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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 14 December 2018

Gucci unveils coffee-table book inspired by colours, patterns and candid photography 

The images are shot by streetwear photographer Derek Ridgers, known for his raw style

Gucci's Hortus Sanitatis. Photo by Derek Ridgers
Gucci's Hortus Sanitatis. Photo by Derek Ridgers

Riding a wave of seemingly unstoppable creativity, Gucci has just unveiled a glossy new tome for the summer.

Called Hortus Sanitatis, the book is named after the first-ever natural-history encyclopedia, published by Jacob Meydenbach in Germany in 1485. While Gucci has not filled its book with drawings of plants and animals, it has echoed the lavishness of the original, with pages of colour-drenched, patterned-filled images.

Given Gucci's creative director Alessandro Michele's continuing (and well-documented) love affair with all things British, it is not surprising that he chose a British photographer for this project.

However, the man in question, Derek Ridgers, is not a fashion photographer, but rather someone who has spent the past 30 years documenting street culture in all its raw and candid glory.

Image from the Gucci Book, Hortus Sanitatis

Never trying to add gloss to a captured moment, Ridgers has instead documented the best and the most outrageous streetwear from the last three decades, and has captured punks, skinheads and New Romantic clubbers, including Boy George before he was famous. With many books to his name, Ridgers has snapped the likes of Nick Cave, the band Blur and even a baby-faced Johnny Depp standing with - somewhat randomly - Shane MacGowan of The Pogues.

Ridgers can be considered something of a pioneer of stripped-back, reportage-style street photography, mostly done without professional lighting. His style follows in the steps of Bill Cunningham, and has given credence to the street-fashion images by the likes of Scott Schuman and Tommy Ton.

The raw, unadorned style of photography in Gucci's Hortus Sanitatis contrasts perfectly against Michelel's flamboyant clothes, and together they have created a book that's filled with unstaged moments.