Love List

Friday, November 30, 2012

In talks with Hollie Fernando, photographer

I've been wanting to do photographer interview features for some time now because I think that local fashion photography is still rather commercial rather than creative. Granted, they are beautiful and editorial quality, with equally good styling, but sometimes I look at the editorials and I don't feel inspired at all. I think fashion magazines need to let people feel excited first about the concept of fashion and inspired by the mood of the photoshoot, then they will start to study the details and the styling. Whereas overly commercial photos with a heavy emphasis on the clothes alone sometimes just resulting in people flipping through the glossy pages of the magazines mindlessly. That's why I like international titles such as Dazed & Confused, i-D and Muse.

I chanced upon young photographer's Hollie Fernando's work through a Frankie newsletter that got delivered into my email inbox. They used one of her images from the series The Color Purple as the head image for the newsletter and I was immediately drawn to her poetic photography style. I contacted her for an interview and she kindly agreed.

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Naked Glory: How did you first get interested in photography?
Hollie Fernando: I think it was the curiosity of finding my dad’s old cameras from the 60s when we were clearing out the loft one time when I was about 15. He had boxes and boxes of old 35mm cameras and filters and I had never come across anything like them before. I just ended up teaching myself how to use them. I still remember the first film that actually came out after numerous failed attempts and just getting this feeling of pride and happiness and it is safe to say my heart was set on photography from that day. It’s the reason I am still a 35mm girl I guess!

NG: How long have you been shooting? What cameras do you use?
I have been shooting for 6 years now and have never looked back. My shelves are creaking with all my cameras, but at the moment I mainly use my trusty Nikon FA and have recently got my mitts on a Contax G2 which is pretty exciting.

NG: What inspires you before you shoot? Do you plan it according to a mood or a certain concept or message you wish to express?
I am inspired by so many different things at the moment. The books I read, the films I see, the songs I find and locations I stumble across. Something will give me an idea and I will just visualise the images in my head and plan my shoot to produce them. I am also really into fashion so like to plan shoots based around certain styles that I love. I never don’t have my camera on me, so I get a lot of unplanned shots when I’m out and about too. I think the way I direct my subjects convey the messages and moods that I am feeling. My friend pointed out how in summer my work is much happier and carefree than what I am producing at the moment (I am not a fan of winter haha).

NG: How would you describe your photography style? 
I like to keep my style natural and soft. Someone described me as whimsical recently and I thought that was quite fitting too. I am very connected with the idea of youth and love and wandering the world finding beautiful places. Never waste a day.

NG: Does the model/subject matter?
Depends on the kind of shoot! If it was for my own personal work then it wouldn’t matter at all, I find everyone interesting. But if it were for a fashion shoot then the subject would have to match the style I was going for. I am lucky that all my friends are beautiful and are willing to let me dress them up and boss them about for my crazy ideas.

NG: Who are your clients normally and do you do commercial work like advertisements? If yes, what's your take on shooting ads vs your usual photography?
Clients usually are people in the fashion field such as stylists and designers and clothing companies. I love doing this, you get so many interesting ideas bouncing off of each other and you inspire each other with your contrasting visions – it’s really creative shooting. I have been getting a few bands in recently too, which is very exiting to do something new! I am looking to build that side of my portfolio as I am a huge music lover and could see myself doing music photography in future. I don’t really change my style of photography when doing commercial shoots as the clients come to me because they like my style and how I see things and put them together. I have finally settled and found my style after a lot of horrendous experimenting and am happy with how my work is looking. I now just have to keep pushing myself for bigger and better things.

NG: What do you dream about? 
I dream about my planned travels to South East Asia and falling in love.

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