#011 ☼ Nadia Lee Cohen's Lens of Glamour
☼ Bosco Barge • Nadia Lee Cohen • Pastel Contax T2 Cameras
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With tasting notes of cinematic suburbia, customisable backyard workspaces, an artful East London home, the world's craziest public bathroom and new music to listen along to.
The good life beckons once more!
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☼ The most ornate public bathroom ever? Situated in a Chinese mall, this bathroom evokes Baz Luhrmann and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon
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The Lens of Glamour: NADIA LEE COHEN
“The world I photograph and create doesn’t reside in the same world that we live in,” the 29 year old visual artist from Essex reveals. According to Nadia, "It does not share or possess the same beauty norms, politics or social values” and consequently, what she portrays is “a much freer place to live in”.
With a cinematic lens imbued with humour, her work is reminiscent of fellow British photographer Martin Parr. But to call Nadia solely a photographer or indeed solely referential would be a disservice, having also modelled for Savage x Fenty and having been appointed the face of Schiaparelli amidst sharing her striking take on a glamourous 60s suburbia. In a perfect meeting between the fashion and art worlds, it comes has no surprise that Nadia has also published two acclaimed books.
The first is "Women" published by IDEA which features dozens of photographs that shake up typical conceptions of women, instead celebrating all female form across body diversity, age and gender. Developed over six years, "the most important characteristic of these ‘Women’ is that they are not weak : they feel powerful, and in turn, make the other ones powerful," Nadia writes in the book's introduction.
Drawn to alter egos and stories beneath quiet lives, Nadia's next work "HELLO, My Name Is" is a feat of metamorphoses, comprised of self-portraits inhabiting 33 different characters which she developed around name tags collected over the years. Showing as an exhibit in Los Angeles conceived much more like a film (with her GCDS fashion film also playing in the background), HELLO, My Name Is is a distinct exploration of identity riddled with stark humour and playfulness as each photo is accompanied by an assortment of objects alluding to the character's life.
“There’s more than a hint of obsession in what she does,” says Paul Reubens, aka Pee-Wee Herman, in the book’s introduction. “A lot of thought has gone into the creation of these people … when I look at every one of these portraits, I want to know what drew her to each of these characters.”
Last but not least, Nadia has made her mark in a number of short films and epic music videos, as well as collaborating with the omnipresent Kim Kardashian. She photographed an arresting, old Hollywood campaign for Skims as they revived 70s style glittering swimsuits in addition to a recent controversial cover for Interview Magazine.
"The team was like, “No jockstrap,"' she confesses. "And I’m like, “Come on. This is what I do.” I do best when I’m ignoring them and doing what I want. So, I’m glad we did it.”
And what's next for Nadia Lee Cohen?
“If I tell you it might not happen, and then I'll be embarrassed," she says. But judging by her track record, it's worth waiting for.
EXHIBIT A: 1993 Toyota Land Cruiser PZJ70 • EXHIBIT B: 1985 Audi Sport Quattro • EXHIBIT C: 1967 Porsche 911S Targa
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