Just Be Yourself

1 Mar 2017 – 1 Sep 2017

Regular hours

10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00

Simmons Contemporary

England, United Kingdom


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By appointment only/ tour. ‘Just be yourself’: the construction of identity in Trevor Appleson’s portraits of contemporary youth culture.


In 2014 Trevor Appleson was commissioned by MAC Birmingham and the Library of Birmingham to create a new body of work exploring the city’s youth culture. Appleson, accompanied by a group of assistants and equipped with the basic elements of his signature portable ‘studio’ – a film camera and a plain black cloth to use as a backdrop for his photographs – went out into the streets of Birmingham, to its music venues and its shopping districts, in daytime and at night. He met and photographed hundreds of people, from ravers to girl guides, most in their teens and early twenties – although the oldest subject was sixtytwo (after all, for some people, does youth ever end?). In each case, the subjects would be photographed in whichever outfit and items or accessories they were carrying at the time, and in whatever state of mind or sobriety. Appleson would simply tell them where to stand and to look towards the camera. In terms of their pose, the only instruction he would give was to ‘just be yourself’.


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