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not in your face  

not in your face  

T: A Typology of T-Shirts

T: A Typology of T-Shirts by Susan Barnett, Dewi Lewis Publishing 

The book is available on Amazon + Also available on Photoeye, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones and Stromfashion.

In the series Not In Your Face the t-shirt is starkly evident but the photographs are not about the shirts per se. They are about identity, validation and perception. The act of wearing a t-shirt is a cry out for acceptance. Each person reveals a part of themselves that advertises their hopes, ideals, likes, dislikes, political views, and personal mantras. They wear a kind of badge of honor that says “yes, I belong to this group not the other.” It is about the marketing of differences. I have been influenced by Martin Paar and his interest in fashion as another “manifestation of social expression.” By photographing from the back, these pictures challenge the tradition of a portrait being of the face and tests whether body type, dress and demeanor can tell us just as much as a facial expression might. The back view would seemingly make these people anonymous but upon closer inspection we see their individuality emerge. After I ask the person to pose they often ask “what should I do?” I tell them whatever they want. It is their portrait. August Sander likened it to “merely assisting a self-portrait.” The compiled images document a diverse range of cultural typologies, not only in the messages on the shirts, but in hairstyles, accessories, tattoos and personal stances. This is an attempt to define a generation with a portrait that engages the viewer in a dialog about how these individuals want to be seen, and how we in fact see them.

Reviews & Interviews

“as much a sociological gauge of Western culture as it is a typological or photographic study, brilliant in its simplicity.”
–Mark Murrmann, Mother Jones

“The sheer diversity makes for a dazzling collection.”
American Photo

3/3 Treterzi, Interview T: A Typology of T-Shirts, by Chirai, February 2016
LFI Blog, Not In Your Face Interview, December 2015
KATALOG 26.2, Typologies – In Memory of Bernt and Hilla Becher by Jens Friis, December 2015
Huffington Post, Italy, Not In Your Face, Arianna Catania, November 2015
Slate, These Portraits Capture People’s Essence from their Back, by David Rosenberg, November 2015
LFI Blog, Photographic Genes, April 2015
Stuttgarter Zeitung, Die Brucke Zur Welt, August 2015
Photo-eye Blog, Review of T: A Typology of T-Shirts, by Melanie McWhorter, June 2015
Vice Magazine Spain, PhotoEspana Descubrimientos Award Interview, June 2015
Equivalence, European Photography 97, The Photographic Figure, June 2015
Bucher: Bildband Des Monats, Review by Manfred Zollner, June 2015
Photography International, by Eberhard Hess, June 2015
Fotographia, Book campaign and interview, May 2015
A Curator, T: A Typology of T-Shirts, by Julie Grahame, April 2015
LFI: Leica Fotographie International, Photographic Genes, April 2015
Konbini, Project T: Exploring Self Expression Through T-Shirt Typology, March 2015
Visual Studies, A Portfolio of Visual Narratives, by Xavia Karner, 2015
American Photo Magazine, 4 Best Photo Books, Review by Jack Crager, 2015