Editorial / Pastel Romance
Where are you based?
Manchester, United Kingdom.
Tell us about yourself.
I grew up in Lowton, a small town in the North West of the UK. Having the same backdrop for most of my life presented me with the notion of using the mundane and creating something with it; reality acting as a sort of landscape for my imagination. I think everybody creates an imaginary world as a child, and I'm still living in mine. Other than photography, I'm really into video games. Those kind of video games that consume you with that feeling of wonder with the story and it's characters. That’s most likely where my love for storytelling comes from.
Did you study photography or a related course?
I studied at UCLAN in Preston. University helped me to define my practice, reassuring me that a certain genre can be defined by what you can do within it, not just what’s already been done. Personally, I've always seen my work as being more about substance than the technical side, so at first I was sceptical about entering education. However, I can definitely appreciate the benefit from taking the opportunity to develop my skills, with workshops and working towards a creative briefs.
Tell us about your work.
For me, it’s about telling a story. Simplistic or commercial; there’s always a narrative. My work has found its place in the realm of Fashion. An editorial can begin with a simple idea and develop into something far more abstract and beautiful. My approach can vary depending on the project. I like each body of work to have its own unique sense of character. I can go from shooting everything on 35mm and Instax to strictly using just digital, and sometimes incorporating an integration of both. I do try to create some consistency between the two though. Another prominent feature in my work is the subject; most of them are men. There’s beauty in everyone but I find it comes naturally for me to understand the language of what it is that makes a man intriguing and instinctively be able to emphasise on it. I guess that’s my niche. I like to shoot as often as possible. Unfortunately, photography isn't my full time career at the moment, but I'm working freelance and also looking into assisting work.
What do you love about photography?
I love the freedom within photography; especially fashion photography. It enables me to express myself through an atmosphere that can be created in the imagery. I don’t usually follow trends in the fashion industry. I am aware of them - but if I don’t like something or don’t find it interesting then I won’t pursue it. Inspiration is absolutely everywhere. I often just explore around where I live. Sometimes I’ll pass by a stranger and I’ll just fall in love. I invent and imagine an entire story around the possibly of a person, creating my own retelling of them. This is then possibly projected it into an aspect of my work. Inspiration can even appear when I'm walking home from the bar, it’s 3am – maybe it’s in the street lighting or the space. I like to take a quick picture on my phone or make a note.
Which photographers inspire your practice?
I don’t religiously follow the work of any particular photographers, especially when working on a developing project. There are some practitioners that can't resist however, for example; David Armstrong, Cecilie Harris, Jessica Yatrofsky and of course Nick Knight.
Tell us about the featured photography, Pastel Romance.
I saw Claire’s clothing designs after they appeared at Graduate Fashion Week, and I just had to make a shoot happen. I’d also wanted to work with the stylist Audrey Henry for a while, so it was a great project to put the team together for. Claire’s work presents a wonderful dialogue on the beauty of male androgyny. Looking through her research one source of inspiration gripped me – flowers. I wondered why these connotations existed and why considering a man to be feminine can be perceived as a negative thing. Kabuki – the Japanese dance drama, was also mentioned in her research, which uses flowers and nature as a backdrop for the stage. I considered using props to help emulate the theatricality of a performance. I wanted the boys to portray an intense relationship that explores both the femininity and masculinity in an empowering way. It was a great team dynamic – we went for dinner after the shoot and we all really bonded. I love that kind of atmosphere; the boys even taught me a few things about football. We hadn't known each other very long but we all felt completely comfortable to share our ideas and thoughts. It was published online as webitorial for Jute Magazine.
COMING SOON IN ISSUE 04
Gary Woods - The Last of The Coven
For ISSUE 04 I will be shooting an editorial exclusively for Carnival Magazine. The working title is ‘The Last of The Coven’. The concept lends inspiration from the world provided in the incredibly enchanting yet gritty TV series – ‘American Horror story: Coven’. Personally I'm fascinated with the retelling of stories and the possibly of different perspectives. I intend on applying the aesthetics of ‘Coven’ to a menswear editorial. The overall attitude is motivated by the portrayal of Jessica Lange’s role as the Supreme. Fleetwood Mac are part of the soundtrack to ‘Coven’ and also my life, so they’re providing a sort of musical source of inspiration also. I've decided to style this shoot myself; I’ll be collaborating with the designer 'The Freak Show' who is kindly donating some of his incredible designs to the shoot.
PHOTOGRAPHY / Gary Woods
RETOUCHING / Gary Woods
MODELS / Marcus & Tobias @Nemesis
DESIGNER / Claire Latham
FASHION STYLING / Audrey Henry