Fresh Faces Model Competition

I recently spent a day photographing an event, I was also interviewed for it and below is the unedited text I supplied them, I don’t know how it will be edited, it rambles and rants a bit, but what the hell, I wanted to get something new online…

You were recently shooting Fresh Faces 2012, how did it go?
It went very well. Quite a long day I guess, so the wine, cava and canapés at the end of the day were much appreciated.

What did you think of the models and the winners Magdalena and Jose Manuel?
Well there were 4 winners including the Revlon award, I think it was a split of classic models in one category and perhaps edgier ones in the other, All in all a good looking bunch and very friendly.

Was it easy to work with the models and organisers?
Very easy, I was pretty much left to my own devices, usually I tend to work with more lighting but took this day as a chance to travel light and work mostly with the ambient, trying to be a fly on the wall as much as possible, though of course models have a 6th sense when it comes to cameras so trying to photograph them unnoticed was a challenge.

What was the highlight of the day and which are your favourite 3 shots from the contest?
I guess the most exciting part may have been the actual catwalk as I have never done one, so I felt I learnt a lot and could go back and do it much better next time, all the photography of the models getting made up was also fun and I could happily do that for hours, though I am beginning to realise I need to try and find ways to not get too predictable, as it is quite limited in what you do and what occurs, so I like the challenge of how to see it with fresh eyes and a new perspective.

Could you tell us also something about yourself and your background?
I studied Philosophy and literature at University, but always loved photography, I started out as a kid in school and learnt the dark room, After travelling for a year doing travel images I got a job assisting and this was the real education, big complicated shoots with loads of lighting, travelling all over the world, I don’t think you need to go to university; teach yourself and assist a pro, and for god’s sakes learn the rules before you decide to break them.

What photography do you specialise in? Is it fashion photography?
I tell people that living in Barcelona you can’t really specialise if you want to get work! But the truth is I like variety a lot and I believe being out of your comfort zone can lead to better results, if you can deal with the extra stress. I generally shoot people, usually in environments, and I like to use artificial lighting as a rule. I also love modern architecture just because it is slower and more considered and it lets you play with form, colour and light, almost like abstract painting at times.

What are your inspirations/influences?
Well for day to day inspiration I follow a few of blogs (for example Strobist & The Candid Frame). Regarding photographers I like well, they vary from week to week, but one that stuck with me was Robert Frank, mostly because I saw his big exhibition in New York a couple of years ago. What really caught my attention were not the prints which you can see anywhere but rather his contact sheets. They remind me of days I shot with film and would wander around looking for images, always mindful back then that you had 36 frames and it cost money! Just seeing the linear succession of a roll of film, the errors, the pencilled selections and him jumping from one scene to another perhaps over a  several days was fascinating, when you see finished prints in exhibitions or books you might think such a level of creativity is beyond you: the contact sheets told the true story, about the process, the mistakes and the eventual success. I would love to see more exhibitions like this.

Do you have any works/success stories you would like to share with us? (magazine you’ve worked with, clients…)
I guess one should name drop at moments like these, but I cannot say anyone famous I have dealt with was the most remarkable person I ever met, nor stories done for famous magazines pleased me more than one for one that isn’t. People with stories are the best, A) because they are interesting and B) it keeps them distracted and can buy you more time! Any shoot where you go in clueless as to what to do and get something you love is an obvious success, but sometimes I get jobs where I have worked it all out in my head and pressing the shutter is almost a formality, I think that is a success as well, because the concept became concrete. I also do wedding photography once in a while and this is perhaps the hardest work, but in one day I might have 20+ images I would use in a portfolio which has to be exceptional in just about any photographic field, I also think most fashion photographers should try doing a wedding at least once, they would get a rude awaking I think!

What do you think are the challenges for photographers today?
The biggest challenge is to survive in a world where so many people think they are now pro photographers just because they went out and bought a DSLR! Photography like any creative endeavour these days favours all too often the people with the right contacts and/or business acumen more than actual talent, as a result there is a tendency to go for gimmicky trendy looks rather than develop your own style, which can take time. Most photography that makes money is not very glamorous but does require technical skills, as leaving too much to chance and passing off the results as ‘arty’ just does not cut it.

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