He has the “looks” of a model and on the other hand he seems like he just stepped out of the animation film, Hotel Transylvania. Well, Hedi Slimane is a French photographer and a fashion designer. He was born in 1968 to a Tunisian father and Italian mother. At the age of 11, he found out about photography. This is also when he bought his personal camera and began learning darkroom printing in monochrome. When he was 16, he began making clothes for himself without having any idea about fashion. He then went at the École du Louvre to study art history and completed an apprenticeship on tailoring at a fashion store for men. He was also interested in journalism and reporting, so he visited Le Monde’s office.
Slimane was asked by a quarterly New York magazine, Visionaire in 2000 to edit its upcoming issue as a guest. To illustrate his personal and futuristic vision of Paris, twenty-nine individuals including photographers, website designers, artists, graphic designers and musicians.
He accepted the invitation to go to Berlin, from 2000 to 2003, to do residency at the Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art, by Klaus Biesenbach, a curator. Hence, he left Yves Saint Laurent. Slimane’s published his first book with Karl Lagerfeld, Berlin in black and white which aimed to show the documentation of the scenario in Berlin. Another book that Hedi Slimane made was Stage in 2004 published by Steidl. Slimane also created the cover for Alphabetical, an album by Phoenix. In 2005, Slimane proposed a project, London, to Libération, a French daily. It was published in May. A year later Slimane opened Hedi Slimane Diary, a photographic web log to create and compile a Rock Diary.
In addition, Slimane worked for magazines like VMAN, Purple and French Vogue, in order to shoot their spreads. In 2007, he began residing in Los Angeles, America. Because of this shift, the subject most visible in several images by him was California and it also became the topic of many later exhibitions.
Hedi Slimane photographed the cover for EP: The Fame Monster, an album by the well-known singer Lady Gaga in 2009.
In 2011, he was the curator for a group exhibition, of artists from California, titled Myths and Legends of Los Angeles. The show included Sterling Ruby, Ed Ruscha, John Baldessari, Cgris Burden, Patrick Hill and Mark Hagen in Brussels and Paris at the Almine Rech Gallery. Slimane’s work was shown at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Here he displayed an installation created with photographs in order to present an archive of the California epoch. The show was called California Song which was accompanied by a soundtrack by No Age, a musical group on the opening night. There was much hype created for this show – digital billboards were made showcasing the exhibition on Los Angeles streets.
Moving on, in 2011 Slimane designed one of the three cover’s versions for the magazine Garage by Dasha Zhukova. For the cover, Slimane took a picture of Shauna Taylor (model) in a nude pose and her crotch was veiled with a sticker of a butterfly made by Damien Hirst.
Slimane’s work has been shown in many other galleries as well, such as Fragments Americana in Brussels at the Almine Rech Gallery, 2011; Young American in Amsterdam at the Foam Musem, 2007; Portrait of a Performer in Zurich at the Galerie Gmurzynska, 2006; and many more.