Uniform: Kacey Jeffers’ nostalgic gaze

bjp_kaceyjeffers_uniform_cover

[Many thanks to Veerle Poupeye for bringing this item to our attention via Critical.Caribbean.Art.] We share this brief review of Kacey Jeffers’s first book Uniform. Hannah Abel-Hirsch (British Journal of Photography-Online) explains that, although the photographer’s engagement with photography began in New York City, “it was only on returning to his childhood home on Nevis, the Caribbean island, that Uniform was born.” See the original review and stunning photographs from Uniform at BJP.

Jeffers’ radiant images take his past as their points of inspiration — portraits of childhood and adolescence permeated by his experiences of that time

A form of nostalgia precipitated Kacey Jeffers’ first book Uniform: the photographer’s engagement with photography began in New York City, however, it was only on returning to his childhood home on Nevis, the Caribbean island, that Uniform was born. “[The project] started as an idea to catalogue the different school uniforms of Nevis. It soon evolved into a nostalgic desire to recognise individuality,” explains Jeffers in the publication’s foreword.

The book comprises vivid depictions of students nominated by the island’s 14 schools: contemplative portraits infused with an adolescent dreaminess and sense of self-doubt. Jeffers collaborated with the Nevisian cultural office and educational authorities to conceive of the project — his only requisite: that the pupils selected were not those accustomed to taking centre stage.

The images allow their subjects to breath. They appear natural, and the short segments of text, which accompany each portrait, are far from contrived. The authenticity of the work may derive in part from the fact that Jeffers was one of these teenagers — the memories of his uniforms occupying a poignant strand in the recollection of his youth: his mother, akin to the woman in Degas’ The Laundress, steaming, ironing, and starching his early garb, after which Jeffers inherited the task during secondary school and sixth form.

“Twelve years ago, while attending the Nevis Sixth Form College, I wore a white cotton shirt with brown pants. This uniform holds weight. It says, ‘Here is a young professional man. He is serious about education and his future’, and now, here we are, full circle,” writes Jeffers. [. . .]

[Photo above from the series Uniform © Kacey Jeffers.]

See excerpts from the photographer’s first photo book at https://www.bjp-online.com/2020/04/kacey-jeffers-uniform/

Also see https://theface.com/culture/kacey-jeffers-uniforms-photography-book-nevis-new-york-city

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