LONDON BASED, KARL SLATER TALKS FASHION PHOTOGRAPHY

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1: What initially sparked your interest in Photography?

I have always had an interest in imagery and visual things. Originally, my first experience with any kind of photography was using my little yellow Kodak (I can’t remember the model). I would take it everywhere, the photos were awful but I was only 10 at the time. You could call that “the spark”, but I truly fell in love with photography when I was around 25 and working as a designer. I always loved how photographers created and captured “THAT” moment.

 

2: Are you educated in Photography or self-taught?

100% self taught, my background is actually Fashion Design, graduating and working as a designer for a number of years, dipping my toe into styling and ultimately finishing as a photographer. This was all during a course of 15 years, mind you, my learning came from assisting and sharing a studio space with a photographer where I observed and picked up things as they went. Having a background in Design, I can understand the clothes on a different level to most, and with some styling experience, I understand the art of creative direction and the lengths a team goes to in order to make the story a realized image.

3: Looking back at your first work, are there any major mistakes you made that you now find embarrassing?

I cannot say I have ever made any major mistakes. My first shoot was an actual paid job; I guess you could say I’ve always had the confidence.

On reflection, I can see things were a little rougher than they are now. Without the experience you can become overwhelmed and miss things like the model taking a step too close to the light or you are a little less experimental with composition, playing it safe.

I think most photographers would agree that they are on a constant evolution regarding their work and photography style, I would be no different.

 

4: Which of your series are you most proud of? Why?

Well I guess it would be my “Models of London” series, as it was my first attempt at something much less editorial and that could translate into an exhibition.

Models of London” is an ongoing project I do for KALTBLUT magazine. The idea stemmed from a few things. Having worked in the fashion industry for some time, I felt it is important for a photographer to have an ongoing project that people can associate with him/her. When shooting, the success of the day rests on everyone shoulders, but more so the model! A model can make the worse clothes look expensive and by simply standing in just the right way, making any image iconic. I wanted to do almost a study on how different models worked under the same pressures and external influences. Every model I shoot is given the same wardrobe and color palette and I shoot with the same backgrounds and lighting style.

 

5: What would be your dream assignment?

Gosh that is a tough one, any of the big publications or fashion labels really…there are so many I love and admire.

6: If you could have anyone in the world take your portrait, who would it be?

I wish I could say someone really culturally relevant, like some politician or activist… but I am not going to hide it….it would totally be Britney Spears!

 

7: What advise would you give to young aspiring Fashion Photographers? 

I would say if your going to go into fashion photography, you really have to have a passion for it. There is going to be a lot of unpaid work, you have to have faith that the success (and money) will come in time. Always experiment, always push your own boundaries and never stop researching.

 

8: What do you think about the Creative Community in London?

You have to take people at face value. My experiences have been generally positive. Photography is a team effort so there no time for drama or BS. 

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