I’m a 27 year old Fashion Photographer living in London. I first got into photography when I began taking social photos of my friends and I, in the way that teenagers do. I would wallpaper my bedroom walls (much to the dismay of my mum) with my many images. I can remember the anticipation and excitement of opening a set of film photos that I hadn’t seen before. I can remember putting my films into Boots for 7 days processing, since it was the cheapest way of processing them, but going in everyday after school to annoy the staff to see if they were ready early. At my junior school, I never remember being particularly interested in art lessons. Art was taken very literally; watercolour paintings of a vase of flowers or a pencil drawing copy of a painting – something that I didn’t excel at. However, during my secondary school, and particularly during my Art GCSE, art became an avenue to be creative in whichever medium you pleased; something that I loved. I discovered that, rather than copying something, I could take a photograph of it and paint over the top of it in the style of various, famous artists. It was at this point that I made the effort to learn about taking interesting photographs. I soon found the photography aspect more interesting than the painting aspect and I incorporated as much photography into my portfolio as I could. Despite loving the creative outlet that photography provided, I did not see myself as an ‘artist’ or art as my career goal, and ended up studying English and Philosophy at Southampton University.
Whilst I enjoyed the degree study, I found that I was always trying to bring imagery into my writing and eventually discovered that this was where my interest lay. Being a flexible course, I was able to take film studies modules where I analyzed the cinematography in films such as Kes and This is England. I would often take stills from crucial scenes to analyse. I began to see how an interest in imagery was all-important to producing moving films and novels and how I could make an interest in this a possible career. I was also able to study the Aesthetics of Art as one of my Philosophy modules and this made me aware of how paintings and photographs can provoke emotion and spark interest in a person.
During my holidays at university, I met with a number of photographers and ended up spending a month with Fashion Photographer, Elisabeth Hoff. I admired Elisabeth’s finish and style and how everything about her images would work to compliment each other. When I finished my degree, I got an internship with Elisabeth, during which I assisted her on prestigious photo shoots for high-end Fashion Magazines. Although, with hindsight, I can see that this internship gave me invaluable shoot and industry experience and was integral to me developing into a professional photographer, at the time I found it somewhat deflating. It made becoming a fashion photographer seem unattainable to me; the industry seemed incredibly daunting and I couldn’t see how I could ever break in without endless contacts. But, I wanted to pursue it, so I did a photography & lighting course, worked as a studio assistant at Skin Studios in Kensington and picked up my camera and started testing. As I began shooting fashion, and getting positive feedback, my confidence grew and I knew that I didn’t want to be anything else. So in that sense, funnily enough, I never had an epiphany of thinking ‘I want be a Professional Photographer’ before I was one. I knew that I did deep down, but initially doing it professionally seemed unachievable.
I began doing a mixture of photographic work but I soon found that, as well as being what I wanted to do, fashion and celebrity photography was where my passion and talent lay. I found it so exciting that, with fashion and beauty, you could create an ideal image – something beautiful and unique in its own right. I know other photographers who enjoy the documentary style of photography, of waiting for a moment to happen, being at the right place at right time and of capturing it. Whilst there is still an element of this in fashion, in that there are so many variables that you can’t control (the weather on location being the main one); at the heart of it, I love that you are in control of all the components of an image: the model, the make up, the styling, and you are able to create a piece of artwork yourself. I also enjoy the balance of being a photographer; one day you are on an exciting set full of buzz and excitement and then the next you are sat editing your creations at your mac in comfy clothes with a cup of tea.
Knowing that I wanted to go down the fashion, celebrity, beauty route, I began taking test shoots with as many models and companies or individuals that I could manage; created a website and then kept emailing my work to different, fashion companies.
My first, paid shoot was with an online accessories company. They posted me a box of feather headbands and I created an ethereal, dreamlike studio shoot for which I cast a stunning, redhead model. Excitingly, this accessories company is Rock ‘N Rose who has grown and become an incredibly successful brand, collaborating with Pixie Lott for a collection, which I shot for them. Following that I worked for magazines such as Cosmopolitan, shot fashion campaigns in luxurious locations such as Monaco and St. Tropez; photographed advertising campaigns for clients such as Accessorize, Martini & Tresemmé and took portraits of artists such as Madness and Pixie Lott. I have also been televised as a guest photographer on ‘Made in Chelsea’, ‘The Only Way is Essex’ and ‘Britain’s Next Top Model’.
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