Posts Tagged ‘photography’


CAMP is the new group exhibition launching at Dalston Superstore on 07.02.19. It features the work of photographers Anna Sampson, Spyros Rennt and Emily Rose England.


Is there a common thread between your work as artists?

Anna: We all shoot on film, and we all document and celebrate LGBTQ+ identities and communities.

Spyros: The fact that we all photograph our surroundings, the people close to us, intimate moments – and of course the queerness of our subjects.

Emily: We all come from various queer communities and whilst or work differs in aesthetics it is obvious to me that our backgrounds and involvements within our respective communities is a major influence and shape on our work. As a result, our work has a tendency to explore and celebrate queer identities.

What does camp mean to you?

Anna: I’m a huge fan of Susan Sontag; and after re-reading her “Notes on Camp” a few weeks ago it seemed the perfect title, in relation to our work. Camp, to me, means glamour, decadence, flamboyance, fearless, exaggerated, androgynous, gorgeous.

Spyros: Camp stands for visibility, resistance, unconventionality and worlds unseen.

Emily: Freedom & fabulous queer identity.

How does queer identity inform your work?

Anna: In Gender Trouble, this collection very much challenges the notion of gender identity by merging and blurring gender clichés and stereotypes – and by photographing and representing these androgynous, sexless, queer beauties, I look to subvert and overthrow this male/female; active/passive binary, to demonstrate that gender, like sexuality, needs to be respected as fluid and non-binary.

Spyros: I live my life as a gay/queer man and my work is about the documentation of this life. My circle of friends and acquaintances, the places I frequent, the music I listen to: queerness surrounds me like a warm blanket.

Emily: I document the life and community around me: the queer community of East London. It was never an intentional thing to go out and document the queer scene for the world to see, more an organic progression which has become an internal view into our community – as opposed to an external view which can often result in work becoming exploitative. Although it wasn’t intentional to capture our community for the world to see I’ve realised over the years how important it has become. With the recent rise in far-right groups and ideologies who would love nothing more than to erase our existence it is important to capture and celebrate our loving, beautiful and creative community. it is important to show and celebrate that or identities do exist and are completely valid.

What other things/artists/themes influence your work?

Anna: I find my influences mostly in gender/sexuality/feminist/queer theory. I owe so much to theorists like Laura Mulvey, Judith Butler and Simone de Beauvoir – as well as artists such as Kathy Acker, Valeria Solonas, Cindy Sherman, Claude Cahun, Ren Hang, Robert Mapplethorpe, …. the list could go on and on and on.

Spyros: As much as I love all the great artists that came before me and paved the way, I also enjoy following the work of my contemporaries. Instagram, despite its many negatives, works great for me in the sense that it helps build a community of creatives with whom I can actually interact with and exchange opinions. And of course my own life and experiences influence the work I produce.

Emily: As my work is about capturing what is around me, things such as different nights put on and art and movements created by my peers is a massive influence: us existing is an active rebellion against patriarchal hetero normative society.

How and why did you get into photography as an art form?

Anna: I was a painter, yet grew too impatient to see a painting through, so took up photography (accidentally) in the final few months of my degree. I simply bought a cheap red leather point-and-shoot off eBay to take with me on nights out – but this quickly became the main outlet for my artistic practice/voice. I think it suits my style and sensibility perfectly. Seeing as most of my favourite artists are photographers I guess it was just a matter of time before I started shooting, too!

Spyros: Photography was always spoken to more than the other art forms, maybe because it was the most accessible to me. I like it as a documentation of events transpiring. My memory abandons me some time but photos are always there to remind me of feelings, faces and actions.

Emily: I’ve always been creative and drawn to creating art from an early age. Photography was a natural step for me, I mean essentially you are still painting but with light instead of paint! Once I had begun working with it, it completely made sense to me to pursue it as an art form. I have always been fascinated with its ability to capture a moment or idea like a snapshot in time.

What is your most memorable superstore moment?

Anna: Just a few weeks ago it was my staff Christmas party and we ended up at Superstore. I was very anxious this day, so almost didn’t go out but ended up dancing on the bar, and woke up covered head-to-toe in bruises.

Spyros: The last time I was in London in October: a packed Superstore, watching some drag shows with good friends, spilling my drink left and right (as I said, it was packed), flirting with cute boys – it was quite a night!

Do you have any special treats in store for us for the launch?

Anna: I have very few Gender Trouble zines left, so come and grab one if you want. I won’t be re-printing anytime soon, and they are all sold out at The Photographer’s Gallery!!!

Spyros: I am excited to be showing some prints that I have never shown before. I am also bringing a few copies of my book “Another Excess” with me for anyone interested.

Emily: I will have postcards available of my work to buy as well as first opportunity to buy the prints once the exhibition has finished. Also you will be treated to my divine djing skills!

Come down for the launch on 07.02.19 from 7pm xxx

            12138568_10153054455481954_6898427387920960713_o             spyr 2            Gender Trouble #13

Dan Govan

As part of our ongoing local queer artist residency at Dalston Superstore Gallery, this Thursday sees the launch our next exhibition ‘Living Vivid’ by Dan Govan!

Dan Govan is an Edinburgh born, camera-carrying, usually-anxious, glamour-adjacent wallflower, for whom photography was a hobby that’s grown wildly out of control. He started with snapshots of nights out
in 2008, but as he moved to east London in 2011 he was naturally was dabbling in club photography by 2012.  A couple of years ago he started dabbling in portraiture. Self portraits at first, exploring vulnerability and colour, muting masculinity in vivid disorienting colours. His latest project ‘Queernift’ documents the eccentric faces of the East London LGBTQ+ Nightlife Scene. 

We caught up with Dan to chat about where Queernift started, some standout experiences of photographing Drag Queens and whats next for Queernift!


Hello Dan! Can you let your readers know a little bit about your background?
Hi! I’m a sorta-Scottish, nerdy wallflower who’s been floating around gay clubs, pubs and shows in London since 2008. Until last year I always had a camera with me but now I mostly do over-colourful studio portraiture.

The work that you are exhibiting at Dalston Superstore, is the Queernift project which documents the faces of London’s LGBTQ+ nightlife scene. Why did you start this project?
I thought it was an exciting opportunity to collaborate with and signal boost some of the local queer artists promoting their work. It’s been nice to be able to give back to this community that puts so much work into creating queer spaces, putting on so many shows and nights over the years.
How did you come to know the queer performers that you photograph? 
It’s usually people I’ve met out and about! I guess it’s a community project at heart because while sometimes it will be a friend of a friend, by the time the shoot is done we’ve normally gotten to know each other a bit. It’s all people who visit, party and work in the same iconic venues and spaces that I do.
What draws you to portraiture?
Whether I’m shooting events, performances or portraiture, I try to capture situations rather than things. Reactions and relationships. People are always at the core of that. The real kick comes when I manage to show people looking better than they think they look. That’s always a thrill.
Through the series there is a consistent strong use of colour. What is the significance to this?
So much contemporary photography pretends to be realistic. It’s not. There’s artful makeup and hair, lights and loadsa photoshopping. Even when I shoot people not in a lewk I still stick with a similar colour formula, because I want my work to be self-evidently fantastical, open about the fact it’s not what you’d see in the mirror, and celebrate it a bit more. Why be humdrum?
What has inspired your work?
Mostly I’m inspired by the queer icons of the scene around me, though I’ve been blown away by some local photographers documenting aspects of a similar subculture, like Luxxer, Corinne Cumming, Kate Bones, Damien Frost and Eivind Hansen
As this is your first exhibition IRL, and you’ve mainly used Instagram to showcase your work.  Has social media been useful to your practice or has it been shaped by social media?
Oh queernift is basically an instagram project really, the format follows the 3-wide grid and it’s been so cool chatting to people all over the world about my work! I have another project barenift that’ll have a few pictures up at the exhibition too, that also the same 3-wide format; I fear the day instagram changes the grid!
East London’s Drag Queens aren’t known for being the most introverted of characters. So we’d imagine photographing would bring about some ‘special’ memories. Any stand out experiences photographing them ?
I think my favourite shoots have been when I do a couple of friends at once, taking turns in front of the camera the energy’s always really great. I recently had a shoot with Delirium though who arrived when she said she would, packed 3 very different looks into just 2 poly bags, changed quickly, posed to the gods, and we were all done in an hour. I was amazed.
Who else in East London’s LGBTQ+ Nightlife would you love to photograph?
Oh there’s tons of people that I’ve wanted to shoot for a while but we’ve never quite got it together and I feel shy about badgering them. And a few more that I never got around to asking! Rhys Pieces, Margo Marshal, Ginger Johnson, Grace Shush, Maxi More… Dozens more probably. I used to have a list that I was working through but it made me super anxious so I had to ditch it.

Whats next for Queernift?

Well I have a half dozen new shoots to post after the exhibition launches, after that I’ve no idea, more of all of it I hope? More shoots more people more followers. I’l have to think of ways to expand the formula but as long as there’s new people it’s always interesting. Of course there’s physical proof that the work exists now, I’ve no idea what effect that will have, exciting times!

Catch ‘Living Vivid’ at Dalston Superstore from Thursday 6th September till Early November!  


Darren Black

An exhibition brought to you by ArtHole

Dalston Superstore
05.03.2015 – 02.04.2015
Launch event 05.03.2015 6pm-10pm

March 5th will mark a major turning point in Darren Black’s photography career. It will be this pivotal moment where his direction and outlook changes for mere fashion photography to a status of photographic artist-image maker. Armed with camera and computer in one hand, scissors and glue in the other, Darren will brandish both old-school and new technology techniques used to rampage through his archive of work to present a fluid blend of photographs which have been both deconstructed and re-assembled. No image is off-limits to the cravings of his imagination and the carnage he is aiming to create.destroy.create. This show is a reflection the process as well as outcome. We see images from the 6-year Darren Black archive, both professional and private, literally torn apart and cut up, spliced together with other images into new moments which transcend time, redirect space, and take no notice of continuity. This is a confident leap away from an industry where the desire for the perfect image through laborious retouching leaves it ignorant to the real talent. Black is now using the camera as a stage in the development of an image; the camera is now a tool to capture a moment from which starts the really journey of creation. The resulting collection of work is both stylish and fascinating. No longer just the image of the girl or the boy in front of the camera, you feel as though Darren himself has something to say about the images he has taken.

If you have been previously impressed by Darren Black´s iconic style in the past, then this switch is going to leave you hynotised.

Darren Black

Self ­taught photographer Darren Black joins us for the next ArtHole exhibition with his “raw, edgy, uncompromising, confrontational and explicit” shots that retain their strong fashion element in amongst the collage style. As a child of the 80s who split his time between Hong Kong and Europe and eventually settling in New York before returning to London, Darren’s global fashion style has been featured in cutting edge publications and seminal fashion institutions such as Vogue, Elle, Dazed, HUF, and Beige amongst others. Come and be the first to see his brand new work here for ArtHole at Dalston Superstore with a special live performance from Queen Of Hearts in the laser basement.

Who are you and what medium do you work in?

My name is Darren Black and I’m a photographer.

Who was the first artist who mesmerised the young you, and what work specifically caught your eye?

I think the first artist I genuinely noticed as a teenager was Andy Warhol and even though you can’t really see it in my work, I’m still influenced by him today, especially his photography. I’m also into the work of Nan Goldin, William Klein, Robert Mapplethorpe and Richard Avedon.

What training have you received in your chosen medium, if any?

I studied the basics of photography when I was a teenager but didn’t think it was a career option for me until I reached my mid-thirties, by which time, the world had moved on from analogue to digital, so I had to teach myself how to use a digital camera. I’ve always been a fan of photography and have always carried a camera around with me – even now, I use my iphone to capture moments throughout the day or log various locations for inspiration.  


What’s your fave piece of your work on exhibition with ArtHole?

I’m not sure I have a favourite piece but I do really like the simple series where I’ve sliced across the faces of the models – I really enjoy simplicity in my own work even when I enjoy carnage and riotousness in others.

In an ideal world, what would you change about the current art world?

Equality – in 2010 83% of the art at the Tate Modern was by men and at the Saatchi Gallery it was 70%. Going back through art history, women have been marginalised in art and yet objectified in the huge range of art nudes on the market. I think it’s time the balance was redressed. Art should be cutting edge and it should challenge and ask questions – there’s no reason why women shouldn’t be asking those questions and setting those challenges.

What do you aspire to?

I aspire to creating work with integrity – work of merit and relevance.

Tell us a secret about yourself…

I wanted to be an English teacher.

What music do you make your art to?

Deep house – always deep house.

Describe your working process for us…

I approach my work differently depending on what it is I’m doing. At my studio and on shoots, I always work to music – I’m like a lisztomaniac, I cannot stand working in silence. I generally always have people around me too, I find it really easy to concentrate when I’m in a crowd (and also, there’s always someone to make cups of tea too). Working on this project, I printed all the shots I knew I wanted to feature and started putting them in different piles with regard to content and tone. Then I started tearing stuff up and collaging, piecing photos together that were taken years apart but still had a similar thread to them in order to create new montages.
create.destroy.create by darren black

What was the last thing that moved you to tears? Or just moved you generally…?

I love reading and a good book is the kind of thing that moves me.  I know I’m behind the curve here, but at the moment I’m reading Perfume: The Story of a Murderer – the writing is so painterly and poetic, it really transports you right into the action.

Join Darren for the launch of his ArtHole show create.destroy.create this Thursday 5th March at Dalston Superstore from 6pm- 10pm.

Kostis Fokas

Tonight sees The Queer Archive present the first UK solo exhibition from Greek photographer Kostis Fokas. I Am Not Malfunctioning, You Are, explores the human body in a provocative manner, using faux-eroticism as a window to the artist’s surreal alternate universe. Ahead of tonight’s private view party with DJs A Man To Pet, 2Dads’Boy, Nic Fisher, Jacqui Potato and Miss Lexi Shu, we caught up with photographer Kostis to find out more behind the images themselves… 

What is your favourite body part to photograph and why?

What made the creation of this project so enjoyable was the intimate look of the human body through my lens – either mine or other models’ bodies (basically those of my friends). I became familiar with it and loved it even more! In this particular project I worked with human genitalia and came very close to it. I had so much fun, eventhough I sometimes felt quite awkward. I would definitely do it again!

Do you carefully plan out your composition in advance or do you work more spontaneously? 

Despite the spontaneity that seems to exist behind those images, many of them were already captured inside my mind for quite a longtime even before embarking upon the actual shoot.

By Kostis Fokas

Do you find your own images erotic- as opposed to finding eroticism within the images?

The images of the I’m Not Malfunctioning, You Are, are not meant to be erotic photographs. Although I must admit that there are sexual messages which I want to pass through this series of images. The naked bodies serve as a metaphor for how we feel when we get undressed, the uncomfortable feeling of exposing ourselves. So with these I felt myself to be exposed.

What influence does your upbringing in Crete have on your work? 

Crete for me works as my refuge. It was the place where I found myself and the place where I am able concentrate on the things that are important to me. A place away from cities which distracted from the things that I want to do. What I managed was to find myself again and discover the true goals I want to achieve.

It was like the right place at the right time.

What’s the meaning behind the name, I Am Not Malfunctioning, You Are? 

I created the title of the project when I came across ‘glitch art”, and I was trying to find its deeper meaning. When something doesn’t work properly, then the malfunction gives meaning to the artwork. That’s my inspiration and that’s how I developed the whole project. It is something very personal – how it feels to be the malfunctioning one, when society wants you to be absolutely perfect. How it feels to push to be someone else, someone completely different from who you are. Through my work I try to accept myself… and to be real!

Who are your art heroes (of any medium)? 

I’m more into great pictures than great photographers or artists.

Anonymity is recurrent in your photos- can you explain why your subjects are always faceless and concealed and yet naked? 

The main idea behind this project is to give to those bodies the opportunity to talk about my story. It is almost as if you let the body explore itself, speak for itself on what is carrying in it.

For me these bodies are not faceless. They are perfect, and no facial expression would make them more complete.

What’s your personal favourite image from the full series, and how did it come into being? 

That’s a good question… I think that the picture where I’m in my boyfriend’s shorts is my favourite. That’s the reason why I used this image for the exhibition poster, as well as why it is the most representative of the project. It is the most personal photograph, with the most personal message for me. I am looking straight into the camera but you can’t see my eyes – I am hiding, but at the same time I am so exposed to peoples eyes.

 By Kostis Fokas

Describe the alternate universe we can see through the frame of your photos… 

For me it is not easy to live and concentrate in this world. There are so many things that I can’t accept, so I always try to find ways to escape. Even being a normal guy is sometimes difficult for me. This is exactly how I felt at the time I created these images. The alternate universe is my surreal world, where everything is under my conditions and my own rules. My work is the place where I feel totally safe.

Join Kostis tonight for the private view of I’m Not Malfunctioning, You Are at Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 3am.



A photography exhibition by KOSTIS FOKAS


PRIVATE VIEW – Friday 14th November 2014

EXHIBITION RUNS – 15.11.14 – 08.02.15

CURATORS – Saskia Wickins & Konstantinos Menelaou



In his first solo exhibition in the UK, Greek photographer Kostis Fokas presents a selection of photographs from his series “I Am Not Malfunctioning, You Are”.

The exhibition provides an unparalleled insight into Fokas’ evocative work and shines a light on his world of erotic surreality.

In this body of work Kostis Fokas searches for a new take on the human body and seeks to explore its infinite capabilities. 

His photographs are a testimony of human sculpture; a landscape where the bizarre meets the ordinary.

In this alternate universe, everyday objects and props are contrasted with partial nudes and covered faces, suspended somewhere between reality and fantasy.

As the title suggests, the artist allows his models to interact freely, most of the times in uncanny and unpredictable ways, often conveying a sense of surrender and submissiveness.

Instead of capitalising on the feelings of the objects portrayed through the use of faces and expressions, Fokas shifts his focus on the complete freedom pertained to the image of a human body. “Stripped from its clothes, I leave it fully exposed and completely surrendered”.

Fokas views the exhibition as the conclusion and completion of the creative process surrounding this series of work and as an intermediary step for new projects to follow.

For this next exhibition Dalston Superstore is proud to welcome a very long awaited collaboration, colliding two elements that have ran perfectly in unison for some time, The Queer Archive.

The Queer Archive is a platform for visual content and communication. Through a series of parties and events the Queer Archive brings together established as well as new artists and assists them for the production and exhibition of their practice in their chosen art form.

The Queer Archive is also an online library of film and video work, a point of reference beyond contemporary trends and persuasions. Its content covers current as well as older issues and our contributors span from a wide range of backgrounds and agendas.

For sale and press


***This is Saskia Wickin’s final curtain call curating at Dalston Superstore. After nearly three years she has exhibited over 20 shows working with a variety of mediums with a huge range of people and specialists and been an integral part of the Dalston Supestore team***

Muff Magazine

Ahead of the launch party tomorrow night for Muff, the London based queer print magazine, we caught up with the two ladies behind the publication to find out a bit more about what’s in the latest issue and why they do what they do…
Muff Magazine came to global acclaim with its moving photo series of lesbian couples living in Russia, together despite the difficult circumstances. What led you to commission this and were you surprised by the attention it received?
Bukanova: I wouldn’t have dreamed of the story going viral! With muff we want to change the way lesbians are represented in today’s media and challenge out of date stereotypes. Therefore I wanted to portrait couples in the intimate environment of their own home, showing that they chop onions, watch TV  and do everything a straight couple would do. Originally from Russia myself, I’m very touched and upset about its anti-gay propaganda and the consequences, which I think can improve if gay becomes – and remains – more visible. It might be hard to accept the unfamiliar, but having to deal with it on a daily basis will hopefully, one day, make it the accepted and normal thing it is.
KateBukanova struck up a friendship with the photographer Anastasia Ivanova while she was in London and basically the next thing I knew they’d created a photo series together. After that, all I had to do was bring the photos to life with a few words from the subjects themselves. As soon as the Huffington Post and BuzzFeed took it, our inboxes just went crazy. I still can’t believe how far that piece travelled – it really made an impact. Even now, over six months later, I still come across the most unlikeliest of people who want to talk about that photo series.
Now that the spotlight is for the most part off Russia’s treatment of LGBT people, do you think this is something you hope to highlight again in the future? Perhaps revisiting the same couples?
Bukanova: Maybe. We are very grateful to have the couples and thank them for standing up despite the fact that a majority tries to silence them. I think, for now, we made our point. 
Kate: Perhaps in a few years when things have hopefully changed – but not for now. I think we made a really strong point with the piece and I wouldn’t want to dilute its message by banging the drum too much. Anyway, the whole point of muff is that we try not to overly politicise issues, particularly negative ones. In the new issue, we have a different photo series, still based around people but this time about those who moved to Berlin and why. It’s a really beautiful, emotional piece which hopefully has a more positive vibe.
You’ve stated the next issue of Muff Magazine is a bit less political… why did you choose Lovecats as a theme?
Bukanova: Because everything isn’t that serious. And we love cats, of course. 
KateMainly because Bukanova and Piczo shot a beautiful fashion editorial with her favourite, sphinx cats. But, yes, also because we wanted more of a lighthearted, upbeat feel to this issue – and creatively we felt a lot more confident to express that this time, both in the content and design. 
Why did you both choose to champion print as a medium? 
Bukanova: Form follows content, and muff isn’t a trend-led magazine. It is illustrating stories, picturing the life of individuals and reflecting on issues in our society – I think this is a beautiful thing to last. 
Kate: Because print is beautiful – you can savour and share magazines in a way that you just can’t with the immediacy of the web. Things like content, photography and texture shape a really strong statement and I think muff really deserved that kind of medium. You know, you can make a really great website and it can have the biggest audience in the world, but it will never endure like print and one day, who knows whether that website will still be online? Financially, of course, it’s not that simple… 
Muff Magazine seeks to redefine “lesbian”  through an exploration of queer culture- what would say exemplifies that ethos in the latest issue?
BukanovaThe deliberate choice to avoid stereotypes. Not because of personal taste, but more the will to challenge existing perceptions.
KateWe try to explore queer issues and creatives without focusing on sexuality – because it doesn’t really matter whether somebody is gay or not. In the latest issue, we look at creatives who have moved to Berlin. I can tell you now that some of them happen to be gay, but at no point do we feel the need to mention that or define their work through it. We also have a couple of amazing interviews, with people like Jake Arnott and Molly Nilsson, as well as our own take on the famous Barilla pasta controversy. Virginia Woolf makes an appearance too. 
What are your personal favourite pieces of enduring queer literature or art?
BukanovaI never thought of literature or art to be solely queer.
What would you improve or change about London’s LGBT scene?
KateWhen I was young and single I loved London’s gay scene. From what I remember, I have to say it’s one of the best in the world – there’s something for everyone. Nowadays I don’t tend to frequent it so much and if I find myself in a gay bar it’s unlikely I’m in there solely because it’s gay. Maybe I’d change the beer selection…
Who are the Muff Magazine icons (and why)?
BukanovaFellow independent publishers like The Gourmand and Buffalo Zine.
KateI come to muff from a slightly more serious, editorial background so for me, my personal icons are people like Glenn Greenwald, George Monbiot, Naomi Klein. Muff-wise, I’d say we took a lot of hope and inspiration from magazines like BUTT and Girls Like Us. 
What’s your favourite feature each in the new issue?
BukanovaThe cats, gay pasta, our still life follow-up that can be seen here, a visual diary of past crushes, and our collaboration with Berlin based creatives. Did I mention cats?
KateI’d say it’s a toss up between Partner Look, which is our response to the Barilla pasta affair that we came up with over the kitchen table one rainy afternoon, and the Berlin photo series. 
As this is an interview for Dalston Superstore and we are all about dancefloors… if you had a time machine and could go back in time to any dancefloor anywhen/anywhere where would you want to go?
BukanovaIn the ’80s, somewhere between a gig of the Russian band Kino, Klaus Nomi – or  just dancing to Pet Shop Boys, Grace Jones & co, wearing tons of make-up, studded over knee boots and über-oversized jumpers.
Kate: 1920’s swing? I basically spent my entire childhood wishing I’d been in the Bloomsbury Group. 
Muff Launch
For more info on the launch of issue 2 of Muff Magazine tomorrow night visit their Facebook page.

Black Light


Dalston Superstore is proud to announce an exhibition of a medium we have never showcased before.

BLACK LIGHT is the inaugural exhibition of body-artist Emma Allen and photographer Andre Ainsworth.

This series of images sees the collaboration between Emma Allen and Andre Ainsworth. Inspired by the bioluminescence, transparency, and grace of deep sea creatures; transferring the qualities of these curious creatures to a human form.

Ainsworth and Allen developed a technique using body paint and a combination of light from the ultraviolet and visible spectrums. This allowed the bodies to become luminescent, bringing the imagined characters to life. The human form is being transformed using paint and light rather than creating characters digitally. The result is a series that is beautifully surreal and yet slightly unnerving. 

In a world of so much digital manipulation and prosthetic makeup, I like to see how much I can trick the eye with just a hand and brush.” said Allen.

At its core, the art of body painting and fine art has had a contentious and unsure relationship. Part of Allen’s charm is her ability to transcend these two opposing worlds, making her work straightforward and enchanting.

About the artist:

Emma Allen is a London artist whose work fuses many disciplines, from body-painting and animation to textiles and fine art. Recent projects include the animated self portrait, Ruby and the ongoing portraiture collaboration with Cancer Research UK to paint the heads of chemotherapy patients. As well as ongoing private commissions, on an ongoing basis she works with the arts charity she founded in Sri Lanka and London-based textiles recycling charity, TRAID.

About the photographer:

Photographer Andre Ainsworth spent a decade in the world of dance music documenting the London and international scenes for Mixmag, Ministry and DJ Magazine. He now specialises in food and drink styling with clients such as Perrier-Jouet Champagne, Remy Martin Cognac and The Dorchester. 

Press enquires:

Artist info:

Photographer info:

Join both Emma Allen and Andre Ainsworth for the Private View of Black Light on Wednesday 13th November from 7pm to late at Dalston Superstore.

The Test Shot

We sat down with the creators of London-based trans-masculine photography site, The Test Shot, to find out more about their wonderful and positive project. Featuring stylish Londoners; each shoot is accompanied with an interview about that person’s own personal style, their favourite clothes and fashion inspirations. Photographer LGW and business partner Jamie are setting out to break past the media’s more typical portrayal of trans people by giving a more intimate look into real lives via fashion and style…
What was the catalyst for starting your photography project, The Test Shot?

 LGW: Well, myself and Jamie both spent quite a lot of time feeling outraged by instances of sensationalism in the press regarding trans* people. It was actually Jamie’s idea- he emailed me because he wanted my opinion on the idea of starting a style blog that looks as the relationship between clothing and masculinity. The focus would be on transmasculine identified people who use style to create/translate their gender identity. What really caught my attention was the idea that this blog would look beyond a cismasculine ideal. In Jamie’s words: “I want it to be interesting, personal to whomever is contributing/being interviewed and to look properly mint.”

Jamie:  Based on the various discussions we had about trans portrayal in the media, we both wanted to create something that wasn’t based on the typical tropes (such as surgery), and as LGW says, we didn’t want to approach gender identity in the expected way or through typical narratives. At that time it was difficult to find material on style that included transmasculine people visually, apart from perhaps the issue of Original Plumbing dedicated to fashion (and we later discovered the trans presence on DapperQ).  

Why did you choose Tumblr as the medium for showcasing it?

Jamie: We deliberately wanted to make The Test Shot an online project because it’s so much easier to work independently. Plus, you have automatic presence. Using a Tumblr template pretty much meant that we could develop a project immediately. Making positive change in mainstream media is such a painstakingly slow process and yet using Tumblr we had a trans* style site out of nowhere, based on not much more than a good idea and LGW’s photography skills.  That was very motivating and empowering. We also felt that Tumblr was the right choice because it’s so much about visuality and images. We wanted to make an intervention and carve out an online presence in a visual sense. 
What was the thinking behind the name of the project? Is it a nod to the style aspect of the shoots?

LGW: It refers to a few things; test shoots in the film and fashion industries involve trying out new ideas and equipment in advance of fully developing a concept- they’re tentative and experimental. You make discoveries about what works and what doesn’t and that informs how you move forward. Similarly, with style and self presentation there is a lot of trial and error until you finally become comfortable with how you’re being perceived. I think this is especially true for trans* people. Also, it alludes to the process of taking testosterone- one of the key treatments available for transmasculine people to allow themselves to transition physically and socially. Although I’d like to point out that not all trans* people, and certainly not all the people we’ve worked with on the blog decide to take that route.

 The interviews really add depth to the shoots, was this something you wanted to do from the start or did they evolve naturally along with each shoot?

 LGW: Yes, it was always our aim to give each participant a platform and to make the project more collaborative. One of our responses to the media’s sensationalist treatment of trans subjects was to find more authentic and positive voices. If you Google ‘trans man’, and come to our site rather than some tabloid horror story, you subtly start to change people’s perceptions of what it means to be transgendered. Also, the shoots are a hybrid between fashion and documentary. We don’t choose fancy locations, just people’s homes or nearby streets, and giving each person an opportunity to speak for themselves makes the whole thing more rewarding and true to life.

Jamie: Having texts to accompany the shoots was always key for us. I think subtle shades in gender identity can’t necessarily be perceived visually and it’s really important for people to have space to articulate themselves. Trans people are so often discussed as if we’re all the same and being trans means only one thing. The photography on the blog suggests that this isn’t the case, but the degree to which we are diverse really only becomes apparent in the interviews. 

What’s your favourite snap from your own Test Shots?

 LGW: I like the more casual stuff I chose to wear; the bolo tie and blue plaid shirt combination is one of my favourites. My best friend gave me that shirt, and the bolo tie reminds me of the hot gay cowboys in Brokeback Mountain.

LGW's Test Shot

Jamie: I think what I like most about my shoot is the colours in the room – they are so vibrant. 

Jamie's Test Shot

How would you each describe your own style?

 LGW: Charity shop meets Brit Pop. 

Jamie: “Slightly preppy librarian on dress down Fridays”. Sometimes it goes a bit wrong  – the other day I found myself wearing suede green brogues with mid-blue jeans, and a cream and white cowboy-style shirt that I had tucked it.  It was so totally “gay Texan dad at the PTA meeting”. Weird.

Not to make you pick favourites here, but what has been the most interesting outfit you’ve shot so far?

LGW: There has been a few (I won’t pick favourites!). Faizan has a lot of clothing he’d brought back with him from Pakistan, including shoes made of tyres which I loved, as it took me out of the familiar. Grey had a military style jacket with amazing symmetry. Seb’s cat shirt is by far the most tumbled thing on our site at the moment- it has 510 notes as of today.

Seb's Test Shot

– Jamie: Shooting Seb’s onesie was fun, but mainly because we made them run around in front of their house in Forest Hill next to a bunch of guys playing five-a-side.  In general, I liked any item of clothing that had a particular value to the person wearing it. It’s amazing how much thought and history can be behind a simple piece of clothing. So no, I won’t choose! 
Since being featured on Buzzfeed, what has the feedback been like?

 LGW: That Buzzfeed article has done wonders for our social media clout- we were inundated with followers on Tumblr almost instantly after that went live. I’ve actually had colleagues come over and say they spotted me on Buzzfeed last week, which is interesting because I don’t talk much about my gender identity at work. It’s all been positive so far, and we get a lot of interest from the trans* community in the USA in particular. We won an International Presenter Scholarship earlier this year for our work, which means we get an all expenses paid trip to Philadelphia to run a workshop on DIY trans representation online. Hopefully the Buzzfeed article will add some context to the people who come and attend that.

Jamie: Two days ago someone from Tennessee wrote to us saying that our project made them feel less alone after discovering the blog on Buzzfeed.  I still think it’s amazing that The Test Shot can have such a tangible and positive emotional effect on someone’s life. I guess it shows that digital media very much isn’t in a vacuum and intersects fundamentally with “real life”. That’s so important to bear in mind when creating trans-related content. 

You have shot topless trans men who’ve had “top surgery”. Was this an aspect of transition that you specifically wanted to feature or just something that happened?

LGW: Both the shoots where guys have gone topless happened in summer and outside, so yeah it wasn’t a planned thing- more practical if anything. I remember Felix had only recently recovered from his surgery when we shot with him; he was really happy with the results and wanted to document it in some way. And one of Liam’s outfit choices included S&M style PVC shorts and braces, a look that really works if you’re topless. Plus that way we could see more of his tattoos. Generally, the blog is about lifestyle and living confidently, and part of that includes having top surgery for some guys- I’m glad those shots are included but they’re not a focus point for us. 

Jamie: It is true that for a lot of trans* guys and genderqueer masculine people top sugery is a defining moment in their transition and allows them to be free in their bodies in a new and transformative way. There is a common perception outside of trans communities of top surgery as being too radical, drastic or a step too far. I think trans guys who have surgery embrace it is a physically painful yet totally enriching experience. I suppose it’s a sort of rite of passage. However,  we want to show that there are a range of trans* bodies as well as a range of styles. Having surgery doesn’t make you “more trans”, it’s just a particular expression of being trans. 

Will you shooting any transatlantic test shots whilst at the Trans Health Conference in Philadelphia this year?

LGW: I’m taking my camera gear with me so we can get some shots at the conference, and we have planned to shoot with a gender-neutral clothing range based in Philly so it’s a healthy mix of work and play. If we make any friends who want to do an impromptu shoot, I’m more than up for it!

All images courtesy of The Test Shot.

Dyke Of Our Time








Tania Olive’s Dyke Of Our Time explores female gender through sexuality. Olive’s series comprises of deadpan portraits of lesbians shot within their own homes. The series aims to show the fluidity of gender within the lesbian community and challenge people’s often antiquated ideas of stereotypes. The intimacy of each individual’s own domestic space is juxtaposed against the direct and uniformed pose, allowing for each woman’s diversity and individuality to be compared.

Tania olive originates from Portsmouth but grew up in Germany due to her father’s position in the army. She then moved to London and has lived here for 13 years. Over this time she attended City University and completed a degree in BSc Nursing (hons). She was a sister in Paediatric A&E for 10 years. 

Having always had a passion for photography Olive decided to do a part time degree in 2008 at Westminster University alongside working as a nurse and finished in the summer of 2012 with a BA in photography. 

Her graduate show was part of the Free Range exhibition at the Truman Brewery last summer where she was awarded best in show by the British Journal of Photography (BJP) for her series Dyke Of Our Time. 

This body of work is an ongoing project which has nearly doubled in size, and Olive would like to double this again still. The Dyke Of Our Time series was recently featured in the February issue of DIVA magazine

After graduating Olive has started assisting to gain more understanding and confidence of working in a studio and still nurses on an agency basis. 

For more information:

A Little Summer Of Love

These amazing pictures come courtesy of our friend Dave Swindells who’ll be presenting a sample of his fascinating photography this weekend at visual art exhibition A Little Summer Of Love. Celebrating the early years of acid house, the exhibition will also feature the graphic art of Dave Little, a private screening of Gordon Mason’s acclaimed documentary film ‘They Call It Acid’, a live performance of the first British acid house tune, ‘Voodoo Ray’ by A Guy Called Gerald feat. Diane Charlemagne and DJs including Paris’ Acid Ball residents Hannah Holland and Dan Beaumont.

Being the kind sir he is, Mr Swindells has sent us a selection of his snaps from London and Ibiza in their acid house heydays with pictures of Danny Rampling at Shoom, Feral Is Kinky in Ibiza, crazy Boys Own parties and more plus explanations of each one in his own words…

TOP IMAGEAmnesia, 1989

To me this photo seems like it could almost have been taken last week at a party in Dalston. The fashions have changed somewhat, but not by much! This was 7am on the main dance floor at Amnesia on the opening night of the season in June 1989, when Boy George was invited to celebrate his birthday and host the club. Although it was taken in 1989 I’m putting it first it as was clubs like Amnesia which inspired Balearic beats and helped kick-start the Summer of Love in 1988. 

The Duchess of Norwood and friends in Ibiza, 1989

The Duchess of Norwood and friends in Ibiza, 1989

The Duchess of Norwood wasn’t her real name (natch) but she did make good friends with the local boyz. Ibiza had a properly polysexual scene long before London, and it was already a major gay holiday destination in the ’80s.

Danny Rampling at Shoom, 1988

Danny Rampling at Shoom, 1988

At Shoom Danny and Jenni Rampling created a small, friendly, New Age-y and intense underground club where Danny mixed Balearic beats and acid house and everyone went a little bonkers. Anton Le Pirate (top right) and Frankie Foncett (blue top) are in this photo, which was taken in the tiny Fitness Centre in Southwark. There were grumbles about the tight door policy, but Shoom was very significant because it was the underground club that DJs, club promoters and the media knew about (even if most of the media couldn’t get in). Just around the corner was RIP in Clink Street, but that’s a whole other story* – and they didn’t allow any photos to be taken. 

* The story is told in the liner notes to a new CD, ‘Richard Sen presents This Ain’t Chicago, the underground sound of UK house and acid 1987-1991’, which is released by Strut Records on June 25.  

The Future, 1988

The Future, 1988

This was taken at Paul Oakenfold’s night, The Future, for a feature on acid house and Balearic beats in i-D magazine. The clubbers there, including DJs Lisa Loud and Nancy Noise, had all been to Ibiza the previous summer, so we photographed the way they dressed and danced, because moves like the ‘shelf stacker’ were strange to people who’d grown up dancing with their feet rather than their arms.

A typical group of London clubbers in Ibiza…

A typical group of London clubbers in Ibiza…

Yeah, right. MC Kinky (aka FeralisKinky), Boy George, Fat Tony and Louise Prey photographed in Ku (now Privilege). It’s a night that we remember for the massive electrical storm (lots of the British chose to dance in the rain) and because the orgasmic ‘French Kiss’ by Lil Louis was played three times. When we left the open-topped jeeps in the car park looked like baths: full of water.     

Spectrum at Heaven, 1988

Spectrum at Heaven, 1988

Spectrum was a Monday night phenomenon at Heaven in 1988-89 where Paul Oakenfold was the main DJ. After a very quiet start it snowballed and used to draw clubbers from across the country – club folklore suggests that Spectrum inspired the name of the band Happy Mondays. This was taken one night in July 1988 when the air conditioning failed. No wonder the dancers were sweating. 

Gyroscope, acid house party in Deptford, 1988

Gyroscope, acid house party in Deptford, 1988

In 1989 and 1990 every rave had to have lasers and a bouncy castle (and they’d definitely get a shout out on the flyers too), but in 1988 the novelty was a gyroscope. Logic didn’t come into it: Hey, I’m feeling high/drunk/wasted, why don’t I throw my body everywhichway possible on a gyroscope while the strobe light blinds and disorientates me! Yay! 

Time Out meets Spectrum in Jubilee Gardens

Time Out meets Spectrum in Jubilee Gardens

Time Out was offered the chance to help programme a festival in a big top in Jubilee Gardens. Spectrum was at Heaven on Monday nights, so we teamed up with them and on June 6th 1988 acid house (and Balearic beats) were blaring out across the Thames towards Big Ben. 

Trip at the Astoria, 1988

Trip at the Astoria, 1988

It’s hilarious that the first club to bring acid house to the West End weekend was called Trip. Nicky Holloway’s Trip, with Pete Tong as a resident DJ, opened in June 1988 and was mobbed. Darren Rock (of Rocky & Diesel) is wearing the blue top while most of the dancers are wearing Trip t-shorts because the promoter saw me taking the shot from the DJ box and made me wait five minutes while he handed them out. 

Café Del Mar, Ibiza 1989

Café Del Mar, Ibiza 1989

‘Peril of Drug Isle Kids!’ warned The Sun. They weren’t wrong. Those kids are still in peril but these days it’s more likely to be the drinks and admission prices on The White Isle that will give them a heart attack.  I was out in Ibiza with journalist Alix Sharkey for 20/20 Magazine, so the fact that The Sun made Ibiza front-page news while we were there was lucky for us.

Boys Own Party, 1989

Boys Own Party, 1989 

1989 was the summer of orbital parties (parties at locations off the M25, hence orbital and hence Orbital, the band) but the Boy’s Own event, in a beautiful valley overlooking a reservoir near East Grinstead, was not a mega-rave to scare the tabloid writers, but a brilliant night of top tunes and larks. Why were these two climbing a ladder to nowhere? I guess it seemed like a good idea at the time…

The launch party of A Little Summer Of Love will be held this Saturday 30th June from 7pm – 2:30am at Westbourne Studios, W10 5JJ, with A Guy Called Gerald, Noel Watson, Kid Batchelor, Richard Sen and our very own Paris’ Acid Ball residents Dan Beaumont and Hannah Holland.

Darrell Berry

Some people have been part of the fabric of Dalston Superstore since the very beginning. Our friends, our DJs, our patrons. One such person is photographer Darrell Berry who was here for our launch party and has snapped the bold, beautiful and the downright trashy that have passed through our doors for the last three years. We caught up with him to talk photography styles, Superstore memories and favourite pictures…

How would you describe your photography style?

21st century nightlife meets 1940s Hollywood studio shot.

Rokk By Darrell Berry

What attracts you to club photography?

Being able to share my love of a world where endlessly creative people are making and sharing amazing new culture, whether that’s music, fashion or performance, hopefully in a way that others can see WHY that world is so amazing, even if they weren’t there or would have no real interest in that world for its own sake. Making the FEELING of a moment, one that was over in the duration of a dancefloor heartbeat, last as an image, and bringing that home so people can experience some part of that.

John Sizzle By Darrell Berry

Who are you favourite subjects at Dalston Superstore to shoot?

Ha. It’s different every night. Some nights there are people who you just know are going to do … something…  and that I’ll need to ready to capture that when it happens. That could be a look, or just a moment where everything comes together and works, and you know that feeling will translate into an image… but of course the scene superstars, like Ma Butcher, A Man To Pet, keep making an appearance in my favourites. They are truly beautiful creatures.

What’s your favourite picture you’ve ever taken here?

That’s a hard one. Probably my ‘defnitive’ Superstore shot is this one… 

Darrell Berry Photography

You’ve used that on posters and it tells the story of the upstairs bar on a big night pretty well, I think.

But there are so many others!

This one, from the pre-pre-launch party back before opening night, still makes me smile.

Darrell Berry Photography

That’s on the dancefloor downstairs. Nothing like power tools to get the party started!

But they all tell a little bit of the story… I don’t think this one’s ever been published, but it’s a favourite…

Darrell Berry Photography

You took pictures at our opening night and have been coming back ever since. What’s your favourite memory from the last three years here at Superstore?

My favourite moment was probably that pre-launch party. It was obvious even before day zero that Superstore was going to be amazing. And it was. And it still is, which is a hell of an achievement!

The Lovely Jonjo By Darrell Berry

All photography reproduced with the kind permission of Darrell Berry. For more of his photography please visit his official website or his Flickr page.