Rotterdam-based photographer Ari Versluis and profiler Ellie Uyttenbroek have worked together since October 1994. Inspired by a shared interest in the striking dress codes of various social groups, they have systematically documented numerous identities over the last 14 years. Rotterdam’s heterogeneous, multicultural street scene remains a major source of inspiration for Ari Versluis and Ellie Uyttenbroek, although since 1998 they have also worked in cities abroad.
They call their series Exactitudes: a contraction of exact and attitude. By registering their subjects in an identical framework, with similar poses and a strictly observed dress code, Versluis and Uyttenbroek provide an almost scientific, anthropological record of people’s attempts to distinguish themselves from others by assuming a group identity. The apparent contradiction between individuality and uniformity is, however, taken to such extremes in their arresting objective-looking photographic viewpoint and stylistic analysis that the artistic aspect clearly dominates the purely documentary element.
Inspired by a shared interest in the striking dress codes of various social groups, the Rotterdam-based photographic team of Ari Versluis & Ellie Uyttenbroek have been systematically hamstringing such permutations of received identity for ten years. They call their series Exactitudes, a contraction of “exact” and “attitudes”. It’s August Sander and Eugène Atget turned on their heads by Bernd and Hilla Becher - a direct assault on the mythic formula that photography plus the street equals authenticity.
By dragging the repertory of the street kicking and screaming to the studio backdrop, the series offers a purposely absurd response to the sentimentality of Jamal Shabazz (“Back in the days”) and the beloved and utterly bogus spontaneity of the photo booth. It’s a perfect fit for an age that’s made the “cool hunt” a corporate pursuit. Of course the photos are starchy and obdurately posed and ever so consciously styled, because there can be no meaningful limit to the cross-contamination between those notions of a authenticity and supreme self-awareness.