the Straight Up
The Straight-Up is a documentary style of photography pioneered by Terry Jones, founder and editor-in-chief of i-D magazine, in 1977. Taking its name from a West Country expression meaning 'tell it like it is', a ‘straight-up’ typically captures a head-to-toe portrait of someone street cast with great personal style, accompanied by a short Q&A defining their life, likes and dislikes.
The origins of ‘the straight-up’
In 1977, inspired by the honesty of August Sander's social documentary portraits and Irving Penn's Small Trade series, Terry Jones commissioned British photographer Steve Johnson to photograph London punks head-to-toe against a plain white wall on the Kings Road. Jones intended the pictures to run as a cultural piece in British Vogue, where he then worked as Art Director. The photographs however were considered too revolutionary, so Jones ran the images in a book he was art directing called Not Another Punk Book, published by Aurum Press. These straight-ups went on to form the basis of i-D, a hand-stapled fanzine founded by Jones in 1980. As i-D grew from a humble fanzine into an internationally celebrated fashion magazine, the ‘straight-up’ style of photography grew with it, culminating in an entire issue of the magazine dedicated to the photographic style in August 2003 (The Straight-Up Issue, No. 234). Today straight-ups continue to feature in i-D capturing new trends on the streets as they happen. A number of other leading magazines, newspapers and blog sites have since adopted the straight-up style.
- Johnston, Steve (8 May 2013). "STEVE JOHNSTON on PUNK". i-D Online. Retrieved 27 June 2013.