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Styleclicker City: people of the 21st century

Jun '10
From 25 July to 8 August 2010, the North Rhine-Westphalia Forum for Culture and Industry (NRW-Forum) will host the largest exhibition ever dedicated to a single fashion blogger. In this exhibition, one of the world's most renowned and best-known bloggers, the German–Swedish photographer Gunnar Hämmerle (aka 'Styleclicker'), will show just under 1,000 blog shots of 'people of the 21st century'. Hämmerle's images are digital fashion photographs taken on the streets of cities the world over. The projections of these images will transform the upper floor of the NRW-Forum into a virtual city inhabited by a huge range of different people from Stockholm, Berlin, New York, Paris, London, and elsewhere.

The streets are his everyday catwalk. It is on the streets that Styleclicker searches for the 'models' for his eponymous street fashion blog. The principle is simple: if anyone stands out from the crowd, Hämmerle approaches him or her and takes a photo on the spot. It all has to happen quickly; the whole process lasts only a few minutes, leaving photographer and subject no time to think. It is the charm of the spontaneous, the magic of the moment that is reflected in these photographs.

Style hunters are a 21st century phenomenon; they collect everything and anything that has style, regardless of trends, communities, cities, or genres. They have even made it onto the pages of the world's great and glossy fashion magazines. They turn the traditional view of fashion on its head, no longer focussing on catwalk models, but on the people who define themselves through their trendy outfits.

The exhibition at the NRW-Forum, the first ever museum-based exhibition of fashion blog photography in Germany, includes just under 1,000 portraits of people that Hämmerle has photographed for his blog over the course of the past three years. The visitor will move between the (life-size) images of Hämmerle's subjects as if moving around a city without borders, a global city that has no beginning and no end, an urban style continuum ... and ends up in a night-time bar where the photos are only briefly shown as a flash. Naturally, for the opening of the exhibition, this bar will be a 'real' bar and visitors will become part of the show, using an automatic release to include themselves in the flow of images.

The exhibition's sub-heading, 'People of the 21st century' is a reference to 'People of the 20th century', an epoch-making work by August Sander, whom Gunnar Hämmerle greatly admires. Sometime around the year 1925, Sander drew up a concept covering a broad range of social and professional groups of the day. He took approximately 600 photos and divided them up into seven categories in which he showed people in typical surroundings, wearing characteristic clothing, or with attributes specific to their professions.

'It is a huge honour for me to have my pictures exhibited in a museum setting in Düsseldorf in particular. It was here that the Bechers taught and it was here that a whole range of outstanding representatives of contemporary photography emerged from their "Düsseldorf School". This city has a long tradition of artistic photography.' ... and it is also a place where fashion, photography, and art merge effortlessly. Gunnar Hämmerle has been keeping his blog, www.styleclicker.net, since December 2006. It has since become a major voice in the fashion blogosphere with fans all over the world. In early 2008, Styleclicker won the Streetclash competition, which ran during Berlin Fashion Week. In the solo exhibition 'ich bin selber ich' (I myself am myself), 99 images from his blog were shown in Galerie Rocket in Munich from May to July 2008. That same year, Styleclicker also featured in the 'From the Street to the Blog' photography festival curated by Colette Paris in Arles, France.

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