How did you enter the world of fashion photography?
I was in the beauty industry during the 80’s, as a Creative Director for some major Hairdressing Companies, and while in that position, was responsible for the creation of both hair designs and the photographic image. I was frustrated that everything in the beauty industry was “just head & shoulder” shots, and felt that fashion must be incorporated into the final image. Thus I began working with top photographers doing the hair for editorials, and in turn, began photographing my own work. This led to eventually “retiring” from the beauty industry, and into fashion photography full time.
Do you remember that exact moment when you knew photography was what you had to do?
I was at a beach in Los Angeles back in 1990, shooting a series of photos for a small company called Khaki & Whites. The budget was like two rolls of film and a sack lunch…..yet I felt an incredible sense of freedom, and I knew I couldn’t be happier doing anything else.
As you look through the viewfinder, what is the most critical moment in the capture of your image?
The emotion, the story within the overall story. That moment your gut and your heart tell you “it’s right”.
What advice do you have for somebody who wants to pursue photography?
Learn the past, because it is both the past and the present that create the future. If you don’t know the past, all you can do is copy the present. Something I always tell my Assistants, and young photographers I’ve mentored, is that it takes the same amount of effort to get to the top, as it does the bottom. Which has the greater rewards??
What photographers from the past or present have influenced you the most?
There are a number of Photographers I admire and respect. Photographers I’ve been fortunate to have met, worked for as an Assistant, and Photographers whom I’ve studied their work over the years to try and see what they see. Photographers such as Jean Baptiste Mondino, Guy Bourdin, Helmut Newton, Steven Meisel, Mario Testino, Mario Sorrenti, Patrick Demarchelier, Arthur Elgort, Pamela Hanson, Steven Klein, Nick Knight, Mert & Marcus, Diego Uchitel, and many more. These Photographers continue to challenge themselves, and they all work for the best magazines and clients. They are the one’s creating the images the younger Photographers try and copy.
You also direct short films, commercials and music videos. Which is more fun to do and how different are they from photography?
Both require equal drive and “story telling”. For example in my fashion films, I’m able to see my story come to life, driven by the music I select to accompany the film.