Containing hundreds of portraits shot on city streets around the world, this book raises some interesting questions about style.
Most street-style blogs – and there are a lot of them – focus on individual styles. Exactitudes takes the opposite approach, highlighting not individuality but likeness. By juxtaposing images of similarly dressed people taken from city streets worldwide, photographed against a white backdrop, Ari Versluis and Ellie Uyttenbroek take their subjects’ indentities and transform them into exemplars of archetype. The title – a portmanteau of “exact” and “attitude” – captures this sense of personality expressed through a strict dress code.
Exactitudes’ newly released fifth edition documents 16 years of the duo’s work on glossy, large-format pages, presenting the images without context. The book contains 1,660 faces, most displayed a dozen per page, but each page is not so much a portrait of 12 individuals as a portrait of a unit, an amalgam of individuals into a single identity.
At the back of the book, each identity is given its own description; for example, the Holly Hobbies of Limburg are described as “fast fashion romantics with a granny-grunge style.” The pictures are worth a thousand words, and guaranteed to ignite conversation.
In addition to acting as a fashion log, the book represents a time capsule. It’s impossible to look at the page of Speedfreax photographed in 2002, with their denim and over-the-shoulder bags, or the Morroccies captured in 1997, dressed in nearly identical Bill Cosby sweaters, and not cringe in recognition of fashion eras (thankfully) long past. But equally humbling – and reassuring – are the pages of people in whom we recognise nearly everyone we know, including ourselves.
Published by 010 Publishers, Rotterdam (hardcover, 168 pages)