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 question-and-answer defining their life, likes and dislikes.


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In 1977, inspired by August Sander's social documentary portraits and Irving Penn's Small Trade series, 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 fanzine into a fashion magazine, the Straight-Up style of photography continued, 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 be featured in i-D.[5] A number of other magazines[which?], newspapers[which?] and blog sites[which?] have since adopted the style.


  1. ^ "i-D magazine: Identity parade". The Independent. London. 15 October 2005. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
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