26.04.11 / Permalink / Comments (0)

The Sneaker Business by Errol

Last month, while writing about the Northampton Museum and Art Gallery's Sneaker Symposium, we mentioned an ongoing project entitled The Sneaker Business by photographer Errol. Since then we've been in contact with Errol for a more in-depth look at the project and, among other things, to ask him to tell us a little about the concept.

Can you explain a little about yourself and your background?
I'm a London based music, fashion and portrait photographer. I started out as a musician but being in a band set-up (dealing more with the interaction between people) was time consuming, so I went into photography.

Where did the idea of The Sneaker Business series come from, and what is the concept?
About two years ago one of my friends introduced me to Ollie Teeba. During a conversation Ollie told me a funny story about his girlfriend who wanted to move into his flat, but she couldn't as there were so many sneakers and there was no room left for her. As I'd started to collect sneakers myself, I thought it would be a good idea for a photographic project, and I really wanted the project to focus on collectors and designers/customisers.

How many people/collections have you photographed so far, and which shoots have been the most interesting?
I've been lucky enough to shoot around twenty UK-based collectors so far, even though a lot of them (believe it or not) wouldn't call themselves collectors. The basic criteria for the project was that anyone I shot had to have more than 25 pairs - although it wasn't about who had the dopest, rarest, biggest collections, it was simply about people who had more than 25 pairs - an amount I would consider more than the average person.

I would have to say a few people spring to mind when talking about interesting collections. Robert Brooks’ collection of vintage adidas stuff is pretty amazing - in the sense that the majority of his shoes are unworn/boxed, and the sheer variety is really out-there. For Robert it seemed all about the shoe, if it was his size great, but if it wasn't and it fitted in to his scheme of things, that was great too. Chris Law has a vast collection of different models from various brands, and John Brolly has some amazing vintage Puma kicks. I'd have to say John’s stuff really inspired me to look at the Puma vintage range in a big way.

Can you tell anything about a person by their sneaker collection?
No. I wish I could, I'd make a bloody fortune.

You showed some images at the recent Sneaker Symposium in Northampton, can you explain a little about your input to the event?
Basically I was asked by the Northampton Museum and Art Gallery if I would like to present some of my work. I think with my project fitted in nicely with the overall event.

Have you any plans to show the project elsewhere?
I have a few ideas for an exhibition, it's a must-do I'd say, but I'd also like to do a book. This is an on going project, so any collectors/customisers out there feel free to get back to me. I think the stories about collectors and the hunt for kicks is a pretty interesting topic.

Finally, you are a sneaker collector yourself, have you ever considered a self portrait?
Nah not me, I'm happier behind the camera thanks. 

From top to bottom, collectors/collections shown include:
Ollie Teeba
John Brolly

Robert Brooks
Kara Sarkodie-Mensah
Jonny Meenagh
Peter Boakye-Wreh
Chris Law
Dean Morris
Steven Prince

Anyone interested in taking part in this ongoing project can contact Errol here

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