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An interview with Tara Darby

Tara in her studio

Tara in her studio

This interview took place on 30 July and 16 September 2014 at Tara’s studio and on Skype.

Tara Darby is a photographer and filmmaker. Her work focuses on relationships, emotions, people and place. Her work effortlessly spans the worlds of fashion, portraiture, advertising and journalism. Current and previous clients include Wink Creative, Stella McCartney, Paul Smith, Levis, Timberland, Nowness, The Telegraph Magazine, Japanese Vogue, Another, The Wire, The New York Times, Riposte, and Dazed and Confused.

Website: http://taradarby.com
Follow you on: taradara on Instagram

Paul Smith

Paul Smith

Tell me a bit about your work.

I started shooting in 2002 and I specialise in portraiture and documentary, shooting either with natural light or simulating natural light. I’d say that my work is quite natural in its aesthetic, using mostly available light and trying to create an interesting atmosphere. I thrive from observing situations and capturing things, not so much from recreating situations. It can be styled, but I try to make it look as aesthetic as possible without it looking forced.

You’re based in London, in quite an unusual space.

Yes, I’m in a studio that I share with eight other people. We are four individual leaseholders and we can each use our allocated space the way we like. My studio is right at the end of the big space and cut off from everyone else. The space was derelict when we took it over. It was full of old shoe machinery. It had been a shoe factory and they had been making shoes upstairs until just before we moved in. This part had been storage, it didn't have any electricity - it was basically a shell - but it had amazing potential as there was so much light. My space at the end had a lot of stuff that had just been dumped in it - it was full of broken glass. It looked a lot smaller than it really was and nobody wanted to take it. But then I walked around the corner and realised that the windows faced north, east and south. I thought, oh my God, this is my corner, this is my space. I think now the people on the other end wish they had my part because it’s so light and quite private (laughs) – I try to use the space as much as possible. My work is not really studio based, but it’s great to shoot portraits in here. The incoming light is beautiful or you can light it really easily. It’s calm, it’s got a good feel about it.

Could you name a few clients you’ve worked for.

Sure. I guess the biggest ones I’ve worked for are people like Levi’s, Paul Smith… I had a really long-term working relationship with Aubin & Wills, which was the more adult, fashion-based part of Jack Wills, which is a huge company now, but they closed Aubin. I worked for them for a lot of seasons, which was great because we could develop ideas and they gave me a lot of freedom. I worked for Timberland for some time and for different clients like Orange, Nokia, Adidas - I’ll send you a list (that list included Another Man, Nowness, Japanese Vogue, Dazed and Confused, GQ Style, The Wire, The Observer, The Telegraph Magazine, W Magazine, V, The New York Times, BBH, Sony, EMI, Polydor, Virgin, Channel 4, and Saatchi & Saatchi).

What about any publications?

I’ve done a few different publications. I shot still-lifes for artist Jenny Saville’s first monograph, which was published by Rizzoli. I was sent to her studio in Sicily to shoot all the still-life incidentals. That was amazing. And then I worked on a book called ‘Room’ with artist Delaine Le Bas, whom I’ve worked with for over 10 years.

Both books were designed by seminal art director David James, whose client list includes Prada, Dior and Another amongst many others.

I made a book called Waves which was published by Oodee, which is about my grandparents. I self-published ‘We are only Humans’ and ‘Literary Journey: The heart is a lonely Hunter’ on Miniature Love Books.

Still life from Jenny Saville, published by Rizzoli

Still life from Jenny Saville, published by Rizzoli

How about awards? Do you enter competitions?

I’ve never really entered them, which is bad, I should be more organised. I have been part of the portrait prize at the National Portrait Gallery. That was in 2005 and was a portrait of Delaine from ‘Room’. But apart from that I never enter awards.

What was your journey to becoming a photographer?

I gave up art in school when I was 14, for various reasons. One was that I didn’t really like my art teacher and the other was because we had strange options, where we had to choose between subjects and I think art was versus history and I decided to choose history. It’s really weird because I loved art, but I gave it up at an early age. So I think I went down a sort of more academic route and it took me some time to find my way back. But I always took pictures, partly because my dad was really into photography and he was actually a really good photographer. So I felt it was quite natural to take pictures in our family, but I certainly never thought about it as something I could actually pursue as a career.

I studied English literature and Spanish at university and part of my course was going to Spain for a year and I chose to go to Barcelona. I met some very inspiring people there that year and I met a lot of people who were really into photography, including a girl that became one of my best friends. We looked after a friend’s house for a month over the summer and she had a darkroom. We were taking photos all the time because it was so photogenic there, with the light and everything, and that really changed my life.

When I came back I still had a year left in Leeds to finish my degree, but I had my heart set on photography. I suddenly had a light bulb moment that photography was what I loved and was passionate about.

Because I studied English and loved writing, I had thought that I would pursue a career in that. I was looking into photojournalism courses in London and then I was going to go travelling after my degree. While I was finishing my degree I got a job in the holidays working as a runner at Ridley Scott’s RSA Films. That was an amazing training because it was really, really strict. You had to do things in a very certain way, and there wasn’t much margin for error. There were rules about where to put staples on call sheets. Everybody that was running there at the same time as me went on to do amazing things, because it was such a strong foundation. We learnt so much working for these massive directors.

Inca Italy, 2014

Inca Italy, 2014

Do you have a formal education in photography? Do you think it’s important?

No, my only formal education was a short course at Camberwell Art College, which was four hours every Saturday morning for six weeks. I met a tutor there who was really encouraging of what I was doing and he gave me a lot of confidence. I was still very unsure about my abilities, I wasn’t sure technically of what I was doing. He was like “You’re making really strong images” and he was just very inspiring.

At that time I was working at an ad agency in the TV production department – RM: Employed? - Yeah, employed. But in my head I was pretty clear I was going to go to South America for a year. But then one day at the ad agency they were making a commercial and this director came for a meeting. I literally made this guy a cup of tea and he said that there was something about my manner or something and he started asking me questions about what I wanted to do. So I told him I wanted to be a photographer and that I wanted to work as a photographer's assistant. He said, “Oh, well that’s really crazy, but I actually know someone who’s looking for an assistant”. I was really trying to keep cool, but I was so excited. – RM: The power of a cup of tea - Yeah, it was really funny. Anyway, he gave me a massive break, because he rang me up the next day and said “Oh, I’ve got an interview for you. Do you want to know who it’s with?” And it was Terence Donovan, who was a legend in the Sixties. So it was all quite surreal. I went to meet him in his studio in Mayfair and the meeting went on for 3 hours. He was asking me a lot of questions, about what I was into, and gave me a glass of champagne when he offered me the job.

Did he become a mentor then? Have you had a mentor or other big influences?

The whole thing was strange. It was all so exciting, the most exciting thing at the time. It felt like I was on a huge tidal wave. He was such a big personality, very established. Just a total character, you know.

On the first day I turned up for work I was waiting outside his studio on Bourdon St and he was half an hour late. When he finally pulled up in his Bentley he asked me if I was free to go away for one night to Bath.. I said yes. So he said "Great, you're going to see a friend of mine". Turns out that this woman was basically ex MI5 and he sent me down there so she could assess my character!!

I ended up only working for him for a very short amount of time, because he committed suicide, which was very shocking. I only worked for him for a few weeks, but it was such an affirmation that the whole thing had happened and I learnt so much from him in a very short space of time. We had the same initials, so he used to phone me up and say “Tango Delta, this is Tango Delta” and stuff like that. He was such an Eastend, larger-than-life character. It was really shocking when he died. No one could get their head around it at all. It was a tragedy and I still think about his huge presence all the time.

I only worked for him for a few weeks, but it was such an affirmation that the whole thing had happened and I learnt so much from him in a very short space of time.

After this happened I went to work in a cafe. It was just before Christmas and I had to get another job to just keep my head together and figure out what I was going to do next. I thought, either this was a real sign that I should be doing photography, or this is a real sign that I should not be doing photography. Anyway, I went to work in a tiny restaurant in Soho, waitressing, and one day this guy came in. He was a friend of Terence's, not a creative person, but a businessman. He was one of Terence's business friends, and I had met him when I was working in Terence’s studio. He just came in off the street with this other guy, a complete coincidence, and he was like “What are you doing here?” and he was like “No, no, no, you need to carry on working in photography.” And he wrote me out this letter, which I’ve still got, that I should write to David Bailey to try and get a job straight away with him. – RM: Did you? - I wrote to him, yeah, and I went to have an interview with Bailey, but he wasn’t really looking for an assistant as he was doing more commercials at that time. I never saw that friend of Terence’s again, but he just came in at the right time and gave me that nudge to carry on.

So that was a big influence in terms of getting back on track?

Yes, massively. And the second thing that happened was that I bumped into this guy that I hadn’t seen for a while and we went to have a coffee - and this was maybe two or three weeks after that - and he said, “Oh, this girl I went to art college with is starting to do really well as a photographer and you should meet her. You will really get on with her. I haven’t seen her in six months, but I’ll put you two in touch.” And then she walked into the cafe five minutes later.

That’s bizarre.

Really bizarre! These things kept happening! So I was like, “OK, these are some really strong messages!”

Delaine in the Cafe by The Sea, 2005

Delaine in the Cafe by The Sea, 2005

Just going back to the importance of having a formal education in photography. How important is that in your opinion?

I think it’s really good, but I guess there are pros and cons in both. I feel like the way I came into it you’re not influenced by other people around you. I think what tutors thought about my work would have influenced me. But I also missed that journey of exploration you get to go on: printing in the dark room, figuring out what you’re really into. And getting used to showing people your work and having it criticised. I do think if you can really hold your own and stick to your guns with what you’re doing, going to Art College is probably a great thing to do.

Are there any other people that influenced you?

When I was just starting out but still assisting, I was really scared to show my work. I started going out with this guy who was an art director and he was very encouraging. He gave me a lot of confidence to just go out there and start showing people my work. So, I’d say he was kind of like a mentor at the time. His name is Nick Steel.

And the girl I met in Barcelona, who isn’t a professional photographer, but is one of the best photographers I know - she’s called Claire Usiskin - she was a huge inspiration to me, because she was so passionate about photography. I think I just met her at the right time. We were inspiring each other, but she had a confident voice as a photographer even then and that was really great to see.

Another person is Clare Richardson, an incredible photographer who I went to school with from the age of 11. She had a purity and clarity of vision that has always been very inspiring to me.

When I was an assistant I was obsessed with Corinne Day, David Sims and Juergen Teller and I still love their pictures so much.

Chris Kraus LA, 2013 for PIG quarterly

Chris Kraus LA, 2013 for PIG quarterly

What was your first official photography job?

My first real job was for Dazed & Confused. I dropped my portfolio off in their office, as they wouldn’t give meetings. There was just one day a week assigned for drop-offs. I left a book and a box of prints and the picture editor at the time, Emma Reeves, rang me up straight away and she said, “We really like your work. Would you like to go to Barcelona to shoot this story about this artist, a musician called Manu Chao?” That was amazing.

So I went off to Barcelona, very excited, with a writer and everything. We recce’d the job before we were to meet the musician, but it got later and later and he didn’t turn up and all my lovely daylight locations vanished (laughs) and then, when we finally met him in this bar, off the Ramblas, he said that he didn’t let anyone take his picture unless you were a friend of his, and you were a waitress or something and they got drunk together – RM: How did you deal with that? – Well, he said that I could photograph him while the interview was taking place, so I set up my tripod in the really dark bar and tried to get some interesting pictures of him, but obviously there was no eye contact.

He then took us through Barcelona and he wanted to take us to this underground headquarters he had, because he was working really closely with the Zapatista movement. We were walking down the street with him and he was pushing his bike and I was like, god, I really need to push for this, because I can’t come back to London without any pictures. So I asked him “Why don’t you let anyone take your picture?” And he said, “Well, you know, I just like giving my friends a chance, people that work in bars and are not necessarily professional photographers”. And I was like “You know what, I’m going to be working in a bar if you don’t let me take your picture” and then he said “Ok, you can have one roll under this streetlamp”. I was literally shooting at one second exposures, handholding the camera, so it wasn’t ideal as a first commission, but I did manage to get some nice pictures.

Manu Chao, for Dazed and Confused

Manu Chao, for Dazed and Confused

Talk about a highlight in your career.

That’s a hard one. There’s been some really amazing stories, like going to Pakistan to cover the earthquake, one year on, which was obviously a traumatic story to cover on many levels. It was also life affirming because people had gone through a horrific natural disaster, but you got to see how resilient people are and what a beautiful country Pakistan is. I feel really lucky, as it’s so hard to go there now. I mean we went right up into Kashmir on the Pakistani side, right above the clouds and seeing the most incredible landscapes, and I met amazing people. That really stands out.

Going to the Arctic on a Russian icebreaker was pretty incredible. That was for the Telegraph Magazine. The BBC was doing a big production on the Arctic and the Telegraph wanted to do an interview with the producer. So we went onto this Russian icebreaker on the last ever time it was going to do this particular journey and we went right up into the Arctic circle. It was a two-week expedition. That was incredible.

Obviously working for Paul Smith was great. And I went to Lebanon. That was a great story. We travelled the whole country. And then the books. Books are always really inspiring. Working with Delane Le Bas is a highlight. She’s an artist I’ve worked with for over ten years now and that’s been a really important relationship.

How business-minded does a photographer need to be? And did this come naturally to you?

A photographer needs to be really business-minded and now even more so because of the digital revolution and how many photographers there are, and how many social media platforms there are. There are so many ways to show your work now.

It’s really important. And maybe it’s good to go onto a good photography course somewhere that is very vocational, like the one I lectured on in Bournemouth, which is very much geared towards working in the real world.

I had no idea about business and I had no idea about important it is. It’s just like running any other business - apart from the fact that what you’re selling is your eye, your vision.

So the people that are doing well are often the lucky ones that can combine all of those elements. Or you get someone to work with you who is business savvy. Although I think the more hands-on you are the better. You have to keep on top of all your invoicing and finding new work.

It’s quite an expensive business to run. When I was young and just starting out I had no financial support, so I had to get a business loan to start my business up and I was quite fearless I think, in a way. I wasn’t worried about going into debt, also because I felt I didn’t have a choice. Basically, you have to speculate to accumulate. I needed equipment. I didn’t have the conviction or the means to get any work without it, so I decided to take a leap of faith and invest in what I needed to invest in and then spend some time paying it all back.

Mdou Moctar, 2014 for The Wire magazine

Mdou Moctar, 2014 for The Wire magazine

A photographer needs to be really business-minded and now even more so because of the digital revolution and how many photographers there are, and how many social media platforms there are. There are so many ways to show your work now.

Agent or no agent? How do you get clients?

I think that the more proactive you are, the easier it is to get clients. The more visible your work is, the more editorial you do, the easier you’ll get clients. The more personal work you show and the more personal work you produce, the more clients you’ll get.

I think whatever you choose, whether you’re going with an agent or whether you’ll go out on your own, you still need to work really hard personally to get work. You can never rely solely on an agent to get you work, because eventhough they will have lots of channels that they will use, there is nothing like having personal contact with clients and generating a lot of your own work to show people what you’re doing. You can’t expect to just be kicking back and think that an agent is doing all the groundwork. The way that it works best is when you both work hard together. That can produce amazing results.

I think it’s like everything: you have to have really good communication. And obviously within an agency there are lots of other photographers vying for time and attention. And I think it’s harder than ever for agents to make money now. The competition is even fiercer.

I like to send things out in general. That’s really important. It’s good to make a photographic print and send that, or send a recent publication or a newsletter with a selection of what you’ve been working on. I really like that when I receive those from other people. When they give an overview of what’s been going on. People are so inundated with so much stuff now. There are so many websites; nothing beats receiving something that you could maybe put on the wall, or you can look at.

Does where you’re based make a difference? Is being in London an advantage or disadvantage?

I think it’s an advantage in a lot of ways, because obviously a lot of meetings or castings take place here, or shoots. And it’s good to feel connected. Personally I really like being in the city. I still feel really inspired by London. But I love the countryside too and having a different perspective. To be honest with you I genuinely think I would probably get along wherever really. I think that’s one of the great things about taking pictures. Wherever you live, you can find something to be inspired by. You have to make opportunities happen.

Aubin & Wills

Aubin & Wills

I think that the more proactive you are, the easier it is to get clients. The more visible your work is, the more editorial you do, the easier you’ll get clients. The more personal work you show and the more personal work you produce, the more clients you’ll get.

How do you spend a typical working day?

If I’m in the studio, I’ll come in in the morning after I dropped my daughter off at nursery. And then it will be a mix of things depending on the jobs I’m working on. I make a big long-list and try and prioritise. There is just always so so much to do.

Because I’m taking so many pictures all the time, whether it’s professional or personal, it’s so important to stay on top of what I’ve actually shot. It’s massive. It’s a job I never really get on top of. You try and divide your time as well as you can, between putting work up on your website, coming up with a treatment, or getting inspiration for a job, or editing a job, organising a job, you know. It’s just trying to be organised and trying to compartmentalise those things. – RM: Do you have meetings in your studio or do you go out and meet people, such as potential clients or people to collaborate with? – If it’s people I collaborate with I often meet in my studio. And if it’s about a job, more often than not it’s outside the studio, like at an agency. – RM: And what time does your day end typically? – That really depends. If I’m shooting it can end late, but if I’m in the studio then often I’ll need to pick my daughter up and that will structure my day, so I have to be more organised than before. I often work in the evening when my daughter is asleep. But having kids is so refreshing and inspiring as well. It balances things. It’s grounding.

Do you work alone or with a team/assistant/producer?

You can have shoots where there are forty people on the set. And other shoots where you can keep it really minimal. If I’m shooting a portrait then sometimes it’s only me and the person I’m taking pictures of. Some photographers have become celebrities and their high-end fashion shoots turn into major productions. As soon as you start working in advertising or dealing with a brand you start getting a lot of people on the shoot.

I work with a producer on the bigger jobs. And I pretty much always work with my assistant James.

How do you approach rates?

That’s where I usually get a producer involved. Sometimes you’re told what the budget is and you have to work within that, but generally you have a day rate in mind or assess what the job is, in terms of usage and what it’s going to entail.

Do you prefer shooting film or digital and what are your thoughts on this?

I still prefer shooting on film. It’s partly a psychological thing, but film and digital also still look very different. I really enjoy the process of film. And the fact that it’s just a bit more difficult in a way. You have to think a bit more about each picture and it makes me feel much more connected to what I’m doing. And the editing I prefer. And the archiving.

I do sometimes shoot on digital and it can be quite seductive. But I always go back to film. And I think it’s probably a lot because I started shooting film. It feels part of me, part of why I like to take pictures.

What kit do you always have on you?

I pretty much always have my Mamiya 7, a Nikon FM2, and a Yashica. And I’ve got a little Leica M6 as well. I use a 65mm lens for my Mamiya, which is like a 35mm on a full frame. My favourite lenses are a 50mm, 35mm and a 105mm.

Kids on the Roof, 2001 from the book "We are only humans"

Kids on the Roof, 2001 from the book "We are only humans"

I do sometimes shoot on digital and it can be quite seductive. But I always go back to film. And I think it’s probably a lot because I started shooting film. It feels part of me, part of why I like to take pictures.

Describe your post-production.

Either I print from negative and then scan the print or I scan the negative and colour balance on screen. I don’t do that much retouching, just a little bit of tidying up, nothing major. And I then work on the colours, nothing too contrasty or vivid, just trying to get that feel, which can be quite subtle and take a long time. – RM: You use Photoshop to do that kind of work? – Yeah.

More and more people take pictures nowadays. There are good quality cameras at every price range and great cameras on smartphones too. Then there are a lot of platforms to get your work seen, from Instagram to Flickr, blogs and 500px. How has this revolution influenced your work as a professional photographer?

I think that there are a lot of advantages to it as there are so many platforms to show your work and there never used to be. And I think that’s why so many people can survive without an agent now. You can reach a lot of people. But it also requires a skill to get your work out there like that and not everyone is that comfortable with it, I think. I overthink everything and I’m making so much work the whole time, especially personal work, that I could show so much more, but I agonise over edits when in fact it’s so nice to be free with it and update your site the whole time and keep a constant flow going. I would really like to be able to do that. But it doesn’t feel that natural to me. I always think things need more time, more work, which is a bit of a hindrance.

So, yeah, I think that there are a lot of good things about it. Things like Instagram reach so many people and are really easy to maintain. But I think there is also a flipside to that. There is such a saturation of imagery out there. It’s a bit overwhelming. It’s interesting when you read online that there are these Instagram photographers with a huge following and they’re part of a whole community and do really well by that. I think that’s great as they’re really vibing off the whole thing. But I think for a lot of professional photographers, it’s still a bit strange, because you can pick up your iPhone and take all these pictures and it makes it look so easy. There’s obviously a big departure between being on a shoot with forty or fifty people and having to perform plus being able to edit your work, and having a nice Instagram.

I think sometimes it’s hard when you’re a photographer. We used to feel like a minority, part of a small group of people that could use a camera and express themselves through that medium. Vice has done these piss-take interviews with people where they ask them what their career is and they’re always ‘slashers’- like “model / musician / whatever (laughs) and “/ photographer” is always part of a slashers occupation. It doesn’t matter what other things they do, they’re always a photographer. And I find that quite overwhelming. I’m like “What does this image mean, in a world of five billion, gazillion images? Does it really matter that I’m taking pictures?” Anyway, I read this nice thing the other day on Instagram, ironically, which a friend of mine put up, which was “Just carry on making work. If people like your work, they’ll come and find you and if they don’t, they won’t.” And that’s something I feel I need to keep in my head. – RM: Stick it on a post-it note – totally! Look at it every day. I think it’s really important to keep that in your head. You need make stuff for you.

Do you use any other social media aside from Instagram? If so, in which way?

No, and I think it’s mainly a time thing. I can only use one thing with a certain continuity. I just don’t have any time to do more than that, with updating my website, which I do need to spend more time on. – RM: Have you ever got work through Instagram? – I don’t know. Not that I’m really aware of. But I think it definitely helps having a presence on there. I’m often just reminded of people when I’m on Instagram, so maybe that’s another good thing: that it can suddenly jog your memory. And to me it feels like quite a nice, not in your face way of showing what you’re up to.

Dancing Girls, Alabama from the book 'Literary Journey: The Heart is a Lonely Hunter'

Dancing Girls, Alabama from the book 'Literary Journey: The Heart is a Lonely Hunter'

Which photographers should we check out the work of?

There are a few people that have really inspired me who are not actually photographers as such. Tacita Dean is an artist. She also uses photography in her work. I saw an exhibition of hers a few years ago in Barcelona and it had such an effect on met. She’s got a very interesting, almost investigative journalistic way of writing and using pictures. She’s brilliant.

And recently I’ve been really inspired by another artist called Leanne Shapton. I’m interested in artists combining images and writing because I really like writing as well.

And then there are certain photographers I always go back to: Nan Goldin, Joel Meyerowitz, Collier Schorr, William Gedney, Irving Penn

And some exciting younger photographers doing really well now. Jamie Hawksworth, Harley Weir and Emily Hope for example.

Just carry on making work. If people like your work, they’ll come and find you and if they don’t, they won’t.

Name three of your favourite photography books.

So hard to choose!

Eugene Richards - Dorchester Days
Nan Goldin - The Ballad of Sexual Dependency
Manfred Willman - Das Land

What advice would you give to someone starting out?

I would say, be brave and show as much of yourself as possible, because I think in a world of so many eyes and so many photographers, your own personal outlook is always going to be your strength, your individual selling point, and no one can ever take that away from you. It can also be quite a scary thing, especially when you just start working and you feel a lot of pressure that you need to somehow change what you’re doing because the stakes are raised and you get budgets and you can get more equipment.

And actually, I think shooting as much personal work as you can and keeping clear about what you’re doing is a way of saving yourself a lot of heartache in a way. It doesn’t necessarily mean it makes the path easier. I think people, more than ever now, really need to quickly get a feel for what a photographer is about. There is no point watering down what you’re doing and trying to please everyone. Just pursue and explore your vision.

Stick to what you love taking pictures of and try not to get too muddy about what direction your work takes. Be choosy about what you take on and also evaluate each job individually. Some jobs you might take on for money but they’re not necessarily things you would show in your portfolio- you have to balance that out with things you really love doing. The more you stick to your guns the more likely you are to be able to do paid commissions that suit your style.

What are you working on now?

I have two exciting book projects in the pipeline - one will involve quite a lot of travelling and there will be three photographers working on it. We’re currently finalising details on that, so it has to remain a little mysterious. The second will be based in London and is also a great project

I have also made a feature-length documentary. The editing process is finished, so I am now working on the completion stage - colour grading, sound mix and music. This whole process has pushed me way out of my comfort zone, which has been so good.

I recently shot a video for Stella McCartney Kids SS15, which we are about to start editing.

I just went on a ghostly tour of Scotland for a German magazine called Nido.

This week I have been shooting a feature for Riposte Magazine and tomorrow I am photographing musician Cooly G for The Wire.

I would say, be brave and show as much of yourself as possible, because I think in a world of so many eyes and so many photographers, your own personal outlook is always going to be your strength, your individual selling point, and no one can ever take that away from you.

Where would you like to be 5-10 years from now?

Photography is like a never-ending journey of exploration and inspiration for me. I hope I’ll be still experimenting and pushing myself. I think that any artistic endeavour is really uncomfortable a lot of the time. You have a few moments of jubilation when you feel things are coming together or an edit is coming together, but it’s a lot of soul-searching. It can be quite a lonely job.

I hope I’ll be in a position where I’m making interesting work and still loving what I’m doing with a good balance between making money and shooting personal work.

I’d also like to make time for exploring other mediums, like painting and I want to make more films.

And last but very importantly, making lots of time for having fun with my family.

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