Nick Sethi’s Intimate Portraits Capture Brooklyn’s Hip Underbelly

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Nick Sethi reveals the intimate aspects of the exceptional lifestyle he shares with his friends in Brooklyn. His photographs provide a glimpse into their mild degeneracy and playfully ironic demeanor. They’re appealing because they lack seriousness and record a snapshot of a genuine culture that is not often accessible, though frequently watered down and imitated in more mainstream circuits. In his ‘portfolio’ series are portraits of his friends, standing with their pants around their knees, or wearing a giant bejeweled ‘SEX’ necklace. The photos have an apathy or melancholy combined with a subtle power emanating from the characters he documents. Although they are obviously staged with dramatic intention, they evoke a fantastically underwhelming air.

His most recent series, more specific in its aims than his overall portfolio, is titled FYEO. It is a curated selection of selfies that women have taken from inside tanning beds. Visually it’s the lights and the rays from them distorting the photographs that are the point of interest. They look like strange psychedelic light tubes in outer space. The selection is well done as he matches the aesthetic between the photographs seamlessly, but also chooses ones with just a tweak of oddity. The Playboy Bunny bellybutton ring paired with a Playboy tanning stamp, or the panties around the ankle create intrigue around these women and their own artistic decision when taking their photographs. Sethi himself is an avid selfy-taker. His HCO series of self-portraits – pictures of him posing throughout a Hollister store – is as entertaining as it is ridiculous and juvenile.

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  • fred

    Confused about the words that somewhat wrote here. What makes these people “genuine”? What are the features of their “culture”, and in what sense is it “not often accessible”? Accessibile to who? People with pants around knees or wearing funny necklaces, seeming blase or ironic. Not quite getting how this means anything.

  • Chang

    It doesn’t mean anything at all. They’re run of the mill shots of hipsters, doing what hipsters do, without any hint of the nuance or artistic integrity posited by the blurb – indeed, I think more time went into composing those words than the images themselves