A man's fetish for concealment has made for a thought-provoking, unsettling new photobook by Here Press
A retired electrical engineer from London started to publish images of himself ‘fully veiled’ on Flickr, wearing clothes found across the Muslim world, hoodies, headscarfs and more.
“This new idea translates the idea of perfect coverage as understood in Afghanistan and Pakistan to the English high street, for anyone who enjoys anonymity, luxury and a sense of drama,” he writes. “It’s easy; all it needs is a sense of adventure and courage.”
A selection of these images have now been published by Here Press, the small publishing house behind Edmund Clark’s Control Order House, David Moore’s Pictures from the Real World, Ben Roberts’ Occupied Spaces and Seba Kurtis’ Drowned. Working with the anonymous gentlemen behind the veil, they have produced a slim but thought-provoking book, 2041 – named after the author’s online identity.
The book features a small selection of the 60,000+ images the author has made of himself – or maybe other people – swathed in fabric, and was a collaboration between 2041 and two editors, Lewis Chaplin and Ben Weaver. BJP asked Chaplin more about the project.
BJP: How did you come across the 2041 images?
Lewis Chaplin: I came across 2041’s images four years ago when I was idly researching how Flickr was being used by people with highly specific or marginal fetishes or obsessions. Many of these fetishes, it seems, did not have anywhere near the coherence or precision we now see post-internet, and the idea of the communicative and anonymising powers of online communication actively boosting or facilitating the psychological or impulsive nature of fetish really gripped me. While doing this research I came across many groups dedicated to the art of full coverage, entire bodily cloaking, being ‘fully veiled’. As is I suppose the intended effect, these images can be very difficult to work out in terms of intention, or the pleasure point in them. However 2041’s pictures stuck with me, I kept returning to them again and again – it was not only his meticulousness but the skill of composition, and the real performativity that seemed to come with the act of sharing online that was quite different.