William Saar

William Saar

Fashion photography

by William Saar (Sweden)

I am a Swedish photographer with a focus on fashion and beauty, currently striving to produce image editorials for magazines. During the workshop, I set out to shoot three series in different distinct styles with different recipients in mind.

The first set of images focuses on capturing a timeless summer feeling with a naturally beautiful girl in a park. The second set of images focuses on attitude and features a couple with a look inspired by the style of edgier magazines such as UK’s Dazed & Confused. The third set features summer images with a lighter, playful, more elegant and commercial focus, where the intended recipient is a wrist watch commercial. I also shot a number of separate beauty portraits of the models.

Portfolio from the Fashion Photography workshop with Sacha, May 2013.

Written review by CORINE HAMEL,
Photo editor at Marie Claire, France

I have a very spontaneous approach when I look at a photograph, no technics, no analytics. Essentially based on what I feel: what does this photograph tells me? what kind of a situation do I perceive? what emotion? do I hear music? in short, I am a pure spectator. Looking at your portfolio of the workshop, I cannot avoid but thinking fashion photography is a complex exercise. It’s about not only to create a world but also to transform this world into photography.

This raises several questions the photographer should ask himself: -what story do I want to tell? the story of a girl walking down the streets of a city? in a park? who’s that girl? where does she come from? the story of a couple? what happens to them? what do they feel like? what are their feeling at the moment of shooting? From the answer to those question will come the selection of a shooting spot, a cast, a stylism, a make up, a hair dressing...as many elements caring a sense to the image. It is then important to dedicate it a demanding care at the moment of conceiving a fashion series – what formal tools do I dispose to tell my story? the point of view (from where precisely take the picture?), the framing (what has to be included in it), the focus (what has to be highlighted by the auto focus), the choice of the instant (when to press the button).

In your first series of the young girl in the park, your intention is not clearly visible for the spectator I am. I do not find there the sensuality, the listlessness of the afternoon you seem to be willing to show. The point of view you chose is nearly always the same, very frontal and distanced of the model. The model is the only one to move in the framing that does not have a clear position. The choice of the white shirt strongly contrasting with a background which offers few nuances participates to the global impression of toughness. A game of prints on the clothing might have allowed her blondness to express itself. The blurry aspects of the backgrounds when the young lady is photographed standing gives the impression of not being intentional and controlled but forced by the technical constraints linked to the shooting. Finally, what was your intention? We are in an in-between: not really the game of seduction between a photographer and his model (a search for framings and points of views would have helped you translate this angle) nor the one of the indiscrete spectator of the pleasure instant of a young lady in a summer afternoon.

In the color series with the couple, 3 photographs have particularly retained my attention: photographs 10, 13 et 14. They have in common a choice of back ground decor, framing and point of view which accentuate the narrative intention. On one side, a young lady walks the street large strides, in a rush to be at her rendez-vous. We can feel around her and without it appearing in the frame that the street is extending beyond the photograph, from where her impatience. She holds her coat, her hair flies. We believe in it. The following sequence presents us the couple together. This suite of 2 photographs conclude the series, they happily escape from the frame. The point of view is the one of a walker who sees the couple, looking at them passing by, following them in a glance. Once again, we believe in it.

Finally, the rock series presents a little interest from a photographic point of view. She does the «job» by traditional model posing and stylism. The story, for the spectator, stops at this first level of reading. From the portraits throughout the 3 series, I retain the n°8 for the quality of light and this sensation of lost instant which is technically rendered.

Finally, if I understand your approach which leads you to make those 3 series in very different spirits, I stay convinced it is very important for a fashion photographer de develop his own signature. The questions raised by this workshop should help you to define better your universe and level of requirement.

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