Categories
Fashion Photography

KAYLEIGH GRESTY [@kayleighgrestyphotography]

Kayleigh Gresty is a Bristol-based fashion photographer, working specifically with influencers and brands on their social media campaigns. After battling with her mental health Kayleigh set up her business two years ago, whilst completing her foundation degree. Her work has featured in several magazines and she has photographed global fashion weeks. During lockdown, she has started a new project to keep herself creative and to remind others of this historic time.

You’ve worked as a photographer at Miami and London Fashion Week, can you tell us more about how that opportunity came about? 

It’s a pretty long story! I didn’t have a clue how to shoot a runway before my first show, I sat at home and researched through YouTube videos and Instagram pages before applying for a press pass for a show at London Fashion Week. I still had no idea what I was doing when I showed up but I managed to get through the show and it really opened up a new passion and line of work for me. After that I emailed a local shopping centre and asked if I could photograph their “Bristol Fashion Week” they said yes, and I spent 5 days there practising runway shots and backstage shots. Because I reached out to people and pushed myself passed my comfort zone I got more opportunities, because of these two shows I got the opportunity to photograph Miami Fashion Week, my lecturer at University at the time put my name forward to a company who were heading out to photograph the shows and needed a photographer, I had a couple of interviews but made it through and had one of the most incredible weeks of my career. Then I carried on doing a few more London Fashion Weeks and most recently shot at The Strand during London Fashion Week for Getty Images. All of these opportunities came hand in hand, because I pushed myself to go beyond my boundaries in the first place, all the other opportunities followed. 

You’ve recently started a new project called “Stay Home”, taking photos of people on their doorsteps. Can you tell us more about the motivation behind starting it?

 Since being in lockdown I can’t go out and photograph my clients, I wanted to keep creative and do something that I will be able to look back on in years to come. I asked the community where I live via social media if they would be interested in participating and I got over 60 responses. It’s really given me the motivation to stay creative and carry on photographing and documenting during this time. I’ve of course been sticking to government guidelines, taking the photographs during my daily walks and been keeping to the 2 meters when taking the images. It’s been such a great project and I can’t wait to keep working on it! 

“I took every opportunity that came my way whether that be big or small…”


In regards to qualifications, would you say it is necessary for aspiring photographers to attend university/courses etc? 

I think it really depends on the individual, but I wouldn’t say a degree is necessary to be a photographer. Certain jobs may require a degree but they may also require a certain amount of experience. Having an amazing portfolio of quality work and experience may be just as effective as having a degree in some cases. If you have the opportunity to study photography though and get a degree from it I would 100% recommend, I only got a foundation degree in photography but I’ve still managed to get big jobs.

For those who would like to know a bit about post production, what is your go-to editing software?

 My go-to editing software is Adobe Lightroom Classic 100%! I don’t use anything else, unless I need to get rid of something distracting in an image, then I’ll use Photoshop.

During this time of isolation, you’ve resorted to FaceTime photoshoots, how does this work in comparison to your normal set up? 

FaceTime photoshoots are fun, but they’re no where near the same! I miss being in control, you have no control on the positioning of the camera apart from directing your model to put it in certain places. I do think they are a great way for you and your model to be creative together and figure out shots in a more constructive way! It’s also been a great way to network with new models and meet new people during this time.They’re also great fun, but you feel like you’re not doing as much work at all.


Do you have any side hustles alongside your photography company? I have a job one day a week at my local coffee shop, and I also have an online PDF course for sale on how to take street style photographs. I created this during the first few weeks of lockdown to help me with an income but also to spread my knowledge to people who might need to keep their feeds up to date during this time at home.

In regards to putting your work out there to get to where you are, can you give us an insight to some of the challenges you’ve faced behind the scenes? 

To get where I am now I’d say I’ve face a few challenges both personal and within my business. I have struggled with my mental health massively over the years, I went to university straight from school and wasn’t doing something I loved. Dropping out to pursue photographing was one of my biggest challenges but it was the best decision for my career and my mental health. If I hadn’t made that decision I wouldn’t be in the position I am today! In business though there are always challenges to over come, when I first started I had to figure out how to get into the niche that I wanted, I took every opportunity that came my way whether that be small or big, paid or unpaid. Without the challenges we face in both our personal and business lives we wouldn’t get to where we are, they’re all part of the journey, that’s how I like to look at it! 

Categories
Photography

MICHAEL MWANGI MAINA [@_.zuluu]

Michael Mwangi Maina is a 23 year old creative based in Nairobi, Kenya who majors as a photographer and creative director. 

How has growing up in Nakuru, Kenya influenced your creativity when taking your photographs?

I’ve always been drawn to nature ever since I could remember, I loved the outdoor especially when it was green, the sky blue, that perfect sunlight that makes colors pop, people about their day, people together. This automatically transpired in my creations when I started out photography, it is what drives me and is the base of my creations.

Where do you draw most of your inspiration from?

I draw my inspiration from everyday life, the Kenyan narrative is what the aim is, infusion of this and fashion as a narrative is the ultimate goal. I also source a lot of inspiration from film.

You’re the creative director for 199xKenya, what sort of thing does your role include?

199xKenya is art induced company that majors on film and apparel. My role has been to mould the image and output of the company in correlation to the two head sections.We have great things in store in the coming days and we’re really excited for the things we’re about to do.

“We’re putting Kenya on the map through our creations and the aim is to inspire the same narrative to the young on the come up.”

Is there anything you particularly want to capture through your photos?

Emotion, activity, in abstract portraying the normal. Just to sum it all in one sentence.

Is there anyone you’d love to photograph? Or, any specific brand?

 I have dreams of shooting for Gucci.

What can we expect from you in the next year or so? Have you got any exciting projects coming soon?

I’m really excited for this stage of my craft and the vision is clearer. A couple of beautiful projects to be released soon via 199xKenya. Like I said, we’re about to change the rhythm of the music we’ve been accustomed to in the creative industry. We’re putting Kenya on the map through our creations and the aim is to inspire the same narrative to the young on the come up.

Categories
Graphic Design Merchandise Design Photography

JULIA FLETCHER [@juliafletcherphoto]

Julia Fletcher is a music-based designer and photographer based in Manhattan, NY. She is a merchandise designer for Second City Prints, a photographer for AdHoc Presents, a Brooklyn event promoter and print publication, and an editorial intern for Alt Citizen, an online music publication for NYC music & culture. Inspired by the colors and artwork of 70’s/80’s new wave/post-punk album artwork, she brings a fun, colorful, and nostalgic feeling to musician’s identities through poster design, album artwork, and merchandise. Her personal work explores internet culture, online perception, and appropriation, usually through the lens of humor and personal experience. 

TRIGGER WARNING: This interview talks about substance abuse and emotional/domestic abuse.

Absolutely love your collection of writings ‘Private Show’ you shared on your Instagram. Can you tell us a bit more about the inspiration behind creating this?

My senior year of college I was dealing with a lot of emotions and trauma I couldn’t even begin to process. I knew I wanted to make work about it but didn’t know how to go about it. I thought long and hard but nothing really seemed to click, but sometimes things that are meant to be come out naturally. One night I just thought “well what if I put my writings about alcohol on a liquor store receipt so the presentation matches the subject matter?” and from there everything else was easy.

Receipt from ‘Private Show’ by Julia Fletcher

You‘re a photo major, what did art school do for you in regards to finding who you were as a designer?

I graduated with a BFA in photo from art school thinking I was going to get a job as a photographer. I quickly learned that’s a lot harder than I thought, so I adapted to the job field around me and picked up more of those multidisciplinary jobs that allow you to do design, video, photo, animation, etc. for social media. The NYC job industry hasn’t exactly been kind to me, so I got sucked into healthcare to help me pay rent in the city while I looked for something else. While I accepted a corporate job, I started designing after I got home from work to give myself something to do. I found that I liked it a lot more than I thought, and created a brand new portfolio for myself and started pursuing that more. Art school didn’t do much for me as far as me figuring out who I was as a designer because I figured that out by myself post grad! 

Young creatives often find a lot of pressure to know “all” the design programmes, is this something you think is overrated? And for those wondering, what are your go-to design programmes to use?

You definitely don’t need to know all the design programs. I find that it’s easy to cheat your way to the top — all of my work is creating in Photoshop and sometimes people think I use Illustrator but to be honest I don’t know the first thing about Illustrator. If you can get the work done on your own terms, don’t feel pressured to learn how to make things another way.

What advice would you give to someone trying to find their “style” within design?

As designers I feel like our style comes out subconsciously whether we know it or not. What we make is inspired by every single piece of media, advertisement, and graphic we’ve ever seen and admired. So even if you don’t think you have a “style” yet, you definitely have styles you gravitate towards. The best advice I could give is find work you really love and try to figure out why you love it, and just keep making stuff because you’ll find out quickly what you do like do make and what you don’t like to make.

You love music-based design, where do you draw most of your inspiration from?

I draw almost all of my inspiration from album artwork and music itself! Specifically 70s/80s punk album covers and posters. Sometimes I’ll hear an album that will inspire a certain graphic style or color palette, based on how the music makes me feel. When I’m designing for a specific artist, like a commission for example, I’ll listen to that band to get a better feel for them as artists, to see what about them inspires me. Also constantly inspired by the internet and small artists I follow on Instagram.

Is there anything you’d like to add?

Create work for yourself! Not for other’s approval — there’s that saying “If someone else likes it, that’s just a plus” and I stand by that every day.