Photography: Maxwell Clements
Text: Anna Sanders
Tufts of hair sprout through pink fabric; baby blue war paint sits slicked across cheek bones; ivy and petals adorn clothes and cover eyes. Maxwell Clement’s photographed world is a playful, colourful one; stripped back and desaturated, but no less compelling for it. The simplicity of his props and the pastel wash hue of his images create a dreamy, youthful aesthetic, one where apples are glasses and Oyster cards high fashion.
Studying pop art at Central Saint Martins, his photography retains the bold, everyday and post-modern aesthetic of the movement, merging fine art with consumerism within the deliberate quality of analogue.
We spoke to Maxwell following his shoot for PYLOT about California, pop art and working exclusively in analogue.
What were the influences behind the shoot?
I really wanted to capture different models with different looks – it was a beauty shoot but with an element of fun and disregard to the normal conventions of beauty.
You work exclusively with analogue processes in a very digital world, how do you feel this affects your work in both process and aesthetic?
Working with film really changes how you look and shoot. For one thing it makes you question things: the model, the composition – partly because the cost. But the film gives a look of its own and this means I don’t have to do any post production which saves time and cash.
What do you feel analogue has to offer over digital photography?
To me analogue photography and digital photography are two completely different things. Digital has its place now and for a lot of commercial and online stuff it doesn’t make sense to shoot film. I just love how film looks, I like that it’s physical and that it has its own characteristics. Its like comparing vinyl to an mp3. Film is not going to go away.
Do you feel your background in fine art has influenced you as a photographer?
Yes, I never planned on being a photographer, it just happened. I studied fine art at Central St Martins, left the comfort of university and then realised I had to get a job. In my work the model is always the most important element of a photo. They are always the main event and a lot of what happens in a picture comes from them.
Your work has a very distinctive aesthetic, what’s your creative process when preparing for shoots and on set?
My creative process just happens naturally. Working with stylists that you respect is big part of the process, then add the model into the mix and and hopefully, some magic happens….
What inspires you creatively?
My inspiration comes from other photographers, the world, my thoughts my feelings and generally life.
Who do you think are the most inspiring creatives working today?
The most inspiring creatives today are: Jamie Hawkesworth, Mark Peckmezian, Tyrone Lebon, Juergen Teller and Henry Gorse.
What projects are you currently working on, or would like to work on?
I just moved to California and I am really thinking about what I shoot here. The thing I am drawn to here is food. I keep wanting to take pictures of the food. Food is different here and a bit odd. I like odd things or something that’s a bit off…..
Photography: Maxwell Clements
Styling: Clifford Jago
Hair: Shiori Takahashi
Makeup: Michelle Webb using Chanel
Make-up assistant: Sasha O’niell
Models: Shaughnessy Brown @ Next
Images © Maxwell Clements