It was a simple idea. Travel round the country and photograph a range of people against a simple background, all wearing the same jumper. Chris Blott from Quiggleys tells us the story behind the One Jumper Project.
What inspired you to start the One Jumper Project?
“Photography was always going to be at the heart of Quiggleys and I had been trying to think of a project to use on the site. One day, while driving, the idea was there. I don’t know where it came from but there it was. Take one jumper and a canvas on a tour of the country and photograph whoever I could persuade to wear the jumper. What else could I call it? I found the background on a friend’s scrap yard; it was being used to cover an old submarine.”
Have there been any unexpected results from the project?
“I love photography projects that allow for the unexpected. I love the serendipity of stopping on a street and seeing who walks past. Without exception, something good or unexpected or surprising would always happen – stuff that I could never plan or contrive.
I found myself using whatever was at hand to hold the background in place. These little clues about the location were one of my favourite aspects of the project – the massive bolt from a shipyard and the rounded pebbles from the beach at Saltburn.”
So introduce us to this jumper then, it’s Kinny right?
“Kinny was the flagship piece to launch Quiggleys. It is a great jumper, a classic chunky cable knit. We made one as a sample and that’s the one used in the project. Tragically the factory who were going to make the jumper let us down and we never got any, other than the one sample. Not surprisingly we are now working with a new factory and are planning the Kinny Two for next autumn. Whether the One Jumper Project continues with original Kinny or the new Kinny is still to be decided.”
I photographed Andy in the tiny, spectacular Yorkshire village of Staithes – famous for being the town where Captain James Cook first worked as a young man and discovered his love of the sea. Andy was simply walking down the street as I drove past. He is a roofer and agreed to wearing the jumper. By the time I set up he was on top of a roof.
I was driving in Whitby and glanced left, through large gates, and saw a man walking in paint splattered overalls. I went back but couldn’t do my shot as the men were working; I’d have to come back the next day. I hadn’t really thought it through – the only shot I managed to get was of the guard dog with the jumper round its neck. There was no sign of Matthew, until two minutes before lunch was up when he walked in and thankfully agreed to wear the jumper. Amazingly, he managed to keep a straight face in front of eight jeering ship builders.
I managed to lose this guy’s name. I had set up on Brick Lane in London. This guy is a stylist and took one look at the jumper and decided to wear it as a scarf, of course. Thankfully he hadn’t seen the shot of the guard dog wearing it.
This was shot in Cornwall. I know Kristina as she's a model and we were working on a commercial project. I have photographed Kristina so many times but this is my favourite picture of her because it’s not selling anything. No hair and makeup, no client, no agenda – just a straightforward portrait that took two minutes.
This is probably my favourite from the series, both in terms of the shot but also how it happened. I had arranged to photograph a surfer at Saltburn beach on the North Sea coast. As I waited for him, Steve walked past. It was that simple. A two minute shoot, great light and the oddity of the jumper and a wetsuit – perfect.
This was shot at Murthly Castle, just north of Perth. I was on a totally different shoot and hadn’t really planned to do any One Jumper portraits. Jamie’s mum was working on the shoot and had brought him as it was half term. So I set up and photographed Jamie, more as a bit of fun than anything else. It is now the one image from the set that always gets a reaction. It was also the first shot for the project so a strange place to start.