Andrew Durham began his career in the film industry working on films such as Scream, Sunset Park, I Love Trouble, and Illegal Entry: Formula for Fear.  He has worked with actresses: Drew Barrymore, Sheryl Lee, Sabryn Gene't, and Nick Nolte to name a few. 

I was browsing through Fashion Stylist Rachel Zoe's new website and just loved her portraits.  I wanted to know who was the photographer?

  I am delighted to have interviewed Andrew Durham and wanted to know "who is Andrew Durham?"

Exclusively Fashion Magazine: When it came to my attention that you worked with Rachel Zoe; my interest was more towards “who is Andrew Durham?”  Can you tell me a little about yourself and how you became a fashion photographer?

Andrew Durham: I was a film school graduate and spent over 15 years working in film and television.  It wasn’t until the last 4 or 5 years that I became more interested in photography, and began pursuing it professionally.

EFM: How did the opportunity come about working with Rachel Zoe?

AD: I’ve shot Rachel a few times.  The first time was an assignment for French Vogue. Every month they run a story on one particular woman who has unique style.  I had shot several of these stories for the magazine, and one of them was with Rachel Zoe.  I also photographed Rachel for The New York Times magazine and the occasional publicity campaign for her reality show, The Rachel Zoe Project.

EFM: Can you describe your style as a photographer?

AD: That’s tough. I feel like I might have a few different styles.  In the beginning I was hired to shoot a lot of journalistic, reportage type stories.  Most of them were set in the fashion world.  Gradually, when I started shooting editorials and fashion campaigns, there was a pretty strong resonance left over from that style, and people responded to that combination of a somewhat  candid snapshot quality in the context of a fashion shoot. 

EFM: What is your favorite camera to use?

AD: I shoot film.  For 35mm I love the Contax G2 and the Contax TVS3.  For medium format I use the Fuji GA645zi or the Contax 645. I haven’t bought a digital camera yet, except for the camera on my iphone, which is great.

EFM: What is the process of preparing for a shoot?

AD: That usually depends on the shoot. Sometimes the client likes to have me involved with casting the models, scouting the locations, etc… Or sometimes they just give you directions and a call time.  I prefer being more involved.  I think you set yourself up to have a lot more creative control during the actual shoot when you have already established yourself as a collaborative part of pre-production process and not just a hired hand on the day of the shoot.

EFM: Can you name a few of your celebrity clients?

AD:  I work a lot with Sofia Coppola.  We are old friends and we have a great working relationship.  We both prefer to keep things very simple, and not complicate the shoot with a bunch of equipment or extra people.  We shot the lookbook together for the line of bags and shoes she designed for Louis Vuitton.  Of course the original concept involved art directors, stylists, etc… But instead, Sofia and I walked around Paris one afternoon and took snapshots of her and the bags at our favorite locations.  It was so simple and the end result was probably a lot better than some huge production.

EFM: What gives you inspiration?

AD: A lot of different photographers inspire me.  I love the stuff Bob Richardson and David Bailey were doing in the 1970’s.  I’m a huge fan of the snapshots David Hockney was taking of his friends, also in the 70’s.  There is something so romantic about the film stock, choice of lighting (or lack of) and effortless composition of that time.  The images really hold up.  I also love Gilles Larrain, William Eggleston and Luigi Ghirri.

EFM: Tell me something that we don’t know about you?

AD: Do I have to?

EFM: What is the best thing you love about being a fashion photographer?

AD: Because I still shoot on film, I love it when I can go to the lab, pick up my film and see how the pictures came out.  The anticipation, the surprises, the accidental success, I love that part.

EFM: In details, can you give tips on how to take a great photo?

AD: It took a lot of trial and error to figure that out.  I’m still working on it.  But I think there are three crucial things.  Know your lenses, appreciate good light, and most importantly – timing.  When I look back at some of my favorite photos, they worked because of the timing.  The time of day, the mood the subject was in, the location you happen to be at, and the exact moment you decide to press the shutter release.  This is what I mean by timing, when all those elements come together at once, you usually get a pretty great photo.

EFM: If an aspiring photographer would like to assist you; what characteristics would you look for?

AD: A good sense of humor.

EFM: I love how you use lighting.  What are your tips on taking good photos?

AD: I like to use as much natural light as possible.  I try not to take photo after 4 in the afternoon.

EFM: What advice can you give to aspiring fashion photographers?

AD: Shoot on film!

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Interview by Rochell “E” James


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