the Straight Up

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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, often accompanied by a short Q&A defining their life, likes and dislikes.

The origins of The Straight-Up[edit]

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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 Johnston 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.[1][2] 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.[3] These Straight-Ups went on to form the basis of i-D, a hand-stapled fanzine founded by Jones in 1980.[4] 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.[5] A number of other magazines, newspapers and blog sites have since adopted the style.

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