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Rachel Fleminger Hudson, between realism and fantasy

London-based photographer, costume designer, and filmmaker Rachel Fleminger Hudson reinvents the past by recounting scenes of life through the lens of materiality and imagery influenced by 1970s aesthetics. 

This 25-year-old interdisciplinary artist, trained at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London, examines how society constructs perceptions of the past and shows how it anchors this nostalgia in the present. An interesting visual and cultural study of people, spaces, and our emotional ties to clothing. Her portfolio is inspired by the theater and cinema of the 1960s and 70s in a process that combines photography, hairstyles, props, make-up, and an extensive personal vintage wardrobe. Her textured color images take us into a disturbing recomposition of the past with contemporary characters living a fictional reality. No wonder she won the Dior Prize for Photography and Visual Arts for Young Talents, launched by Christian Dior Parfums, LUMA Arles, and the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie (ENSP). Rachel Fleminger Hudson makes clothing not a fashion accessory but a means of telling stories.

Aesthetic representations 

Her work is full of humor, whimsical reinventions, and emotional complexity, centered on materiality. One example is The Piece, based on the play La Ronde by Viennese Arthur Schnitzler, which she directed this year. This film features four interconnected couples and explores the latent tensions and contradictions of the 1970s through fashion. Her references to the cinema of Ken Russell, John Cassavetes, and Ingmar Bergman are palpable. A nine-month work that resulted in an archive of three thousand images that experiment with different styles. Her experience also includes research for costume designer Sandy Powell on Oliver Hermanus’ film, Living, and for the clothing brand Ilana Blumberg, worn by Harry Styles for Spotify. Rachel Fleminger Hudson brilliantly reappropriates the symbolism of the seventies, going beyond stereotypical images to better deconstruct and shape an identity with the faces of today.

Nathalie Dassa