Occupation: Fashion & Beauty Photographer
City: London, UK
All photos by Rossella Vanon
ROSSELLA: I got interested in photography through a friend I met about seven years ago. Once I went to his house for the first time and he showed me his portfolio. He was flipping through the pages describing how he took every single shot in a lot of detail. No need to say I didn’t understand a thing because I had absolutely no clue about photography. But the way he spoke about it, the passion I sensed all around every word, the way he glanced back up at me after keeping his eyes down, caressing every printed page for minutes... that made me fall in love with photography a little, there and then. That year I started playing with a small compact Sony camera and the year after I got my first reflex, a Canon 350D.
I didn’t exactly choose fashion. I was experimenting with photography, trying a bit of everything to find out where my heart really was. Back then I didn’t even know photography was going to be my career. Fashion happened during that time, and it turned out to be exactly what I was looking for. I love how creative it is, especially fashion editorial, how you get to work with teams of very talented people, and I love how their different imaginative minds work together, in different ways but together, to achieve the same goal of outstanding beauty and striking originality.
FASHION STUDIO: Do you remember your first fashion photoshoot?
ROSSELLA: I was still in my experimentation phase, shooting everyone and everything, when a friend of mine, a make up artist, called me asking me to collaborate to a test shoot. Well, I had to Google ‘test shoot’ to know what she was talking about. That’s how new I was to the fashion industry! It was summertime and we shot in the park, with an amateur model and a hair stylist, and we did the wardrobe styling ourselves. It was completely improvised. We had no idea about what kind of hair styling, make up and wardrobe we would have wanted for the shoot, and in the end, of course, they ended up not really matching. But we were so proud of ourselves! I remember having a lot of fun and thinking that I wanted to do it again. And so I did. For over a year in a row.
FASHION STUDIO: When did you decide to become a full-time photographer?
ROSSELLA: I think I decided it three years ago. I had just got a Recording Arts Degree at a university here in London. But even though I liked photography a lot, at first it was more like a personal challenge than a realistic choice of life. I wanted to prove to myself and to everyone around me that I could become whoever I wanted if only I wanted it bad enough. As soon as I started seriously doing photography I realized how much it really got me interested and focused and passionate day after day, shoot after shoot. I renew my choice everyday when I open my eyes in the morning and I run to my computer to check my emails, excited about all the new projects and opportunities that are just around the corner and feed my constant thirst for creativity.
FASHION STUDIO: What inspires you? Where do you find ideas for the photoshoots?
ROSSELLA: Photographs, locations, faces, feelings, fairytales, music, details. Usually it all starts from a concept, and then it gets visually elaborated into a specific styling, choice of model, location and photographic settings.
FASHION STUDIO: What are the most important things when shooting fashion?
ROSSELLA: I find very important having a clear idea of what I want to achieve long before even picking up the camera. When the concept/idea of the shoot is already set and defined, everyone on set is more focused, productive and relaxed.
Being organized and able to stick to tight timeframes is also very important. When you shoot fashion, and especially fashion editorial, you usually have about 8/10 outfits to shoot in a day and about 5 people to collaborate with and to direct. It’s very important to know what you want to achieve and quickly work towards it, being able to manage your time well.
FASHION STUDIO: What is your personal definition of fashion photography?
ROSSELLA: A perfect mix of beauty and creativity at their best.
FASHION STDUIO: Which photography books would you recommend?
ROSSELLA: Recently I have been reading the book ‘2012, Photographer’s Market’. I have found it very interesting and useful. It’s about finding the ways to succeed in the industry, how to efficiently network and make contacts, approach clients, submit images... very well made and specific.
FASHION STUDIO: What has been your biggest challenge so far?
ROSSELLA: The hardest part was definitely getting started in photography at first.
Coming from a music degree, photography was a completely new industry for me. I had no contacts and I had no idea about how the business side of it worked. I had no idea about how my camera worked either, actually! The camera was easy to figure out (at least it came with a manual!), but the business side of things took a while to reveal itself to me. I made mistakes and learnt from them. I never stopped working and learning, even when it seemed that things were just not moving forward.
FASHION STUDIO: And the biggest achievement?
ROSSELLA: Getting past that moment. Starting making relevant contacts and realizing that people slowly started noticing me and my work and appreciating it more and more.
FASHION STUDIO: What is your personal recipe for success?
ROSSELLA: Believe in yourself, love what you do, surround yourself with inspiring people, learn from your mistakes and always set yourself new goals.
FASHION STUDIO: Who is, in your opinion, the most interesting London fashion designer?
ROSSELLA: Romero Bryan* and Ara Jo are two amazingly creative designers I’ve had the pleasure of working with in the past. They are extremely lovely people and their creativity has no limits. Their designs are both featured in my editorial ‘Future Tense’. Check them out!
(*I had a chance to meet Romero Bryan in 2007 during my first fashion show at Studio Valbonne when I was starting my modelling career in London. He has come a long way since then. - Eva Fydrych)
FASHION STUDIO: Which famous photographers do you admire?
ROSSELLA: Tim Walker and Paolo Roversi are my two favourite photographers. There’s something about their shots that leaves me speechless. There is dream and emotion, intensity and fantasy, fashion and art all in one shot. Always.
FASHION STUDIO: What makes you unique and different from other fashion photographers? How would you define your style?
ROSSELLA: I like to mix fashion with a hint of surrealism and fairytale. There is always a story behind my subjects; sometimes it feels almost like mythology. Visually I love to play with aperture’s blur and colours. In fact I would define my style as a fashion fairytale of colour and light.
FASHION STUDIO: Which celebrity would you like to shoot and why?
ROSSELLA: I always thought it would be interesting to shoot a famous photographer. They are so magnificent when they work on their side of the camera, and I always wondered how they would behave in front of it. My choice will have to fall on Tim Walker.
FASHION STUDIO: What is your life philosophy?
ROSSELLA: I have a few! Don’t do to others what you don’t want done to you (and this applies to people, animals and nature). Carpe diem. Be happy.
FASHION STUDIO: Where do you see yourself in five years time?
ROSSELLA: Shooting fashion editorials all over the world and raising funds for animal shelters and campaigns to make people more aware about the reality behind the meat, fur and animal testing industry.
FASHION STUDIO: Thank you for sharing your thoughts with Fashion Studio Magazine readers and all the best with conquering the world!
Official website: www.rvanonphotography.com
All photos by Rossella Vanon
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