You remember Sawandi. We worked together back in December of last year. A truly talented and versatile young man, and I hope to work with him for years to come.
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A simple Google search of famous fashion photographers will turn up multiple lists of "fifty of the greatest" and I certainly can't argue any of them. However, the pictures used as examples representing each are shots from major fashion campaigns where teams of people came together to make the images possible. This brings us to my question: do photographers get too much credit?
The picture above is my mother. There's no denying the necessity of a photographer who understands how to use a camera and how to control light. Without that, there's no picture! But my mother is incredibly beautiful and she's a hair stylist, two things 99% of photographers don't have control of.
This is a great image. I don't mean to take credit away from the photographer or studio that captured it, but my mother certainly made it easy for them.
Think of a fashion photographer you consider famous; it could be Helmut Newton, Patrick Demarchelier, David LaChapelle or Annie Leibovitz. Or those that set many of the lighting trends still used today, like Richard Avedon, Martin Munkácsi or Irving Penn. Now picture an image of theirs that's well known. Who styled it? Who did the hair and makeup? Who was the art director? Better yet, what's the model's name?
My mother grew up speaking French and English, as her parents native language was French. Her image never graced the cover of any high fashion magazine or any magazine at all. Yet it seems fitting to use this French term to describe 75% of the fashion industry: they're full of shit.
There's something to be said about confidence and natural beauty. I don't aim to define either, but when I've had the opportunity to work with someone that truly understands each I feel guilty taking credit for the end product.
The pictures below, taken by my father, shows a woman wearing everyday attire on both a sunny winter day and a summer day. Composed and beautiful. My mother.
Charlie Naebeck is the other amazing photographer I was able to speak with. He's nearing the end of his tenure with Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design and he's got an incredible body of work to show for it.
His grandmother was a photographer and gave him his first camera; a Polaroid 600. Now he's seldom seen without one. World renowned fashion photographer Stan Malinowski told me the reason he got into photography was to be able to talk to people... and girls... but it was a tool for conversations he otherwise might not have. Here's what Charlie had to say:
"I feel particularly drawn to photography over other mediums because it acts as a gateway of opportunity to interact with people and places I would otherwise not get to meet or see in my lifetime. I find it keeps me inspired due to continuously changing what I am seeing and experiencing. One day I might be in the studio photographing head shots, while the next I could be half way across the world photographing for a client or fine art project."
During breaks from school Charlie continues to work hard in his field (something I urge all students to do). He recently connected with photographer Jordan Matter for work in New York.
"Jordan wrote a blog post titled The Power of Yes. I read his post and it immediately resonated with me that this was something I do myself. I say yes to things people could say no to because they think it's too hard or difficult to accomplish and I make positive experiences and opportunities out of it. I was so inspired by the entire finding of my life mantra, that I headed to a tattoo shop with one of my friends to get THE POWER OF YES tattooed on my left inner forearm. I continuously use this approach in photography. What can I make if I say yes and continue to create new opportunities? "
Prior to school Charlie held a few jobs, like cashier, cook, logo designer, website developer, musician (played in 5 bands), record label owner (twice), supervisor, book printer, programmer, photographer, artist, farmer, philanthropist, activist, producer and audio engineer.
"Sometimes experiences overlap and sometimes they take you down different paths that split off in life, just like the experience of getting laid off from my IT supervisor job inspired me to head back to school. "
The above images aren't traditional film nor are they traditional digital. They're experimental, combining elements from both processes.
"I have been very interested in old processes lately like film noir, wet collodion and black and white film. I also have a background in IT. I thought it would be great to mash up worlds and experiment with what could be created if I combined partial old processes and partial new process. In these images I experimented with the process of photographing digitally, using a projector as an enlarger to print onto photo paper, then hand developing the prints. I later scanned them, photographed various textures and overlayed them in post to emulate that of wet collodion without the harmful chemicals. I have been curious if one can tell the difference between true wet collodion verses experimental wet collodion. "
Much like a Mac with an Intel processor running Windows and OS X, Charlie can follow technical guidelines down to the sub-atomic particle as well as enjoy the freedom of shooting from the hip.
"(While abroad in Italy) I would go on mini day trips with my friends and do nothing but blindly shoot from the hip for the entire day without looking through the view finder. Sometimes I would find the work was compositionally sound, where others I would get this completely different creation that I would have never thought about as a different way to see whatever it was I was shooting. It was continuous excitement to print and see what new surprises awaited me every time I shot. I ended up doing a show at U of M where I put up the entire lot of photos I shot in Italy no matter if I thought they were good or bad."
When he's not photographing fashion (which he has an amazing eye for!) he's working on projects with powerful messages.
"I am working with the topic of body image and the celebration of diversity of the human form through black and white photography. I had a friend that passed away from bulimia. Being I photograph a lot of fashion and commercial work outside of my time spent at the University of Michigan, I wanted to use the opportunity for my thesis to explore taking body image out of the contexts of what the media commonly brain washes culture with. My goal within the next year is to photograph 300 male and female figure nudes of anyone 18+ that wishes to pose. I am conducting an interview with each individual that poses for the project to speak with them about their views of body image, why they decide to pose for my project and how they see body image being looked at in the future. I am also writing my own perspectives down about each shoot I complete to answer the same questions after each photo shoot to share my own insights and am opening up commentary to third party viewers who want to share their experiences either with the work or with their own experiences with the topic of body image. I will be combining the photographs and texts with experimental print methods to make unique pieces of work to open a dialog about body image for positive acceptance beyond that of traditional media."
Lastly, the things he's drawn to and the people that inspire him are:
"I am continuously drawn back to people and spaces in my work."
" Lately I have been inspired by: Richard Avedon, Igor Vasiliadis, Edward Weston, Carne Griffiths, Olga Noes, Elliott Erwitt, Steven Meisel, Stefano Brunesseli, Gregory Heisler, Sally Mann, Renee Jacobs, Imogen Cunningham, Rowan Newton, Arthur Dow, Jordan Matter, Helmut Newton, anything film noir based, Romeo Di Loreto, and my friends."
My sister Alice just got engaged to her beau John and we couldn't be happier, especially since they decided to have their engagement photos taken at one of the most authentic and delicious spots for coffee in town (their first date was here), the (espresso) bar. As it happens, coffee is good for you and the owner, Sandy, is the kind of person that remembers your drink even after a pregnancy hiatus.*
N got to catch some great shots of the couple in the well-appropriated space as well as enjoy some beautifully-crafted drinks.
Thank you, Sandy and the (espresso) bar staff for letting us take over your space. Check back for more photos from their new brunch menu soon. And Like them on Facebook for yummy updates everyday!
To book your engagement shoot, give us a call at 734-929-2498 or email at email@example.com
*Their affogato is crazy good.