Fashion photography is, you would think, all about trends, all about the clothes. But the work of photographer Kourtney Roy is defined not by the clothes and the models, but by the haunting, timeless quality that her images are imbued with. In her work place is everything and there’s an eerie, otherworldly tone present in the suburban homes, motels and streets where her shots are often set. Many of her collections of work even include photographs with and without the model, creating an unsettling feeling of a stage set created in the real world.
It is the colour combinations however that stick most firmly in the mind, a fact that makes perfect sense when you learn that Roy originally had ambitions to be a painter. After studying at the Emily Carr Fine Arts Institute in Vancouver, Canada, the course of Roy’s career changed when a photography class she enrolled in opened her eyes to another medium. The swiftness with which she could capture an image on film, as opposed to in oil on canvas, immediately appealed and from there she moved to assisting in photography studios before forging her own career. The traces of her artist’s training remain however in the compelling colour combinations that feature heavily in her work.
Vivid scarlets and forest greens mix often in her work. Turquoise and blue are cut through with a flash of red from a phone or a parasol, giving these mundane objects a sinister power. Her work is often shot in old buildings – she photographed a series of work in a house that had been shut up for 40 years before renovation – and the faded details of the kitsch wallpaper and decor form the basis of a palette throughout.
Influenced hugely by film – and in fact now working in fashion film herself – many of Roy’s own projects feature self-portraits in different guises, from cheerleaders to suburban housewives. Now living and working in Paris, Roy’s work retains the distinctive colour palette of small-town Americana – the blue skies, the Atomic-50s colours of peach and turquoise and pink, the miasma of dust from a dry roadside – and we are finding plenty of inspiration for colour combinations of our own.
To see more of Roy’s work, and to see information on her latest exhibition, visit her website, here.