“Happy, relaxed, temperamental, cute…” just a few of the words that roll off fashion photographer Byron Spencer’s tongue when asked to describe Sydney’s sartorial splendor. “Particularly for Sydney, it comes down to the lifestyle,” he muses. “Being so close the beach in a major city seems really noticeable in peoples fashion choices.”
Spencer, who has been roaming the streets, documenting style for five years now, has just opened a vibrant exhibition, Expressways: Byron Spencer vs. The World, which is on display in the public art space of Lane 4 in The Galeries and highlights eight of the city’s most flamboyant young influencers in fashion and culture.
“This exhibition wasn’t so much about diversity,” says Spencer, “but more about a union of colour and fun between a collection of amazing artistic people in the city.” The faces, which include fashion designers Gary Bigeni and Emma Mulholland, blogger Tanja G of My Empirical Life, stylist Meg Gray, models Fernanda (wearing Romance Was Born), Woan Ni (wearing No Discount) and Rachel Rutt, and musician and performance artist MC Gaff, all have a common thread of a fantastically vivacious style that borders on psychedelic and fruity, which is only amplified by Spencer’s signature hue saturation. “I could have documented so many more people with this same flair but this final small group seemed strong to me,” he says. “I wanted to celebrate the colour (especially for the fashion crowd because it always seems so black!) in the city.”
Ask Spencer what it is about someone’s fashion choices that makes him reach for the camera and he will declare that for him, photographing personal style is not about brands, trends or fashion-tribes, but instead, the vast spectrum of characters and personalities that make up the city. “I really love the energy of people on the street, more so than the fashion, “ he says. “… But on a more “fashion” level, I am drawn to people who bring a lot of theatrics to their outfits ... and more often than not for me this equates to a lot of colour!”
Expressways: Byron Spencer vs. The World is showing at Lane 4 at The Galeries, 500 George Street, Sydney, from January 28 until March 31.