I always love shooting near the Barbican Centre, as structurally, you feel as though you’re in a maze of dystopian concrete. Large cylindrical structures and sharp grit angles are placed as part of lived-in homes and overgrowing green, and the atmosphere is often desolate – there’s an unsettling balance between comfort and disquiet. It’s the perfect backdrop for a shoot that feels pocketed away from the rest of the city.

Musician Clement Marfo and I headed down to the Barbican area in London one crisp afternoon in the first week of January 2017, and after many a conversation about the spirituality, existence and an insight into the world of music through his eyes, we began shooting. Although I do this naturally, it was while I was carrying out this shoot that I realised how important it is for me to spend a significant amount of time with my subject and connect with them before I even pick up the camera. So, as we spoke more and more, Clement explained his love for hats by way of experimentation. Teaming up with Max A Hatter on the featured hats (known at ‘turbanesques’ inspired by the Cholitas of Bolivia), Clement’s headwear is lined and cushioned with a range of fabric and texture, adding a distinctive update to a classic silhouette – the hats feel cosy, comfortable and were so much fun to work with.

Moving forward in creative direction and photography, I will intentionally factor in connection time before shooting. After all, I create to produce results that evoke feeling and spark change, so creating that real feeling from the root is where I want to begin. It’s also a win-win formula – after placing this particular intention, I always walk away feeling lighter because i’ve imparted something, and fuller as I’ve gained something as well. 

I hope the images above and this written piece sparks something for you.

Almass x

Model: Clement Marfo

Hats: Max A Hatter

Location: Barbican, London