From The Road is the first monograph of personal work from the photographer Ami Sioux. Spanning 2001 to 2018, this new book captures images taken across New York, Berlin, Paris, Tokyo and Los Angeles. A ballad of portraits, landscapes, and abstracts taken from her life during the last seventeen years, the work gives a sense of movement distinct from Sioux’s previous work. Her last three books, Paris 48°N, Reykjavik 64ºN and Tokyo 35ºN, all focused on the relationship of people to their cities. By contrast, From The Road engages with time on the run, showing portraits of lovers and friends alongside landscapes, interiors, and objects. Revealing its own unfolding chronologies, the graphic abstracts are captured in a near-painterly way, up close and personal. For those familiar with Sioux’s photographs, there are many outtakes of celebrities and artist’s portraits from her work for magazines (Sioux has worked for i-D, Self Service and French Vogue). These portraits include Doug Aitken, Jonathan Anderson, Benjamin Cho, Gia Coppola, Clara Deshayes, Marianne Faithfull, Cyprien Gaillard, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Malcolm McLaren, Sebastien Tellier, Chloe Sevigny and Léa Seydoux along with many others. In this portraiture her lens captures a sense of anticipation. The frames are filled with the moments before and after the shots. Across the book, the outtakes from her fashion work are carefully juxtaposed with notations from her personal life captured in a heartbeat, across the road less travelled.
A musician as well as a photographer, Sioux’s youth was spent traveling across Montana, North Dakota, and California. Accordingly, the title of the book refers to the wanderlust at the heart of her projects. With a nod to Jack Kerouac, it denotes the photographer’s love of the journey embedded within the result. Aged 16 she left home with only a few hundred dollars in her pocket and headed to San Francisco to study photography, filmmaking and sculpture. Her path as a photographer began in the 1990s, on a route that took her from San Francisco to New York to Berlin, then onto Paris and Tokyo. Today her time is split between Los Angeles and Paris. Sioux’s work is based on an intimacy that demands a certain attention to the fleeting presence of objects and people. The poet of New York art world of the 1950s and 1960s, Frank O’Hara, once described his love of his friends as “the mere presence [that] changes everything like a chemical dropped on a paper”. There is a poextic character to Sioux’s work, the camera shots grasp at the primacy of the moment, like traces of light across water. When shooting, her camera dances with its subject, finding a way to reveal a hesitance or moment where the intention of each person she photographs is bared present and alive. From The Road unveils that elusive space between public projection and personal introspection.
With a cover designed by the musician and painter Matt Fishbeck, the entirety of From The Road is shot on 35mm film. This lends the images a saturated hue that has become Sioux’s signature. The style of the photographs draws contrasting and distinctive parts of the world into a sophisticated coherence. Much like the method of Wolfgang Tillmans, Sioux’s work prefaces photography as ‘picture-making’. Whether it’s a snap from an underground concert of one of her friends, a friends in a neighborhood in Berlin, or art deco architecture on the beach, she makes common images appear anew through relation. In one particularly striking, yet equally careful shot, the Eiffel Tower is recast in grey through a skyline of autumn stripped trees. Through objects and persons, many of the photos take up the motif of the double, the pair, the couple. In the photographer’s mirror shots they appear equally familiar, equally unfamiliar. From The Road draws on how the journey has a magical power to make things appear and then reappear in new ways.
Ami Sioux is the founder of Zine Nº; a series of printed editions which explores the relationship between designers and their muses. As a musician she has released two full-length albums: To Take you Down and Stand Your Ground, and is currently working on recording her third studio album. She has performed in Paris, in Berlin, New York and Tokyo. From The Road will travel to exhibitions in New York, Los Angeles and Tokyo.