Can you remember when you first held a camera?
Not really but it would have been my mums old Minolta 35mm. My Grandpa was a keen amateur photographer and gave her one of his old cameras. I used to steal it and fire off a few shots ie. waste all her film.
What is a childhood image burnt into your mind?
There’s pictures of my mum in Venezuela where she met my dad in her travel scrap book. She’s 21 with beautiful golden curly hair. She looks so happy and confidant in these exotic locations. I used to look through that scrapbook and dream about my own adventures one day.
Can you tell me an iconic photographer whose work you got very fascinated by? — What did you feel when looking at their images?
I love Alfred Stieglitz’s portraits of Georgia O’Keefe. She looks both feminine & masculine, vulnerable & powerful. Their intimacy is so beautifully obvious in the way she looks out from the pictures.
Do you think the “male gaze" is a myth?
No. I think it can definitely be a thing. Depending on who the male photographer is. The ways in which a male may be attracted to portray a woman are different (generalisation) to the ways we see our sisters at their most attractive. Again generalising but, in some dynamics, there’s also a certain degree of sexual tension that is evident in the way a male photographer and a female model create images. Not to mention until now models where mostly very young woman so I think there can be a subconscious power dynamic that comes into play as well.
What was your first fashion shoot?
When I was in Uni my friend (who is a stylist) and I took a bunch of models out into a field on the side of the road and shot a totally cliché 70’s inspired fashion story. We were young and excited and had the best afternoon. My amazing mum brought us homemade ‘catering’ on wooden platters with little flowers from her garden.
What do you love most about the Fashion Industry?
The collaboration with other creatives. Meeting lots of interesting people from all over the world. Travelling and seeing inspiring locations
What do you most hate about Fashion Industry?
Hmmm. Where to start ha ha. I think the industry has a lot of room to grow/evolve. Great things are happening with diversity and the way in which woman are represented. I would love to see greater respect for freelancers livelihoods in general — male and female. At the moment it’s a difficult job to stay afloat in financially. Clients can take advantage of the competitive nature of the industry where there is always someone who will do the job for an unsustainably low fee just for the opportunity to work. This devalues the whole industry and makes it very difficult to stay in the profession long term. I wish we could have a Union or organisation to standardise rates etc.
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?
From a creative point of view I would be much more selective of what I chose to put out into the world. Clients and collaborators can only take you on face value so the work you show is the kind of work you attract. I think early on I was just so eager to work and took any opportunity that came my way.
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?
No! In my experience I have sensed perhaps there is less trust in a woman (especially a younger one) for the larger productions. I don’t think it’s a conscious thing — maybe just left over sub conscious patriarchal programming that a man seems more powerful and dependable to handle a larger production where there is a lot at stake. Of course there are SO many amazingly qualified woman photographers out there. Generalisation again … but I I also think that there’s a confidence thing between the sex’s that is apparent in all industries. Woman are like ‘ohh, I think I could do that’, ‘well I hope I can,’ ‘maybe I’m qualified to do that’ and Men are just like ‘Yeh, I’m the best person for that job and if not I’ll wing it’.
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?
Probably more than 10,000 ha ha. I’m not one of those naturally gifted photographers. I had to work hard to learn how to take pictures.
Who is your female fashion image maker icon and who is your the one to watch? I love anything Zoe Ghertner does. I have total photo-girl crush. I love the way the woman in her pictures look. They’re always standing there looking at you so matter of factly. She’s also really brave and wonderful with colour - the complete opposite of my work so I really admire that. Not fashion, but the work of Lisa Sorgini is insanely beautiful. Everything about her work and her portrayal of woman is stunning, powerful, poetic.. all the things. I love any work where the clothes are kind of secondary to the mood and the woman herself. Where you don’t actually notice until after you’ve admired the picture — subject & composition, that they’re also wearing beautiful clothing.
Who is your female fashion designer icon and who is your the one to watch?
It’s a bit obvious but I think what Phoebe Philo did for women's fashion is admirable. She made an iconic style of dressing that was both flattering and sculptural, as well as being luxurious but practical and timeless. In terms of sustainability I think it’s really important that we wear clothes that make us feel good and that last, whatever our taste is. Then we can consume less because those pieces will stand the test of time in our wardrobe.
What makes you feel comfortable on set? A great team. Lovely assistants who are great at their job and make my job so much easier. Good coffee & good music also essential.
How important is your team?
See above. Extremely. On a collaborative shoot, it’s everything. As a fashion photographer you are nothing without a good team and great subject.
What do you say about the charge that all fashion photography is predominantly sexist?
I would say we’re making a lot of progress. I think perhaps this could have been said in the past but not so much anymore. I do struggle with the concept of why a man would be shooting a women’s underwear campaign to sell underwear to women but I know that’s not always the case anymore.
There is a big surge of feminism at the moment - do you think that will affect Fashion Photography?
Of course. The future is female. Already in the last 2 years I feel we’ve seen a lot of change and I look forward to seeing woman continuing to disrupt the industry.
When I look at your work, I really love your shoot of Adele Taska for Russh. What is your favorite shoot?
Thanks! That was a great shoot with people I love working with. No hair or makeup just a small team of us in the mountains in Ticino, Switzerland. Adele is gorgeous and I loved working with her but I’m always torn when I look at this shoot. She is so, so young. I wonder how that speaks to the demographic who are actually reading the magazine.
What was your relation to fashion prior to working in this industry? Has it changed?
I used to sew my own clothes in High school (badly) and always appreciated fashion from a creative point of view but never had money to buy anything really ‘fashionable’. Now I love looking though the collections and trying on beautiful things on set but It’s difficult not to see the absurdity though, when a designer jacket costs £2,000 or more and then reading the news about millions of people who can’t even afford to feed themselves. These parallel worlds really mess with me.
What qualities do you value in an agent or booker?
Transparency. Honesty. Financial integrity - ie. making sure we’re paid and in a timely manner that is sustainable to running a business. Also -someone who believes in your work and can understand what you need to deliver those images. Someone who can push you creatively and get you seen by the people you want to be working with.
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?
That you get stressed about making pictures because you care. Without stressing about the details you wouldn’t get the results. So don’t try to eliminate the stress, that’s what pushes you.. It’s kind of essential to achieving the desired result. Just figure out a way to deal with that stress. Meditation has saved my life.
What is your next big project or goal for your career? To do more commercial work with brands who are doing great things for the industry/environment/woman etc.
Is there anything in particular you'd like to accomplish?
Yeah, land that big campaign and get paid for those 10,000 hours finally ;)