Richard Warren is known for his high fashion couture editorial work.  Before he became this high fashion photographer, he was humble, and I’m sure honored to have assisted great photographers such as the icon, Helmut Newton and Robert Mapplethorpe, to name a few.  Richard had a great opportunity, while living in Milan, to work on a 30 page Couture editorial in the Italian Bazaar Magazine, photographing icon Valentino among other couture fashion designers.  Some of Richard’s client list includes: Editorial clients: Australian Vogue, French Glamour, InStyle, New York Magazine, Maxim, Glamour, Greek Cosmo, and Details. Non-editorial clients: Bill Blass Lingerie, Donna Karan, Vera Wang, Cover Girl, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, and Coach. 

The Tango Ad - http://www.richardwarrenphotos.com

EFM: How did you get into the world of Fashion Photography?

RW: I decided that I wanted to do fashion when I was 19 years old.  I was shooting landscapes obsessed with photographing beauty.  My best friend at the time was called in to be an intern photo assistant at a local model agency and when he showed me the photos from the shoots I was hooked. I began buying books by Helmet Newton, Richard Avedon, and Francesco Scavullo.

EFM: Did you attend college, if so where?

RW: I went to Western Washington University in Bellingham Washington, but I was a graphics arts major not photography.  Photography was self taught then I moved to NY at the age of 22 and learned more by assisting for 5 years.

EFM: Have you always had a passion for Photography?

RW: Yes, My parents bought me a toy darkroom kit when I was 10 years old.  I was first amazed by the chemical process: orange lights, images appearing in the dark, it was very fascinating.

EFM: What inspires you to create an image or get prepped for a photo shoot?

RW: I do a lot of research and planning before a shoot.  It all starts with either the clothes or the magazine requirements.  For example the Tango story on my site was for a French magazine where the theme of the issue was “performance”.   I asked my fashion editor what was a general theme in that season’s shows and he said there was a heavy Spanish influence.  Valentino had done some long black lacy gowns.  Chanel did a cropped Matador jacket.  So I asked myself what is Spanish and performance?  The result was a Tango story.

EFM: Where are you located?

RW: New York City.

EFM: Describe what your day is like during a photo shoot?

RW: As mentioned before much of the prep is before the shoot day.  I try to keep shoots on a 9-5 schedule.  Usually its 3 hours of hair and makeup during this time myself and my two photo assistants build the set or tweak the lighting, order lunch etc.

EFM: When you first became a fashion photographer, did you feel that it was hard for you to find work?

RW: Finding work does not end when you become established; it just makes it a bit easier.  It was easier back then to find work than it would be now, because with digital really anyone can take a photo. Before Digital you actually had to know how to expose film and make color prints in a dark room.  If you did not know this it showed in your work.  But to answer your question I did follow somewhat of a formula: assist, move to Europe.  Then come back and get and agent.  The process took ten years and I got work when I was ready to get work.

EFM: How long have you been a fashion photographer?

RW: Professionally, 23 years.

EFM:  You have already achieved so much in your career.  But, where do you see yourself in 5 years in this fashion industry?

RW: Books are a natural progression to an editorial fashion photographer and I am working on one now. I also teach at workshops so as I get older I suspect I would like to do more of that, “passing the torch” as it may.

EFM: What advice can you give to other inspiring fashion photographers?

RW: Really a couple things.  For beginners I would say experiment and shoot until your photos look like the ones in fashion magazines.  When you have achieved this then you will have a standard of excellence to follow.  Later and most important, is to do whatever you can to make an income but always have a personal project going on.  The latter will satisfy your creative needs should the commercial aspect of making money fail to meet that need.

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Interview by Rochell “E” James





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