When photographer Quentin De Wispelaere speaks about the entrancing textures of fashion week, he isn’t referring to the clothes. Rather, it’s the reflective surfaces, anonymous figures and luminous technology behind the scenes that prove his most seductive subject. These details, the Belgium-born 27-year-old maintains, hold the locus for disorientating the viewer; where the fashion show spectacle is revised through micro-studies of LCD screens at Kenzo’s Spring/Summer 2012 show, for example, or shots of desolate rows awaiting press and celebrities.
In a series of backstage photography commissioned by AnOther over a course of several seasons a few years ago – and now part of a global shortlist of emerging photography on show at this year’s Voies Off Festival at Rencontres d’Arles – De Wispelaere proposes an alternative reading of fashion week’s hyper-stimulation. Don’t look at these images to learn about the collections, he warns; instead peruse the series to explore the dreaminess lingering around the lighting, cameras and sets. Below, the flight-school grad discusses his interest in creating ‘photographic hallucinations’, his obsession with fashion’s spatial storytelling and finding the otherworldly in the mundane.