Michael Mayren hails from Manchester and has recently acquired a new pet named Curtis. Picked up at a boxing ring – a location the photographer is in the process of documenting for a forthcoming exhibition – Curtis is neither dog nor cat but squirrel.
The two have become close, and Curtis accompanied the illustrated photographer to the preview of his latest project in Diesel’s Covent Garden store, sitting atop his cage in Michael’s arms.
The preview in question was to celebrate the brand’s new window display; a selection of images titled ‘Rebirth’, shot by Mayren in support of the Diesel REBOOT campaign launched last month.
“I never look at fashion photography,” he tells Clash. “I always reference documentary or stuff I see in the street. Even if I shoot an editorial I prefer to bring an element of documentary with casting and location just to give the images more substance.”
Picking up his first camera while still at school, “my mum was studying photography so I used to mess about with her camera and go into college with her,” his client list to date includes brands such as Y’OH Streetwear, Boxfresh and ASOS. And he continues to use the same model of camera.
Not too shy to have the lens turned on him (either that or a really good faker), Michael himself appears in the current campaign from Diesel. Bright pink background, zip smothered leather jacket, inked hand hiding his face, the image is part of the series styled by brand Artistic Director, Nicola Formichetti and shot by Inez & Vinoodh.
Of the experience, he says, “It’s always good to see how other people shoot. It was an honour to be shot by Inez and Vinoodh. They’re really incredible photographers and lovely people.”
Michael’s own images have taken over the Diesel Covent Garden store – those large pieces of glass on the corner of Earlham Street and Neal Street – and mark his first public exhibition.
“I’m really grateful to have been given complete creative freedom to be able to do something non-fashion for such a big brand,” he lets on. “I’m still working on a project with boxers around the UK for my first exhibition, so it’s really exciting for me to have my first set of images in a public place for people to see.”
Shot in woodland and water, the small collection has been given the title, ‘Rebirth’, a word the photographer describes as “a new beginning. A new generation.”
Alongside the fashion and the boxing there’s the music, and top of his list is former Clash One To Watch, Rejjie Snow. As he tells us, “My friend Rejjie Snow has just released a new EP called ‘Rejovich’. I have that on repeat at the minute.”
Words: Zoe Whitfield
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