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V&A #MyHorstPhoto photography competition winners receive £500 of framing at John Jones

V&A #MyHorstPhoto photography competition winners receive £500 of framing at John Jones

In 2014, John Jones were delighted to have worked with a private collector to frame over 100 pieces of their collection for a special loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, for the Horst P. Horst fashion photography retrospective.

To celebrate the launch of the exhibition we teamed up with the V&A for the photography competition #MyHorstPhoto. We asked the public to take inspiration from Horst’s iconic photos, become a Horst muse or recreate the composition, light and elegance of the master photographer. To enter you simply had to upload your photograph to Instagram using the hashtag #MyHorstPhoto for the chance to win £500 of John Jones expert printing and framing and a trip to Paris among other prizes.The winner of the #MyHorstPhoto competition was chosen by Susanna Brown, V&A Curator of Photographs and Curator of Horst: Photographer of Style, and Lucy Davies, The Telegraph’s photography and art critic.

The winning #MyHorstPhoto, pictured above, was a collaborative project between Photographer, Cheng Han, Model, Carmen Obied, Makeup Artist & Hair Stylist, Elbie van Eeden and Clothing Stylist, Eileen Lee.

Winning photographer,Cheng Han, states, “Winning a competition as prestigious as one hosted by John Jones and the V&A has been the highlight of my time as a photographer, particularly as it was jointly judged by one of the leading experts of his work, the curator of the V&A’s exhibition.”

On winning the John Jones framing prize Chen Han comments:

“The entire process of having a frame made at John Jones is truly an experience in its own right. I have often heard the term ‘bespoke’ being thrown about by various framers but nothing prepared me for the thoroughness of the process of making a frame at John Jones. They clearly exhibit the same passion and obsession as the creators of the artwork which they lovingly frame. To know that my photograph was going to be framed by the same hands which regularly work on the highly valuable works of many established masters filled me with an enormous satisfaction and pride. The multitude of highly labour-intensive hand finishes available was initially overwhelming and seeing my confusion, they kindly prepared a print of my image and placed it within a selection of frames, layering mount options and even double-framed options which lifted the frame beyond the walls, adding a depth which transformed the picture from a two dimensional print into an art object. I opted ultimately for a gilded and highly polished stain finish which did not distract from the image but enhanced it tenfold, providing a reassuringly luxurious look should the viewer choose to look closer at the picture and frame.”

John Jones designers framed the winning photographic inkjet print in a two part poplar wood frame. Sourced from sustainable forests, poplar was used for its conservation qualities to protect the artwork from long term damage; its low levels of off-gassing, and stability. The frame’s inner slip was gilded with moon gold onto a grey clay base to add an element of glamour to the frame. The outer frame was sprayed with layers of gesso, which our experienced craftspeople sanded down by hand to a porcelain finish. The smooth surface was then stained and polished to achieve a multi-layered burnish and high shine. The frame design reflects that of the frames John Jones produced for the Horst’s fashion photographs. The photographic print was fitted into the frame using photo corners and a 12ply acid free window mount board. It was finished with UV protective glazing which has many fine art conservation benefits.

Find out about the conservation framing options we provide for photographic prints here

Cheng Han discusses the process behind capturing the winning image:

“Horst’s style from the 1930s was characterised by his incredibly precise use of the Chiaroscuro effect.  Recreating this idea required each member of the team to be intimately familiar with his style of work. We spent two weeks visiting the V&A several times and analysing every photograph we could find beyond the exhibition. During the shoot, Carmen had to selectively block off streams of light with her limbs, creating shadows against the backdrop and then overlaying a brightly lit arm, leg or one side of her face in front of this shadow. Lighting had to be arranged to use every irregular contour to cast shadows directly behind lit portions. Hair had to be styled to offer texture in the absence of colour while clothes and accessories had to have shapes which offered opportunities to create those characteristic shadow vs. light contrasts. This meant a very slow pace of shooting with Carmen remaining very still for long periods of time, striking a pose and then holding that position while the 6 continuous fresnel spotlights were arranged to create the characteristically ‘Horst’ look. I am told that he would sometimes take two days to set up a shot with arrangements so complicated that he could never repeat them again. We had the benefit of seeing the entirety of his work and created 5 images for the competition (viewable at www.cheng-han.com). The image which was selected was the final shot we took during that exhausting 12 hour shoot. For every member of the team, taking part in the competition was an intensive, all-consuming but ultimately, inspiring learning experience into the work of a true master of his craft.”

To read more about our framing for the V&A Horst retrospective visit our case study

To watch our short making of video, FRAMING THE HORST: PHOTOGRAPHER OF STYLE EXHIBITION AT THE V&A, click here

Horst: Photographer of Style will be touring internationally in 2015/16. Find out more about the exhibition and future tour dates: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/exhibitions/exhibition-horst-photographer-of-style/