Sunday, October 16, 2011

SANDRA VON RIEKHOFF: Exclusive Interview

By Eva Fydrych


Occupation: Fashion Photographer
City: New York (US) & London (UK)

FASHION STUDIO: How do you feel as a female in the industry dominated by men? Is it easier, more difficult or the gender doesn't really matter?

SANDRA: I think it's mostly down to your energy and weather people like you and you put them at ease. The more relaxed you make the crew feel, I feel the better the results.

FASHION STUDIO: You worked in the fashion industry in London for 15 years. How would you compare it to New York?

SANDRA: My background has spanned everything from modeling as a young whipper snapper mostly in Asia as that's where the less attractive and shorter species like myself get relegated to, design which I studied in Toronto and did horribly at due to my total lack of patience, styling for film and television which I loved, journalism in Tokyo which had me making cold calls in a country where I did not speak the language, retail buying & managing stores for FENDI and finally escaping the wrath of retail and excel sheets to explore my creative side again with photography. I could never work for anyone aside from my clients again.

FASHION STUDIO: What are your favourite shopping spots in both cities?

SANDRA: NYC I adore ABC home which is filled with amazing ideas at prices that inspire one to work really hard! For fashion I also like to pop into

In London my favourite store of all is one nearly hidden in Hampsterad called which is a very expertly selected collection of exactly the right everything! I adore it and missed it horribly when I was in NYC. They've just launched online shopping too so now that I'm pregnant with twins I can sit on my extended version of an backside and shop!

FASHION STUDIO: Most exciting fashion events?

SANDRA: Possibly hanging around Harijuku and just inside Yoyogi park in Tokyo. Google for images to get an idea if you are unfamiliar!

FASHION STUDIO: Your most unusual photoshoot so far.

SANDRA: Once had a flasher interrupt a shoot, oddly wanted his picture taken which was and provided to the police.

FASHION STUDIO: How would you define fashion photography?

SANDRA: I'm not sure I could write a definition. I enjoy work that relies very little on the fashion itself rather the mood created by all the components that leave you feeling sufficiently impacted and ultimately from a marketing position wanting whatever it it that they were selling!

FASHION STUDIO: Do you think it's important for a fashion photographer to know the fabrics, have some styling skills, know the history of fashion and basically have good fashion taste? Who is really in charge during a photoshoot: you or a fashion stylist?

SANDRA: This is a great advantage when dealing with your clients, if you can talk their language and know well what it is that you are shooting, it does imbue them with a great trust in you, not to mention give you added confidence. I would say my varied career has been a bonus in the sense. Stylists are not ever the directors, unless of course they are paying for the shoot :)

FASHION STUDIO: Which fashion photographer do you admire?

SANDRA: I'm a sucker for Cecil Beaton.

FASHION STUDIO: Why did you choose fashion? Have you tried any other genres of photography?

SANDRA: I guess it's quite easy to build a career when it's doing something you know about and love.

FASHION STUDIO: What do you find most challenging in fashion photography?

SANDRA: Getting paid really well!

FASHION STUDIO: What is your personal style? What do you usually wear for the photoshoot?

SANDRA: Jeans, or something comfortable that allows me to move alot, get up high, lie on the floor.

FASHION STUDIO: Which fashion magazines do you read?

SANDRA: In the words of Sarah Palin "I read all of them" ;) Another mag usually has ideas that push me.

FASHION STUDIO: What's your ambition as a photographer?

SANDRA: I suppose I just want to work with clients I enjoy and who are open to playing around a bit and getting in a car to drive somewhere unusual. Did a shoot in some caves off the coast which was not an easy day out logistically, but it was a blast and the shots were a treat! Of course a white back drop day is always nice now and then too.

FASHION STUDIO: How do you improve your skills?

SANDRA: Always try new things and often.

FASHION STUDIO: How would you describe your photography style? How long did it take you to develop it?

SANDRA: It's moody I suppose and maybe at times vaguely dramatic and likely commercial. But it's a work in process and I'm already bored of it, feel like a need a new fresh view.

FASHION STUDIO: How do you find models for your photo shoots? Do you work with any agencies?

SANDRA: I work with agencies like FM & IMG for edgier fashion and Nevs for more commercial girls in general. Too shy to ask girls on the street I see, but wish I had the guts sometimes.

FASHION STUDIO: How a model should prepare before a photoshoot? What is most important?

SANDRA: Just practice in the mirror with a few good magazines...just lock the door and close the curtains.

FASHION STUDIO: Which famous model would you like to photograph?

SANDRA: Lara Stone would be one.

FASHION STUDIO: Your favourite designer...

SANDRA: Isabel Marant.

FASHION STUDIO: What projects are you currently working on and where can we see your latest work?

SANDRA: Working on Twins! Due to give birth in 11 days and then breeding is complete now with three kids..after that I'm back to work and have a million and one ideas other than bottles and diapers! 

FASHION STUDIO: Thank you. It's been a pleasure talking to you.

Official website: Sandra von Riekhoff

All photos courtesy of Sandra von Riekhoff


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