For our first series shot exclusively for Son of a Gun Magazine, we wanted to feature fashion photography, a style dear to our hearts. Emerging Melbourne photographer Silverhalidephoto and talent Carolyn Uphill from Pride Models give us this stripped-back story showing that, sometimes, simplicity can run rings around a lavish production. Styling by Marilyn Wang and Hair & Make-up by Stephanie Lingoh.
Fashion photography has always been the style that we are immediately drawn to. How did you first get in to photography and what was it that attracted you to this genre?
My Dad gave me a 35mm film camera when I was about 21; prior to that I had never really paid much attention to photography – and, to be honest, I still didn’t pick up the camera straight away. It wasn’t until I saw two retrospective exhibitions at the Barbican in London that I began to get the bug – the first was a David Bailey retrospective, the second was Helmut Newton’s Work exhibition. Bailey’s B&W portraits particularly from his 1965 Box of Pin Ups were so inspirational; his portrait of Lennon & McCartney is above my desk as we speak. I’m still not convinced that it is the fashion that interests me, more the social nature of the work. I love being able to work with an engaged and enthusiastic team to tell a visual story.
So why not specialise in portrait photography then?
Fashion photography allows you to create an alternate reality. The models are actors playing a role in your story. We were required to shoot portraiture at College and it just didn’t do it for me; there was always something missing. I read an article in one of the photography publications about fashion photography; in it, they asked an established photographer how he started and he said “by testing, testing and more testing”. At the time, I was assisting at a local commercial studio and they helped me put a basic portfolio together and I took that around the modelling agencies. The agents were really helpful; they put me in touch with emerging stylists and hair & make-up artists and let us test with models on their roster.
Part of the premise of this magazine is to understand what makes photographers tick; you have already mentioned Bailey and Newton, who else inspires you and what is it about their work that sparks your interest?
So many photographers – it is hard to know where to start. I love the work of masters such as Diane Arbus, Edward Weston, Ansel Adams and Saul Leiter, all pioneers in their genre. As for more contemporary artists, I am inspired by Anton Corbijn and Alex Prager for their ability to translate the cinematic effect in to a single still image; and Hedi Slimane who can fuse design, music and fashion in to his photographs.
Ultimately, what do you hope to achieve with your photography?
Refine my style which I think can still be a bit too derivative at times; I guess that is part of the learning curve. I like the idea that I can eventually be commissioned for my style.