I forgot to share this with you a while back. Which was really really stoopid of me, because she’s popping up loads at the moment, and we all love that feeling of “I told you so”. So, maybe, “I would have told you so earlier, only I got distracted and forgot?” Not quite the same ring to it. Either way, let’s have a little minute for Emma Summerton.
I first started noticing her images a few years ago in i-D, for whom she works quite regularly. It was one of those things where I would come across an amazing image, and her name would be under it. Over and over, which is always a good sign. Her use of colour is really incredible, it’s kind of like Guy Bourdin mixed with Jeurgen Teller, stripped of Bourdin’s outright sex and Teller’s brash honesty, to produce something really interesting, and uniquely feminine. I feel like these images look like the work of a woman, which is no bad thing, given the dominance of male photographers in fashion. It’s that whole men creating our image buzz that is all deep and meaningful and I’m not really going to get into it now.
There is a sophistication and a softness to her approach that separates her from her male colour maestros. In some ways, there is more than a hint of Cindy Sherman, with a certain detachment permeating the images. Her work is striking but subdued, highly stylised but soft. She does the broken dolly thing in a sophisticated, powerful way – these dollies are anything but weak.
Her work is wonderfully constructed. I feel like it knowingly plays on the idea of The Gaze. It engages me, and makes me want to take more control over my image-making, and be less loosy-goosy-naturalistic-let-the-image-be-organic type thing. Unless I have her all wrong, and really all she wants to do is communicate how much like puppets & slaves we all are for falling victim to fashion. For some reason though, I doubt it.