An Interview with Amie Parsons
1. Fill me in on your background, where are you from and how did you get in to photography?
Ever since I can remember I have loved taking photos and posing for them. I have always been interested in Art and Media, which I went on to study at A-Level. After this I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do as a job and considered working in the film industry. I ended up doing a photography foundation Degree at Norton College. I never really thought this would be the path to my Career. I simply took the course because I enjoyed photography and wanted to learn more about it, which is when I bought my first SLR Camera. I got into photography really fast and it was only a few months before I started to get work photographing weddings and family portraits. I went on to do my final year of my B.A. Honours Degree in photography while setting up my own photography business to support myself through university. I graduated in 2010 receiving a 1st in my Degree. I have continued to run my own business and have worked for clients such as The NHS, Freeman & Bennett, Taylor Taylor Men’s Salon. I also work with DK Model Management producing model portfolios on a regular basis.
2. Who has influenced you the most in terms of photography?
The photographer I most admire the work of is Fashion Erwin Blumenfeld. Blumenfeld’s work has a very elegant almost dream like style. I have also been greatly inspired by the work of Helmut Newton and Nick Knight.
3. What is your favourite style of photography (Self portraiture? Fashion? Documentary)?
My Main Passion is Fashion and Beauty Photography. I would much rather Convey Beauty than the truth. Each and every image is perfected, idealising the female form. My work is created and designed to be desirable to the viewer, making it effective at selling the product advertised.
I am very passionate about my practice, taking great care in producing new and exhilarating work to suit each client’s individual needs. I feel I encourage the models to relax, which allows me to draw the desired expression and emotion from each subject. By combining this with creative lighting I feel I bring life and excitement to my work.
In more recent works, I have challenged these notions of beauty. In the series ‘Puppet show’ I have explored the portrayal of women within the media. This series poses questions as to the extent that the fashion industry controls how women present themselves. Within this series I posed women as rag doll puppets, demonstrating control in a physical sense by the use of rope, controlling the models movements. The operator controlling the models from above gives the sense that the controller is much greater and powerful than these women. The controller is at the top of the industry leaving the women at the bottom to do as they are told. Alternatively, the controller could be seen as the dominant male, in that women want to look and feel attractive to please the opposite sex in order to feel acceptance within society. This suggests that men control women merely by their presence, but also that woman are allowing themselves to be controlled.
My practice also poses questions as to how women view themselves. The women in this series are dressed almost identically. This reflects the way women look at other women and aspire to be just like them to the point we are all clones of one another… just like dolls!
4. What is your process when taking photo’s, from getting ideas to editing?
This depends totally on the shoot and whom I’m working with. The projects for my personal portfolio I start with an idea, develop it, source the models and makeup artists that fit the part, style and shoot it! This can be done over a few months, designing and developing an idea or something I put together on the day. I do tend to be organised with an exact idea in my mind of what the end result should look like. Saying that some of my favourite work I’ve done has been in the creative sessions working with very talented Makeup artists Tina Satterin, Andrea Hrh and hair stylist Radha Pethers. These have been very creative sessions generally going with the flow on the day and seeing what we come up with! I am a perfectionist when it comes to my photography and this continues right through to selecting the finial images and editing them! Editing wise I always like to get the image right on camera, however I still spend hours at the computer making sure every image used is perfected, smoothing the skin and taking away stray hairs.
5. What are your tools of the trade?
I have a Nikon D700 and Elinchrom lighting kits.
6. Where do you hope to go with your photography?
My Dream Job would be to shoot for magazines such as Vogue and Bazaar. I know I have a long way to go but if it’s not my aim I’ll never get there.
7. Why do you think people are drawn to fashion photography and editorials?
They are beautiful! I could talk forever on this subject but let’s just say it’s a lot to do with the viewer’s desire for the image and the desire to be that ‘perfect’ model in the photo.
8. On your Flickr it seems like you focus on one shot at a time, do you do series and not put them up or do you prefer to focus on one fashion shot at a time?
I do a mixture. I have done quite a few different series of images that I have developed over a long period of time. I also have one off pieces.
9. Who are some other fashion photographers you admire?
Well the classic photographers such as Nick Knight, Erwin Blumenfeld & Helmut Newton. Then more recent photographers work I follow include Richard Warren, Jason Christopher and I also keep in-touch with London photographer Tom Miles after doing work experience with him in 2009.
10. What is your best tip to taking a striking fashion portrait?
I’d say strong lighting technique… get the lighting right and you can create a stunning photo.
11. Your photos seem to be of mostly women, why do you find women more interesting to photograph?
I do photograph both men and women but a lot of my focus has been on women, this has happened subconsciously over time. I think one of the reasons is the media is full of photos of women in both male and female magazines and this has greatly influenced my practice. I also love doing beauty shoots working with amazing hair and makeup with gorgeous female models.
12. Who has been your biggest influence in your photography work and where do you look for inspiration for your work?
I don’t think there is one big influence I’m constantly influenced by photographers, models, places I visit, music videos, film… the list is endless.
13. Do you think it’s hard to be original in fashion? How do you keep your ideas original and fresh?
Some one somewhere will have done something similar to what you are shooting but you might not necessarily have even seen it. Even if your idea has been done you can make it your own. Looking back at my doll project again, when I came up with the idea I had never seen it before and it wasn’t until I showed my test shots to a group of photographers they said it had been done on Americas Next Top Model. Its just one of those things and it shouldn’t put you off doing the shoot from your prospective.
14. Do you often change a lot of the original photo in Photoshop?
I have always said I am a photographer not a graphic designer but I do bits; touch-ups, airbrushing, colour changes, montages. I wouldn’t say I do a lot in Photoshop I tent to take the photo how I want it and then use Photoshop to enhance what I already have.
15. What’s the next big project you’ve got coming up?
I have quite a few interesting projects coming up so if you keep a look out on:
You will see the new projects I’m doing as they come out.
Thank you so much for taking such an interest in my work and ideas behind the images.
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