NEW YORK, UNITED STATES
Drew has assisted
world renown fashion photographers; Steven Klein and
Mark Seliger. His new venture is his book and
exhibition "Slow Road to China". Drew's work has
been featured around the world.
Exclusively Fashion Magazine:
How did your career as a fashion photographer begin?
After four years of working as an assistant in the
industry, I felt it was the right time to begin
My goal was to shoot as much I could afford and work
with as many people and model agencies as possible.
After a while, I had built a team of people that I really
trusted and liked to work with (and still do). Before I
knew it, my shoots were being published.
It kind of all happened overnight, actually!
EFM: Describe your style as a
To be completely honest, I don’t think I can claim
to have my own, unique style yet.
I think that this process of defining a style
that you can claim to be your own takes several
years of shooting, problem solving, and reflection.
At the moment, I am just focused on shooting
anything and everything that inspires me, without
limiting myself to a particular subject matter,
lighting technique, or underlying theme.
Do you have a favorite fashion shoot that you were a
I am extremely lucky to have been able to be apart of as
many incredible fashion shoots as I have…from working on
set with Madonna in London, to the Beckhams in an
abandoned rock quarry outside of Madrid, to Brad Pitt in
Germany. But none of these experiences come close to the
feeling I get from shooting my own successful fashion
far as favorites go, I would have to say that my most
recent shoot tops the list.
I just shot this woman’s fashion story in an
incredible dilapidated apartment building where the
inspiration of the imagery came from this woman la femme
nikita partially a-wall character holding a man
captive…with a slight love interest twist.
It’s really a beautiful story…everything just
clicked: models, fashion, hair, make-up, props.
Working with a team that really knows what they
are doing just makes my job that much easier!
What type of camera do you use?
The two camera systems I use primarily are the Canon 1DS
Mark III and the Mamiya RZ with a P30+ digital back.
I also like to use my Pentax 67 as much as possible.
You have assisted some of the best in the industry. Can
you tell me how you obtained the opportunity to assist
Steven Klein and Mark Seliger?
Breaking into the NY photo assisting industry isn’t
supposed to be easy, but in my case I got lucky.
Two weeks after moving to the city, I was given
the opportunity to intern for Steven Klein. Another two
weeks later, I had “graduated” from intern status and
was working as a paid assistant and digital tech! At the
time, I was so hungry to get into the thick of it, I
really couldn’t have asked for a better experience.
During my time there and at Seliger’s, I was
fortunate enough to have worked on some of the largest,
most complex, and expensive photographic sets being
created in our industry to-date.
How important it is to assist established fashion
Everyone’s path is different.
Some of the most successful photographers have
never assisted a day in their lives, while others have
assisted for 10 years or more.
I believe in assisting before shooting for the
following reasons: you get to learn from someone else’s
mistakes, you have the opportunity to develop a network
of other like-minded assistants that you can work with
on your own projects, and you get to learn the ins and
the outs of the industry.
What have you learned from them?
The most important thing that I learned from assisting
is that anything is possible.
Before I worked as an assistant, I didn’t
understand the scope of what went into creating
worldwide campaign images. The perspective I developed
from these experiences has enabled me to push myself
that extra mile, not to give up when I get frustrated or
tired, and to stay true to my gut instinct.
Can you tell me a little about your exhibition?
My exhibition at Studio Girault consisted of a series of
portraits and fashion imagery from my earlier work.
It was really an incredible experience getting to
display my artwork and being able to witness the effect
it had on viewers.
I have another solo exhibition coming up in late March
to mid April
that I'm in the process of preparing for.
It will consist of a series of images from my
recent month-long trip to remote regions of the
Himalayas in Nepal.
The body of work includes incredibly graphic
black and white portraits of the villagers that I
encountered during my trek.
I am also set to release a book of the images
around the same time as the exhibition.
More details about the exhibition and book
release is now posted on my website,
What do you look for in an assistant?
The most important thing I look for in an assistant is
his or her ability to stay focused while I am shooting.
It’s so important for your assistants to be able
to anticipate your needs.
This comes with time and repetition.
What advice can you give to the aspiring who would like
to become a fashion photographer?
I feel weird offering advice to aspiring fashion
photographers because I feel like I am still aspiring
myself!! But if I had to, I would say don’t give up.
Not everyone you meet is going to like your
pictures and you’re bound to get all sorts of mixed
responses from agencies, magazines, etc.
None of this feedback is given on a personal
the midst of all this criticism it is important to stay
honest with yourself about your images.
What matters is
that you’re happy with your artwork and inspired to keep
The other piece of advice that I would offer would be to
learn, early on, how to maintain control over the
creative process of making your vision into reality.
You are bound to come across plenty of people on
your sets that think they can do your job better than
This can be extremely intimidating at first!! It’s
imperative, for your confidence as an artist, that you
take their feedback into consideration, but ultimately
follow your gut!!
Interview by Rochell “E” James