Can you remember when you first held a camera?
I wasn’t one of those people with stories of finding photography as a child. I happened upon a second assisting job when I came to London aged 18. It was with a still life photographer but in the above studio was John Galliano and that lead to meeting him and getting into fashion photography. My boss was so supportive and gave me a darkroom to use and covered all my film and processing expenses. He was a dream, very special, sadly died too young. His name was Peter Myers a gifted still life photographer.
What is a childhood image burnt into your mind?
With regards photography it was the pages of Australian Vogue that I had made into wallpaper in my bedroom. It was even more thrilling to get copies of British Vogue.
Can you tell me an iconic photographer whose work you got very fascinated by? — What did you feel when looking at their images?
The first fashion photographer I became obsessed with was Peter Lindbergh. I just loved the classic images and the continuity of his style that was always present. I loved the black and white printing style and the black borders. I used to make my own cardboard frames to print with to try to emulate him.
Do you think the “male gaze" is a myth?
Oh I have never heard this term before so I had to google it! If its sexualising women, some people do it in a good way and others not, many come with the wrong intentions as the world found out.
What was your first fashion shoot?
My first fashion shoot was with John Galliano’s clothes, I didn’t know what I was doing and I only had access to large format cameras in the studio and that is what we used, gosh, to think I used to shoot loads of 10x8 polaroid such a luxury now. Things only happened for me when I got my Nikon 35mm and I went out on the streets with models.
What do you love most about the Fashion Industry?
Meeting some wonderful people.
What do you most hate about Fashion Industry?
I am no longer in love with the fashion industry. The image is no longer valued. It’s only about how much content you can supply. When I learnt photography it was still a proper craft to learn now the world is oversaturated with images and sadly the art is no longer important.
If you would start out now what would you be doing, how would you go about // who would you work with and where would you be aiming?
Well I wouldn’t want to start now in fashion, I would do portraits, fashion is too over subscribed. It was such a small industry when I started and it felt special. As a career now and to earn a living from it is tough. If you love it you love and are really passionate about it go for it but everyone now says oh I just want to work in fashion, they think thats its all so glamorous. Most is not, some is for sure and there are some cruel people at the top!
Statistics show that only 1 in 10 of the big money jobs i.e. womenswear- beauty and perfume campaigns are shot by women. Is there just no qualified female fashion photographers out there?
There are so many many top female photographers out there I just think naturally men push it more have bigger egos and importantly are better bluffers. Bluffing helps get you to the top ha ha.
One says it takes 10’000 hours to become a master of a craft, how long in hours/days/years did it take you to make a living?
All I did was shoot test test test but I got a folio together and went out and saw magazines and got my first job for Sky magazine. In those days you could go in and see magazines relatively easily. Being a girl helped as my style was different.
Who is your female fashion image maker icon and who is your the one to watch?
Who is your female fashion designer icon and who is your the one to watch?
When I was younger all I wore was Vivienne Westwood, love her. Spent a fortune on her clothes. I don’t have one to watch sadly being in the fashion business has just made me love classic clothes. I hate the throw away fashion thing more than anything. You should buy things to last.
What makes you feel comfortable on set?
People that know what they are doing, a model or celebrity that I vibe with.
How important is your team?
It is everything, I only like a skeleton crew. Cant stand people just standing around just staring at the model or celebrity it makes it harder for the talent to relax. The amount of people on most advertising shoots is silly.
What do you say about the charge that all fashion photography is predominantly sexist?
I don’t believe it is.
There is a big surge of feminism at the moment - do you think that will affect Fashion Photography?
When I look at your work, I really love your shoot of Laura Julie for Style. What is yours?
Oh I have so many favourites, all the shoots I did with the late Lucy Ewing are some of my best work. The Laura Julie one you like I did with Lucy.
What was your relation to fashion prior to working in this industry? Has it changed?
Well I think I covered it above. I was obsessed with fashion and images as a child now I am less interested.
What qualities do you value in an agent or booker?
Kindness and trust. I have many friends who are agents or bookers as when I started I would always go into the agencies and hang and chat on the phone and you developed friendships. Now it’s all email.
What is the most valuable piece of advice you were ever given and what advice would you have wished for earlier on in your career?
It wasn’t advice it was just belief and support from my boss , he would write me letters of support saying I could beat the boys ha ha, I still have those letters. Nothing I wished I had known.
What is your next big project or goal for your career?
I am renovating my house in the countryside. Throughout my 30 year career I have had lots of moments of pause whether it is bring up my kids or renovating houses. I have never been afraid to take time out. Now there is no choice!
Is there anything in particular you'd like to accomplish?
Feel happy with my lot. Winning the Royal Photographic society award for fashion a few years ago was a very lovely recognition, it was a shock!