photographer

Featured Photographer - Zachary Gray

for Material Girl Magazine

for Material Girl Magazine

What photographers have been the biggest influence on you?

Juergen Teller, Helmut Newton, and Venetia Scott

What magazines and websites do you look at for inspiration?

Select Service and System are my favorite fashion magazines. I see cool things on Instagram too.

How have you handled the collaboration process when working with a fashion designer?

I've wanted to work with Ashley for quite some time and this particular project allowed us that opportunity. I view every shoot as a collaboration. Things are always best executed with a team and I'm very happy with how our shoot went.

What three words would you use to describe your work?

I had to get some help with this, but came up with: Intuitive. Concise. Subtle.

for Goodwin

for Goodwin

How did you become a photographer?

I began my freshman year of college as an audio engineer major and felt very out of place. I switched to design and took the beginning photo class and fell in love with film and the whole darkroom process. It happened pretty naturally. From there I just took pictures of friends and wanted to learn as much as possible. I started to slowly figure things out. (Still working on it).

What advice would you give young people who want to be a photographer?

I'm still a young person who wants to be a photographer so I'm not sure how good my advice is, but I'd say if it's what you want to be then aim high and let it take over. Pictures and fashion pretty much consume my thoughts/life.

What was the most fun you’ve had on a shoot?

The best shoots are when everyone is committed and excited about an idea. It's fun to see it all come together. Most recently I was in Oregon for the first time shooting on a sheep farm in a town with 423 people. I don't travel too often so it makes it very exciting when I do.

What are the limitations/advantages of being a photographer in Nashville?

Nashville is very comfortable and there's a real sense of community here which I love. Lots of people are doing great things and most of them are my friends, which is really cool. I guess limitations would be the size/market, but I kind of like it too. There's going to be frustrations wherever you go, but so far Nashville has treated me very well.

Which part of the photography process do you enjoy the most?

I enjoy shooting film and waiting to get scans back is the best part.

What is your favorite subject?

Fashion.

See Zachary's photographs and his collaboration with Ona Rex at the next Fashion Happening on October 15. Get your ticket here.

Featured Photographer - Max Hsu

Photograph by Max Hsu

Photograph by Max Hsu

What photographers have been the biggest influence on you?

I actually got into photography as a way to practice lighting for cinema so my biggest influences are probably Spielberg, Fincher, Nolan and Pfister.

Photograph by Max Hsu

Photograph by Max Hsu

What magazines and websites do you look at for inspiration?

When I get models for fashion stuff, it’s fantastic, but a lot of my work is music related and the artists don’t come into it with a repertoire of poses so I’m trying to learn from Sue Bryce and Peter Hurley.  

How have you handled the collaboration process when working with a fashion designer?

With every photo shoot I go through great lengths to understand what the client wants, to see through their eyes, to become them, rather than imposing my style on them.  With Andrew that was relatively easy since we have worked together on many music related shoots.  He’s not only a designer, he’s the best wardrobe stylist in town in my opinion.  

What three words would you use to describe your work?

Learning, learning and learning.

How did you become a photographer?

When my band was signed, the photographer chosen for our photo shoot was a big deal who had shot a lot of celebrities.  He was talented, but I felt like the vision I had for the band wasn’t being communicated.  When I expressed that, the photographer said to me; “why don’t you just stand there and look pretty and let us take the pictures”.   I resolved to learn to master every aspect of the creative process so I wouldn’t be in that situation again.  

What advice would you give young people who want to be a photographer?

I’m not sure young people need advice.  The point of being young is to break rules you don’t even know are there.  You do the impossible because no one tells you that it’s impossible.  That’s something that needs to be nurtured and protected before the pragmatism of client work beats the dreams right out of people.  

Photograph by Max Hsu

Photograph by Max Hsu

What was the most fun you’ve had on a shoot?

I don’t know if I have fun on shoots, I’m usually very very focused.  I do enjoy working with Andrew though because we get to color outside the lines.

What are the limitations/advantages of being a photographer in Nashville?

The scene is surprisingly uncompetitive.  I’ve met lots of great filmmakers and photographers who have been very generous with their time and advice.  David Molnar and Jeremy Cowart both are very generous with their teaching.  
The limitations are that while there’s lots of work here, the majority of it is straight up the middle and no one is going to pay you to do something with exploding cars and ninjas.  I have to fund that stuff myself.

Which part of the photography process do you enjoy the most?

I enjoy conceptualizing unique shoots.  I try not to repeat myself.  It’s always a challenge to get it out of your brain and onto the screen, but when it works, it’s pretty awesome.

What is your favorite subject?

I shoot people.  I believe that there is something beautiful about every person and my job is to find it through the lens.

See Max's photographs and his collaboration with Any Old Iron at the next Fashion Happening on October 15. Get your ticket here.

Featured Photographer - Jo McCaughey

Jo McCaughey

Jo McCaughey

What magazines and websites do you look at for inspiration?

For inspiration I look all around me. I get inspired from all different sources, books, movies, music, people and the internet of course, but there are no specific websites I look at. 

How have you handled the collaboration process when working with a fashion designer?

Collaborating with Poni and her super Black By Maria Silver creations has been fun and rewarding. It's great when you find people you can work together with easily and create. 

How did you become a photographer?

When I was younger I was always compelled to document my life and the lives of those around me. I brought my cameras everywhere with me. I would ask people who I found interesting or inspiring if I could make their portrait. Somewhere along the line what was something I was naturally going about doing turned into a career. It was a happy accident i suppose. That and a lot of hard work and some good luck along the way. 

What advice would you give young people who want to be a photographer?

Keep shooting. Work hard to challenge yourself and your work. Take yourself and your work seriously. Seek out people who interest you and collaborate. 

What was the most fun you’ve had on a shoot?

When a shoot is going well and you start to hit that magic flow, thats a great feeling. 

What are the limitations/advantages of being a photographer in Nashville?

There are many amazing photographers in this town. It is a strong, thriving and very supportive community. 

Which part of the photography process do you enjoy the most?

Each project is different, depending on the subject matter, purpose of the shoot and style in which you are working, but it is always rewarding to stand back and view the finished product.

What is your favorite subject?

People. 

See Jo's photographs and her collaboration with Maria Silver at the next Fashion Happening on October 15. Get your ticket here.

Featured Photographer - Ashtin Paige

Ashtin Paige

Ashtin Paige

What photographers have been the biggest influence on you?

Oh gosh, I have so many... I look up these photographers' work almost every day. Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Cecil Beaton, Helmut Newton, Erwin Blumenfeld, Bill Cunningham, Vivian Maier, Alex Sainsbury, Alessio Bolzoni, Peter Lindbergh, Annie Leibovitz, Arthur Elgort and more recently, Juergen Teller.

What magazines and websites do you look at for inspiration?

I'm always looking for inspiration anywhere I can but these magazines and websites have been good to me and my creative process: Nylon, The Gentlewoman, The Great Discontent, WWD, Union, The Travel Almanac, Dazed, Violet...and Pinterest! Duh.

Photograph by Ashtin Paige for Emlee Designs

Photograph by Ashtin Paige for Emlee Designs

How have you handled the collaboration process when working with a fashion designer?

I've been a fan of Acorn + Archer for some time now and worked with Carolyn once before a year ago. I love that we were paired up because she is a FUN hang. Carolyn challenged me to be more playful and less zeroed in on the "process" of making art and to use my imagination to make art. It sounds odd, but for me, I can get so hung up on a particular idea and take it way too literally. This collaboration process has taught me that it's okay to let go and get weird.

What three words would you use to describe your work?

Work in progress.

How did you become a photographer?

My mother dabbled in modeling and photography at a young age. I remember finding some photos she took and developed in high school and admiring those moments in time - the light, the clothes, the expressions. All of it. I was gifted a polaroid camera when I was about 11 years old and would make my friends model for me; using fashion magazines as a reference. I'd read the articles after studying all of the photos first. When I was 18, I was asked to take engagement photos for a friend's cousin. After that, the bookings kept coming in and I knew photography was what I wanted to pursue full-time.

What advice would you give young people who want to be a photographer?

Be gracious with yourself. It's easy to feel as if you have to have your aesthetic figured out right away and the truth is, you don't. Let yourself discover what you're drawn to and inspired by. Ask questions. Step outside of your comfort zone once in awhile - you'll surprise yourself.

Kelsey Waters by Ashtin Paige

Kelsey Waters by Ashtin Paige

What was the most fun you’ve had on a shoot?

I use playlists that represent the tone of the shoot I'm working on to get in the right frame of mind and during this one particular shoot that was more of an ambient vibe, Beyonce randomly came on. I have no idea how or why. I nervously looked at the client, whom I had just met, and suddenly a mini-dance party broke out. Everyone was so relaxed after that moment! Naturally, because... Beyonce. Definitely didn't hate that.

What are the limitations/advantages of being a photographer in Nashville?

The advantage I've found is the community and I know I'm not the first to say that. The community is truly unmatched --there is room for everyone. The people here are equally invested in their relationships as they are in their work. We take care of each other. I look up to so many photographers in town and admire what they are accomplishing. I admire them even more for being kind humans. Nashville is becoming more and more aware of the creative community and recognizing the value our contributions add to this city. Can you tell I love it here? Nashville also has its limitations for certain photo work at times whether it's finding the right client or the right budget to support their vision.

What is your favorite subject?

Humans.

See Ashtin's photographs and her collaboration with Acorn + Archer at the next Fashion Happening on October 15. Get your ticket here.