How would you describe what you do, and what does a typical working day look like for you?
It's a bit of a tricky one. Most of the work I do comes loosely under 'brand consulting' or 'social media strategy', and I have a range of clients that I work with from small fashion brands to big corporates. Recently, I have also been working a lot with a number of agencies on a freelance basis.
My photography, on the other hand, is more of a 'professional hobby'. However they can often overlap, and when you're in branding it helps to have a good visual eye.
With no formal background in photography, how did you land your first job?
When I was in my second year at uni, my best mate started a house night in Durham called Nova. I helped him with the marketing and had this idea called ‘Nova girl’, where we'd spray paint 'Nova' onto a friend's back, take a good looking but anonymous picture and promote it for the night. It really took off and each night had a new Nova girl. This later became paid, and as my photography got better I ended up doing event photography for the nights, and then for most of the nights in Durham. It was good fun.
Sometimes it's best to start small, practice your craft, get in with the right people and then, when the work is good enough, you'll get paid.
How did you approach the design of your brand (e.g. website, exhibitions, social media) and what have you learned along the way?
I have two sites, my photography one and my branding one. I wanted them to have a connection but to be different.
For my photography site, I wanted to use my name as the brand (although I know a lot of people who make up names, which can be cool), then I had a great young designer help me with the logo. I wanted to keep it simple but still be provocative and I've always liked pink as a loud, unafraid colour. It also works really well with the turquoise. However, as the work matures, I'm sure the brand will as well.
For the branding site, I actually took inspiration from someone's site I really liked, and had a web designer friend of mine create a similar aesthetic on wordpress.
It's best to research and mock up styles if you are creating something new. Sit on it for a bit and, if you continue to like it, then get it done.
"Persistence is key. Do not be deterred by initial reactions."
What were the biggest challenges you encountered when you were first starting out?
I transitioned from being fairly academic at uni to suddenly being all creative and into fashion and music. It happened at around the time I was doing my year abroad in Amsterdam. I remember coming back to London and seeing all my school friends for a birthday party, and they were all teasing me for my new creative output (which was fair enough because it was pretty bad and a bit weird!). But it got a lot better and now it's pretty much accepted by all my school mates. So persistence is key. Don't be deterred by initial reactions. It's natural. Keep going and continue developing.
What are the main tools you use (e.g. Adobe PS, Lightbox) in your work?
For photography, I shoot mostly on film, so it'd be my Contax G2, natural lighting and my developing kit.
For branding, definitely Keynote as most of my work involves presenting ideas of some sort...
What is the best piece of professional advice you have received? What would you say to aspiring creative students?
Keep the work consistent and develop your own style. Experiment in the early stages but once you find your niche, keep it consistent...
What projects are you excited about?
I'm excited for the next UGLYBOYS shoot with JORDANLUCA. We're thinking of shooting a load of skinheads in an old cinema. The first one was awesome and made it into Vogue Italia.