This year, portrait photographer, Jessica van der Weert, and Brighton legend, Fatboy Slim, celebrate a 10-year collaboration that’s resulted in some of the superstar DJ's most iconic imagery. Given this milestone anniversary, it seemed only right that Enter Gallery should throw a party…
On Friday 1st March we will celebrate Fatboy Slim by Jessica van der Weert: 10 Years Photographing the Legend.
UPDATE: Tickets have now SOLD OUT! Get in touch for more information on the collection by Jessica van der Weert.
The show will feature van der Weert’s favourite photographs from her collaboration with Cook, alongside works from her FlipSide series, featuring legendary DJs and producers from the UK dance music scene.
Today, we chatting to van der Weert to discover more about her love affair with portrait photography, and how her collaboration with Fatboy Slim came about.
Since first picking up a camera at the age of eight, Jessica van der Weert has been hooked on taking portraits. Her journey from snapping her family to infamous celebrities has been long and winding, taking her from sport and travel photography to advertising and high fashion, where she photographed cover portraits for likes of Vogue, and i-D Magazine.
Despite this depth of experience, its portrait photography that holds that special place in her heart. She explains:
“What I love about portraiture is not even the actual picture, it’s the people that I find the most interesting. Making connections is the most natural thing we do. My whole approach is based on making the people I’m photographing comfortable and finding that connection, because that connection is what comes across in the photograph.”
The FlipSide Collection
This idea of finding a unique connection with her subjects is something van der Weert explored in her FlipSide collection - a project that captured 28 DJs and producers enjoying life and indulging in their hobbies outside of work.
From Boy George dressed in full combat gear re-enacting scenes from Platoon, to Carl Cox doing burn-outs on Brighton seafront in his classic Lotus, FlipSide was designed to capture dance music icons as you’ve never seen them before, making you relate to them on a deeper level.
Speaking of her photography, van der Weert explains:
“Traditional portraiture seems to be about making everyone look the same. You get all their stuff, their horses, get them on a chair outside their massive house, looking very austere. For me, portraiture is about throwing all of that out of the window and getting in much deeper to see who the person is and what they’re actually like.
A good portrait photographer shows you their relationship with the subject during the period of time that they were shooting them. The more you get to know them, the more they open up, the better the portrait will be. Photography is amazing like that. You can feel the warmth in the pictures. You can see the connection between the photographer and the subject.
I’ve never been there to capture someone’s portrait, or take someone’s picture. I don’t want to ‘take’ or capture anything. I want to work with them to create something beautiful that represents who they are.”
As we all know, outside of music, one thing that represents Fatboy Slim is his love of Brighton and Hove Albion. To showcase this, van der Weert depicts Cook as a footballer celebrating a win in the changing room of his beloved home town club.
Cook was the first DJ that van der Weert photographed for her FlipSide series and obviously the DJ didn’t mind being put in a skimpy towel, because he was soon on the phone to Carl Cox, Paul Oakenfold and pals urging them to get involved in the project.
Before she knew it, van der Weert had photographed everyone from Andy C and Goldie to Annie Mac and Mary Anne Hobbs, raising vital funds for The British Tinnitus Association.
Something pretty special must have happened at Fatboy Slim's FlipSide shoot because soon he had enlisted van der Weert to work with him on his visuals, an aspect which has been an enormous part of his brand from day one.
Whether it’s via his iconic music videos or antics behind the decks, Norman’s playful nature comes across in all he does. According to Jessica, it’s this shared sense of humour that makes them a match made in heaven…
“At the heart of our collaboration lies the fact that Norman and I have very similar ideas on life and on image. I always try to inject a bit of humour into my pictures, a bit of irony or something a bit cheeky, and that humour and silliness is Norman’s brand all over. He doesn’t mind looking silly, and looking silly is essentially really cool, isn’t it! To work with him photographically has been such a pleasure. I feel very proud of the work that we’ve created.”
A decade on, van der Weert’s portraits of Cook have been used everywhere from his live stage shows, to posters and billboards promoting his relentless touring schedule, including his upcoming 2024 tour, Fatboy Slim Loves Summer.
Join us at Enter Gallery on Friday 1st March to celebrate Fatboy Slim by Jessica van der Weert: 10 Years Photographing the Legend.
You’ll be able to meet van der Weert, and view the duo’s favourite photographs from their collaboration, alongside pieces from van der Weert’s FlipSide series. Fatboy Slim will also be in attendance, playing records from his own collection.
Jessica van der Weert's photography will be on display at Enter Gallery from Friday 1st March. Get in touch to enquire about these artworks.