photo facebook.jpg    photo instagram.jpg    photo twitter.jpg    photo pinterest-1.jpg


Friday, 16 December 2016

100 Beards Book

Four years since the first book launched, "100 Beards" is still going strong. Order copies of the book before 19th December to get it in time for Christmas. See more at

Saturday, 10 December 2016

GarconJon meets Marcus Leatherdale

Support artist Marcus Leatherdale now by backing his Kickstarter campaign here.

Hanging with the likes of Andy Warhol, Madonna and Liza Minelli should be enough to keep anyone busy, but during his tenure in New York downtown nightlife, Marcus Leatherdale also documented the scene through his classic medium format photography. Being the partner of artist and photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, Marcus landed on the East Coast in 1989 and has never looked back since.

I first discovered Mr Leatherdale's work through his "Hidden Identities" series that ran in Details Magazine. Before it became a menswear title, the publication was at the cutting edge of culture and photography was it's pillar of strength. Capturing the likes of Debbie Harry and Jodie Foster alongside unknown characters from Downtown NYC, he found their essence with nuance and intrigue. As a portrait photographer myself, I love to investigate work that presents individuals in a new way, which is the reason these images always stuck in my mind.

Getting the chance to photograph him today is truly an honour. Sitting in the wilderness looking through his archive, it seems more appropriate than ever that the photographers memoirs are being compiled. In the 40 years since Marcus Leatherdale first made his mark in New York, it's apparent that the significance of the time is as important as ever.

Splitting his time between urban and rural life, I photographed Marcus on his estate in Portugal, a tranquil spot surrounded by acres of forest. The project "What's Left of Leatherdale" has just launched a Kickstarter campaign, to help support the process of publication.

Order a copy of the Marcus Leatherdale memoir online at Kickstarter here now.

Where did you grow up?

I was born in Montréal, Québec Canada. Father of veterinary surgeon, mother a gorgeous housekeeper.

How was your childhood?

I had wonderful parents. Privileged, well-off and an absolute terror of an older brother. We moved around a lot so I was always starting at new schools. There was a stretch from grade 3 to 9 where I actually had stability and three friends that I hung with. Other than that, school was absolute hell.

Do you think there’s anything about being bullied, it being hell that sort of makes you...

Stronger? What doesn’t break you make it stronger? No, I think I could’ve done without it. I don’t think I needed to know how unique and different I was by constantly being bullied for it. I think I could’ve figured that one out without it being smashed in my face. I guess, it did make me stronger, but it got pretty intense. I was taken out of school for it. I remember my father marching me out of school to a psychiatrist because they were afraid I was going get my ribs broken.

What did you want to be as a child?

I didn’t have any goal. I knew I wanted to be an artist of some sort. I was actually suicidal at 15 because I thought there was no future. Luckily my mother was clairvoyant about it and she came home to find me overdosed on sleeping pills. She left the hairdressers with curlers still in her hair to come and find me. I never saw myself as an adult, but now I’m stuck!

Were you supported as a creative young person?

Absolutely. My father never expected me to be a doctor and my mother used to paint and sing. They always assumed I was going to be an artist and they were very encouraging. I knew I’d go to art school – I didn’t have to fight to not be a lawyer.

Did you always know it would be photography?

I didn’t even know what photography was. I went to École des Beaux-Arts, as a fine arts major. Within a year the Dean of the school introduced photography, animation and film — so it took a course in each of those, in fact it went from painting forward. With painting I realized I was impressionistic, and didn’t have the skills to do detail – and when I realized detail was a big issue, I thought why in hell would I spend so much time and energy learning to do detail when I can capture it in a photograph. So I shifted.

Later, at the San Francisco Art Institute — where I went for film, I switched to photography, even though I was an honour student as a painter and actually won the award painting out of my class that year, which was awarded by the teacher who was also a successful artist. He kept encouraging me to stay and paint. I was the only photographer at the institute that would turn up to photography class covered in charcoal. I’ve always approached photography as an alternative artistic medium and I never thought of photography as commercial. I never wanted to work for Newsweek or be a Playboy centerfold photographer. The only magazine that interested me was Interview, but that was an Andy thing.

That period of time it all sounds so organic and natural. Did you consciously talk about work, creating, shoot ideas or did it just flow?

Nothing was pre-conceieved. This was a time for me when my trust fund was cut and I had to get a job so Robert Mapplethorpe and Sam Wagshaft, who had the largest photography collection in the world, hired me. I never discussed things with Robert in detail, unless I had to assist him on a rare occasion on location, for example when we shot Truman Capote at the UN. Working with Sam was amazing as all of a sudden all the slides that were flashing in front of me while I was at Univerisity were sitting in my hards. The Penn’s, the Steiglitz, the Avedon’s. I had to organize then with little filing cards and be placed in a flat drawer. That was a very privideged position.

How did that influence your own work?

It gave me a sophistication. A reference as to where things came from. My inspiration always came from painting and not photography although I always love Sanders and Penn. It was truly Rembrant and Modigliani that impressed me, their use of light.

A lot of your story is about this incredible world you lived in – the people, the places. Did these early experiences like meeting Truman Capote change you?

It humanised celebrity. When I met Capote, I had read everything he’d written and then I met him he was this sad, little old lonely Grandma in a tiny apartment that stank of hard boiled eggs. Also I came to New York with Mapplethornpe who’d photographed my idols – Patty Smith and Lou Reed – both turned out to be completely neurotic and I intimidated them on some level or another. It did make things more real and easier for me not to be star struck. Celebrities know ass-kissers and they can never become true friends.

Was there any memory of New York that really made an impression of you?

I remember one time YSL gave a party for the launch of Opium at the Peaking Yacht and it sat on the harbour with a long runway. I went with Robert and I didn’t own a tuxedo. I was black tie from the waist up and leather pants from the waist down. I’d also just shaved my head which was unusual. It was amazing, we walked down a runway with rose petals all over the place and hooked up with Paloma Picasso and Saint Laurent. That was impressive. I was a punk then so when everyone started to dance I began to pogo dance. It caught the attention of a girl who later became my very close friend Larissa. She was head to toe in gold lame that night and gave me my first experience in a limo when she picked us up to go onto Studio 54. We got shitface drunk.

How did Hidden Identies come about?

I was at the Mudd Club upstairs and I ran into Steven Sailen who was the downtown chronicler for Soho Weekly News. My first picture ever published was a picture of Mary Lou Green who was artistic director of Vidal Sasson. He’d seen it so asked me if I’d like to do the profile photographs to illustrate his weekly articles. It was $35 a week. That’s how it started and continued for about a year until the paper was sold. He started Details Magazine with Annie Flanders and asked me to contribute. There was a Dada night called Underground at that time and I took the gogo cage and made it into a studio for unidentifiable portraits. Dadaism always spoke to me. I almost never went to my Art History class all year and by the end I had to write a paper on the Dada era. I had no idea so took crayons and wrote “Dadadadada”on 20 pages of paper and handed it in. I got an A+ and thought “ok, Dada’s working for me”. After that Dada night of unidentifiable portraits Steven came to me and suggested “Hidden Identinties” There was an understanding that I didn’t get told who to photograph and when it started there was a feeling that if you didn’t know who it was you weren’t cool enough. As time went on it would start being revealed in the next issue and finally came instant gratification where it was written in the back of the magazine. As it became more international it had to be more than just the kids on the tabletop of Pyrimid and more recognisable like Jodie Foster. That went on from’ 82 to ‘90. That helped me to go anywhere. Everyone wanted to be a hidden identity. I turned down the likes of Grace Jones because I knew she’s be 3 weeks late.

Did anyone stand out from you as a subject?

Leigh Bowery turned up in full drag in the middle of the day. He wore a beaded mask, a busier, silver boots and a vagina merkin. Butt naked otherwise. Broad daylight. Turned up at my door. I acually never met him without a mask so at the time didn’t even know what he looked like. He couldn’t have been more of a gentleman. We left together and went down to Broadway and hailed a cab. Two or three went past but one finally stopped. Hailing cabs for these people was the most fun thing.

Did any not make it in the magazine?

We shot hundreds. Madonna and Debbie Harry didn’t make it in. That’s because Detail’s was sold and became a men’s magazine.

How many frames do you take in a session?

About 3 to 6 rolls of 12 per roll. That would just be a warm-up for a digital guy. I use a Hasselblad 500c/m. The only one for professionals.

What do you think makes a great photograph?

It’s an internal dialogue. Showing, touching or saying something. It’s art to me. If I had to pick my five favourites of my own, they would likely not be the famous subjects. It doesn’t have to be who it is in the picture.

What do you think makes you skilled as a photographer?

I think the talent is in the printing. It took me years and years to learn. When I take a photo it’s not just the flash, it’s dodged and burned. I fingerpaint with light. That’s the skill element. Otherwise I’m not interested in wading through the technology to get to the image – that’s just the gesture line in paint. People should just get lost in the image and what it says to them.

Finally, leave us with some words of wisdom.

Enjoy the trip. Enjoy the process. Chances are the destination is not what you’re going to expect. That’s not a negative thing. I learned that from Robert. He was one of the most discontent people but one of the most successful. If you live in the past you’ll live in remorse and if you live in the future you’ll worry too much, so live in the moment. That’s what I’m trying to do right now.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

GarconJon meets Alper Sezer with TAG Heuer and The Watch Gallery

In collaboration with TAG Heuer and The Watch Gallery.

Alper Sezer is the sort of man who's embodies masculine charm. In front of the camera he looks like a Fellini character but in person it's more than just his aesthetic that makes him stand out. Studying in London he has a head for politics and a heart for design. He's not afraid to have an opinion and sticks to his convictions. Respectable on all fronts.

I first met the man at a press day in Mayfair where his knowledge and appreciation of design was clear. Pairing traditional tailoring with a sports watch may not be common practice but that's why Alper stands out: his eye for structure and appreciation of detail. It makes sense then that his watch of choice is created by TAG Heuer. The Swiss avant-garde watchmaker demonstrates a lasting appreciation for sports and style with the new collaborative take on the classic Formula 1 timepiece developed exclusively for The Watch Gallery.

With such impressive style, it was hard to resist photographing him in his neighbourhood in Chelsea, West London. Despite having one bag missing in customs from a recent trip abroad, Alper has enough clothing to wear his own throughout.

Priced at £1,250, the new Formula 1 watch is limited to just 200 models – exclusively from TAG Heuer and The Watch Gallery. See the full range on The Watch Gallery website here.

How would you describe yourself in 5 words?

Competitive, Perfectionist, Unpredictable, Passionate, Analytical

What’s your star sign?

I’m a Virgo and my character traits reflect this. I’m very organised, I pay attention to the smallest details, I’m hardworking, practical and analytical.

Talking to you I get a real impression you have a strong sense of identity. Who is Alper Sezer?

I'm a Turkish man who is proud of his roots and his home country. I life to the full. I speak my mind. I'm always true to myself. Everything I do, is done with enthusiasm.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Istanbul in Turkey and have lived there all my life. Currently, I’m living between Istanbul and London.

What do you love about Istanbul?

Geographically, Istanbul is at the centre of the world, therefore it is a very multicultural and dynamic city. It is an inspiring place to live and work, as most people are always striving to better themselves. It’s such a beautiful city with historic architecture contrasted with modern buildings and the Bosphorus is enchanting day and night. I grew up eating Turkish cuisine and so it remains my favourite food of any cuisine in the world.

Where did your interest in clothes come from?

When I was younger I always admired one of my uncle’s dress sense, as he always paid attention and wore unique garments which made him stand out. When I was a teenager, I started to seek out quality clothes and was inspired by men like Sean Connery as James Bond, and old Hollywood actors like Cary Grant and Fred Astaire.

Is there a tradition of men dressing well in Turkey?

No, however, there are some men who stand out as they dress extremely well. Blogs, social media and magazines have definitely influenced fashion in the past few years.

Do you have a favourite item of clothing?

I think a jacket is the most important garment to ‘make’ an outfit. I particularly like wearing double breasted jackets because they can be dressed up or down, but always look sophisticated. Dark navy is my preference, as it is masculine and versatile.

Have you always dressed this way?

I have always liked elegant and classic clothes. When I was younger I used to wear more casual clothes, now I dress much more formally and tend to base most of my looks around tailoring.

TAG Heuer has an incredible history of watch making, what do you like most about the brand?

TAG Heuer dates back to 1860 and has always pushed boundaries. TAG Heuer watches have always been worn by pioneers and I like the brand’s forward-thinking approach to watchmaking and design. Its watches are made to be worn in challenging situations and as someone who likes precision, I know I can rely on TAG Heuer when every second counts.

Why do you think a watch is so important in a man's outfit?

A watch is a barometer of taste and an accessory that is always noticed. It says a lot about a man’s style and can really complement an outfit. I think details are important, so choosing a watch that is well-crafted is paramount.

This TAG Heuer watch is a fusion of sport and style, does sport play a part in your life?

Sport has always played a role in my life. The first sport I was really passionate about was swimming, as it taught me about discipline and commitment, and it gave me a sense of achievement. I’m keen on skiing, as I like the feeling of adrenaline, freedom and negotiating the testing environment. My most recent sporting passion is tennis. I love the precision, accuracy, control and power that is demonstrated on a tennis court, and you must always be one step ahead of your opponent, so strategic thinking is really important. When I’m playing tennis, I’m so focused that I loose myself in the game and don’t feel a part of the world around me.

How do you see style and sport coming together?

Style and sport have complemented each other for centuries. Sport clothes often inspire everyday looks, as they are practical and comfortable, but can also be very aspirational. Sportswear adds an element of performance to everyday wear and while I usually dress quite formally wearing suits and tailoring, I sometimes like to wear a sporty watch to make an outfit slightly more relaxed.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?

I will be running my own business in menswear. I plan to create an eponymous brand with stores in major fashion cities around the world such as Istanbul, London, Milan, Paris and New York. In the future, it’s my dream to open a bespoke tailoring academy in Istanbul to give teenagers the opportunity to learn the craft of tailoring at the highest standard. There are fewer chances for young people to train as tailors in Istanbul than in London or Milan, so I would like to support talented and motivated students.

What makes you good at what you do?

I am very passionate, I give my all and I am not satisfied until I’ve achieved what I set out to achieve. I'm always aiming higher.

What will be your legacy?

Making the rules, not following the rules, and always being myself.

What advice would you give to your 18 year old self?

Don’t be afraid of making mistakes – everything happens for a reason, so embrace life and learn from it.

Leave us with words of wisdom?

Scottish novelist Robert Louis Stevenson said, "Life is not a matter of holding good cards but of playing a poor hand well."

Shop the exclusive timepiece here.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

GarconJon meets Alex Carleton: Creative Director, Filson

Sponsored post in partnership with American Express®

Filson is one of those iconic brands that is etched into my sub-conscious. For me it is synonymous with high quality products that stand the test of time. Or at least since 1897, when it began making outerwear and bags for wilderness adventures.

Alex Carleton is the Creative Director behind Filson, a small business I've patronised since it's opening in London. Based in Seattle, his presence reflects the soft charm of the Pacific Northwest, a city engulfed by water, mountains and evergreen forests. It's this, alongside Carleton's rugged practical approach, that makes him a great fit for such a trusted brand.

Filson designs are outstanding and it also has a restoration department which restores bags that are decades old and sells them in their London store. Along with being able to pick up something totally unique. I can shop its new range with confidence, as every product I buy can be repaired by Filson, meaning it will last a lifetime.

Alex visited London this month and we met at Filson’s UK store on Newburgh Street, off Carnaby Street, to shoot some photos and find out more about this inspiring small business.

Alex Carleton, Creative Director Filson

How would you describe yourself in 5 words? Energetic. Focused. Distracted. Tough. Decisive.

What’s your star sign? Aries. Fire Sign. Mars. Warrior. I believe it does define me in some aspects.

How long have you lived in Seatle and where are you from? I've lived in Seattle for 2 years and 4 months. I'm from New England - specifically Boston and Cape Cod - but before moving to Seattle, I was in Maine for 16 years and still have a home there. The Northwest is massive and deep and more connected to the wild. New England is more genteel but still salty and rugged. Both places are understated and maintain a strong connection to nature. Seattle is a city born of pioneers, Boston and Portland were born of colonists, Maine is more traditional and formal. It's a conservative place. Seattle is more unharnessed and experimental. The wilderness around Washington is similar to Maine - it's forested and green, salty and coastal... mountainous.

What do you love about your city? Seattle - the trees. I love seeing the Olympic Peninsula and the snow peaked mountains and Puget Sound from my office window. It has all of the intrigue and anticipation of a gateway city. Portland by comparison feels tucked away and provincial. I like the old, 19th century brick buildings in Portland and the crying of seagulls in the fog. It feels older. It is older. It's a more intimate town.

How does the brand reflect the landscape? It's bold and handsome and conveys strength and ruggedness. The landscape informs the brand both practically and inspirationally. It's timeless.

Describe Filson in one sentence. Filson is persistent, tough, smart and prepared.

Why do you do what you do? I do what I do because I'm compelled to do it. As much as I'm drawn to the idea of other paths - this is the one suited for me. At Filson the job connects me to the things I love - building stuff, problem solving, adventure, regional history and sports, animals and the wilderness. I'm driven by ideas. If I'm excited by an idea I feel compelled to work it out. It's like the concept becomes bigger than me and I need to serve it until it comes together, changes or evolves into something else.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years time? Connected to the outdoors, dogs, books and my work. Really not much different than where I am today.

What makes you good at what you do? I have a strong ability to visualise stuff. I can see how things might turn out well before I begin working on them. I've never really started a project without having a clear sense of what the end product should look or function like. I believe in my decisions. If I don't truly believe in what I set out to do, then it doesn't work. I also don't work in a vacuum. Context is really important to me and usually helps me make stuff that people can relate to.

How do you stay present in the moment? I have to feel passionate about something to remain present. If I'm not, then I tune out. Fortunately, I can usually find an angle for most subjects to keep my childish brain focused and engaged. Sometimes I get excited about a lot of stuff and that's when I get stupidly distracted.

When you’re feeling uninspired, how do you move forward? If I'm frustrated or in a rut I like to just unplug and go for a hike, play with the dog or lift weights. When I'm physically active or outside in the woods is when I usually get better ideas.

What will be your legacy? I'll probably be remembered for being a decent narrator. For telling a good, American story. For contributing to that narrative.

What advice would you give you 18 year old self? Keep doing what you're doing but: Travel more. Work harder. Take more risks. Appreciate what's happening to you in the present. Don't beat yourself up.

Leave us with words of wisdom? I wouldn't presume to do so but get back to me in 20 years.

The restoration service from Filson is just one example of the unique products and services provided by small shops up and down the country. It’s these signature products and services that keep me, and many others, going back to small businesses time and time again.

We're coming up to Small Business Saturday this week, a day when people across the country are encouraged to get out support their local small business. That's why I'm working with American Express - founder and ongoing supporter of the initiative - to bring you Filson, and a few of my other favourite independent businesses in London.

I hope my list below of the Capital’s signature products and services inspires you to get down to your local high street to discover your own unique signatures.

Ruffians Barbershop: There may be three London locations but it all started up the road in Edinburgh. As a Scot, I get a taste of home every time I get my haircut when, upon arrival, I get given a Tunnocks Teacake and dram of whisky. 

James Smith and Sons: There are few places in London that transport you to another time but James Smith does that perfectly. The product is outstanding and has been the spot to pick up a highly crafted quality umbrella for over 100 years.

Conduit Coffee House: The kind of proper local cafe that's getting more and more rare in London. The Coffee House on Lamb's Conduit Street feels like a friend’s living room and is as welcoming as that.

Linda Farrow Eyewear: The glasses and sunglasses in Linda Farrow are unique designs based on the archive of vintage sunglasses found in the family’s London warehouse. With an inspiring store on Mount Street, I know it's highly unlikely I'll see someone else wearing the same frames as me if I get them from Linda Farrow.

What’s more, if you’re an American Express Cardmember, you could be rewarded for supporting your local high street. When you spend £10 or more in a single transaction, using your American Express Card, at a participating small business during the campaign period (3 to 18 December), you will receive a £5 statement credit. There is no limit to the number of participating businesses you can receive your £5 credit from - however, you can only claim it once at each small business, terms apply.

To find out more about ‘shopping small’, and to get inspiration and ideas for your Christmas shopping, visit

Promoter: American Express Services Europe Limited has its registered office at Belgrave House, 76 Buckingham Palace Road, London, SW1W 9AX, United Kingdom. It is registered in England and Wales with Company Number 1833139 and authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Guy Robinson: Green Park, London

Guy Robinson, model with Wilhelmina, photographed in Green Park, after a long day shooting for Dunhill.

Saturday, 19 November 2016