Fashion Photographer

Max has been interested in fashion and photography since he was a little boy.  Going through his mother’s fashion magazines at age 10, his love for photography begin to evolve.  When he was 20 years old he studied photography at Dawson‘s Institute of Photography in Montreal where he was automatically drawn to fashion.  He started testing with modeling agencies and his amazing career expanded from there.

His work captures exquisite beauty.  Shooting gorgeous faces, such as models and celebrities: Daria Werbow, Miranda Kerr, Kiera Knightley  Julianne Moore, Lady Gaga, Gwen Stefan, Dita Von Eese, and Alicia Keys, to mention a few.   We had a slight mix up with the interview.  Scheduling it around his busy itinerary; Max was just coming back from Miami shooting a catalog.  Usually, when Max shoots for a catalog, he shoots in Miami, but when he shoots high fashion of celebrities or models, the locations are mostly in New York or Los Angeles.

There are many great photographers who can take a good shot.  But, very few can capture the ‘moment’. Max is one, out of many photographers, who can capture the true beauty.  He describes his personal style as a photographer.  “I try to capture the personality more than anything else.  I don’t try to make it, necessarily like a fashion photo-shoot; I’m trying to capture the moment.  I try to keep it as simple as possible,” he says,  “as far as the lighting goes, and as far as the set goes, I try to focus on the subject.”

Do you find it easier to direct the client or does everything come natural for the both of you, I asked?  “With the actors and actresses it’s different than the models.”  He explains; “When we do the fashion spread everything is thought out; we have a scenario, we have a direction, it needs to be directed, and it needs to be decided between myself and my team.  As far as the actors and actresses go, it’s different.  You can give them somewhat a direction, but I’d much rather them go show me what they have.  Again, I don’t want to give them restrictions, I want to capture them, that’s why we’re there.”

So many things inspires Max Abadian; daily life events and nature, he tells me that he has high regards for many photographers who are no longer with us, and some who are still working, inspires him.  I received some pointers on how to take a portrait; “to think about comfortable things, try to stay comfortable, do it as less posy, as natural as possible, and to be yourself because the portrait is about you, it is meant to capture the soul of the person.”

Max enjoys the outdoors and travel; he tells me, one of his favorite scenes and locations, when working is Monte Carlo.  “The Gwen Stefan shoot in Monte Carlo was my favorite; it was a beautiful experience; all in all it was beautiful.  She is a fantastic, fantastic woman; she’s so easy to work with, she’s so down to earth and humble, which most of my celebrities we shoot are great people and they’re great to work with and I have high respect for people who I work with.”

I have always been fascinated by fashion magazine covers and the fashion spreads, and I still am, but more from the critical part of it.  I like to see the art and to understand the concept/story behind the photo-shoot.  A few months back, Max shot the Canadian fashion magazine cover ‘Flare’, the February Issue 2010.  He has a long relationship with Flare.  He shot the February Issue at The Standard hotel in New York City with model Miranda Kerr. Miranda is a Victoria Secret model. Victoria Secret will be opening a store in Canada.  Max says, the shoot went very well; it was a one day shoot, and that they shot the whole thing in one of the suites at The Standard.

Very surprisingly, Max has only assisted a fashion photographer twice.  He assisted a photographer who was taking corporate portraits and that was it for him.  After that he wanted to do his own thing.  Max has wonderful assistants, but not your average assistants.  “The assistants are not to help me with the lighting; I take control of the lighting 100%.” So what do you look for in an assistant?  To make my life easier (we laughed).  I think for me, when I don’t have the time to service my clients.”

The advice that Max gave to the aspiring was to, “do it for the love of it and everything else comes and falls into place.”  He adds; “it’s just like if you love something, everything will work out beautifully and lovely for you.”

Speaking with Max was a great experience for me.  He is a very down to earth guy and one of his assistants, Marney, is lovely.  I asked Max to tell me something that no one knows about him.  He immediately said, ‘no’, I can’t (he laughs).  You can’t?  I actually asked a photographer that same question, and he said that he doesn’t have drivers license.  After telling him that, he finally gave in and says: “I can’t skate”.  (We laughed).

Enjoy some of his work that he personally selected.

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