Bulges, cheeks and other bits all seductively squeezed into tight latex clothing for one night only. This is the vision of fashion photographer Begum Yetis and London-based stylist Matt King, who have teamed together to collaborate on a suggestive photo series exploring the state of undress with an emphasis on contemporary concepts of erotica.
Titled Bare With Me, the exhibition – one of the final events to be held at London’s Doomed Gallery – marks Istanbul-born Begum’s first solo exhibition in London. “The exhibition is a celebration of the human figure with an emphasis on erotica,” the photographer tells us. “You will see a range of different body shapes and they are all sexy and beautiful. The fashion focus is on undressing and wearing your skin.”
“I was particularly inspired by the style of sex punk posters and provocative band images, event posters from the 70s and 80s,” adds Matt, stylist and co-founder of SORT zine and studio. Born from a growing change in attitude towards nudity on social media, the series explores this new societal confidence and addresses how social media is overhauling today’s definition of nudity.
Here the duo talk us through their exhibition alongside an exclusive preview.
Holly Louise Eells: First of all, congratulations on your first solo show in London, Bare With Me, you must be excited for the opening?
Begum Yetis: Thank you! Yes, I am very excited and happy how everything has come together for this exhibition. The positive support and interest that has been shown for Bare With Me is more than I ever imagined, so I’m very grateful.
Matt King: We’re super excited to show this personal project together. When Begum approached me earlier this year to work together on this project she asked if I wanted to shoot a camel toe and wedges fashion story and I, of course, was instantly intrigued with the idea and thought we could have a lot of fun together with a very tongue-in-cheek approach. We soon realised this project had a lot of potential and became bigger than just a fashion story and developed into an exhibition presenting over 80 images.
HLE: Tell us more about this erotica exhibition?
BY: The exhibition is a celebration of the human figure with an emphasis on erotica. You will see a range of different body shapes and they are all sexy and beautiful. The fashion focus is on undressing and wearing your skin. When we started talking about this project we both knew we wanted to show at Doomed Gallery, so we both immediately got to work.
MK: We are showing a series of images exploring the state of undress and emphasis on contemporary concepts of erotica today, so come down if you want to see some beautiful nudes!
“When Begum approached me earlier this year to work together on this project she asked if I wanted to shoot a camel toe and wedges fashion story and I, of course, was instantly intrigued with the idea…”
“There are a lot of butt images in this exhibition compared to maybe the more-full frontal look. In general, we both think people are more confident with their bodies due to having so much access to nudity online these days.”
HE: Talk us through your beautiful collaboration?
MK: Begum and I both come from different backgrounds but have a similar approach to our work, both being very inspired by London and the underground subcultures within it.
BY: Working with Matt is always very exciting, we have worked together on several other projects before. I love his aesthetic and I was following his work even before we met.
HLE: What do your images mean to you?
BY: All of the images I shot for this project are very sentimental to me and it is all because of the chemistry I had with people when we were shooting. I am all about those accidental, curious moments in photography.
MK: They are a study of a diverse cast of people and styles of underwear, we wanted to explore different body shapes and reveal a kind of ‘what lies beneath your clothing’ story. I was particularly inspired by the style of sex punk posters and provocative band images, event posters from the 70s and 80s. Begum has mentioned a few times in the past that it has become socially acceptable on Instagram to show your naked body or most commonly the naked butt. There are a lot of butt images in this exhibition compared to maybe the more-full frontal look. In general, we both think people are more confident with their bodies due to having so much access to nudity online these days.
BY: Yes, I completely agree to what Matt just mentioned. It is very interesting to see how social media is contributing to the definition of nudity today. For this project, we casted fourteen people and shot them in random locations. It was really important to portray a diverse range of subjects. Also, it is very interesting to see how social media is contributing to the definition of nudity today.
HLE: Describe erotica in three words?
BY: Seductive, mysterious and confident.
MK: Sex, punk and freedom.
HLE: What can we expect from you both next? Will you be working on any projects together in the near future?
BY: I’m working on producing a Bare With Me exhibition in Istanbul during We’re Loud Fest in October. It’s a punk music festival by Slovenly records, which will have lots of great bands and events. I think the exhibition will fit in very well with the audience there. Please come and definitely put this event in your calendar if you’re looking for somewhere to travel this year and want fun. We are also discussing making these images into a publication after all the exhibitions have finished.
MK: Yes, as Begum mentioned, we are planning to extend this project into a printed format, probably a zine! We like the idea of people taking ownership of this seedy set of images, could be a fun coffee table book?
HLE: How does it feel to know that Bare With Me is going to be one of the last exhibitions at London’s Doomed Gallery?
BY: I’m very glad and excited to be showing at Doomed Gallery, it feels incredible to know that we will be a part of their history. I hope they will continue their contributions to the underground scene, even though they are closing the gallery space.
MK: This is really sad, but all things good must come to an end. They have been the centre of an art, photography, print media, fashion (and everything in between) community for some years now. I am sure owners Ken and Matt will continue contributing to the industry in other ways. Also, I was part of the exhibition Maybe Turn Around a couple of years ago. I’m very happy to be part of another exciting exhibition before the closing party.