J/M Gallery
Wednesday, March 2, 2022
Sunday, March 6, 2022
230 Portobello Road London W10
J/M Gallery

‘FORMATS’ is a unique new exhibition from London photographer Colin Hutton. Painstakingly created over two years during lockdown, the portraiture series depicts figures with elaborate head pieces that are made from celebrated recording formats of the past and shot using today’s digital technology. At the heart of this unique project is a passion for and celebration of the creativity and technology that has collectively recorded and shaped our cultural experiences.

“The original inspiration for the series came from seeing a punk. His multi-coloured Mohican looked like it was made from records, and I was inspired to attempt to make one out of vinyl.” Colin Hutton

Visual archetypes and subcultures including punk and disco, are revived and celebrated using materials synonymous with certain periods such as vinyl, cassette tapes and polaroid photos. The headpieces are constructed with exceptional detail. In the image of the punk the Mohican is made exclusively from punk vinyl originally released in the 1970s, the Disco Diva Afro is made from Donna Summer’s Bad Girls cassettes sourced online. Drag Race UK superstar Bimini Bon Boulash stars in the series in a playful 1960s style bob made from vintage polaroids. Hutton personally sourced all the era specific materials with authenticity in mind, endlessly searching on eBay to find the perfect cultural pieces from these exact moments in time.

“It was very important to me that original materials were used in the portraits. I sourced nearly all the materials second-hand and developed a great appreciation for the magic of eBay. Who knew there was a thriving international market for vintage polaroids? Where else could you purchase over forty copies of That’s What I Call Music CD’s or Super 8 Prints of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho?” Colin Hutton

The exhibition brings together a personal journey of discovery, involving incredible technical precision and research. Hutton recounts a plethora of obstacles he faced along the way such as the difficulty attaching hundreds of Micro SD Cards onto a model’s head. He was able to accomplish the elaborate head piece under the guidance of prosthetics expert Ben Brown, who worked on Guardians of the Galaxy. The research for this series has been a lengthy process, spanning several years; background images were taken at a diverse range of sites; from underwater, a disused military testing site, to the underside of a motorway.

FORMATS is a series of pictures which draws attention to media formats, such as vinyl, cassette, polaroid, and film, and plays with both form and expectation. It casts a nostalgic eye on the moments and creatives that have shaped our cultural history and the technologies used to record and preserve them.

“These formats, such as vinyl records and 35mm Film Photography, have collectively recorded and shaped our creative enjoyment for decades and the series is a visual celebration of their historic importance.” Colin Hutton