Lucia Lucas

The transgender opera diva and Accent cover star


Meet Lucia Lucas, opera singer, transgender woman and advocate, and one of our Issue Two double cover stars. Despite recommendations that she, as a baritone, should “get a day job” until the age of 40 before working professionally, Lucia is now in her 30s and has already built a successful career performing opera internationally. Following her recent transition, she still plays male roles 90 per cent of the time she appears on stage, maintaining that “I wouldn’t want a person to think a woman was playing the character unless they looked down at their programme.”

“I came out to the opera community at a ball with my wife — she wore a trouser suit and I wore a dress. People didn’t recognise me at first — they recognised my wife, then looked at me and eventually they figured it out. Being able to see their genuine reactions was helpful; I came out the next week. I told the intendant that I liked my job and hoped I could continue to do it, but this was something I had to do for myself; it was something I’d been putting off forever. He said: ‘OK, how does this work?” I replied: “Well, nobody’s ever done it before.'”

Read Lucia’s full story with photographs by Alice Neale in Issue 2, which you can buy here.




Lucia wears: Coat by Givenchy; trousers Anna Scholz, jumper by Givenchy; jacket model’s own, underwear model’s own, earring by Bill Skinner

Photographer — Alice Neale
Photographer’s Assistant — Hannah Burton
Stylist — Rachael J Vick
Make-up — Naomi Serene
Retouching — Signe Emma

Produced by Accent Magazine

Los Niños

One-hour photo prints of Mexico City’s street kids in the summer of 1999. By Tyler Hubby

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MEXICO CITY — In the summer of 1999 I was in Mexico City working camera on a documentary film about the homeless and orphaned children who live around the Alameda Central. As we began shooting, the children were leery, having been exploited countless times by the local media. We eventually gained their trust by putting the video-camera away and taking photographs using only my 35mm SLR. It occurred to me that we could develop the pictures at a local one-hour photo shop and return to the park to give copies to our subjects. This was hugely successful.

When the kids realised that we wanted to give them their own image — something that, apparently, no one else had — they warmed up to us immediately. They went from being hardened, suspicious street creatures to children again, with all their innocence and wonder exposed. Gone were the scowls and jeering laughs; they began to mug and play in front of the camera. We were welcomed into their tribe.

Many of these kids had been abandoned by their already impoverished families — too many mouths to feed — and were just surviving in the streets.  They slept in stairways, sewers or anywhere they could.  Almost all of them were huffing glue and the smell of it was strong. At the time these photos were taken, only adult homelessness was criminalised in Mexico City; the kids were free to roam around, often shooed away by the police like stray dogs. The teens in the group were very worried that they would be taken to jail upon turning 18.

When we returned for subsequent shoots the kids proudly showed us their pictures, which they kept in dirty pockets or tucked into waistlines. They even traded pictures among themselves. I was struck by the powerful validation one must feel when being able to own one’s image for the first time.

When I look at these images now I wonder how many of them are still alive; they would be adults now.

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Buy Issue One here

Accent x Brutus

Accent shoots Brutus SS16 with Derek Ridgers


LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM — Brutus has been at the heart of subculture since the Sixties. From the beginning, mods, skinheads and casuals have made the Trimfit shirt an essential part of British street style.

To celebrate the wearability of Brutus, Accent asked two young London originals, Sadie Pinn and Larry B, to wear the SS16 collection their way. Legendary subculture photographer Derek Ridgers shot the campaign on the streets of Soho, referencing the eclectic style and character that has come out of the capital.

To mark the fiftieth anniversary of the brand, the SS16 collection All I’ve Ever Known looks back to the days of Harrington jackets, Nevapress trousers and loafers. Launched by Jonathan Freedman, the son of Brutus’s original founder, it is the brand’s first ever full collection. All I’ve Ever Known offers the opportunity to own a piece of history and wear it your way.






All photographs courtesy Derek Ridgers and produced by the Accent studio

I love to dress like

I love to dress like I am coming from somewhere. Flurina Rothenberger tells the stories behind more than a decade’s-worth of photographs from across Africa


AFRICA — I grew up in Zuénoula, a rural town in the center of Côte d’Ivoire. Since then my memories of this stage in my life have been rounded out by experiences in very different parts of Africa. And yet many of my first adventures remain special and vivid in my mind to this day. I am still reluctant to ride in a four-wheel drive – owing to a heavy dose of nostalgia for the Renault 12 of my childhood: a vehicle bolted together on Ivorian soil with that special extra of an added base plate under the chassis for “challenging” roads.

One day in 1985 we were on our way back home from a visit to the town of Tabou. It was the rainy season and the track had turned into a soft muddy field. We got stuck, the engine of the R12 went dead and my parents exchanged a glance. After we’d spent hours shoving tree branches under the slippery tires, a relaxed, elegant man in a very shiny car drove up and stopped. He made a joke about the poto-poto (a local term for mud) before calling in help on his walkie-talkie. He then got out of the car, skillfully sidestepping the mud to keep his leather loafers clean, and swept my rain-soaked sisters and me into the soft backseat of his vanilla-scented car. The man, who owned a rubber plantation nearby, invited us to stay in his guest apartment on the compound while he had the car fixed. It was the classiest place we had ever been to. We spent the afternoon splashing around in a big blue chlorinated pool, thrilled at this rare opportunity. The next morning we climbed into our now spotless, vacuumed car, scented with a Little Tree air freshener dangling from the rear-view mirror. The cleanliness didn’t last long, though. A few days later, a neighbor delivered her baby on the backseat of the vehicle while being rushed to the clinic. So she named the boy Renault.

This project is a tribute to ordinary life. No spectacular or sensational incidents, just selected daily observations from countries in Africa I have worked or stayed in over the past ten years. These pictures are a modest personal selection of glimpses of Africa that cannot possibly reflect the huge diversity of such a vast continent, comprising 55 independent countries and a correspondingly wide range of peoples, lifestyles and cultures.

Conflicting facts, opportunities, intentions and events often closely co-exist here, stitched together to form a multilayered backdrop to daily life in Africa. Against such a diverse backdrop, the job of keeping the story simple can easily lead to misconceptions. Trying to single out a statement from a place of such contrasting truths is comparable to tackling the traffic in a city like Accra in Ghana or Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. As the situation evolves around you, you’re constantly forced to reconsider your judgment and focus – or else you get stuck and left behind. This is one of the edifying and refreshing challenges I love about working in Africa: it is a strong and constant reminder that a particular image is always an intentional choice of one perspective from among many. The questions this continent raises and casually places in my path make me stop and think about what I actually understand.

I hope Africans living in and outside the continent will recognise fragments of their own past or present reality and tie-ins to their own admiration for the richness that life on this continent has to offer. There is a precious quality we can learn from a majority of Africans: there is always a reason to greet people properly, exchange a few words and thoughts, regardless of how we’re dressed, where we are coming from or headed to. Ultimately, it is a sense of comfort that reawakens the moment I step onto African soil. It is the conviction and peace at heart that things will work out one way or another, either by surprise or as promised.


Sundays are a big sporting day in Lomé, the capital of Togo. In the morning, everybody – young and old – head to the beach and spend the day doing gym exercises, drinking coconuts and jumping in the water for a swim. There is a huge culture of keeping fit and this photo shows the pride people take in their bodies. Typically the poorer the place, the more pride people will take in their physical appearance.


Near African capitals there will be a beach that is cleaner than the others, where everyone will go to swim. When I was growing up, the beach at Grand Bassam used to be populated mainly by old white men with beautiful young Ivorian women. The only young black guys were the ones working at the bars. When I returned in 2008, it was so good to see that things had changed and young couples were making out at the beach. I made a whole series of young couples there.

People save up for New Year’s Eve. Tailors will work twenty-four hours a day leading up to it, because everybody spends all their money on custom-made clothes. On New Year’s Day, everyone goes to the beach with picnics and shows off their new outfits. Photographers come around snapping photographs and return an hour later to sell their portraits back to the subjects.

This guy is a Vodoun king from Aneho in Togo. Aneho is one of the West African towns known for being ‘the cradle of Vodoun.’ Vodou is a traditional African belief which now has about 80 million followers, from Brazil to Cuba, New Orleans and Haiti.

Aneho continues to celebrate the tradition of worship in all its royalty, pomp and pageantry. This king is dressed in luxurious white fabric, the colour of Voodoo. He charges members of the community for his healing services, and is holding about five different cell phones to stay in reach. I love the fact that people have no problem sampling different values – you can be globally connected through technology, yet have your feet rooted in African heritage. I assume that’s why so much good music comes from Africa; people know how to sample and they don’t discriminate.


There is a misconception that homeless people are not cared for in their communites, but I don’t think that’s true. These people belong to the city and have their own place in society just like everyone else. This man is known by everyone in town, and they make sure that he doesn’t go hungry. He asked me if I would take his photograph.

These two girls started dressing up for the picture. They love showing off, and their poses are full of pride and attitude. In Europe we see the body as a vessel for the mind, but in Africa, they think bodies have equal value. Most people feel confident and comfortable in themselves, and they rarely shy away when I ask to take their photo.


In Ghana, this guard in a clean-cut uniform is patrolling the beach and keeping an eye on the houses. The houses are run down and don’t hold a lot of value but he still patrols the area. It’s another hot day, so he scrunches a tissue in his hand to mop his brow sweat.


While young people in Africa gesture and pose in photos, older people are normally deadly serious. They take it very seriously and position themselves formally in front of the camera. It says a lot about their relationship with photography, from a time when they were forced to have their pictures taken for passports and documents – photography was a colonial instrument. They see it as impolite to smile or show their teeth.


The Abidjan hotel in the Ivory Coast used to be 5-stars when I was growing up, but now this has changed and it is open to the public. These boys were teaching the girls to swim in the pool, but the girls were terrible and weren’t motivated to learn because for them it was more of a date. In Africa, you can’t tell people what to do – if I ask them to pose for a picture they will never do exactly what I say. They always do their own thing and it looks amazing.



A weekend at the annual Kalderash celebration in Eastern Romania, with photographs by Emily Stein


MOLDAVIA, EASTERN ROMANIA — We are in a field in Romania. Clouds of grill smoke float over an encampment of fat cars, beach umbrellas and foldable gazebos. Whole suckling pigs jostle for space on overloaded tables between piles of bread and bottles of whisky so enormous they need to be cradled in tiltable stands. There is gold: on belts and faces; around wrists, fingers and toes; inside mouths. Here, it seems, wealth exists to be driven, worn or eaten.

The people who have gathered here are the Kalderash, a subgroup of the Roma people. They have come to visit the relic of Saint Gregory in the nearby Orthodox Bistrita monastery and celebrate with a huge party.

The Kalderash used to be metalworkers and coppersmiths, but their traditional livelihood has disappeared and forced the community to find alternative ways of supporting themselves. Despite these changes, they are considered one of the least socially-assimilated Roma groups, which is another way of saying that, because they have maintained their traditional way of doing things, they are treated as outsiders in their native countries.


In Europe, Roma communities are still a source of fantasy and fear for the non-Roma among whom they live. Roma people, genetically and linguistically of Indian descent, have historically been suspected by non-Roma of having magical powers. How else, we might ask ourselves, could a community survive without citizenship, land or fixed property, unless by some kind of supernatural social bond?

But watching the ebb and flow of people between family tables at this great yearly celebration gives us a visual account of an altogether unmagical process of community-making. Families stretch out roots into the wider community as sugar-crazed children crisscross between tables, adults come and go doing business and gossiping, teenagers make eyes at each other and babies are passed around and admired. It seems one could navigate to any extremity of this social network – from brother to mother to cousin to sister to aunt – without ever needing to leave the firm ground of kinship.

Only a tiny proportion of Roma communities still live permanently on the road, but the negative stereotypes remain. The mobility of a travelling community suggests an unsettled, inconstant, wayward lifestyle, in contrast to the positive undertones of a propertied existence: settled, permanent, established. But compare the solidity of the social bond here with the precarious and impoverished idea of community in a modern, urbanised society. Could it be that by defending their way of life, the Roma have remained firmly socially rooted, while it is in fact the modern urban workforce who have become Europe’s shifty, mobile, digital vagabonds?

This is the heart of the Roma cliché, the reason why they have so often been romanticised and despised at the same time: they seem to have held on to something magic – something terribly important – that the rest of us have lost, and long for.

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Great Uncle John

Photographer Eloise Parry shares the story of her great uncle, a joiner, gentleman and nonconformist by nature


MIDDLESBROUGH, UNITED KINGDOM — My Great Uncle John contracted meningitis when he was a toddler leaving him completely deaf. When he left school, his Mother, Tootsie (my great grandmother), approached every local business in attempt to find him a job. Tootsie’s stoicism and charm secured him an apprenticeship as a joiner for company that made coffins.

John has been a joiner all of his life. He has two children: Tanya and Brady, along with three grandchildren: Kasey, a keen drag racer who tragically died in a car accident in 2011, doing what he loved the most. He also has two other grandchildren, Katie and Scott. He had one marriage and consequently one divorce, but more significantly- a relationship with a wonderful woman named Barbara, which has lasted over 25 years. They never married or lived together, Barbara was always fiercely independent, but they have spent the majority of their lives together, up until last week, when Barbara passed away.

John often comments on my photographing of him with remarks like, “you fucking dickhead, why do you want more photographs of me, you have thousands.’’ But every time I photograph John he reveals something new about himself. I think it’s because he has a chance to exercise his inherent exhibitionism and humour. He’s an exceptional character; he has never yielded to the pressures of becoming what would generally be considered as socially conventional, but I don’t think it’s an intentional rebellion, he just doesn’t know how to be anything else but himself.

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