Text and photos by Lucie Eleanor.
Although I was born in London and lived there until I was ten, I grew up on the Isle of Wight on a converted farm that was so remote; the closest house to us was in France. There were no street lamps and pavements, just old roads. I think this is now a big part of who I am. I feel inspired by places I see, fields of white flowers, beaches with secluded rocks and deep tall forests. When I was younger I really felt free, running through fields and climbing trees, creating hideouts. When I capture a fashion image in one of these places its not just a location for a shoot – it reminds me of places I explored growing up.
I learnt how to use a camera before I can remember from my father – he taught me the technical side of using one. Both my father and grandfathers (from my mother and father’s side) were interested in photography and I had access to cameras from a very young age. When I started to take photographs as a teenager I was really interested in macro. I used to take photographs of bugs and flowers, trying to get as close to them as possible. I had sketchbooks full of these types of images as living in the countryside gave me endless access to nature – my camera came everywhere with me. When I learnt to drive I would drive around little country lanes and stop the car when I saw a patch of wild flowers that interested me. I think that it was this type of work that helped me understand how the camera works and at some point, my interest moved over to people and eventually to fashion. I hadn’t grown up with digital photography and it was only when I left high school that it became affordable to own a digital SLR. Everything I did back then was either done on film or on a tiny point and shoot digital camera, but I found ways to experiment with that too. I spent a lot of time during school in the dark rooms, but despite always having enjoyed using film I never really enjoyed the dark rooms.
I still wanted to incorporate the natural earthy feel that my work had when I took photographs of nature, so a lot of my shoots took place outdoors. I very much enjoyed working with natural light. I found it fun to distort the images I took in anyway possible, finding techniques that I could do in camera, which ranged from home made filters to wiggling flowers in front of the lens. When you move a flower or leaf in front of the camera while keeping a wide aperture you can get a beautiful coloured effect across the image. People have asked why I don’t just do this on Photoshop but to me it is not the same – I like both the imperfection and randomness in doing things on camera. (If it is left to Photoshop then the process can be over thought.) I also don’t think it will ever look as natural as when something is done on camera.
I always hoped to give off a feminine, soft feel to my photographs, with a lot of color and depth of field. I like it when the model looks as though she is lost in her own world, so most of the time when I am shooting on location I ask the model not to look into the camera. I was less interested in telling a story with my photographs but rather capturing a series of moments – I prefer to have a collection of varied shots from a shoot rather than a one off photograph. I can’t begin to explain how much colour attracts me to photographs, when I look at other peoples work I study the colours wondering how I can achieve that too. Sometimes I want my images to be so vibrant but still to look natural, at other points I prefer a softer pastel look, I rarely use black and white, only occasionally do I feel an image I take calls for it.
When people have asked in the past what type of things inspire me, I am never sure quite how to answer. I find my mind is always clouded with ideas – I keep myself awake at night thinking about little images and places in my head that eventually piece themselves together like a puzzle, then it all clicks into place and I have a concept for my shoot. It’s at that point that I wish I could make it happen then and there as I find bringing a team together the most tedious part of what I do. I have endless lists of ideas, little notes and snapshots of places I have seen, models I have seen and scans from magazines. These will hopefully one day all turn into mood boards, which I will use in my work. I become very antsy if I am not able to do creative photography often; after each shoot has finished I have a large wave of relief flow over me.
The thing about fashion photography unlike fine art is there often is no hidden message, what you see is what you get but I hope that people are drawn to my images nonetheless; I want to create desire with my work. That is what has always attracted me to both fashion and advertising photography – making you want something you never knew you needed. For me fashion photography is more about the colours and location than anything else.
I struggle with the dilemma that I do not want to live in the city, however to be a successful fashion photographer, that is where I need to be, so I am still trying to find that balance. In a lot of ways I am a solitary person working a job that requires you to be a team player. I eventually wish to return to my roots, live near the sea and have a relaxing peaceful life, to travel the world and to take photographs that represent me.
Please visit Lucie Eleanor website for more information and great fashion photography.