Behind Le Lens

Adam Katz Sinding is one of the hardest working Photo-Journalists I’ve seen in a while – working the various fashion locations for almost every Fashion Week around the world known to man. The man behind Le 21 Eme, a site dedicated to capturing moments & making them tangible, Adams’ sharp eye [and even sharper lens] captures and documents such crisp, exciting moments from fashion week including the hurds of models, bloggers, fashion editors and socialites which follow. In this second interview in this series, I really wanted to find out more about this inspiring photographer including what inspires him to take such phenomenal photos.

Q. As a renowned Photo Journalist with a distinctive eye tell us a bit about yourself and how you started?

A. “I started shooting people in Seattle in 2007 after I moved home from studying abroad in Paris.  I wanted to interact with people I would otherwise have not had the guts to talk to. The camera gave me an excuse”.


Q. Where do you reside? Are you based in the States, London, Europe?

A. “I live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY”.


Q. I know you use a Nikon D4s but what other camera(s) and lenses do you use for the photography work that you do?

A. “I also have a Leica M240 and Nikon F6.  For my Nikon I use mostly my 85mm lens, but I also use a 200mm prime when on shoots”.


Q. It has been said that the Street Style Photography market has become saturated with little further growth in this field. What are your views & experience of this?

A. “As far as street style, yes, I totally agree, but it forces me to work harder to try to show something beyond just the commercial.  The other guys can shoot to sell.  I want to shoot to show something a bit more.  If it sells, cool, and if not, I still have the photo for myself, which is my priority anyhow”.


Q. It has been said that the Style Photography market has become saturated with little further growth in this field. What are your views & experience of this?

A. “As far as street style, yes, I totally agree, but it forces me to work harder to try to show something beyond just the commercial.  The other guys can shoot to sell.  I want to shoot to show something a bit more.  If it sells, cool, and if not, I still have the photo for myself, which is my priority anyhow”.


Q. With the above question in mind, how does one carve a career within this industry and follow their passion?

A. “Just do it. Work hard. I work over 100 hours a week still”.

Q. With that in mind, how does one carve a career within this industry and follow their passion?

A. “Just do it.  Work hard.  I work over 100 hours a week still”.


Q. What’s the most enjoyable shoot you’ve done to date?

A. “I think the shoot I did for my friend Ashely Owens of Suited magazine.  It was all styled in unisex Rad Hourani shot on the roof of a SoHo building”.


Q. What is your ultimate photography kit when you’re on a shoot (be it street styling, a show or editorial)?

A. “I’ve always been freelance.  I’m lo-fi.  I normally just show up with my camera and 85mm.  I sometimes drag my 200mm along too, but it’s very specific”.


Q. Where do you get your inspiration from for each shoot? Do you look to fellow photographers or do you attend exhibitions, take to the streets or through your use of travel?

A. “I just shoot.  I don’t like to think about it too much.  The more ‘real’ it is the better -The more production and planning involved the less interested I am.  I like the instant gratification of photography.  If I wanted to create a false reality I’d paint”.


Q. What’s the best advice you would give someone wanting to photograph street-style or a show? 

A. “I wouldn’t…they need to learn just like I did.  We all make mistakes and everything I know now is from making a mistake which I will not repeat.  No one spoon-fed me, and I got it eventually.  I still make a lot of mistakes, but when I do I make sure to figure out what I did wrong and not do it again”.


Q. What’s the most enjoyable shoot you’ve done to date?

A. “…The shoot I did for my friend Ashely Owens of Suited magazine.  It was all styled in unisex Rad Hourani shot on the roof of a SoHo building”.

ALL PHOTOGRAPHY: Le 21 Eme I WWW.LE21EME.COM

Lord of The Manor

Q. Classified as a Style Recorder tell us a bit about yourself and how you started?

A. “I wouldn’t call it a classification; I used to put photographer on my bio line, then fashion photographer, but neither of those things really described what it was that I did, in part because I didn’t know if I could legitimately justify calling myself either of those things. So I was like, “Well what do I do?” And then I just wrote that down”.


Q. Where do you reside? Are you based in the States, London, Europe?

A. “I live in New York full time”.


Q. You picked up your first camera only 4 years ago, how have you developed and adapted your skills during that time?

A. “A camera is just a mechanical tool that captures images. I haven’t owned a camera for very long, but I guess I’ve been composing images my entire life. It’s just one of those dumb obvious things, I should’ve been taking pictures the entire time but I didn’t know that I should, or could be a photographer. I took a photography class in high school and remembering that all of the photography and journalism kids were this particular type of person, and I didn’t find anything appealing about being that type of person, so I never pursued it. But mentally, I was always taking pictures. It was a very subconscious skill I’d been developing, things like mood and space. In the years since I’ve actually had a camera in my head, my development has been entirely mechanical, figuring out what the limits of whatever camera I’m holding are and trying to extract every last ounce from it”.


Q. What type of camera(s) and lenses do you use for the photography work that you do?

A. “My main camera body is a Sony A99. Not a lot of people own this type of camera, which is just fine with me. As far as lenses, I mainly use a Carl Zeiss 85mm/f1.4, and I have an old Minolta Rokkor 58mm/f1.2 that I occasionally use. For documentary and weddings I lean on my Sigma 35mm/f1.4”.


Q. There seems to be a growth in Style Photography in the last few years – do you think it’s a fashion phase or an industry which will continue to flourish?

A. “I don’t think there’s any more growth in street style at all, it’s quite the contrary, actually. At some point about two years ago, the magazines all got smart and started hiring up dedicated photographers to do all of their street style; opportunities open up when a photographer moves on, and it’s not that often. You might find one or two major openings (as far as gigs go) per season, and there are already a hundred photographers who are well-known and shooting this stuff to get a chance. One of the original modern guys, Phil Oh, once said in an interview that photographers looking to break into the industry this way shouldn’t. I used to think he was being selfish, territorial about the space, but now I understand that he was right. He’d actually been right all along”.


Q. With that in mind, how does one carve a career within this industry and follow their passion?

A. “The best practices you can get for any career: work hard, talk to people, show up on time, study and do the best possible job you can do, all of that stuff applies here, too. I happen to work with a camera, but if you substitute the camera for a kitchen the rules don’t really change; in a restaurant one still has to show up and prepare the best food they can make. There are some photographers who look around and learn how to shoot like everyone else, and there are others who come up with their unique views and really stick to that. There’s no right or wrong way, they only things that matter are the attitude and the work”.


Q. Where do you get your inspiration from for each shoot? Do you look to fellow photographers or do you attend exhibitions, take to the streets or through your use of travel?

A. “I like magazines and Tumblr. I don’t look to the work of my colleagues for inspiration, but I always track their progress, and look at their work from a technical perspective to see where they’re improving with their work, as that’s a good way to reference perhaps the things I do well and things I may need to improve on. But my inspiration is just regular people. I don’t need to go to exotic places or anything like that… if there’s good people around I’m just fine wherever I am”.

Q. What is your ultimate photography kit when you’re on a shoot (be it street styling, a show or editorial)?

A. “I don’t really believe in an ultimate photography kit. When I’m on the street it’s just one camera, one lens (usually the Zeiss). For shows it’s the same, I’ll use the Zeiss regardless of whether I’m in the front row or on the riser. For editorials it really depends on what the shoot is going to be like. I don’t own a zoom lens, but for editorials, weddings, or anything that’s to be shot in a closed environment that I’m not familiar with, I’ll usually rent or borrow a 24-70mm. I’ve never had to throw longer than that for focal length, but I wouldn’t be against it if I had to”.


Q. Describe a typical day?

A. “My day typically starts at 7 or 8 in the morning and ends around 1 in the morning. I don’t typically take full days off and I rarely holiday. A lot of people with office jobs like to relay how jealous they are of my lifestyle… I’m always telling them that I easily put in 60, 70 hours a week but I don’t think they believe me. One day it could be answering emails, the next day it could be editing photos for Lord Ashbury, then a client, then maybe 5 clients. Writing contracts, negotiating contracts, tracking down clients to pay me… And I’m always researching, always reading about new photography tech, fashion business news, things going on in popular culture and the world. Staying informed, in of itself is almost a full time job”.


Q. What challenges have you faced setting up your business and going freelance?

A. “Most start-ups fail because they run out of money. There are many reasons one can run out of money, anything from poorly executed plans to underwhelming returns, overestimations… The first summer I did this full time I ran completely out of money for almost three months. But I’d filled up a good majority of my free time taking free business classes that were being offered by the City of New York. That was invaluable; the biggest lesson I learned was that if I was properly prepared, I shouldn’t panic. I barely weathered the storm, but I weathered it, and when I cleared that horizon, I learned to trust my decisions and not panic when things didn’t work out”.


Q. What advice would you give to those who want to become photographers in your field?

A. “I don’t think there’s much advice I can give. Talent is important, but really only secondary to will. You can’t advise will; a person is either going to keep their eye on the prize or they aren’t. That’s sort of how survival of the fittest works”.


Q. What’s the best advice you would give someone wanting to photograph street-style or a show?

A. “The in-house photographers all use the same settings actually, which is why all their photos look essentially the same; it’s a sort of industry standard if you will, and guests can’t use those settings because they aren’t shooting with those cameras and aren’t under the floodlights as the pro-photographers are. Your camera is going to be different from theirs, different from mine. … If you learn your camera, you’ll find what works best for you. No shortcuts”.


Q. What’s the most enjoyable shoot you’ve done to date?

A. “I spent a few days this past summer at a place called Lake of the Ozarks, that was pretty special”.


Q. What’s the best bit about your job?

A. “Definitely not being in an office”.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Simbarashe Cha | WWW.LORDASHBURY.COM

Crafting Luxury: Richard Brendon Part I

“What is luxury?” is a question I’ve been pondering for the vast majority of 2013 as part of my masters degree in Interior Architecture. To me (and many) luxury is not the ostentatious stereotypical element of design, it is a refined quality filled with a distinctive narrative, the handmade attention to detail and time (quality time in fact). Richard Brendon – a young talented Designer, strongly believes in this philosophy and has grounded his manufacturing process of ceramics in the very heart of Britain’s pottery zeitgeist – Stoke-on-Trent (a location renowned for the ceramics trade). In this photographic narrative we share the story of Brendon’s philosophy, meticulous attention to detail and artisan craft which perpetuates throughout his body of work.  Only when we navigate through this traditional, British manufacturing process can we then begin to truly understand the elements of refinement, dynamism and true luxury.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Richard Brendon

Print Perfect

Mark Eley and Wakako Kishimoto are not only the driving force behind the brand Eley Kishimoto but are notably one of the most dynamic creative duos in the design & fashion industry. Think colour, excitement & funky couture and you’ll only be half way there in depicting the sheer array of creative visionary within this pair. Established in1992 and dubbed the ‘Patron Saint of Print’ I first locked eyes with the latest Eley Kishimoto wallpaper collection at Decorex 2014. Reinforced by the studio’s 22 years of expertise in pioneering printmaking, what drew me to the brands prints was the fact that not only are they hand screen-printed (a method of printing of which I am extremely fond of) but they also print & manufacture from their South London studio in Brixton. Within this photo-essay the desire to tell the alluring narrative of English screen-printing through the essence of Mark and Wakako was strong. Through this long-established process I questioned both designers on the history of their craft, its importance and the future of the brand. 

How important was it for you to use a more conventional method of wallpaper production as opposed to a modern digital process? 

Very important, we think this is part of the products identity, a part that we cherish, something we can execute in-house with full integrity. Creative execution from mind, hand and eye is something that everyone has the ability to achieve, and we are lucky to have worked within a world that appreciates this act.

What compelled you to launch a wallpaper collection now at this point in your career?

We have been working with friends within the interior and architectural industry for a while so it seemed a natural and organic process for us to make a committed statement to put something out independently under our own banner. Wallpaper is something that we feel that allows people to live with and play with styling pattern in their (home/office/work/shop/ cafe/bank) environment in their own creative way. It can always be painted afterwards and engages public to bring their creative inspiration to the fore by working our patterns in their own circumstance.

How do the disciplines of interiors and fashion interplay with each other? 

We consider the disciplines to be aligned from a creative viewpoint, just a formatting difference. The way a person considers their personal style is translated through many forms of visual and sensual choices. What we are offering is something that touches these desires in a multitude of actions, one currently at the fore is Wallpaper. We offer the opportunity to empower our customer to be brave with their choice, to invest in our aesthetic, and style their surroundings equal to how we would expect a women to choose fashion items or accessories to go with our womenswear separates.

Are there any plans to launch any further homeware collaborations for 2015 and also, are there any plans to extend your collection to other homeware collections such as ceramics, home accessories or a paint collection [for instance]?

We are enjoying the play of Eley Kishimoto Interiors and are already developing further items to launch soon. We have a range of beautiful blankets launching in January and other opportunities to extend to furnishing fabric is only natural. We have produced bone china and ceramics in the past with Narumi and Moorcroft for commercial and creative purpose. The research into purchasing a kiln and printing our own ceramic transfers is currently on the to do list. It is a new arena and we wish to introduce our methods in the correct way and build upon what we are doing slowly and in our unique fashion as always.

Describe a typical day at the Eley kishimoto studio?

Studio awakes at 9.00am each morning and our colleagues all arrive to go about the tasks that are in hand. The print room feels like the boiler room to all concoctions in spirit. The design room busies itself directing the course of events to come, in this room there is design on computer and by hand for fashion, interiors, consultancy and collaboration.

Patterns are being generated both in terms of surface and technical garment construction. The sewing room is constructing fabric from the print room into articles to go to market, the sales and accounts team control the face to the outside world.

Wakako and I set the course for about 1-3 years ahead and enjoy the contact for new relations and creative opportunities that come in by surprise along this route. We all break for lunch at 1pm and slowly leave from about 6pm. On the weekend the team is fully active enjoying the focus without too much disturbance of the outside world, which we all enjoy.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Rita Platts