Can you remember when you first held a camera?
The first proper camera I held was at 16, I had left school and gone to do an art course instead of A levels. The course included a photography module, I had never thought too much about photography prior to this class. I really took to it straight away, we used old film slrs provided by the college and learnt the basics. Learned how to process and print from film in the dark room. I think I just loved all of it, not just taking pictures, but the editing and playing around with prints in the dark room.
What is a childhood image burnt into your mind?
I don’t think there’s a particular image I remember. I think photography back then was much more considered and cherished. My family always had point and shoot film cameras, pictures were taken on various holidays and special occasions, these would then be printed and put into family albums or printed for relatives. Just silly family stuff, nothing particularly artistic.
Can you tell me an iconic photographer whose work you got very fascinated by? — What did you feel when looking at their images?
I started to look at fashion photography when I was at university. I would buy loads of magazines, particularly I-D, Dazed& The Face. I got introduced to the fashion photography of Corinne Day, I loved the way it felt more like a documentary, intrigued by the characters depicted, I guess quite often they were friends she was photographing at home. I think I am more drawn towards the less polished looking fashion images, I like the mix of real life with fashion. I think I’ve always liked documenting things and shooting fashion and beauty, maybe I was influenced by this style when I was younger.
Do you think the “male gaze" is a myth?
I have occasionally experienced this kind of behaviour and have heard stories from other artists and models. I think it unfortunately does exist, but I hope it is something that will become a thing of the past. I do also think as photographers male or female we have subjects we are more interested in shooting. For me and maybe it is more of a female thing, I like diversity in my work. I'm more drawn towards interesting characters rather than having preference over sex or race. There are female photographers that would rather shoot just women over men, also female photographers shooting nudes and sexy females and this is seen as liberating, whereas if it’s the other way around it can be seen as sleazy. There are so many layers to this, I could go on for a while! I guess it all comes down to how someone has been made to feel on set male or female. I see the male gaze as behaviour or direction which makes a subject feel slightly uncomfortable - shoots are directed in a way that the images become more sexual rather than artistic..-
What was your first fashion shoot?
My first fashion shoot for a mag was a female story for 1883 magazine, it was pretty low-fi, shot at my flat. But prior to that there were quite a few test shoots with stylist friends if you can count any of those.
What do you love most about Fashion Photography?
It’s pretty fun and creative! I feel lucky to be doing what I’m doing. I don’t think it’s groundbreaking in any way, but it definitely suits me, I like the variety and the people I get to work with. It’s never dull.
What do you most hate about Fashion Photography?
I think there can be a bit of an old school mentality on succeeding in the industry. There’s a definite hierarchy to fashion which can be a bit elitist. I think the younger generation of creatives are less like this, more open minded and willing to help each other do well.
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?
I think if I was starting out now, I would assist as much as possible, maybe not bother with studying as it’s expensive and not necessary in the industry. It’s more about experience and working with the right people. Choosing people I admire the work of to assist and absorb as much as possible. I studied photography then didn’t assist much as I found it tricky as a girl. These days it shouldn’t be a problem, I often have female assistants.
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?
As I said in my previous answer, I was put off assisting when I was younger, I got told by one of the big agencies that not many of their photographers used women so not to bother. It’s much harder to break into the industry if you have no first hand experience. Having to go it on your own and learn as you go along (which is what I have done) takes much longer, it’s a slower road… So maybe that’s why. I make a point of using female assistants, so hopefully this will mean more women producing their own amazing work in the future. Things are changing but it feels slow.
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?
I have been going it alone for 7 years now, slowly building things, getting better jobs and editorials year on year. Prior to that I had a job at Net-A-Porter, I would shoot tests and small jobs on the side. I still don’t think I’m the master of my craft, as I am learning new ways of doing things all the time. There’s always more I want to learn and evolve as an artist.
Who is your female fashion photographer icon and who is your the one to watch?
What do say about the charge that all fashion photography is predominantly sexist?
Not all Fashion photography is sexist as there are some really great established female photographers out there. I think things are changing and there will be more of a shift as I think the younger generation are more open minded and inclusive. Quite a few brands are unisex also showing mens and womenswear at the same time at fashion week. I feel like things are merging together a bit, it’s less about sex selling clothes and make up, I think that’s a bit of an old fashioned concept.
There is a big surge of feminism at the moment - do you think that will affect Fashion Photography?
Yes I hope so. I hope that it will encourage more young women to take up photography and not to feel intimidated by the macho, techy side of things! Visually I think things are already more about personality these days rather than a fashion image being sexy. It also depends on the trends, if something is at the forefront which I feel like feminism is at the moment, brands will need to take that into consideration when deciding what message they want to get across through advertisement and who they want to shoot it.
When I look at your work, my favourite images are your beauty shots especially the ones of Carla and the twins. What is yours?
Thank you! I love both of those shoots, all really cool, interesting girls. The twins were completely natural except a bit of hair. So no make up and they were amazing. It’s really hard to pick, I think beauty is something I want to explore more of. Finding more interesting girls and boys to shoot. I also really like some of my beach project reportage images.