The photographer’s collaboration with illustrator Tallulah Fontaine and stylist Yeon You is a fictional story about two sisters in late-80s California, and the love, rigidity and grief that they share
“As a man, I’ll never be able to experience the bond that women have with one another, but I’ve always been drawn to creating stories about female characters,” says James Perolls. “Ever since I was a child, I’ve always felt closer with women than I have with men, and this comes through in most of my work.”
Sunnyside is the photographer’s first publication, a collaboration with illustrator Tallulah Fontaine and stylist Yeon You, Perolls’ shut buddy and colleague. Perolls is a self-taught photographer who has made his mark over the past two years by way of style commissions for giant names together with Vogue Italia, Gucci, and New York Journal. His first output of private work takes on his signature heat and playful fashion, setting itself in late-80s California and telling the story of two sisters as they grieve the lack of their mother and father.
Curiously, this storyline will not be defined within the guide, and it’s only by way of Peroll’s shifting, sun-drenched images, Fontaine’s mild illustrations, and You’s epochal styling that we’re given a sign of a story. As such, the guide is extra about what the imagery says in regards to the love, rigidity and grief that’s shared by the 2 characters.
“It’s a perfect fit having illustrations that show the sisters’ relationship and adds elements that are linked to their thoughts and dreams,” says Perolls. “It wouldn’t have been the same had I tried to create them as photographs.”
Significantly together with his style pictures, Perolls normally shoots in nameless outside areas, divorced from any allusions to time or place. “I wanted to take my story-telling to a more intimate and familiar level by creating a narrative in a home environment,” says Perolls. “It is a story of human strength, affection and frailty.”
“Taking photos has always felt very therapeutic for me, regardless of whether it’s a personal project or commercial job,” Perolls continues, explaining that he has suffered from nervousness all through his life. “The process of connecting with someone, gaining their trust and getting them to open up in front of the camera, to be themselves or to play a role as a character, is one of the best feelings for me.”