As the V&A prepares to open its eagerly anticipated exhibition Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, the London museum has acquired 13 photographs by Ann Ray (also known as Anne Deniau) from an extraordinary body of work described by Lee Alexander McQueen as ‘my life in pictures’.
McQueen and Ray formed a close friendship in the 1990s and between 1997 and 2010, Ray was granted great freedom to photograph in McQueen’s studio and at his shows with ‘no guidelines’. The resulting photographs capture the frenetic activity behind-the-scenes of every catwalk show, the intense preparations for each spectacular performance as well as portraits of the designer in reflective and joyous moments. In total Ray shot approximately 35,000 photographs, all on film.
Ann Ray was born in Brest, France, in 1969. She took up photography in the 1990s and lived in Tokyo from 1995 to 1997, working for clients such as Cartier and Givenchy. Her images appeared in publications including Elle, Marie Claire and La Seine. She began working with McQueen when she moved to London. They shared a passion for the handcrafted and unique. Ray is fascinated by 19th and early 20th- century processes and employs printing techniques such as bromoil and gum bichromate, even hand painting on lith prints with watercolours and oils.
The photographs are available to view by appointment in the V&A’s Prints and Drawings Study Room. The details of all 13 photographs can be found on the V&A’s online collection database. Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, the only major retrospective in Europe of the work of the visionary fashion designer Lee Alexander McQueen opens at the V&A on 14 March 2015.
Main image: Unfallen Angels II, 2009 - © Ann Ray / Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Directly via V&A