Benoit Bouisset @ L’Homme de Nathalie Paris
Anna Rakel Ólafsdóttir
FEATURED PHOTOGRAPHER INTERVIEW
1. How does this collection speak to you? How did it come about? What did you want this to say to your audience? I have always been a fan of space sci-fi genre, be it movies or video games, so “Star Citizen” coming to fruition was a no-brainer. Currently, we are living in extraordinary times due to the exponential advances in technology and I really hope in our lifetimes, ordinary citizens will be able to venture into space. After watching interviews from the likes of Space-X entrepreneur Elon Musk and physicist Michio Kaku, I wanted to bring together a collection of clothing which is other-worldly and futuristic. When I approached designer and stylist Anna Rakel about the idea, she showed a lot of enthusiasm and I trusted her with bringing together a great mix of young designers who graduated from Insituto Marangoni, Mod’Art International and Atelier Chardon Savard while combining accessories from some of my favourite labels such as Damir Doma and Mykita. I wanted to do an editorial with the trademark Damir Doma sunglasses and I am extremely glad Anna was able to get her hands on them. She is a great designer herself and together with the eclectic mix of clothing she was able to pull, it definitely completed the look we wanted for this series.
2.What do you find to be the most difficult when bringing a team of artists together to create a cohesive look? How do you pick the right team?
It’s never easy to put together a team but more often than not, I work with the same few makeup artists or hairstylists so we have a good understanding of how we work already. I often discuss the choice of model(s) with the stylist after getting a selection from a modeling agency. This is not only important aesthetically but also enables the stylist to get the right fitting. The assistant is the glue guy so I need a communicative and reliable person with a good sense of humor to keep the team calm and collected so we can work together with a positive vibe.
3. As an editorial artist, what do you feel is one of the biggest mistakes beginners tend to make?
To do your best to prepare for a shoot and be prepared for the worst on the day of the shoot.
4. How would you describe your artistic style?
I’ve been told I have a somewhat dark and moody style but I think it is a combination of documentary, cinematic, wabi-sabi, yūgen and sensualism. I was inspired by legends such as Helmut Newton, Daido Moriyama, Ridley Scott, Nobuyoshi Araki & Wong Kar Wai but this list is not exhaustive. More contemporary fashion photographers like Greg Kadel, Wing Shya, Peter Lindbergh and Steven Klein has also influenced my work in some shape or form.
5. Do you prefer to be behind the camera or in front of it?
I wasn't born a model so…
6. What is your greatest weakness; your greatest strength?
Weakness: Staying organized & Over-analyzing. Strength: Perseverance.
7. What misconceptions do you think outsiders have about fashion and beauty editorials?
When I was on the outside looking in, I thought the world of Fashion and Beauty was a superficial one. Now that I am beginning to delve into this Universe, I find it to the contrary. Working with a team of highly intelligent and creative people including all the stylists and models also mean weeks and sometimes months of pre-production, location scouting, communication and planning and after the shoot, editing and retouching. It is not as glamorous as people think but in the end the results speak and while we may not be rewarded financially in the short-run, we are rewarded intrinsically.
8. What is your secret to keeping a happy balanced life while following your passion?
The greatest pleasure in life is following your passion but don’t forget about your friends and family.
9. Music feeds the soul and often motivates. What music are you playing while you are shooting?
I love somber and melancholic moods and I am a fan of Jazz and Bossa nova. However, this may not always suit the mood of a shoot. So it really depends. Anything from R&B & Soul, House & Techno to Rock & Alternative in order to hypnotize the team.
10. Words to live by?
I took it for granted at the time but when I was 9 years old, my parents made a selfless sacrifice to leave our motherland, their family and their jobs so we could have better opportunities in Australia. When we left for good, my older cousin gave me a letter and it simply read, “Struggle for Success.” I will never forget these words. I want to give a special thanks to my family for all their support being away from home for the past 7 years, while living in Tokyo and now living in Paris. It is always an adventure to take oneself out of the comfort zone. I want to make them proud for supporting and believing in me when I quit my corporate job back then but I know I have a long way to go in this industry. This is just the beginning for me.