Austrian fashion and beauty photographer Chris Ecker is a master of the editorial style. His images have that glossy elegance that is right at home on the pages of the very best fashion magazines.
How did you first discover photography?
My grandfather was shooting and developing family portraits in his studio for a living. Later, he started travelling a lot and was booked for portraits of more or less important people. He became pretty well known for that back in the day but he died in his mid-50s. My father bought a small Canon rangefinder when I was born in 1972 and eventually this camera became mine 12 years later – I still have the landscapes I did on B&W film. Later on, in high school, I had a girlfriend going to art school and one day I asked her teacher if I would be allowed to join the photography and darkroom classes just for fun. In the end, I was the best one in the darkroom – unofficially!
Don’t shoot for popularity, don’t copy – be influenced, but do not copy.
What do you want your images to say to the viewer?
Well, a photograph is basically a two-dimensional medium but I think a good shot also has a third dimension – it has an emotional content, an emotional content that touches the viewer. I think the world of emotion has a fascinating infinity and complexity – what a playground for a portrait or fashion photographer! Love, beauty, seduction, passion, all that together – you name it. Basically for me, it is about how to express and how to capture emotions. A lot of photographers don’t have the sensitivity for that these days. Don’t shoot for popularity, don’t copy – be influenced, but do not copy. Do it just for you and, most importantly, it should mean something to you. This is my approach to photography.
There is a genuine elegance and sensuality in your images; do you have any advice for new photographers on how to capture this feeling and raw emotion when working with models?
Well, it is a lot about the photographer’s personality, this is something which has to come naturally. You cannot learn that and you cannot fake it; models will only show emotions when they trust you and when they like you. A good photographer is always open minded, smart, a nice person and a gentleman. A photograph is somehow a reflection of your personality; models know me and my style, so they know what it is all about anyways.
Well, it is a lot about the photographer’s personality, this is something which has to come naturally. You cannot learn that and you cannot fake it.
Who or what are your main sources of inspiration?
I am inspired by many photographers like how, for example, Lindbergh was inspired by Avedon but, more and more, I feel like I am inspired by emotions: love, beauty, seduction, passion, you name it. Also, I have tons of photo-books, book about art and artists – but I would never call myself an artist. You know, I am a pretty regular guy, but there is something deep inside me that creates these works and I simply can’t live without doing that.
Which single image are you most proud of and why?
The most beautiful shot I have done was the shot of Julia with Jordan, a model with her baby son. We took some new model card shots of Julia and I said bring Jordan in – so, in the last 15 minutes, I took some shots of both of them and one shot really got us more than any shot ever before. Pure love.
What is next for you? Are you working on any projects that you can tell us about?
I am working on a series of night shoots. The night and darkness have something seductive, mysterious and adventurous – so you will find me working at night all summer long.
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All images copyright Chris Ecker.