made use of the darkrooms and studios on campus and thus a fascination was born. “Do you remember Flickr? It had a huge effect on me. I became interested in blogging, and ended up launching Les Garcons de Glasgow with my best friend Daniel,” he says, “It focused on club, music and street photography mostly. I studied in the United States and whenever I’d tell the people where I’m from, they’d nearly always say, ‘But isn’t Glasgow dangerous?’ When I returned home, I wanted to present a different side to the city – show the artistic and creative place that I knew it to be.” The blog took off in ways that he could never have envisioned, building a strong following in Scotland and, over time, finding international acclaim. It was at this time that Jonathan really cut his teeth as a photographer. “Approaching strangers on a daily basis and working with an ever-changing environment was the best education; I began to realise just how much I enjoyed street photography. The camera provides a passport into other people’s lives. I’ve heard incredible, personal life stories from subjects I’ve only known for five minutes!” he tells me. “When my best friend moved to London, I began to visit him on a regular basis. This opened up my world and the reality of working as a photographer full-time was within reaching distance – something I didn’t even consider to be a viable option in Glasgow.”

In order to have a stable income in the early days, Jonathan took a job as an in-house photographer at a small design e-com company. “London’s reputation as being unaffordable made me approach with caution but after three weeks, I already hated my job,” he recalls. “Luckily, the company went into administration and I was made redundant the same day I won Photographer of the Year at the Scottish Fashion Awards. I took that as a sign and it gave me the push I needed to make it on my own. From here, I decided on a policy: learn as you go, be positive and say yes to everything.”

At the start, Jonathan worked on small portrait jobs but, as his network grew, he began getting assignments from brands such as Selfridges and Reiss. “Most of the briefs were to shoot ‘street style’ imagery for online use. At the same time, I was beginning to regularly attend Fashion Weeks in London, Paris, New York and Milan. I was perceived as a ‘blogger’ at this point, so would often get invites to shows. My first Paris invite was for Issey Miyake – I couldn’t believe it!” Since those early days, Jonathan has gone on to become Vogue International’s resident street photographer, covering the collections globally four times a year.

A significant turning point in his career came in 2012 when he launched his project 100 beards, 100 days with the aim of photographing a different bearded man on the street, every day for 100 consecutive days. “About 10 days in I stopped a chap and told him I’d like to take a portrait for this project. His response was, ‘Oh that’s my favourite Tumblr right now,’ and I wondered how he had already found it, let alone how it could be a favourite; it had only been online for a few days. It was at this point I realised I was onto something bigger than myself.” What started as a small personal project, quickly hit the cultural zeitgeist, being mentioned on Newsnight and written about in the New York Times. By the end of the 100 days, he had amassed over 250,000 followers on his site and a photo book was already in the works. “We exhibited the work in five cities around the world and by 2013 we had a second book, which sold out within weeks. It was a whirlwind at the time.”

Jonathan’s long-term fascination with taking images remains. His work in menswear has become well recognised in London and attracted praise internationally, having been published by TIME Magazine, the New York Times, GQ, Vogue, Esquire and Mr Porter. Earlier this year, to celebrate 10 years of his work, he worked in partnership with Vogue Hommes to showcase a selection of his images at Men’s Fashion Week. “My work is somewhere between the bubble of street photography and romanticism of fashion photography. I want to photograph people who look genuine, subjects who look like they live a full life; which is why London is such an incredible place to be based. One short walk down a side street in Soho and I find a handful of characters I’d love to shoot.” Jonathan is currently working on a volume of photography to celebrate the first 10 years of his career. Focusing on men’s style in London, Milan, Paris and New York, the book will be published by Laurence King and released in 2019.

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@garconjon

Carnaby

Carnaby


Words Kirk Truman

Illustrations Lucy Bayliss


Really, London started here for me. As a teenager and a then indie/MOD-type some 5 years ago, I started my first job here in London, along the brick pathway of Carnaby Street. Though it wasn’t The Jam soundtrack roaring out of Liam Gallagher’s newly launched Pretty Green flagship store, likely as my new employer that took my attention, but my undeniable fascination with a street so poignant and defining of this corner of Soho.

Seemingly, the 1960s have become overwhelmingly synonymous with a certain street that runs between Beak Street in the south and Liberty of London in the north. Though, this area has a rich history and accounts of land exchange dating from the 16th century. Thomas Poultney, a landowner, came to acquire two then adjoining fields. These together were to be known as Six Acre Close on which there was a well and windmill, thus making for the site of Carnaby Street as we know it today.

Taking its name from Karnaby House, originally erected in 1693, Carnaby Street was laid out around 1685. The street itself has gone from fashion to fashion and has always been synonymous with trade; with a market having begun in the 1820s. In his 1845 novel, Sybil, Benjamin Disraeli referred to a once famous carcase butcher in Carnaby market, which would’ve no doubt sat among a mass of traders. From 1850 to the early 20th century, the area became heavy populated by tailors, dressmakers and ancillary trades, thus serving West-End shops and Savile Row tailors nestled behind Regent Street. Trade, however, was soon encouraged with the opening of clubs and music venues around Carnaby; The Florence Mills Social Club (a jazz club and gathering spot for advocates of Pan-Africanism) being opened by Amy Ashwood Garvey and Sam Menning in 1934 at no. 50.

By the late 1950s, men’s fashion had begun its lasting descent upon Carnaby when His Clothes was opened in 1958 by Glaswegian John Stephen. He was the first entrepreneur to identify and sell to the young menswear market which began its emergence in the 50s and 60s. A widely regarded pioneer, Stephen became one of the most important figures of 1960s fashion, voicing the bold claim “Carnaby is my creation” in 1967. Stephen was widely regarded as the founder of men’s Mod fashion, whether Carnaby was indeed his creation is a matter of debate. Nonetheless, he was a purveyor and designer of sharp tailoring and clothes for the 1960s Mods, with his exuberant array of clients including staples of the era such as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Kinks, the Small Faces and Jimi Hendrix.

By the mid-‘60s, Carnaby Street had become the UK’s thriving home of men’s fashion, with Carnaby, Newburgh, Ganton and Kingly quite literally inundated with fashion boutiques all chasing Stephen’s own endeavour. Stores such as I Was Lord Kitchener’s Valet, Kleptomania, Mates and Ravel, to name a few of the array, honed in on the area. Soon designers such as Mary Quant, Lord John, Merc, Take Six, and Irvine Sellars were to come to locate themselves on Carnaby also.

The trend that Garvey and Menning began in 1934 with The Florence Mills Social Club continued below the very surface of Carnaby, with a variety of underground music bars nestled beneath the boutiques above. Music bars, such as the Roaring Twenties, in the surrounding streets became the norm: with bands such as the Small Faces, the Who, and the Rolling Stones frequenting the area to shop and socialise. Infamously, Carnaby quickly became a staple destination of the Swinging London of the 1960s. Awareness spread to North America and internationally in April 1966 when Time magazine published an article detailing the role of the street in Swinging London, describing Carnaby Street as three-blocks crammed with a cluster of boutiques.

Amid this clustering of boutiques and clubs along the buzz of Carnaby and its many corridors, it is no wonder that it came to be pedestrianised in 1973 by the Greater London Council, and now vehicular access is restricted between 11am and 7am. A comparison of the number of pedestrians entering the pedestrianised area indicated a 30% increase of a flow into Carnaby Street as a result of the pedestrianisation. A campaign commenced early 2010 to call for a similar exercise to be undertaken in the adjacent area of Soho.

On into the 1970s and 80s and Carnaby continued on as a destination for youth subculture. From the likes of punks, including the Sex Pistols, to rockers and goths; Carnaby continued to be a home for youth and inventiveness, where individuals flocked to leave their shells. In the late 70s, a Mod revival struck, helmed by bands such as The Jam, led by Paul Weller who was as much of a regular face of Carnaby in his teenage years as he still is today. This again brought the humming sound of a small army of Lambrettas and Vespas to the area, a humming which is still heard today on Carnaby from time-to-time. The energy itself is captured in the very fibre of the area in its distinction, quality shops, pubs and restaurants.

The narcissistic Mods that came to Carnaby to be seen and heard in the 1960s have come to helm the face of Carnaby’s history. Though still, beyond the heyday of this street which lasted but 10 years is a well- hidden tale of Soho’s rich heritage of trade and craftsmanship. Though it seems oh so tempting to cross thoughts of Carnaby with the Mods and peacocks of an era we shan’t forget, Carnaby is more than just a place, it is a rich heritage of the Soho we know today – a dedicated follower of fashion, a welcomer of the world.