Ask almost any working fashion photographer today what advice they would give a photographer to get their foot in the door and they will almost certainly say the best way is to assist. This is largely because of the networking opportunity and access to industry leaders and the knowledge they can bestow upon you that isn’t otherwise accessible.
Alexi Lubomirski realizes that having had access to this plethora of information and talent was pivotal in launching his career after he assisted Mario Testino for four years. Alexi is launching a new interview series on his Youtube channel, Face to Face, in which he will be interviewing top industry professionals to provide aspiring fashion photographers an inside look at the coveted fashion industry.
For the first installment, Alexi interviews top fashion stylist and creative director, Paul Cavaco. Cavaco has an extensive and successful career spanning from Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue and Allure as well as working closely with the likes of Richard Avedon, Steven Meisel and Patrick Demarchelier, just to name a few.
They discuss how Paul first began his career and the nuances of attitude on set from the film age into the digital age; the primary difference being they used to have to nail it in one shot and nowadays everyone is hovered around the computer monitor and the attitude is it can be perfected in post. The focus has changed.
“You have to tell a story in fashion… You have to know who this girl is. Sometimes I think people treat beauty as if it’s still life on a human, and to me, that is a boring picture.”
Cavaco highlights the importance of bringing life to an image and having the ability to tell a story in fashion. It has to be believable. The best models and movies have an innate ability to make you believe their story. The model has to own the look and become that character.
Alexi asks him for his opinion on what is important to put in a portfolio. Cavaco shares stories from when he first started working with Steven Meisel. He discusses the importance of having a point of view and being authentic to oneself. Cavaco states how the honesty resonates with the audience. It is real. It is the photographer’s responsibility to put a little bit of themselves into the storytelling while maintaining their truth.
“What’s really hard about a portfolio when someone is starting is the point of view. Usually if you like a photograph or a photographer it is because they have a point of view.”