Phantasmagoria: Bizarre art works offer an exploration into female identity

Phantasmagoria is a mixed media painting and photography series by CecilBoyd, created in a true collaboration between painter Will Boyd and photographer Hubert Cecil.

The culmination of two and a half years' work, the series is an exploration of female identity – however, more broadly, it becomes an acute commentary on the inner dialogues, dichotomies, and imbalances experienced at times by all.

The collaboration is, in part, the evolution of an idea borne from an aesthetic that Cecil developed throughout his student career in nightclub photography – if only my night out photos looked this good.

His predilection for the dynamic results possible from long exposure and strobe lighting would often result in one person appearing twice in the same image.

Following years of experience working in the world of fashion photography – including for such photographers as Mario Testino, Alex Bramall, and Tom Munro – the concepts and aesthetics pregnated over time. Working with Boyd, a painter and muralist with an inclination towards the cross-disciplinary helped in moving this along.

In Phantasmagoria, the two artists develop this accidental aesthetic of the night club photography, replacing it with conscious decision-making and the stylistic precision identifiable in high-concept fashion editorial.

For the series, the pair worked with a roster of bright young things – artists, actors, designers, models, socialites, and entrepreneurs, including Elliot Sailors, Sibylla Phipps, India James, Idina Moncrieffe, Bella Yentob and Joanna Vanderpuije.

Phantasmagoria by CecilBoyd opens at the Chelsea Arts Club on Tuesday 3 October 2017.

All images © CecilBoyd