Frank Ocean Was Vogue's Unofficial Met Gala Photographer
It's the latest in a string of particularly public engagements for the once reclusive musician.
Looks like Lil Yachty's got competition – he wasn't the only one snapping away at this year's Met Gala, which took place last Monday 1 May. Looks like Frank Ocean was at it too, although instead of an iPhone, he rather naturally got behind a Contax T3 35mm camera to immortalise all his famous friends on film:
You can see his gallery of images, which features Zoë Kravitz, Naomi Campbell, A$AP Rocky, Kendall Jenner (who, I'm sure, is relieved to have actually made it into this batch of pictures after being ruthlessly and hilariously Diddy cropped), Bella Hadid and more here, and it'll also appear in the latest issue of American Vogue.
For many longtime (and long-suffering) fans who are have spend years getting used to Ocean's more mysterious, reclusive persona, his recent, public activity is both weird and very interesting. Over the last few months, he's started a radio show, is releasing new music more regularly than ever, and, with a string of summer festival dates (including London's Lovebox) all over the world lined up, he's appearing in public an unprecedented amount for someone who has a name for roving around the planet unseen and refusing selfies with fans. He has cancelled one festival appearance so far, but worries that some of his other summer gigs might follow suit haven't materialised to much yet.
But what's particularly intriguing is the way he's going about creeping back into the glare of the public eye: Frank achieved his prestige status by both making unique and important music, and, in a similar way to Beyoncé, by staying hidden and only revealing as much of himself as he saw fit, communicating rarely, and if ever, via Tumblr. This quickly allowed any public appearances to become headline news, catapulting him to almost legendary status aged only in his twenties. And now that he's stepping out from the curtain that he hung for himself, he's doing it carefully – only working with brands that carry cultural capital (Apple Music, Vogue), only appearing at exclusive events (like, you know, the Met Gala), and apparently socialising with the rich and very famous. Though, at the same time, he does all of this his way: he shoots on a compact film camera for one of the world's biggest fashion publications; he has other people front his radio show. Even though Frank Ocean is becoming more public, therefore, it just seems like a natural progression of the idea of himself that he has already cultivated, rather than selling out or becoming someone he's not in the name of celebrity.
If anything, it's excellent news that we've got more Frank in our lives – we could all do with more tenderness, sensitivity and soul – and to be honest, I hope he sticks around. Give me a Frank Ocean-shot photo book for my coffee table any day.
Follow Lauren on Twitter.