The Art of Knowing Anything is Possible
Talia White from Birmingham is only 23-years-old but she’s already on the rise to stardom. The young fashion photographer started her own company when she was just 19 and now she’s been shortlisted as a finalist for the Clothes Show Live Fashion Photographer of the Year Award. She’s living proof that a combination of talent, ambition and persistence can take you wherever you need to go. I was lucky enough to chat with her about how her passion for capturing images all began.
How did you first become interested in photography?
At 16 I was studying a BTEC in Art at Solihull College. If I am totally honest, I had never considered being a photographer before this and it wasn’t until a tutor took me through a photography project during my Art course that I decided to take it further. One of my main memories as a child was that my dad and granddad always loved photography as a hobby and they were always taking pictures, so maybe somewhere along the lines I had picked it up from them.
At 18 I converted my sisters garage into a studio, where I would practice photographing friends and family. It was then I started to hone my skills and find my style as a photographer. I explored many styles but when I completed a fashion photography project at college, that’s when I really thought ‘Wow, this is it, this is what I want to do.’ Everyone around me loved what I had produced. After that I never looked back.
When did you get your first camera and what was it?
I purchased my own camera at 18, before that I would hire cameras from the college. I had to be patient and save up but it paid off, the freedom of having my own camera was amazing.
What is it about the fashion industry that you find appealing?
As a child I was obsessed with fashion. I would always alter my clothes by adding beads, making brooches and mixing outrageous styles. Sometimes people would laugh at what I’d wear but it didn’t affect me, I loved being a bit different and quirky. I was adamant I’d be a fashion designer when I grew up and that’s something that most probably has an impact on my choice of photography. When I’m photographing it doesn’t feel like work because I have so much fun. I get to work in a big team, with make-up artists, hairstylists, models, fashion stylists and loads of great people. I love the enthusiasm and I get excited throughout the whole process but of course the best feeling for me is when I see all my ideas come to life in the final pictures.
You set up your own photography business at the age of 19 – why did you decide to do something like that when you were so young?
A number of people started to contact me, wanting to work with me on various projects so I felt like it was time for me to take my passion to another level. People were starting to believe in me as a professional so it was the right time to set up my business and further my growing reputation.
As a photographer, what inspires you in your work?
Vintage style and retro tones are a big influence of mine, and that’s always visible in my work today. Although I’m inspired by everything around me… fashion, music, television, family. There’s so much going on in the world, it’s hard not to find inspiration.
Do you have a favourite photographer or someone who’s work you particularly admire?
I am a huge fan of David LaChapelle, he made me realise that anything is possible and he creates the most amazing imagery. In my research I found a quote from him saying “ imagine you have a blank piece of paper and you can put anything you want onto it, anything in the world”. I love that idea; it reminds me that anything is possible.
What is your process as a photographer? What are the things you think about before taking a picture?
Before I take a photograph, I imagine the final product. A number of things need to be put in place before taking a picture e.g. location, clothing, accessories, models, cost and what it is that I am going to do to complement the model and light. If I’m shooting for a client, I need to make sure that I meet their needs and capture products that are being sold to the best standard. For me, it is during post-production that I put my spin on the pictures. Whilst editing, I play with tones and texture to give my pictures their recognisable look.
What is it like working with models as opposed to still life? Have you ever had any bad experiences of note?
Working with models is amazing and I learn so much from it. Together, we can share ideas and bounce off each other, experimenting is much easier with models than it is with still life.
If you could photograph absolutely anyone or anything, what would it be?
If I could photograph anyone in the world it would be Iggy Azalea, she has the most beautifully striking face. I also admire her passion and ambition, she breaks boundaries with her music and her life journey so far is very inspirational to me.
You were recently shortlisted as a finalist for the Clothes Show Live Fashion Photographer of the Year Award – how did you feel when you found out?
I can’t explain how overwhelmed I felt when I received the news that I had been shortlisted as a finalist. I work so hard every day and every night, whether it be planning shoots, creating mood boards, editing or shooting and I am constantly pushing myself to do more and be more creative. And so by receiving this kind of recognition I feel like my hard work and sleepless nights are really paying off. To have even got this far into the competition is a triumph in itself and I couldn’t be prouder.
What advice would you give to young aspiring photographers?
Something I would definitely like to advise aspiring photographers is to not get caught up comparing your work or competing with others around you. The more time you spend doing this, the less time you’re spending achieving what you want to.
Another thing I’d say is… practise, practise, practise. Practise with friends, family, aspiring models and everyone who wants to help out. Last of all I’ll share my favourite quote, from a talk I attended by Mario Testino: “Talent will get you far, but ambition will get you further”.
Where do you hope to be in the future and how will you get there?
In the future I strive to work with highly renowned companies and magazines photographing models like Kate Moss and Rosie Huntington- Whitely. I want to carry on enjoying myself and reaching for success. As I’ve mentioned, I love fashion so I’ve recently decided to combine my passions and create my own camera bag range Te-Bags. This is launching over the next few months so keep a look out. Exciting times ahead!