Captured by photographer Daniel Rampulla, the brand’s first zine captures the private lives of queer men in New York
- TextJack Moss
In February 2018, JW Anderson held an open call for photographers – published and not – to capture the London-based label’s Autumn/Winter 2018 campaign. (“Do you want to be part of a new, new wave?” it asked.) The result was Your Picture / Our Future, an exhibition and accompanying book comprising shortlisted entries from around the world, and a campaign photographed by a trio of then-unknown photographers Yelena Beletskaya, Simons Finnerty and Julie Greve (the latter has since contributed to AnOther, and captured a series for Miu Miu).
Another shortlisted entrant was New York-based photographer Daniel Rampulla who, one year on from the competition, has been announced as the first collaborator on JW Anderson’s new series of limited-edition ‘fanzines’. “I never thought a fashion brand would be interested in showing my work; half of the images I submitted didn’t even have people in them and the ones that did weren’t wearing designer clothes,” Rampulla says of his first Your Picture / Our Future entry. “But they connected to them and understood what I was showing – I’m very grateful to them for recognising my work. It was pretty much exactly a year later that I got an email from them asking me to shoot what ended up being this zine.”
The limited-edition photo book, which is titled JWA_ZINE: 2019-001, consists of a series of portraits of Brandon, a dancer; Finn, a visual artist; and Rami, a poet – each of whom belongs to New York’s LGBTQ+ community. “It was important to surround myself with people I knew and trusted on this project,” Rampulla tells Another Man. “Everyone involved is queer and a friend of mine. I chose non-models to photograph because I wanted them to be themselves on camera. By that I mean bring their own experiences and emotions into the scene.”
The intimate portraiture, which might capture the nape of a neck or a subject’s body in repose, is set against images of each’s private spaces, be it the interior of an apartment or a park at night. “Being a queer person myself, this is the community of people I hang out with and am a part of,” says Rampulla. “A few years ago I started making work about unofficial queer spaces and the complex relationships that happen there. Outdoor cruising spots and apartments were most familiar to me so that’s where I started looking first.”
Such is Rampulla’s personal connection to both subject and subject matter that he describes the photographs as “self-portraits”. “My experience as a queer person is constantly negotiating between what makes me happy and what I was raised to believe is wrong and immoral,” he says. “My photographs reflect this tension and search for validation, from myself and others. I look for my reflection everywhere. There is a closeness and familiarity that I want to show between me and another person’s body or between me and an empty space.”
The photographs also capture various pieces from Jonathan Anderson’s Autumn/Winter 2019 menswear collection, shown in Paris earlier this year. For Rampulla, it would be the first time shooting fashion; previously, the clothing which has featured in his images has simply been the subject’s own. “I never thought of the project as a fashion spread,” he says. “I wanted it to feel real and in order to do that I needed to concentrate on the characters and locations. I wasn’t necessarily ever trying to show off the clothing. It’s much more interesting to show characters and feelings, relationships and include the clothing in that space.”
“JW Anderson puts a new spin on classic designs and in doing so the collection itself rejects our preconceived ideas of what clothing should look like or how a particular piece should be used,” Rampulla says. “There is nothing more queer than that.”
JW Anderson will distribute a limited number of printed fanzines to select followers of the brand via an online raffle. A digital copy will also be available for download.