LONDON — Subsequent February will mark 10 years for the reason that dying of Lee Alexander McQueen, however for his previous buddy and collaborator Anne Deniau, he’s usually proper there alongside her, poring over contact sheets, sweeping her child son into his arms, or simply having amusing within the studio.

Deniau, whose skilled identify is Ann Ray, photographed McQueen, his studio colleagues and fashions for 13 years. He needed her to doc his design course of and the backstage at his runway reveals, ranging from his first high fashion assortment at Givenchy.

Her specialty isn’t vogue, however quite the performing arts, and she or he at the moment works as a photographer for the Paris Opera and the Metropolitan Opera, makes movies and writes poetry and fiction. So distant was Deniau from the style world, she admits she didn’t understand how well-known McQueen was till he died.

Her intimate relationship with McQueen is the inspiration for “Ann Ray & Lee McQueen: Rendez-Vous,” a present of pictures and Alexander McQueen clothes that opens Saturday at a brand new gallery house referred to as Initiatives and Exhibitions in St. Louis, Mo. The present runs till Feb. 15.

Greater than 65 images shot between 1997 and 2010 — a mixture of reportage, portraiture, artwork and vogue pictures — will go on show, together with the clothes. The present has been put collectively by Barrett Barrera Initiatives, which owns the most important non-public assortment of McQueen’s work.

Deniau says by cellphone from Paris that she needed to indicate the various sides of McQueen — not simply the darkish one. She pointed to a picture referred to as “Popcorn and Roses,” which has been printed in large-scale format for the primary time.

“It’s an exquisite, feminine dress where you can see the petals of roses and the silk, and this hat in silk made by Philip Treacy. Lee was very well-known for the dark side, the torment and the demons, which were a part of him — but only a part. This is the joyful part. There was romance in his world, too, and delicacy and softness, and to me this was overshadowed by the so-called dark side. He used to tell me he loved the fact that I captured all of his sides,” she says.

“Popcorn and Roses” 
Ann Ray

Deniau has additionally included a lot of McQueen’s favourite photos within the new present.

One captures two fashions whispering and sharing a joke. “We displayed that in the big format, too, because it says a lot about joy and the atmosphere of friendship, and about the fact that Lee could love images even if they were not about the clothes. He believed the spirit of the work was as important as the clothes and the garments themselves.”

One other {photograph}, “Art and Craft,” reveals the designer in full circulate, engaged on a fantastical hybrid costume that would seem in his spring 2001 “Voss” present. He labored cloth from a 19th-century Japanese display screen along with shells he’d picked up on the seashore.

“He is so focused, you have this feeling of a guy being oblivious to everything around him. It says a lot about Lee: his personality, focus, hard work and character and mixing tradition with new ideas,” Deniau says.

She is especially wistful concerning the early years, describing the environment in McQueen’s studio as “really like a group of friends doing things together. It was the fashion business, but honestly that was not what it was about. It was about creating something together, and everybody would do his or her best to make it happen. It was really a close circle. When my son was a baby, I would bring him to the studio and he would go straight into Lee’s arms — it was that kind of thing.”

These years should have been scrumptious for the photographer: pre-Instagram, pre-street type hysteria and earlier than hyper-controlling p.r.’s began calling the photographs about model “narratives” and imagery.

Ann Ray

Deniau says forging a relationship with McQueen took time, and the bond grew on account of their common “rendez-vous” for work. “I guess we were both very reserved people, kind of shy in a way. We observed each other very much at the beginning, but in a good and caring way. Lee was quick to read people’s intentions, he was quick about many things.”She says she put her soul into this present, which represents a second of closure. “I hope there is a lightness in St. Louis. I need hope. With everything I do, I hope I can bring a bit of hope to people.”

The St. Louis present is only one of Deniau’s a number of initiatives: One among her plans going ahead is to spend extra time doing print pictures. She says she pines for contact sheets — and for taking time over the creation of a photograph.

“I can remember the excitement, coming out of the lab and walking fast down the street, looking at my contact sheets — and I couldn’t wait to show Lee,” she says. “Looking at those sheets with him, it was very joyful.”

Whereas digital pictures has its place, it has made the method of photographing “too fast and furious, and I dislike that,” she says. “You always need to take a step back, take a little time, a long breath and quietly look at your images.”

Right this moment, when she appears on the drawer filled with laborious drives, Deniau says it makes her sick. “It’s not what I loved about photography. Digital photography means that instead of taking 100 pictures you take 1,000 and you edit quickly, which leads to more frustration.”

Different, longer-term initiatives embody a inventive documentary, a function movie and a novel. A first assortment of poems, collages and pictures is because of be launched subsequent 12 months.

Individuals, she says, will all the time be the deal-breaker in any challenge she takes on. “I may flip down a fantastic challenge if there’s something mistaken with the individuals or the environment, and I may put numerous my time and vitality in a smaller challenge as a result of I determine it’s value it. I want pleasure, all of us do. Working with Lee McQueen was a privilege, and what a pleasure it was.”

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