Fashion, sustainabilty and plenty of horses. Photographer Kerry Dean’s got it covered.
Kerry’s work extends beyond a pretty, well-lit picture. Her photographs are the starting point of bigger social issues, intended to make you stop and think, as well as appreciate the prettiness and lighting of course. Having shot for Harper’s Bazaar and Nylon, Kerry has recently embarked upon a 12-month sustainability project with i-D online entitled i-Sustain, a project which explores the relationship between fashion and the environment. In a separate thread, Kerry is currently presenting her first solo exhibition at The Front View, London. Entitled ‘The Emptiness of a Land with No Fences’, the works on show are a collection of photographs taken on an extended trip to Mongolia. Documenting a unique way of life away from the chaos of the western world (think mountain tops and galloping horses), Kerry uses the beauty of the country and the nomadic existence of its people to put accross ideas of freedom and possibility. i-D online spoke to Kerry about the project
Why did you choose Mongolia as the subject for this project? At the time I was searching for an escape, I wanted to go to a place so far removed from my every day life here in London. The search led me to Mongolia, which seemed to fulfil those needs. It felt like a place of wilderness that was undiscovered by the masses; of open landscape, rugged beauty and freedom. So in a way Mongolia chose me, the project was always secondary.
The photographs focus heavily on both the Mongolian people and their horses. Why did you decided to explore this relationship? Mongolia is home to 2.3 million people traditionally nomadic, and vastly out numbered by 5 million horses. Most of the images from this show were taken during the Nadaam festival, which is the biggest festival in Mongolia and has existed for centuries. The exhibition mainly focuses on the interaction between man and horse, for me this was the most compelling relationship to explore. The images are also a result of much coincidence and luck, and a rare opportunity to follow a race.
What other places in the world inspire you? Too many to mention them all – I’d love to travel to Bhutan, Kashmir, Himalayas, Tibet, I’m also hugely inspired by home, English countryside, London and my mum’s Scottish home.
What would you like people to think about when they look at your work? My reason for this trip was to escape, and to explore a sense of being in a place so far removed from the here and now, of vastness and space, a feeling of freedom, to breathe a different kind of air. I wanted to try and capture this feeling in the images.
You’re collaborating with i-D on the i-Sustain project. Why did you decide to get involved with this? I’ve always been interested and inspired by the environment and nature, which led me to shooting landscapes. This was always my initial love, so much more than fashion. I guess the interest came naturally from being interested in both, and somehow wanting to combine the two. I’ve worked on a few projects to highlight the absolute need for greater environmental awareness, so when this project came about I was absolutely sure I wanted to be massively involved! I’m interested in the impact that fashion has on the environment, and the long-term effects. I find it infuriating when people comment on ‘sustainable fashion’ and see it as a fleeting trend, as opposed to something we should all be aware of.
What can we expect to see from you next? i-Sustain has slightly taken over my life but the project is something I’m very proud of and there’s lots more to come! We have a great menswear shoot for October (see the shoot here), focussing on brands that value heritage and working with the skills and materials that exist locally in the UK. All the fashion stories for i-sustain are shot in English landscapes, so that’s particularly appropriate for the next instalment. We’re hoping to spread the message, inspire, and give people the information to enable them to make better choices.
‘The Emptiness of a Land with no Fences’ is on now at The Front View, London.
See the full i-Sustain series here.
Text: Rose Poole