Lyn Slater, Accidental Icon
Professor and fashion blogger Lyn Slater made an indelible impression on photographer Carmen Daneshmandi from the first moment they met. Slater writes on her blog that she is a proponent of women who live “interesting but ordinary lives” and are, above all, “clear and comfortable with who they are,” a quality that shines through in Daneshmandi’s fashion series, “Lyn Slater, Accidental Icon.”
Daneshmandi spent the first couple of months of this project simply getting to know Slater better. Conducting closet visits with collaborator and stylist Alnardo Pérez, for example, was key in understanding the role clothes play in shaping Slater’s identity.
Daneshmandi was intent on incorporating Slater’s voice in the series, and as the project progressed it became clear the work would be what she calls “a visual artist statement of sorts, a performance by Lyn.” It was a collaborative effort to portray Slater authentically and experimentally, she says, “where she drove the narrative and I guided it . . . using collage, distortion and mixed media.”
Photographed using a variety of lenses, including a 14mm to create funhouse-like distortion, as well as a photo booth so that Slater could photograph herself, Daneshmandi then cut, taped, layered and scanned the best images to create photo collages.
Raised by immigrant parents, Daneshmandi gets inspiration from her parents’ old photo albums from Iran and Spain and “any time culture and identity is celebrated, and is done so in a way that frees and pushes,” she says, a sensibility she hopes to echo in a forthcoming series of her Iranian family. More than anything, she wants to change the “outdated status quo” of how the photography industry still runs, both “visually and socially.” She says: “I need to see more women, especially more women of color, take the reins.”
All photos © Carmen Daneshmandi