After graduating from the University of Iowa in 2000 with a B.A. in Political Science, Brazilian-born Marcelo Gomes headed to an unlikely place — Index, the seminal art and culture publication, in New York City. There, publisher and neo-geo artist Peter Halley prompted him to start thinking about color, “because there was a lot of it coming in and out of that studio,” and now, Gomes told the Cut, “it’s probably always going to be a big part of what I try to do.” He eventually left Index to assist one of the mag’s regulars, photographer (and Vogue and Purple contributor) Mark Borthwick, a devotee of color saturation. He was also drawn to “the casual stance that Mark took on fashion,” which set his photos apart from the staged pictures many magazines were publishing. Since going out on his own, Gomes has shot for Vice, Dazed & Confused, T, and Harper’s Bazaar, participated in group shows at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and Diptrics in Tokyo, and is working on his third book — a series of abstractions to be published by Morel. For this installment of Out of the Box, we sent him a selection of Marni, Louis Vuitton, Reed Krakoff, Balenciaga, Christopher Kane, and more, to see his take on resort’s colorful garments.
Gomes called Ann Kelley, a sculptor he met through a friend, and Maya Villiger, who produces the blog Turned Out, to be his models, and he spent three afternoons taking portraits of the women wearing the high-fashion looks in front of white walls. He shot on tripods, and used two- or three-second long exposures while asking the subject to move slightly, a method he came across a couple of years ago that creates a painterly effect. “Every artist, in whatever medium they use, they always envy painters in a way,” the photographer said. “I don’t think I’m any different. I like the slowness of it. I like how there is a certain cinematic quality to it, which allows me to imply movement — that something happened before or that something’s going to happen after.” Though he looks to painting, he named Brazilian musician and writer Caetano Veloso as one of his favorite artists. “His work isn’t complex, but it is sophisticated in its own simplicity, and I try to do the same,” Gomes explained. “I don’t necessarily think conceptually. My work is very earnest, honest, and sincere.” Click ahead to see (and read) more of the story behind the photos Gomes created for the Cut.
Market editing by Veronica Gledhill and Rebecca Ramsey.