Fashion Photography Personal Statement
Submitted by Charlie
My interest in fashion photography was initially based on my love of fashion. From the ages of 13 to 16, I went to an after-school fashion class each week where I learnt to cut patterns, create clothing and was introduced to designers. It was here that my love for clothing developed and where I first encountered fashion photography through my tutor's magazines and books. It recently occurred to me that a large part of why fashion photography comes naturally to me is because of my understanding of the garment itself - the structure, movement and silhouette of the clothing plays a key role in the image making process and is something I have a strong connection to. Studying textiles at GCSE and A level has enhanced this understanding and the nature of the projects has made me start thinking in a more conceptual way which I now apply to my photography.
When starting my A-level course, I wasn't sure which area of photography I wanted to go into.I played around with some close-up, structure-based themes (as well as self-directed street photography while on holiday in Florence) before moving on to a personal documentary project and finally trying my hand at fashion photography.I found that the thing I loved about fashion photography, the thing that made it stand out from what I had tried before, was how conceptual and fantasy like it can be.
When thinking of ideas and searching for inspiration, I often look to cinema. Because I like to create a backstory to my work, films really inspire me conceptually and aesthetically. When I watch films, I pay attention to the light and composition of each shot, the set choices as well as the costumes and how they all add to both the story and the tone of the film. It is these details which inspire me- sometimes a single item of clothing or prop, sometimes a fully realised aesthetic concept- this is what I tend to base my work around.Interestingly, my favourite photographers are often influenced by cinema. David Lachapelle, who shoots a lot of movie stars, tends to build a full set as if he was shooting a film and Steven Klein once said that he finds that "it sometimes works best to shoot live action and then extract a still frame from that". Apart from my personal growth as a photographer, my photography course has taught me about collaboration and teamwork as my shoots often involve three other people and directing them all has been a challenge that I have greatly improved in. In addition, I feel that the way the course is run, starting on film rather than digital has allowed me to really hone in my composition and choose my shots carefully rather than just snapping away and picking the best 36 out of 200. It has also allowed me to explore working in the studio as well as on location and the technical challenges involved in both circumstances.
I also studied digital illustration as an enrichment course to grow my skill set and improve my abilities in Photoshop. I think it's important to have a wide range of skills so I can adapt to what a client might want and so that I'm able to do any number of different tasks in the fashion promotion industry.
As much as I'm passionate about visual arts, I'm also a writer and performer with a group called Culture Clash for which I perform my own poetry. Last summer, we performed at the Edinburgh Fringe for a week which was a life-changing experience in terms of my confidence. Having often struggled to share my art with people, performing my poems every night dramatically increased my self-confidence in my art as well as in how I carry myself and interact with others. I learnt to budget money and manage my time while still having fun which was quite the learning experience in terms of independence.I also had to feed myself, find my way around and make sure I was in the right place at the right time.
I'm excited by the prospect of developing my skills and learning more about working in the fashion industry so I really hope my application interests you.