"In the photo volume 'Solus. Vol I. Concerning Atypical Beauty And Youth', Pieter HUGO reflects on the values that constitute the fashion industry's shifting aesthetic through a series of straightforward portraits of street-cast models. He found himself captivated by sitters with unconventional and atypical looks, particularly before they underwent fashion's machinations of wardrobe, makeup and hair. Drawn to this uniqueness and recalling the sense of not-belonging that is part of the intense experience of youth, the invitation by Pieter HUGO to the models was to 'simply present yourself'. The resulting photographs embrace vulnerability and frailty as much as they do the agency and idealism of their subjects.
Commenting on the gap between what may be understood as 'yourself' and 'model, he notes: 'They seem so different to how I felt at their age. I was much more cynical, more nihilistic. They are more comfortable in their bodies than I ever was.' (Pieter HUGO. This typological study questions fashion's commodification of youth and the 'outsider' while embracing the beauty of peculiarity worn with acute awareness and the paradox within us of craving both difference and conformity." (© RM, 2021)