Photographer Ari Versluis and profiler Ellie Uyttenbroek have worked together since October 1994. Inspired by a shared interest in the striking dress codes of various social groups, they have systematically documented numerous identities over the last 20 years. Rotterdam’s heterogeneous, multicultural street scene remains a major source of inspiration for Ari Versluis and Ellie Uyttenbroek, although since 1998 they have also worked in many cities abroad.
They call their series Exactitudes: a contraction of exact and attitude. By registering their subjects in an identical framework, with similar poses and a strictly observed dress code, Versluis and Uyttenbroek provide an almost scientific, anthropological record of people’s attempts to distinguish themselves from others by assuming a group identity. The apparent contradiction between individuality and uniformity is, however, taken to such extremes in their arresting objective-looking photographic viewpoint and stylistic analysis that the artistic aspect clearly dominates the purely documentary element.
Wim van Sinderen, Senior Curator
Museum of Photography, The Hague
IN THE HISTORY OF STREET STYLE,
SOME PLACES ARE BIGGER THAN
OTHERS. LONDON LOOMS LARGE,
MANCHESTER IS MASSSIVE, TOKYO'S
HARAJUKA DISTRICT IS LIKE DISNEY
WORLD, BUT NOWHERE IS QUITE SO
HARDCORE CENTRAAL AS LATE
NINETIES ROTTERDAM. THIS IS THE CITY
OF THE EXACTITUDES.
IDEA books LONDON
“L’ exactitude n’est pas la vérité”
Inspired by a shared interest in the striking dress codes of various social groups, the Rotterdam-based photographic team of Ari Versluis & Ellie Uyttenbroek have been systematically hamstringing such permutations of received identity for ten years. They call their series Exactitudes, a contraction of “exact” and “attitudes”. It’s August Sander and Eugène Atget turned on their heads by Bernd and Hilla Becher - a direct assault on the mythic formula that photography plus the street equals authenticity.
By dragging the repertory of the street kicking and screaming to the studio backdrop, the series offers a purposely absurd response to the sentimentality of Jamal Shabazz (“Back in the days”) and the beloved and utterly bogus spontaneity of the photo booth. It’s a perfect fit for an age that’s made the “cool hunt” a corporate pursuit. Of course the photos are starchy and obdurately posed and ever so consciously styled, because there can be no meaningful limit to the cross-contamination between those notions of a authenticity and supreme self-awareness.
INFLUENCE Magazine, NYC
The Definition of Self
Photographer Ari Versluis and profiler Ellie Uyttenbroek classify random people whom they see in cities around the world according to particular characteristics of their appearances and attitudes. They create categories which comprise of people who share the same attributes, and give each catagory unique names. This is the artwork they developed together for more than 20 years. We always belong to some sort of groups. But when we are classified into a certain "tribe' by a third party, ignoring that reality, most of us shall be surprised to find out how different other people see us from the way we see ourselves, thinking "so this is me in other people's eyes". This gives us an opportunity to realize again how we are perceived in other eyes, irrespective of our will or intention, or reality.
What's more interesting is that despite the fact that our real selves are left behind, we find other people very satisfied with their classification, which was based on the appearance and attitude we have not necessarily been aware of before.
21_21 DESIGNSIGHT TOKYO