Chase My Yellow Kite - Online Photography Newspaper
Spring Issue 2014

Fake Tan Salon

We interview Sophie Polyviou about her wonderful plans to collect everybody’s great summer photographs to while away the cold nights.

Sophie Polyviou interviewed by Sam Taylor, photography by Sophie Polyviou – 21/03/2014


S.T. Who are you? What do you do?
S.P. I’m Sophie – I’m a photographer and I also work as an artist assistant. Currently that means painting smiley faces onto riot shields [for James Cauty] and in the past it’s meant filling emu eggs with gold paint to make giant paint bombs [for Miss Pokeno] – the work varies a lot and it’s fun and inspiring working with mischief makers on a daily basis.
S.T. What is the Fake Tan Salon?
S.P. The Fake Tan Salon is a photography exhibition of sunshine, blue skies and generally any summery photography people choose to submit. It might not seem so necessary since the recent spot of great weather but I wanted to make an exhibition that was an antidote to the grey skies that seem to dominate this country throughout the year. It’s amazing when the sun comes out how people’s attitude suddenly changes, there’s a buzz that just spreads – I want to re-create that feeling without depending on the weather. The Fake Tan Salon is about asking people to submit some photos of sunshine and help spread the good vibes that go with it.


S.T. Who is involved in the project?
S.P. The project is mainly my way of trying to stop complaining about the weather and doing something positive instead – but it relies on other people’s participation. I can’t fill a room with sunshine on my own! So anyone and everyone who wants to take part can – all people need to do is send me a print and I’ll do the rest.
S.T. What were the thoughts behind the initial idea for the project?
S.P. The Fake Tan Salon first appeared as an idea I proposed for an exhibition by Jade Blood called The Aftermath at Bar Lane Studios in York, where the theme was the aftermath of Christmas excess and the January blues which ensue. It seemed the perfect time to bring “blues-busting blue skies” to a dreary month.

The format of the exhibition was inspired by The Photocopy Club – a series of exhibitions featuring photography submitted in the form of photocopies/xerox copies. Their goal is to “get photography off the internet and get printed matter back into the hands of the public.” I really love this idea – that photography can be cheap to print, it doesn’t have to be some delicate, rare or expensive process in order to be physical and look great. The Photocopy Club create a very punk/DIY aesthetic and I like that – it’s refreshing and inclusive.

I haven’t put any format limitations on how people submit to the Fake Tan Salon as long as it’s physical, but I do want people to keep it cheap – a postcard sized photo from a local print shop or from an online service is cheap as chips to print. If people want to send me their work in larger sizes, as photocopies or printed from a home printer that is fine too! I’m curious to see how people respond and whether I can curate something unified out of the work I get.


S.T. Do you envisage the project having a regular series of exhibitions?
S.P. I think an irregular series of Fake Tan Salon exhibitions would be great – as long as I get the dreary weather doldrums I think I’ll need my own artificial dose of Vitamin D. The upcoming exhibition is The Fake Tan Salon anticipating April Showers, but in the future I think it would be most effective as an event during the dark winter months.
S.T. Have you thought about taking the project into a different medium further down the road, perhaps a book of Fake Tan Salon submissions?
S.P. I would love to make a publication with submissions! The prints will be available to buy on the night for cheap – giving people the opportunity to take a piece of summer artwork home and so I can try to cover the costs of the exhibition. If there is any profit it will go towards the Fake Tan Salon and if there is enough for a publication at the end that would be great. I’m also planning a series of Fake Tan Salon postcards so people can pass on the sunshine. Postcards are a perfect medium for the Fake Tan Salon because they’re so easy and cheap to send and are so exciting to get.


S.T. Where can people send their submissions for Fake Tan Salon?
S.P. Please send physical copies by post to:
Fake Tan Salon
23 Carter House
Brune Street
E1 7NN

Deadline is 9th of April but don’t wait till the last minute! The sooner I get submissions the sooner the exhibition can start taking shape!

S.T. How can people keep up-to-date with the project?
S.P. The project is on tumblr and facebook: