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EXCLUSIVE
STORY
BY ROCHELL "E"
 PHOTOGRAPHER
CLAIBORNE SWANSON FRANK


edefining portraits of American women everywhere with a modern day twist. Speaking to Swanson Frank, you can sense her passion for life and her enthusiasm for photography.  This new comer has great support from her husband, family, and mentor.  Coming from a well-known family name with a legacy of successes, Claiborne is about to make 'Claiborne Swanson Frank' a name to remember.

 

 

MY TWO PASSIONS

Claiborne’s first encounter with fashion and photography was through her mother, Mrs. Elizabeth Swanson. “I grew up with an eccentric mother who has a great love for fashion, an amazing eye and is a talented photographer.”  Claiborne too, shared the same love of fashion and photography. “As a child, she would express her personal style through clothes. “I remember loving clothes as far back as I can.” [She laughs], she recalls being in third and fourth grades thinking about what she would wear to school the next day.

 

FASHION INDUSTRY & VOGUE

Claiborne attended art school in San Francisco, majoring in fashion. She spent the majority of her twenties in the fashion industry. In 2007, she decided to move to New York and began to work at Vogue. Shortly thereafter, she was promoted as the assistant to Editor-in-Chief, AnnaWintour.

 

 ANNA WINTOUR INSPIRES

Claiborne shares with me about what she admires the most about her former boss. “The greatest gift of my career was working under Anna. One of the greatest lessons that Anna has taught me was the need to have structure, ambition, and to be driven by passion in all of my endeavors.”

 

SURROUNDED BY FASHION HISTORY

One could only imagine what the experience would be like being in the company of American Vogue's fashion tycoons. Claiborne says, working at Vogue has refined her creative eye. “To be there every day surrounded by the work of the most famous photographers in the world, to pass by in the hallways amazing editors, such as Grace Coddington and Tonne Goodman. It was a powerful work environment that left a deep impression on me and the way I will forever see art and fashion.”

LEAVING VOGUE, BUT GAINING A MENTOR, IVAN SHAW

Claiborne says, “Ivan Shaw and I became friends at Vogue. When I left vogue and went back to my photography, Ivan soon became my mentor. He taught me in many ways to “own my world” and to photograph the experience and the life that I knew. He was the sole reason I had my first exhibit at FASHIONS NIGHT OUT in 2010 and hosted the event with me at Akris. He still remains my mentor and close friend.”

In speaking with Claiborne, you can definitely sense her gratitude and humbleness during her windows of opportunity. Besides Anna Wintour, she also holds Ivan Shaw in highest regard.  She tells me how he brought up the idea of showcasing her work, “he said to me, 'let’s do an exhibit of your work at fashions night out'. Ivan had the idea and actually put the whole thing together.'” Claiborne says that she has been very blessed to be able to have worked at Vogue and to have these amazing connections.

In 2010 of September, Claiborne had her very first exhibition called 'Indigo Light'. “I always had an idea of doing a project about women in my world;” the project was a collaboration of women in her life. “The goal was to shoot them in their most raw and true selves.”

WHAT'S NEXT FOR SWANSON FRANK

While getting prepared for her next exhibit, [which will be June 29, 2011 at Allegra La Viola gallery in NYC]. This exhibit will also be focused on American women. This body of work will be focused beyond her immediate sphere and into the far reaching world of women in fashion and art.  Claiborne is currently shooting for Vogue.com. Vogue.com has added a new feature to the site called, 'APT with LSD', Lauren Santo Domingo, who is one of Vogue's contributing editors, and gets an exclusive inside look into the homes and apartments of Vogue's favorite people such as, actors, models, artists, designers, and stylists. The now 30 year old was approached by Lauren Santo Domingo to collaborate with her on 'APT with LSD'. “Lauren asked to see some of my images last spring and then shortly thereafter asked me to shoot APTS with LSD with her. So that is how it started, the rest is history!” says Claiborne. [APT with LSD debuted in October 2010 featuring model Coco Rocha and her husband, the artist James Conran. Recently, January 2011, LSD featured her own loft in Manhattan].

 

To view more of Swanson Frank's work click here

 

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