The intimate brilliance of Jack Tar 207
Described as a “body-positive visibility project,” Portland’s Jack Tar 207 is all about representation. Jack Tar seeks to represent beauty in ways that the mainstream media doesn’t, and, by closely collaborating with models seeking representation, reveals in its work the aspects of beauty that have more to do with a personal presence via a physical one. There are perhaps two beauty secrets at work here: first, the images aren’t used to sell products, and second, each photo shoot seeks to capture the nuanced aesthetic of each model. In fact, models are encouraged to bring their own clothing and personal belongings to the shoot, which owner-designer LK Weiss says brings out “a level of confidence that many people don’t feel in front of a camera.”
Jack Tar’s creative team reconfigures what it is to look at a fashion photo by fostering a mutual relationship between photographers and stylists, and by asking models “to bring themselves to the table,” in exchange for “a team of professionals and a worldwide presence interested
in seeing more than what typically graces the pages of fashion magazines and our television screens.” Weiss, who founded the project in 2012, wants to make sure that Jack Tar’s clientele gain a sense of self-worth from each collaboration, but also seeks to capture Maine’s “gritty, mountainous, weatherbeaten, glorious, authentic” spirit in each shoot. Most photos feature in some way a Maine landscape, whether it be urban, rural, or beach-themed—Weiss and her team recently shot a chic-looking series of advertisements for Portland-based Sea Bags, using Cousins Island as a backdrop.
The intimate relationship between life and art rendered in each photo invites viewers to reflect upon their own sense of self through the act of looking. Jack Tar’s portfolio has the edginess and contemporary feel of a fashion spread, yet to look at each photo is to be less a consumer and more a participant; therefore, go forth and get your gaze on.
All photos by LK Weiss. Assistance provided on set by Gaelle Win Robin, David Timm, Shana Natelson, and Laura Kloosterman.