Friday 18th February 2011, the date, one of the greatest bands…
Monthly Archives : February 2011
“Firstly because I like taking pictures of women. Simple as that. I know most male fashion photographers wouldn’t admit it, but it’s the real truth.” Today C-Heads Magazine talked with Juan Trujillo Andrades – about fashion-photography, the perfect model and cycling in the streets of London…
Alright – let’s start with the basics. Who are you and where do you live?
I am Juan Trujillo Andrades and, among a variety of things, I am a fashion photographer. I live in London.
How do you step into the world of photography?
Well, I was a fine arts student. I was into art theory, performances and installations. Taking pictures was merely a way to record my work. It became an enjoyable exercise. In the meantime I got into the art world doing my performances in different shows and events and I also started writing a bit of art theory. Then I realized of how much I enjoyed taking pictures and especially with women, so it all kicked off.
Most of your photos are fashion-photos… why fashion and how do you get in touch with it? Firstly because I like taking pictures of women. Simple as that. I know most male fashion photographers wouldn’t admit it, but it’s the real truth. Regarding the question of how is a bit more complex. At some point I was developing this project about the condition of being a foreigner and the spaces that we inhabit. I was photographing real people and their houses, and even snapping random peoples gardens. Then I realized that sometimes reality wasn’t good enough to convey a certain idea, that reality and its composition can be arranged and faked to reproduce a more interesting or powerful subject for a picture and even a more effective language. Basically I started by moving a piece or furniture and I ended up choosing the right clothing and casting the best people. One thing leads to another and fashion became the best way to combine all this in a single discipline, creating stories and playing with the real.
I’ve been always convinced of the necessity to think about realism and its limits. Architecture or landscape don’t give you enough room to play with the condition of the image as a translator of reality, as a middle stage between the subject and the way in which people receive it.
“Fashion and portraiture have the advantage of been rooted in the tradition of story telling, like painting
and documentary. This makes them better subjects to talk about realism. Which is not the same as talking about reality…”
You live now in London, but came from Spain – how big is the difference between the fashion & photography-industries between this two countries? Spain is a smaller environment; there are less people in the industry so therefore there is less space for new photographers. Also the economic climate in Spain is very deteriorated. London on the other hand is a big beast, but also a place where you learn faster and encounter more things in your way. The industry is not necessarily better or more interesting here, but the immediacy and the amount of the new things happening is overwhelming. It makes up for a good thinking environment.
I must admit though that I try to place myself out of the fashion scene. Whether I’m in Spain or the UK. I’m not the type of photographer that goes around partying with the fashion kids. I like reading and sitting in the pub with a pint. And London is a great city for that; there are multiple environments and you can navigate across different places and types of people with great ease.
What are your personal reasons to go to London? And – do you want to go back to Spain one day?
When I first came to London it was the nearest place where you could become a good fashion photographer. In Spain the industry seems smaller and there is less money at the moment to invest in fashion. Also I’ve never managed to stay in one single place until now. London finally managed to keep me interested. It is constantly changing, things seem to change places and even the landscape of the city evolves in front of your eyes. I’ve been here for three years and the surface and shape of this city is not the same as when I first came. Iconic buildings have been destroyed and there is always a new trend emerging. Also Londoners have a very good response to new things in general, you can speak loudly about anything and nobody cares about it.
Regarding the question of whether I want to go back to Spain. I feel more Spanish now than when I lived there. I come from Cadiz, right at the south, which is a beautiful place, and I go back there twice a year. It’s completely idyllic but there’s nothing there for me besides the family, the food and the wine. Maybe one day I will retire there with a bunch of books and a camera. I’m not very interested now in Madrid or Barcelona, I never felt there as inspired as in London.
Where do you think, will be the next central point in the future for fashion? Do you see new light somewhere on the horizont? Yes, it’s in the Internet. It literally has no place, no location.
“The future of fashion is becoming a stream of information based on images and video. It will become an experience, a form of ideology that is seen rather than used…”
On the other hand fashion can’t only live on its image, clothes need to be worm for the industry to survive. Asia and the Middle East look like very exciting places in that sense. New markets are a source of changes because there are more new consumers that feel inclined to spend money on something groundbreaking. Nonetheless, as I said London hasn’t stopped moving, things are still coming up here and it still holds a reputation of being edgy and shocking.
Back to the shootings – are you a quiet photographer, or one of them who scream and jumps around?
I’m very quiet, right to the point when I get the shot that I was looking for or something unexpected happens. Then I scream, jump and smile like a child. I spend most of my time thinking, in fact my whole process of becoming a serious photographer was based on taking less and less pictures and thinking more instead of acting. Sometimes I literally sit there and think, then ask my assistant to help me moving something and finally take a test shot. Once I look at this take another few shots to improve little elements on it. After ten shots I have finished with and outfit and onto the next one. Sometimes people don’t understand this, on one occasion I had to turn around and tell the whole team to stop talking because my assistant and I were having trouble thinking. As they didn’t stop I turned around again and shouted at them very loudly. That time it worked!
I have started to gain a reputation for being quiet and taking very few shots. Also I always stop for lunch because I believe that people think and work better with a full stomach.
What makes the perfect model for you? And do you explain models every single step of your ideas before the shooting? The perfect model is intelligent and knows how to listen. I tell them even what to do with their fingers. And this is not a joke: some models make fun of my obsession with the position and use of hands. I am a control freak in that sense. As I said I like to arrange reality to make it more interesting, that implies taking control of everything, including the mood and movements of the model.
“In terms of the look of the models I like strong looking women, daring and sexy. Men should be masculine and also have a strong character. I don’t take part in the ‘super young models’ trend…”
Where do you find your inspirations? Do you also read magazines or surfing around and look, what other photographers make? I read a lot. I read novels and poetry and eventually modern theory. The amount of desire and drama contained in Of Love And Other Demons, or the fear and tension in Pedro Paramo have no comparison. Literature and history are a great source of inspiration. My problem is that I see fashion photography as self-referential. It looks at itself way too much. Most fashion photographers copy other fashion photographers and they never realize of it. In fact it is pretty hard no to do it. Mediocrity is important in fashion; it’s rewarded. What I mean with this is that some clients don’t want you to do anything new and interesting. They want you to repeat the same thing that comes up year after year. Here is where fashion becomes commercial and it’s important to look outside of it to expand it and make it more interesting.
Maybe because of this I really admire the work of those that manage to be different and strong. Mario Sorrenti is always surprising. His work reveals new encounters between fashion and the real world. I would also mention Jean Francois Lepage. He is just simply brave; his aesthetics are a landmark of creativity.
Because I saw it in your blog – topless shootings as fashion-photographer – could that be sometimes a problem or do have most of the models no problem with that? Is there any difference between the countries or cultures dealing with this situation? Interesting question. Certainly there are differences. The bigger the context the more open models are about the subject. For example it’s more common for the London girls to show their breasts than what it is for models in a small French town. I wouldn’t say that it depends in the country itself but in the city and how edgy the industry is in that place. In a more competitive city like London, girls are keener to do their best to help you achieve the images that you want. In any case, it’s generally not a problem at all if you are clear and call things by their name.
Do you work alone or do you have a fix team around you – to organize the shootings and similar?
I do have a team. It changes sometimes depending on the project or who is available. I like surrounding myself with people that I like, people that I can have a beer with and laugh at ourselves. I work with very few stylists right now because they are nice people and I enjoy their company and intelligence. I’m working again with my last two stylists, Crystal Deroche and Daniel Higgins. They are nice people and both talented and intelligent.
Another thing – you have also a lot of bicycle-photos on your portfolio… that’s unusual! Where is the key for it? Are you a rider too? Yes I am (laughs). I’ve been into cycling since I was a kid. I used to do mountain biking until I moved to London and discovered track bikes, the whole fixed gear scene and so on.
“The people are amazing and cycling in a place like London literally changes your way of life.”
It was just a matter of time for me to end up taking pictures of bikes and riders. For example the collaboration with Mission Workshop was really good fun and the people in the cycling scene are very conscious of their style. As they say it’s almost as important to look good on a bike as to ride it well.
So you also work for the bicycle-industry. How big is the difference between fashion and bicycle-photography?
It’s huge. Working for the cycling industry was a nice change because I get tired of the fashion crowd sometimes. I’ve been very lucky and in the few jobs that I have done in the cycling industry I have always worked with friends. Also it gave me the chance to explore portraiture and develop stories around the lifestyle and aesthetics of cycling, which are very complex nowadays. Cycling is a trend, and the fashion industry knows this. Look for example at the collaboration between Paul Smith and Rapha (cycling clothes brand), which has a very high fashion approach for their campaigns. Also I’m starting a project with an English fashion magazine for a cycling story involving fashion brands in a narrative about cycling.
Are you sometimes nervous before a shoot? Was there a shoot in your career, where everything went wrong?
I’m never nervous before shooting. I’m always excited and I always look forward to starting a shoot. But the best feeling comes right after, a great deal of satisfaction. And yeah – I had a horrible shoot once for two clients that had no idea of what they wanted and they thing almost ended up in tears. You have to watch out for those kinds of people because they will always blame you when things go wrong.
If there would be no borders like money, laws and similar – what kind of shooting would you realize?
I’d shoot an incredibly long story, more than 200 pages, with multiple locations and subjects. It would be like L.A Portfolio by Steven Klein but much bigger and with loads of references to literature, probably to A Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
Where do we see you in five years? As fashion & beauty photographer or as rider? And what can we expect?
I will be doing something similar to what I do now. I will be a fashion and beauty photographer that shoots lots of personal stuff and rides a bike everywhere. Maybe just with bigger clients and travelling a bit more. I will probably still be in London with my bike.
Art is the finest form of knowledge, it looks at the world and examines its behavior, it revises our memory and reconstructs history. Without it societies would fall into ignorance and depression, life would be reduced to statistics and efficiency controls. Art is a way to see beyond ourselves, to surprise us and to thrill us.
Last questions – what kind of music do you hear?
Different things really, I like flamenco, Latin jazz, bosa nova, blues. But when I’m shooting a like a bit of opera, I need the drama.
Five things you can’t life without?
A good glass of wine, a bike ride, taking pictures of beautiful women, literature and a double espresso in the mornings… *laughs*
Juan, thanks a lot for your time!!!
Interview by Emanuel Sprosec
“I am always excited at the chance to take pictures and create something better than the previous and push myself a little further” answers Jenna Alcala, when we talk about her great fresh, colorful and sunny photographs.
First of all – tell us a little bit about you – who is Jenna Alcala, where do you live and what’s your daily job?
Hey, I’m Jenna. I am a beauty and lifestyle photographer based in San Francisco. I live in the city with my new husband and huge chocolate lab. Somehow, I have been blessed enough to be able to make photography my job. It’s more of an obsession. I love it. I work from my home office and let my dog take me on long walks throughout the day. Photography was a bit of an epiphany to me… I never gave the idea much thought until I was 25. And then it hit me like a freight train… it was everything I had been looking for… appreciating small corners of the world that I find interesting or beautiful, the voyeurism of capturing something special, observing the world through light and color… it justifies who I have always been.
It’s something I do for fun… and if I can make my living on doing that… that is my definition of success.
So, it’s the basic question – your steps into the world of photography? And do you have an education in it?
I grew up in Napa Valley. We had a small country home with a lot of wild land. As a kid, I spent most of my afternoons outside catching frogs, riding horses, and building tree houses. The church bells across the orchard brought me home for dinner every evening. My childhood was very Huck Finn.
I am the eclectic daughter of a Green Beret and a Southern schoolteacher, which means I was raised on a delightful diet of bloody war stories served with homemade chocolate chip cookies. My parents separated when I was just a baby and my father took a job overseas in New Zealand. I would fly across the world to see him every summer and upon returning to the States, had acquired a Kiwi accent so thick – my mother couldn’t understand me for weeks.
Very young, my father introduced me to traveling. His job took him all over the world and he took me with him. I grew an insatiable appetite to see more, learn more, and understand more. New cultures and new people have always made me feel the most alive. As an adult, I continued to see as much of the world as I possibly could. I moved every year or two, feeling antsy if I stayed in one place for too long. There was always so much more to see.
My college years were spent on the beaches of Hawaii. I studied Statistics under palm trees and earned degrees in International Business & Marketing. But it wasn’t until after college that I discovered photography. Looking back, it has always been there. I just didn’t recognize it. It explains my life-long fascination with the fashion ads in magazines. It explains my failed attempt to become a jewelry designer in my mid-twenties. I spent all my time imagining how to photograph the pieces with little to no interest in actually making them… Out of happenstance, I ended up taking a night photography class just to try something new. And there it hit me. And so here I am.
I now live in San Francisco. I call this glorious city my home. The energy here keeps me on my toes, and for the first time, I have no plans to leave. Photography has become my life. I am grateful to be doing something that I love. I will always strive to learn more, to be better, and to capture as much beauty as I possibly can.
“The truth is I am simply grateful every time I pick up my camera. I absolutely love to take pictures. It keeps me up at night.”
Are most of the shootings client-work or personal projects?
It’s a good balance of personal work and client work. I really enjoy shooting my own personal work because I can experiment and teach myself new things and be a little more adventurous. I love it when I shoot something for a client and I like it enough to put in my own book. Clients come to me for a certain style, my style, so when I execute my shoot… it end up looking like me no matter who it’s for.
How does a normal work-day in the life of Jenna looks like?
I am a sleepy-head so I let myself sleep in a little more than I should. *laughs* I grab a hot cup of coffee and go on a stroll with my doggy. It makes me feel inspired and healthy to be outside first thing…. and then it’s to the office. Every day is different though… I could be concepting new shoots all day or editing, marketing, retouching, meeting with clients or my team, buttoning up the business back-end, staying in tune with the latest technology and trends… the list goes on and on… being a business owner is the most rewarding and difficult thing I have ever done. I couldn’t do it any other way now… I love being in charge of my own workday. Sometimes I just take the day off and sit outside in the sunshine. Other times I work until 3 am… the key for me is an overall balance in my life and work.
How do you work – are you a quiet photographer, very calm, serious – or somebody who’s screaming, running and jumping around during the shooting?
Ummm… neither? I am pretty outgoing and friendly on set. I try to make everyone super comfortable and relaxed. I make sure to be very descriptive and clear about the direction, mood, and details with my team… and then let the model run with it and see if he or she can rock it. I don’t run around and scream but I definitely do acrobats when I shoot. I am up on ladders, crawling all over the ground, doing squats and lunges… sometimes I am even sore the next day!
Do you feel also nervous before a shooting?
Not really nervous but focused and excited. I think a lot about what I am going to shoot and all that goes into that. I am always excited at the chance to take pictures and create something better than the previous and push myself a little further. Ok, maybe I get a little nervous too…
What is your personal, favorite taste – to shoot outside or inside the studio?
I LOVE LOVE LOVE cool locations. I am always on the hunt for them. The environment adds so much to the shoot. I love being outside and using the sun as my main light… I always love outside more. Studio is nice when you need it but doesn’t appeal to me like the complexities of a location. My favorite type of location is a big, beautiful and really quirky house with lots of big windows and streaming natural light. The little odd details help to tell a story.
As female photographer – what makes the perfect model for you?
Confidence and awareness.
“I love when my models exude an attitude, whether it’s more soft and sweet or quirky and playful.
The idea is to capture that emotion so I need my models to have life in them… and for that to really shine through the lens…”
Do you tell your models, how they should act and move or do you let them play with the camera?
I give them the low-down on the direction and let them take it from there. Great models just run with it… it’s fabulous when that happens. Most times, I start seeing right away what is working and what isn’t… and give lots of feedback to help guide us in the right direction.
Do you technical plan shootings days or weeks before – or are you more one of the photographer, who says let’s see, what happens? Plan?? Yes, I plan. And obsess a little. I always scout location and lighting to be as technically prepared as possible. I also put a great deal of time into directing the styling, the setting, and the concept… I have a little shot list in my head of various angles and poses and ideas. However, it’s funny really, because once we are shooting, I more just go with it… I let the shoot flow and see what happens, but then I always check back in to my original plan to keep us focused. Some of my favorite shots are the unplanned ones… however, you have to plan and prepare to put yourself in the right place to capture those.
Do you work alone and very often with different persons on the set or do you have a fix team around you?
I love my team! Once you find people that share your vision, values, and work ethic… it’s so priceless. It’s a nice feeling to just trust the artists I work with and know I can depend on them. It allows me to focus more on actually taking pictures instead of micro-managing every detail of the shoot. A good team is very important and I found mine. That being said, there are a lot of great artists locally that I have yet to work with and I enjoy the new perspectives that they can offer to the shoot.
Analog or digital? What kind of equipment do you use – and what kind of software for retouching? Mac or Win?
I work in digital form and always have. I came into the game recently when digital was booming. I love the simplicity of film and hope to use film in the future. I appreciate all photographers who have mastered film and have great respect for that medium. As for equipment and computers, I am a Canon and Apple girl. I doubt that will ever change. They rock.
What kind of magazines do you read?
I have turned into such a photo geek! I only buy PDN, Comm Arts and all the other photo mags these days. I also LOVE Harper’s Bizarre and Vogue for the amazing editorials. My husband gets The Economist sent to our house so I try to scan those to stay current on what’s going on out there and be well-rounded. I can easily just think and talk in photo terms all the time and need to be yanked out of that bubble into the real world sometimes. Reading magazines to me is a treat… I take myself out to a nice lunch or breakfast and indulge in my PDN for a few hours… it feels like a splurge just to sit and relax and soak in beautiful new photography or learn a new trick through an article.
What can we expect from you in the next five years?
Well, I hope my imagery propels exponentially in the next 5 years. I definitely want to base myself in glorious San Francisco and be shooting for some of my favorite local companies like Banana Republic, Gap & Benefit. I hope to get assignments around the world, so I can continue my travel obsession. Mostly, I want to continue to learn as much as I can. I am young in my career and can’t wait to learn more, grow more and create better and better and better images.
Last questions – five things you can’t live without?
Sunlight, Avocados, Husband, hot showers… and my camera-of course!
Art is…. a sweet relief from the real world.
Jenna – thanks a lot!!!
Interview by Emanuel Sprosec
“I want to discover the secrets of my model. For me, there is no definition of a perfect model, but I’m most inspired by the ones that don’t care how they are being photographed, thus letting it go.” Richard Bakker talks about his view on models. And the life between being a computer-nerd and a photographer…
Alright – tell us a little bit about you – who is this Richard Bakker, where do you live and what’s your daily job?
Richard Bakker is a 37 year-young male who lives in the Netherlands and his daily job is actually not being a photographer, but being a computernerd – part-time however, trying to divide the time.
How did you step into the world of photography? And do you have an education for it? I got into photography quite some years ago, photographing everything around me – the birds and the bees, landscapes etc. At a certain point I figured out- or got frustrated is perhaps a better word – that I cannot change landscapes and the light that is reflected onto them. Which made it come down to me being in the right moment at the right time. This couldn’t hold my attention and I started to look into other aspects of photography, which can be controlled a bit better: people and portraits. I don´t have any education, I experiment a lot, although I like to keep it simple and focus on my subjects instead of techniques.
Looking trough your portfolio, we see that many images are shot in the studio… do you like to work more inside – or also outside? Does ist make a difference for you? I have been shooting a lot inside lately, but have shot a lot outside in the past, those shots no longer fit in my portfolio however – for now at least. I would love to shoot outside or on location again, but it is not the right time yet.
How does a normal work-day in the life of Richard Bakker looks like?
As I don’t work as a fulltime photographer yet, there is not much interesting to tell here… *laughs*
There are also many personal stories… how does your realization looks like? Do you plan every shoot days or weeks before, -also test lights and settings – or just look, what happens during the shooting? I have to plan better than I used to. Sometimes shoots are planned way up-front, sometimes spontaneously in the same week. When they are spontaneously, indeed, we will see what happens during the shoot. I have some general ideas, but as I am not working alone, I want to discover the secrets of my model. Often I only work with a model and not a team. When working with a team, the boundaries are defined.
Do you shoot digital or analog? If digital, do you check the images immediately on the computer or at the end of the day, after the shooting? I use both. Analog has something undefinable. When using digital, I usually check them after each set, while the model is changing clothes and makeup.
What makes the perfect model for you? And how important is a classical standard beautiful face – or is it more the character? The perfect model, you couldn’t come up a more difficult question? *laughs* For me, there is no definition of a perfect model, but I am most inspired by the ones that don’t care how they are being photographed, thus letting it go. I am more a voyeur kind of photographer and don’t direct a lot. I need models who have no problem with that. I am quite sure that most photographers have their “muses” for specific kind of reasons, I do at least.
Tell us a little bit abour your best shooting in your career… I am still waiting on the best *laughs*… Jobs are getting better, but as I am not a fulltime photographer, I can be selective and in the meantime I continue trying to improve my work by doing a lot of free work.
Does it also happen, that you have a really bad day and no single shot is a success? It is a rare occassion that I have shot that makes me 100% happy. When I work with a team and prepare a concept, and the end result matches the concept, it will make me happy. Nothing could be more frustrating than preparing a shoot with certain clothes and the stylist comes on set with stuff that has nothing to do with the concept. I know up front that I won’t be happy.
What are you private and professional plans for the next years?
Travel more often…. And I don’t have real ambitions yet, I would like to have a portfolio with images that are currently in my mind, unfortunately, those images change on a weekly basis… *laughs*
Which dream would you like to come true and is there a shooting, that you want to realize one day?
Shoot for a larger fashion brand. Don’t think this is impossible, only time will tell…
The most important thing in life for you is?
Richard, thanks a lot for your time and the interview!
Interview by Emanuel Sprosec