Jai Odell


1. Aesthetic: The study of the mind and emotions in relation to the sense of beauty. How has aesthetic evolved over the years and how has it influenced fashion photography? What is your approach with aesthetic in your works?

To me aesthetic is a personal thing for each individual. Everyone appreciates beauty in different ways. At the moment fashion photography is going through a huge aesthetic shift as a reaction to seeing too much repetition and a new generation seeking something new.

2. Identity. “We contain multitudes,” wrote Walt Whitman, referring to the fact that we see ourselves in a different way depending on different contexts.
Nowadays, gender and sexuality have been explored in many ways, from art to cinema and of course fashion. Fashion photography is a means to capture reality and changes within it. How do you reflect identity in your works?

Gender and sexuality is a big issue at the moment but this is not new to fashion. Fashion is the place where the issue of identity is constantly looked at and redefined. I love the pushing of these boundaries and in my work i have always been drawn to the middle where the lines between genders are blurred.

3. Beauty in fashion. “The best part of beauty is that which no picture can express”, said Francis Bacon. Fashion photography once depicted a perfect kind of beauty, almost false in its perfection. Nowadays, fashion photography focuses on imperfection and peculiar traits. Which is your relationship with beauty? How has the language of photography mutated in the past years?

Beauty is in all of us and I love that the language is changing to reflect that. There are so many interesting characters in the world and there is no single form of beauty that we can all aspire to. Individual beauty is what i like to focus on in my work and creating a still image that reflects and magnifies the beauty of someone who, in person radiates those qualities naturally is sometimes easy and sometimes challenging as the camera does not see what the eye sees.

4. Sociology: the study of human behaviour. How is photography able to portray social changes? Is fashion photography a way to portray cultural changes within society? How have social and cultural changes influenced your works?

I think as a photographer and particularly a fashion photographer that you are always reacting to the social climate of the moment you are in and proposing an idea that is accepted or rejected. The goal is to say something with meaning and have a positive influence. My work is constantly influenced by the shifting attitudes surrounding race, gender, equality and that comes through the incredible people I am lucky enough to be able to shoot.

5. “This is me not being you”: an exhibition about identity, gender and change. How have your works expressed this feeling? How do you express your personal background through your works?

The work I create is my reaction to what is happening around me so it is always evolving. It is the people I choose and the way they are portrayed that defines my work. My early life has a huge influence on the work I do and it comes through in the way I see myself and my various strengths and shortcomings. I think as a photographer you subconsciously create an image of the best version of yourself or of the person you would like to be…