Thanks for taking the time to answer questions! There aren't many who do! I had a couple more, if I may. These days, do you gain the majority of new clientele via word-of-mouth, or do you still have to actively promote or campaign? Any promo advice for those of us starting out?
Most of my work has been word of mouth. The thing I’ve learned is that it will get you pretty far, but you still have to promote yourself by cold calling, rubbing elbows, and all the other stuff. My only advice to anyone is: do it your own way. What works for others may or may not work for you. Be authentic and real and true to yourself.
I'm 17 (18 in less than a week) and an equine photographer. It's obviously not the same as fashion, but I am super into photography and it's what I want to do for a job when I grow up. I know your FAQ says you do 3-5 shoots per week, which seems like a good amount! Is this your job that you're living off of, or is it a hobby/bonus for you? I'm not sure how to properly ask because it's more than "just a hobby" but if a photographer is good enough, can one support themselves as a photographer?
Yes, this is my full time job.
The thing is, it’s my job but I also take the time to do it as a hobby and “shoot the shit.” You’ll see a TON of photos not related to fashion on my tumblr, I use instagram to document the banal things in my world (follow me!!), and I take tons of pictures with my iPad. All those photos help make my fashion work more original. They help me think differently and see things differently so I don’t end up doing the same work as every other fashion photographer.
The thing you’ll want to know if you’re trying to support yourself: photography is mostly business. I didn’t learn this for a LONG time. It pays to be an excellent photographer, but you have to work on the business-end heavily if you want to support yourself.
Hi! Your work is such a inspiration, simple and strong, I really love it. Could u tell me what inspires you the most? And what's the meaning of art in your life? Aaaaand what was the difficulties you had when you were starting? How did you transform them in to good reasons/lessons to keep going with your work? If you come to Brasil someday, please, do a workshop here! Anxious to know your answers, bye!
There’s a lot of questions here! Let’s see if i can hit them all….
1) I can’t really say… it just depends on the moment. 2) Art has been a form of expressing deep truths. I’m either making art out of joy, interest, frustration, boredom, to say something or whatever. It’s malleable. 3) My biggest difficulties was expressing what I wanted to do, finding people I could work with, and getting them on the same page as me. I had to do several hundred shoots with obstacles constantly coming up. I learned to move on and move forward. 4) I still find it hard to work sometimes because people will come to me and say “We want you to do your thing.” Then, as I’m doing what I do, they stop me and say “Wait! We want you to do it THIS way.” For a while I changed my art to match their revisions but then they would complain about the revisions… so I’ve used those earlier lessons to just move on and move forward. 5) I have been thinking about going to Sao Paolo for a little while now!
Where is the balance between directing models and allowing them freedom? How did you learn? Thanks!
It just depends on the shoot. Sometimes I want something specific, other times I want something more natural. I’m known for confusing some people with my direction. That’s usually intentional so I can get something specific but it feels very strange to the people I’m directing. You can see Solomon’s reaction to shooting with me in this video he made after we shot his album cover and EPK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_91cpQsZnxE He talks about my direction for his first shoot at 0:45. He explains exactly how I directed him - the video will probably confuse people even more! And it should be noted he is just explaining ONE technique I use for directing, but I am always changing techniques as styles change, or when I’m working with different subjects.
As for learning, I learned the best way anyone can learn any skill: by experimenting and trying.
Hey :D Your photos are just... Wow. However have a question out of curiosity :D.. Before you take a photo, do plan it? As in, do you ask yourself what am I going to be doing today, what do I want to achieve? (I hope I don't sound rude!)
It’s not rude at all!
Each shoot is different. Sometimes I plan, othertimes I don’t. For example, I was called Wednesday morning to see if I could shoot Skylar Gray while she is in town (I’m a HUGE fan of her work so I obviously said yes). My schedule was tight so I had no time to prep. I had a rough idea of what I wanted to do, but things changed the moment I arrived at her hotel.
In another case, I’m planning two editorials I’m shooting later this week. I’m planning things pretty tight, but also keeping some aspects really loose.
And in another case, I’m putting together a personal project where EVERY detail is mapped out in advance. I’m working with everyone to have the scenes precise.
I'm so in love with all of your work ! Your style is perfect to me, how you appropriate to yourself those little moment of life...i had to say that you rule my entire world. Thank you for doing it that way, and i hope that you will always surprise us. Respectively - Claire
Thank you Claire! Those are some really sweet words and I hope I can continue to surprise people! I have a few fashion and art projects I’m shooting in the coming weeks that are COMPLETELY new and fresh and different than anything I’ve ever created. Hopefully those will be great!
I would just like to say, that you are 1 of my favorite photographers and inspire me daily. You are truly amazing and only dream of modeling for you one day. Amazing work and please, never stop <3 Thank you - Rivi
hi! i love your photographs, i think they're wonderful and i like your style. i think it's hard now a days for anyone to have their own style, but you certainly do. I really like photography myself (my flickr is sonunamela and i have a link to some of my own pictures on my tumblr if you have a minute or you're bored or something!) and I was wondering what advice you would have for a student applying to college who wants to base their career around photography. Thanks!
I’m not sure about the college route for photography. I’d simply suggest you shoot what you enjoy and dig deep in to it. Learn from your own curiosities. That is where you’ll find the most growth.