Claire Huish is the super sweet and talented photographer who shot our soon-to-be-released Polar campaign back in February. Whilst studying for her degree in photography, she won the Young Fashion Photographer of the Year award at Clothes Show Live in December 2009. On completion of her degree, she went on to work on the production team for acclaimed fashion photographer David Sims, before heading off in her own direction. She now works freelance and has been shooting most recently for Vogue.it, 1883 and Volt Café. We catch up with her ahead of the official Polar collection launch.
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO BECOME A PHOTOGRAPHER IN THE FIRST PLACE?
I’ve always loved clothes and colour, and I thought initially I wanted to be a fashion designer - except I have an enormous lack of relevant skills (drawing, sewing etc) which held me back! I started taking pictures of my friends to try and draw from originally, and I got really excited by the things I could do with the images. For example, I’d enlarge them on the photocopier and play around with distorted colour and grain. I started doing A-Level photography and was fascinated with how the camera could capture line, colour and texture.
The missing piece of the puzzle for me was seeing an editorial by Tim Walker in British Vogue in January 2007. I knew then that I wanted to pursue fashion photography and I haven’t ever looked back.
Tim Walker for British Vogue, January 2007 courtesy of Anna's World
FASHION SEEMS TO BE AN INTEGRAL PART OF YOUR WORK; WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF AS A FASHION PHOTOGRAPHER OR WOULD YOU SAY YOUR WORK IS MORE VARIED THAN THAT?
I would definitely describe myself as a fashion photographer, although I do love shooting landscapes and still life images, particularly in the area where I grew up. Since my degree show I have been intrigued by juxtaposing non-fashion images alongside fashion pictures. I find it so pleasing when I find a flower that echoes the silhouette of a dress, or a landscape that has the exact colours of one of my fashion images. I’m starting to explore this more in my latest work.
WE LOVE THE HAZY ETHEREAL MOOD OF YOUR WORK - HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE?
I am fascinated by the history of painting. Someone said to me once that I use the history of art ‘as my palette’ which is spot on! My favourite art movements tend to come through in my images – the Impressionists, the Pre-Raphaelites, Klimt. I’m starting to do more work with higher contrast and bolder colour, but I think the softness will always be there in one form or another. I am super short sighted so without my contact lenses I see the world as a blur of shapes and colours, as a result I love softly focused imagery and motion blur.
YOU PHOTOGRAPHED THE UPCOMING POLAR COLLECTION FOR EMMA - WHAT IS IT THAT DREW YOU TO HER WORK?
Emma is so talented and her love for what she does shines through her work. My love of colour, print and movement are all incorporated in her pieces so I was very easily drawn in! Her prints are so intricate and the closer you look, the more detail you discover. I’m completely hooked!
HOW DO YOU GAIN INSPIRATION FOR A SHOOT?
If I’m working on a client job, I work closely with the designer to get to the heart of what their collection is about. Starting from scratch on an editorial is very different. As research, I like to look at current or next season trends so I can get a feel for what sort of settings and attitudes will be relevant for upcoming stories. I like to see lots of exhibitions, films, scour location libraries and familiarise myself with new faces. After I have that starting point, the ideas then flow quite easily.
WHICH PHOTOGRAPHERS DO YOU ADMIRE THE MOST?
I have a huge amount of respect for Deborah Turbeville who was still shooting blue chip campaigns right up until her death last year at the age of 81! She started in the industry in the 1970s, and to have gained such longevity in her career when there are so few female photographers at that level is incredible.
HOW DO YOU SPEND YOUR SPARE TIME?
I’ve just recently started a bit of a health kick – I’ve never been a person who exercises and now I'm trying to be, which is a bit of a shock to the system!
IF YOU COULD CHOOSE TO PHOTOGRAPH ANYONE WHO WOULD IT BE?
It would have to be Lana Del Rey – I’m completely fascinated by the world she’s constructed.
Deborah Turbeville courtesy of donnakaren.com
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS OR UPCOMING PROJECTS FOR THE SUMMER?
I’m really interested in doing more with moving image – I have dabbled in it before and my boyfriend Louis makes amazing films (including Emma’s Polar campaign film) so I’m hoping he will share some wisdom with me! I’ve also got various editorials coming out shortly that I’m very excited about.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE EMMA J SHIPLEY SCARF?
From the upcoming collection, I love the Aurora design featuring a beautiful arctic polar bear.
To view more of Claire's work, head over to her website: www.clairehuish.co.uk