The Eye of the Tiger
He recently won the "Best Street Style Blog Award" at the 2015 Bloglovin' Awards, and Vogue Magazine included him in its "Street Style Stars to Watch" list of photographers to follow during the flood of Fall Fashion Weeks. Planted right in the middle of the action of all international fashion shows—snapping editors, celebrities, and supermodels through his trained eye—he can instinctively recognize the next top model.
How did you become a photographer?
My dad was a hobby photographer and when he passed away I got his camera. I tried using it, but I didn’t know how. Then, I was dating this girl at a University in Seattle and she wanted to become a model. She asked me to take some pictures with her camera and the photos looked OK. So, I bought my first digital camera, a Nikon D70. I don’t really know how I got into taking pictures of people because I thought it was stupid at the time. I thought that buildings and architecture were so much more unique and interesting. It’s probably when I took some pictures of my best friend for some light tests that I saw it could be interesting. It was also a good way to interact with people. I am very shy, and the camera provided a good opportunity to connect with people.
At that time, were you interested in fashion?
Yes, absolutely! My mom is a fashion designer and she always had Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Women’s Wear Daily sitting around. I used to look at them to find the girls with sheer tops—I was a little perverted kid (laughing)! I eventually got interested in fashion magazines because they are so engaging; there is so much colour, so much to look at on every page. I liked buying clothes, being part of it in that way. It is exciting; every season, all the novelty, always something new from all the brands... Nowadays, I am more focused on people and their personalities. The clothes become complementary to what they are. It is always more fun to take a picture of a cool person who is well dressed.
Why do you think people like your work?
I don’t know why. I learn from my mistakes, but I am also very obsessive and impulsive. I have very specific rules when it comes to my photos, and I will not compromise them, no matter what. If I had the best photo in the world, something that could be worth a million dollars, and I had to cut just the bottom of your shoe by one pixel, I would think that it was garbage! I would delete it, and I would never show it. I would consider even the best photo of someone walking to be "garbage" if the heel of the shoe was only one millimetre from hitting the ground! I will not break the rules. I never thought this could be my career and now that I am making money doing it, I don’t think I should change my trajectory. The day I shoot to impress people or my peers, I will have lost my integrity.
Do you realize that you live in a very special era? This type of job did not exist even just a few years ago.
Yes, of course! I am just old enough to remember what life was before the Internet and cell phones. I value my career very much and if I had been born just a few years earlier, I might not have been doing this.