A Tale of Two Photo Salons

It’s always nice when photographs are selected for exhibition and doubly so when two of your images are picked for separate shows. One is from an assignment I did last year for Wired Italia and the other is a new image from my series, At Home With The Furries.

Portrait Salon 2015

At Home With Llamasoft
This image of Jeff Minter and Giles Zorzin from the independent video games company, Llamasoft has been selected for the Portrait Salon 2015 exhibition.

They left quite an impression when I met them in spring 2014, going down to their farm in West Wales and being given free rein to explore their working space, chockful as it was with old gaming and computer tech. An Aladdin’s Cave for the gamers among us. More here on a blog post about that particular shoot.

The private view is at 6.30pm on Thursday 19th November 2015 at The Embassy Tea Gallery in London and the exhibition will close on 22nd November 2015. It then continues to Tokyo in February 2016. All welcome!!

More information about the exhibition here: https://www.portraitsalon.co.uk/

Photofusion Salon 15

At Home With The Furries

This image of Sticks, a fox from Wimbledon from my series, At Home With The Furries has been selected for the Photofusion Salon exhibition.

Sticks is an explorer and what sort of explorer would he be if he left his house without a map and animal sidekick! As with so many of these furry portraits, when it comes to working with such a closely knit community, trust is paramount hence the gradual pace of getting to know furries who are interested in being photographed for the project. Sticks is a close friend of Edward Fuzzypaws, more on Edward here.  More on At Home With The Furries here.

The private view is at 6.30pm on the 9th December at the Photofusion gallery in London and the show continues until the 31st January 2016.  All welcome!!

For more information about the exhibition: http://www.photofusion.org/salon15/

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At Home With The Furries

At Home With The Furries

Twinkie and Isambard Kingdom Brunel, a sea otter and sheep at home

This is a photographic project I’ve been working on for a few years.The furries are people that meet up, online and in person and they’ll talk and chat and have fun together. Some of them go on walks around St.Paul’s cathedral and over the Millennium bridge. You’re thinking but so what lots of people do that, what makes these guys so special?

Well if I were to say they do all that in animal costumes ( fursuits), that would pique your interest a little bit wouldn’t it?

But equally you don’t have to wear a furry suit to be a furry, confused? I thought you might be.

Throughout the year furries dress up in costume or fur-suit inspired by anthropomorphic characters from cartoons, comic strips, myths and videogames. The people inside the suits are by day computer programmers, engineers, mortgage brokers, lecturers even fursuit makers. Most furries have an affinity with animals but some also like to role-play or fursuit for fun. Over the course of a few years, I gained the trust of the furries in the UK and some of their members allowed me to visit them at home, these photographs were taken all over the country.

The first rule of being a furry is to never ever reveal your identity, your non-furry self. So if you see any furries roaming around at a furry meeting or convention ( outside of the designated fursuiters lounge) in suit but carrying their heads, they are not furries. Maybe a mascot on a tea break or something..;-)

Moon, a deer in her local woods in Sheffield

Moon, a deer in her local woods in Sheffield

I wanted to find a way to show more of their personal lives without breaking the first rule of being a furry. So At Home With The Furries was born.

Zuki, a Gargoyle playing a table-top roleplay game.  Zuki lives in Milton Keynes and works in IT. Zuki owns a few suits, the gargoyle is just one of them.

Zuki, a Gargoyle playing a table-top roleplay game. Zuki lives in Milton Keynes and works in IT. Zuki owns a few suits, the gargoyle is just one of them.

I initially photographed Smirnoff, a husky wolf hybrid who lives in North London with his family. Smirnoff is in his twenties and works in the creative industries as an actor. This was the first shoot and the results really inspired the approach I would take with the look of the pictures that followed. As natural looking as possible generally. Almost as though the photographer had stumbled onto the scene; don’t you realise that a wolf plays the piano everyday in this household?

Smirnoff is a husky wolf hybrid, he lives in North London. He works as an actor and director

Smirnoff is a husky wolf hybrid, he lives in North London. He works as an actor and director

I then met Lupus Londonwolf and Alfa Fox, a wolf and fox respectively who let on they loved to play poker at home. I wasn’t looking to force ideas on them, I wanted the furries to tell me what they like doing at home or in their local areas, so that I could at least get some semblance of their real lives.

Lupus Londonwolf and Alfa Fox, a wolf and fox. They live together in Bishops Stortford.

Lupus Londonwolf and Alfa Fox, a wolf and fox. They live together in Bishops Stortford.

What tended to happen is that I would photograph one furry who in turn would give ‘the nod’ to his/her friends. As in ‘this guy is alright, he’s not trying to do a sensationalised story about us’. That was very important to me, the project is a balanced look at the lives of people who like to dress as and identify as being a furry.Why do they do it? What they like it, how they got into it?

“First rule of Fur-Club.Don’t talk about fur-club. Second Rule: Don’t talk to journalists”

Getting access to this world wasn’t easy, I was greeted with suspicion initially when I started the project and it took some cajoling and convincing for me to be given access, but when I succeeded, I like to think I made it count with the photographs.

Chil, a disco gryphon eats breakfast at home. Chil is a project manager who lives in Brighton with his partner, Red Russell.

Chil, a disco gryphon eats breakfast at home. Chil is a project manager who lives in Brighton with his partner, Red Russell.

I could not have completed the work without the help of all the furries who gave up their time to be involved in the project and were only too keen to put in a good word for me.

Lupestripe, a wolf working on his car. Lupestripe, works as a journalist in Middlesborough. He takes part in lots of charity events

Lupestripe, a wolf working on his car. Lupestripe, works as a journalist in Middlesborough. He takes part in lots of charity events

A friend of Lupus Londonwolf, Lupestripe, a pink striped hybrid wolf from Middlesborough became a very enthusiastic champion of the project.( as did all the furries who took part in it in fact!)  Lupestripe and his partner, Wolfie helped me with one of the best shoots of At Home With The Furries.

Jester and Red. Jester is a sergal, a mythical creature and Red is a lion. They live in Sheffield

Jester and Red. Jester is a sergal, a mythical creature and Red is a lion. They live in Sheffield

I should mention and give thanks to Smirnoff, Lupus Londonwolf, Alfa Fox, Lupestripe, Wolfie, Moon, Broccoli, Fatkraken, Albrecht, Pickle, Quartermane, Kreek, Jester, Zuki, Akil Tawnybird, Ashram, Chil, Aggie, Red, Bren, Pants, Dolph, Wruf, Twinkie, Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Rochelle for their help, patience and participation with At Home With The Furries.

The full set of pictures can be seen on my website and I’ll be posting more images from each shoot over the coming weeks with accompanying interviews which will answer questions like : How can you be a furry and not have a fursuit? And I love this scene, how do I get into it?

Twinkie is a North American Sea Otter and when he's not swimming and jet-skiiing he likes to go fishing

Twinkie is a North American Sea Otter and when he’s not swimming and jet-skiiing he likes to go fishing

At Home With The Furries by Tom Broadbent

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