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Interview: Photographer Paul Davies (UK)

Can you tell us a little about you?

I am 48 and live in the heart of the Cotswolds in England. I have a wife and three daughters and have just become a Grandad for the first time. I am a professional photographer of 17 years and mainly specialise in portraiture and fashion. I am also the owner of f/8 studio in Gloucester, England.

How and when did you get into photography?

17 years ago, being a very, very amateur photographer, I got a call from a friend who was a model asking if I could come and help out as the photographer had not turned up to a shoot. I jumped at the opportunity and loved every minute of it and have never looked back.

What does photography mean to you?

It is my creative outlet, I can’t draw, paint, design, sing, play an instrument, useless at it all. Photography allows me to express myself and be creative.

Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.

I love the beauty of a simple portrait; however, my greatest love is edgy or wacky fashion. The type of thing you love to see on a catwalk but would rarely dare to wear on the high street. I usually stick to a plain backdrop as I believe the styling, model, pose and garments should speak for themselves and be interpreted without unnecessary distraction. I like to make people think and look twice.

Where do you get inspiration from?

The catwalk and fashion magazines mainly. I like edgy, experimental fashion and love to look at what others are doing and use it as inspiration for my own vision and ideas. I am also an avid collector of photography books, I can spend hours looking at the images of everyone from the old Hollywood images of George Hurrell, to the strong female poses of Helmut Newtons nudes to the edgy colourful fashion images of Rankin.

Do you think in advance what you want in the picture?

Yes, I always plan, I have an idea in my head of the styling of an image and what I want the outcome to be. However, that rarely ends up in the final image. I find if you let a model work with your idea and play with it you generally get something even better than you first envisaged. Models can be amazingly creative if you let them, you get the best images when you involve them in the process.

Studio, on location or both?

Studio always! I am a complete control freak when it comes to lighting. I started watching videos of a photographer called Karl Taylor years ago and then signed up to his education website. He is a master of lighting. Ever since then I have been obsessed with controlling and experimenting with light.

Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?

I am grateful for the fact that I can consider myself a paid professional. Through commissions and studio hire I now manage to make a living doing the thing I love. It took a long time to get there but persistence and a will to succeed paid off in the end.

What has been your most memorable session and why?

Oh, there have been loads of funny, fantastic and awful sessions but the most memorable was probably about 12 years ago. Twenty minutes into a session with a world class ballerina, I was getting the most amazing images, then I slipped (I like shooting in my socks) and dropped my camera! I have never, ever turned up to a shoot with only one camera body in my bag since! You only make that mistake once.

Nikon or Canon? Favourite lens?

I use a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV (although I would love a Hassleblad if they ever fancy sponsoring me!). By far my favourite lens is the Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L. It is a phenomenal piece of glass and, if I could, I would take every single shot with it. In the studio I am a complete convert to Broncolor since I bought my first Siros 800S, now I have Broncolor everything.

What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?

Persistence, persistence, persistence. Believe in your own ability and stick with it.

What do you think of our new magazine?

I love it. I think it is so important to the future of the industry to have a magazine that supports emerging artists. There are so few outlets for new creatives to submit their work and have the chance to be published and seen. The fashion industry is so often seen as closed off to all but the elite it is refreshing to see a new opportunity for aspiring photographers, models and designers.

[if !supportLists][endif]MUA: Chloe-Jasmine Whichello

[if !supportLists]Model: Chloe-Jasmine Whichello

[if !supportLists][endif]MUA: Tori Ann

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[if !supportLists][endif]MUA: Katy Brankin

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[if !supportLists][endif]MUA: Katy Brankin

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[if !supportLists][endif]MUA: Chloe Rank-Harrington

[if !supportLists]Model: Chloe Rank-Harrington

[if !supportLists]MUA: Chloe Rank-Harrington

[if !supportLists][endif]Model: Chloe Rank-Harrington

[if !supportLists][endif]MUA: Rebecca Steel

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[if !supportLists]MUA: Ravenna Loveless

[if !supportLists]Model: Ravenna Loveless

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[if !supportLists]Model: Rebecca Steel

[if !supportLists][endif]MUA: Chanel April Hill

[if !supportLists]Model: Chanel April Hill

[if !supportLists]MUA: Chloe Rank-Harrington

Model: Chloe Rank-Harrington

[if !supportLists][endif]MUA: Chloe-Jasmine Whichello

[if !supportLists][endif]Model: Chloe-Jasmine Whichello

[if !supportLists][endif]MUA: Ravenna Loveless

[if !supportLists][endif]Model: Ravenna Loveless

[if !supportLists][endif]MUA: Chanel April Hill

[if !supportLists]Model: Chanel April Hill

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