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Sunday Best: Sheffielders Photographed, Suited and Booted

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Photo by Jonathan Turner


My question is about clothes...

These are the first in a series of three selections of photographs featuring portraits taken as part of Sunday Best. The project is the work of photographer Jonathan Turner in collaboration with anthropologist Tim Neal, supported by Arts Council England and Yorkshire Artspace.

Putting on my very best outfit that I can find, you know, looking really different than I do the rest of the week. Right, sort of - you know - different...

The images were taken in Burngreave over the past year. Jonathan and Tim were drawn to work together by a love of a direct, immediate portraiture that sets out naively to show people as they are, as they want to be seen.

Sunday Best means, like, come and meet people and pray to God, that makes us happy to come to Church every Sunday...

A portraiture somewhat akin to documentary work, an almost explicit imagination of a work already having been completed, referencing a future archive by looking at the present.

'Grati' means clothes. I don't know what it's called... a waistcoat... good clothing...

The relationship between clothing and identity is explored by acknowledging people's special attire, framing their best clothes, sealing love, worship, the mundane, perhaps refusal...

Sunday Best is a bourgeois concept...

The equipment used this time is modern: a digital camera, dual flash units and something more ancient - the present.

Today they are casual for me. I didn't plan for the day...

This is not the only paradox. Photographic equipment acts like a search light, picking out individuals in their best clothes, while at the same moment pulling, the lens drawing them into focus.

Sunday Best is suited and booted and looking as smart as you can...

Tim Neal

The Sunday Best exhibition runs at Yorkshire Artspace from Saturday 17 November to Friday 14 December. The opening event coincides with Sheffield Open Studios. There are free drop-in portrait sessions on Saturday 3 and Saturday 10 November, 1-4pm. Come and get your own portrait made with Jonathan.

Next article in issue 127

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