‘Skin Portraits’: Tammy Frazer’s portraiture of scent

Are you at home in your own skin?Skin Portraits is the unique exploration of South African skin, through the creation of bespoke perfumery scents and photographic portraiture. The exhibition opened in Cape Town in March 2013, at (ed)ited, curated by Gary Cotterrell and courtesy Glenfiddich (as featured in Wanted Magazine and on Michelle Constant’s SAFM Lifestyle Show). * The Skin Portraits exhibition is now on permanent exhibition at the Frazer Parfum boutique and factory , 3 Rose St., Cape Town, South Africa.*

Tammy Frazer's 'Skin Portraits' scent exhibition with Brett Rubin, Allan Schwarz and Gareth van Niekerk

‘Skin Portraits’, Tammy Frazer’s scent portraiture exhibition at (ed)ited at the Taj Hotel, Cape Town

(This press preview was written by Evan Milton for ‘Skin Portraits’, and is reproduced here courtesy of Frazer Parfum.)

Skin Portraits‘ is a first-of-its-kind exploration of scent and portraiture by perfumer Tammy Frazer, utilising photography by Brett Rubin, sustainable African hardwood frames by Allan Schwarz (Mezembite), and curated by Gareth van Niekerk. It has its South African premier in Cape Town on Tuesday 19 March 2013 at The Taj Hotel, as part of ‘edit(ed)’, the pop-up concept space curated by Gary Cotterell, editor of Wanted magazine. It features unique explorations of the smell of South African skin, and photographic portraits of nine notable South Africans, including Noni Gaza (television fashion host), Ndaba Mandela (businessman and philanthropist), Kirsten Carls (Miss Earth South Africa), Dion Chang (trend analyst), ChianoSky (pop-star and singer) and Nandipha Mntambo (Standard Bank “Young Artist of the Year”).

“Finding beauty in the smells of rosy lips, Tamil cheeks, and an alabaster décolletage.”

– (Tammy Frazer, perfumer and founder of Frazer Parfum)

Tammy Frazer's 'Skin Portraits' scent exhibition with Brett Rubin, Allan Schwarz and Gareth van Niekerk

Tammy Frazer’s ‘Skin Portraits’ scent exhibition with Brett Rubin, Allan Schwarz and Gareth van Niekerk

Bespoke perfumer Tammy Frazer, founder of Frazer Parfum, was inspired by the traditional portraiture of Lucian Freud to apply the ancient art of natural perfumery to ‘painting’ the scent of skin.

She engaged the services of photographer Brett Rubin, curatorial student Gareth Van Niekerk, and MIT ScD architect and sustainability maverick Allan Schwarz to create twelve portraits of human skin. It is an exhibition that explores both scent and sight and, inevitably, demands that viewers and smellers confront how they feel in their own skin.

Skin Portraits‘ opened at the Edinburgh Fashion Festival in 2012, then traveled to Eden Rock Gallery in St. Barth’s and now enjoys its South African premier in Cape Town courtesy of Glenfiddich and “edit(ed)“, the pop-up concept space curated by Gary Cotterell, editor of Wanted magazine. After South Africa, the exhibition will travel to St. Moritz.

Tammy Frazer's 'Skin Portraits' scent exhibition with Brett Rubin, Allan Schwarz and Gareth van Niekerk

Tammy Frazer’s ‘Skin Portraits’ scent exhibition with Brett Rubin, Allan Schwarz and Gareth van Niekerk

     “Perfume is often used to mask the smells of the human body: we add drops to our skin to smell like a rose, or a resin. Many odours of skin and body are arresting, and the human relationship with them is complex.

‘Skin Portraits’ celebrates these subtle and complicated associations. It is also another step in my ongoing expedition to establish a language of smell.”

– Tammy Frazer

Nine remarkable South Africans were asked to describe themselves and their relation to their skin and to smell, and to sit for a photographic portrait. Each portrait is accompanied by a singular scent created based on that interview:

  • Kirsten Carls, Miss Earth South Africa
  • Noni Gaza, television host and fashion correspondent
  • Sanmarie Kreuzhuber, ballet dancer and soloist 
  • Dada Masilo, Soweto born dancer and choreographer 
  • Nandipha Mntambo, Standard Bank “Young Artist of the Year”
  • ChianoSky, recording artist and singer
  • Dion Chang, trend analyst and design consultant
  • Ndaba Mandela, businessman and philanthropist
  • Saadique Ryklief, award-winning hairstylist 

Also at the exhibition, courtesy Glenfiddich, are taste and scent testers of the world’s – and South Africa’s – biggest selling single malt. Specifically, their 12 year old, 15 year old and 18 year old expressions of the malt. On the Glenfiddich 12, look for notes of pear – and even hints of fig. The Glenfiddich 15 has distinct honey tones, and evidence of the time it spends in new American oak before married in a  Solera vat. Glenfiddich 18 is fruity – think of baked apples – with definite oak notes.

  • Skin Portraits‘ ran at “edit(ed)” at The Taj Hotel (Cape Town) until the end of March 2013.
  • Tammy Frazer’s “Skin Portraits” is now on permanent display at the Frazer Parfum boutique and factory , 3 Rose St., Cape Town, South Africa. Contact bespoke@frazerparfum.com for viewing particulars.

(This press preview was written by Evan Milton for ‘Skin Portraits’, and is reproduced here courtesy of Frazer Parfum.)

Glenfiddich 12, 15 and 18 year old expressions

Glenfiddich 12, 15 and 18 year old expressions.

Click the image below and enlarge for a “virtual 360 walkthrough”:

Tammy Frazer's 'Skin Portraits' scent exhibition with Brett Rubin, Allan Schwarz and Gareth van Niekerk

Tammy Frazer’s ‘Skin Portraits’ scent exhibition with Brett Rubin, Allan Schwarz and Gareth van Niekerk

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