Oi oi fashion lovers! As you know, we are mega fans of discovering all types of gurls and guyz who have somme serious creative juices flowing... And this week we are ready to introduce to you one specific photographer lady with some maje skills going on! Saskia Lawson is our current creative crush and we literally cannot get enough of her dope, colour-infused photoshoots! Ticking all our boxes... puppies in sunnies - tick! Girl power poses - tick! Layers and layers of colour - tick! ...All with an underlying tone of 'nothing is ever too much' - Saskia is As You Are Mag's bad gal of babing photography! We recently caught up with her to discuss Taylor Swift, emoji's, BFF's and, oh yeah, her AWESOME work...!
Hey Saskia! Where are you from and where are you living now?
I’m from Surrey, more specifically a little village in Guildford! I’m still comfortably living with my family while I can, I have my own studio about 5 feet from my kitchen so its easy to live and work here!
What a dream, take it while you can, it really is quite depressing what constitutes an 'affordable creative studio space' in London's property market right now! And so tell us what lead you to the work you're producing in said studio these days...
A number of factors, the main one being my parents always encouraging me to follow my passion and try to turn it into my career. I would never have had the guts to try out this job if it wasn’t for their encouragement! Photography wise, I was drawn to it at a young age, my dad (who has an artistic background) noticed I had a good eye for a photo. I started shooting my friends and family after school, I would dress up my friend and try to create my own makeshift fashion shoot! I have always had a love of fashion images so I was always heading to that area of photography.
If you had to describe your photography, how would you?
Always a hard question!!! I would say it's quite a clean style, with a pop of colour. I love colour SO much, as silly as that sounds…
Not silly at all, although a serious advocate for the head-to-toe-black look, a pop of pink always manages to sneak in there in some form! So what attracts you to photographing fashion, as opposed to anything else?
I have never been able to understand fully why I love fashion more than any other type of photography, I think it could be simply just because I love clothes. I love the shapes and colours the fashion creates, the way the models pose, just everything… I love it all!!! Also the people in fashion are the best type of people to work with in my opinion, every one of those people are following a passion. Everyone I have come across in this industry so far loves their job, it’s a really fun to be around. Although it's quite a cut-throat industry, it is just SO much fun. There’s always something new to shoot. For the first 3 years of my freelance career I shot all sorts of jobs, including weddings and family portraits. I found the images never came out as well as my fashion work, some people think being a photographer means you can photograph anything at all but for me I feel its my fashion photography that represents me and shows of my skills at their best.
Tell us what, who or where are the main influences behind your photography style?
Throughout the years I’ve been influenced by a lot of different people and styles. Right now though I am still massively interested in studio photography, I love simplistic studio editorials with great styling often seen in UK Vogue. I adore Josh Olins’ work, I have followed him since college and love the effortless style and beautiful lighting, that’s something I always try to incorporate in own work. Again it all comes back to colour for me, photographers like Rossella Vanon who use colour so well in their work, and Lara Jade always has a perfect colour palette in her images. Incredible locations inspire me too, I’m currently on the hunt for a big open space (breaking bad location style) to shoot a summery story in. There’s beautiful shapes and colours everywhere, in landscape and scenery, I see things everyday and they spark little ideas. Making a fashion shoot in an everyday scenario is something I always find really interesting.
The Internet has transformed the way people create, disseminate and consume art and fashion. How has this affected your photography?
Well, as a newbie even I can see the change in how things were when I first started out as a freelance photographer (4 years ago). Personally it feels like you wont ever find other people to work with/get booked unless you have a strong social media presence. It's weird because getting 100 likes on a photo should make you think ‘oh wow that’s amazing’ but I have seen some of the most talented photographers who have about 80 followers and get hardly any likes, it's mental. Meeting other creatives has been made easier through things like Instagram but yes it can all get very petty when someone ‘unfollows’ you, its like the ultimate middle finger haha! A negative can be getting harsh critism from bizarre troll like people… I don’t really know how people have time for it!
I think Social media also has made this industry a lot in some ways, it's so easy to get my work out online for everyone to see, its all about communicating. I don’t see a way this industry could carry on without the internet at the moment. Online magazines are also massive, it gives people another platform to get their work published. I do enjoy a beautiful print magazine but I think lots of people now do just read online magazines, I guess we are saving trees so that’s a plus!? I wouldn’t necessarily say this has affected my work, as I have grown up and evolved as an artist in this generation, so for me it seems pretty normal, but I can see the problems with it.
Do you think we’re in a time when young people are being heard more or given more respect for their work?
Again I haven’t been around to see a vast change but yes I think so. When I started my business I was 18 and I did feel like I was treated differently, to some extent I still feel that now. But it takes time to perfect your style and practice enough to get up to that level, so I understand why some clients would prefer a more established photographer. I think its less of an age thing and more of a ‘how much you’ve done’ thing.
Absolutely! Everyone has to pay their dues in this industry. It's rare for someone to go from no-name to big-name immediately. What do you like most/least about working as a photographer in the fashion industry?
Hmmmm most probably the people, like I said before everyone loves their job. It’s a great feeling being on set with a bunch of talented people, I find everyone fascinating, especially the models they are SUCH babes. Least errrrrr…..not a lot. Maybe the competitiveness? Is that a word?! Some people can be bitchy. OH and people being shocked when you ask for payment for your services. I’ve actually had emails in the past asking for me to shoot a lookbook for free. Crazy. Being under valued, that’s the answer I was looking for!
OH yes, we've been there! Working collaboratively for fun, to expand your folio or just to have a creative outlet is always a part of being a creative, but when a big commercial company expect you to create their AW15 campaign for free... That is NOT the one!
In an ideal world, if there was anything or anyone you could shoot, regardless of expense or history, what would it be?
So as well as photography, my other love is animals. You may be able to tell if you look into my work, I will always try to sneak an animal of some sort in. I would love to do a shoot in Africa with lots of beautiful animals. And a model of course… Yeah so maybe a fashion shoot in a Safari reserve, that would be insane.
Obvious question, but do you have a favourite photographer?
I have lots. They are all my favourties in different ways and I cant pick just one! Benjamin Vnuk, Mario Testino, Josh Olins, Zoe Economides, Miles Aldridge, Lara Jade, Tim Walker & more.
Are there any relevant photographers who’s work you admire, who our readers should know about?
Yes there are so many undiscovered photographers I adore!!! I have a friend who shoots incredible images, stuff I could never shoot myself and I am obsessed with every picture he does. He takes photos of mega babes and creates gorgeous, empowering images you’ll have to have a peek - www.smread.com
Ooh we definitely will! What do you hope to do in the future?
Within the next year or so I would hopefully get an agent. I know this is the next step for me so I’m currently shooting as much as I can so I have a strong portfolio. I also need to push myself to shoot outside the studio and my comfort zone! The area I live in has so many beautiful locations so I will be trying to develop my outdoor editorial work. I don’t know where my work will take me yet but as long as I’m having fun and creating work I am proud of, I’ll be happy.
Do you ever experiment with other mediums such as film?
I’m afraid my college years have put me off film forever. I have a polaroid for personal use, but for now I work with just digital!
Photography aside, is there anything you’re totally obsessed with?
Like I mentioned before I’m obsessed with animals, especially my cat Aloysius (Ishy for short). I grew up with pet pigs and spend most of my summer evenings at the farm, it’s a lifestyle that’s extremely different to my job but I love it. I am OBSESSSSSSSSED with Game of Thrones, crazy obsessed. But don’t worry a GoT themed shoot isn’t in the pipeline…
Gutted, we would be SO down for that! So here's a little cheeky question, who is your best friend?!
Oh no this will start a war…!!!!! In my personal life I have a group of beautiful best friends and I can’t choose. If I could be really cheeky and answer – who’s my best friend in my ‘photography life’ it has to be Lauren. Lauren does most of the hair & makeup on my shoots and is generally just the best person to be around. We have a lot of stories and private jokes, sometimes its like we are married.
What's your fave emoji? This little fella is so cheeky. 😏
Is there an app or website you couldn't live without? Pinterest 100%! It is amazing, I don’t know how I coped before.
What band/musician get's the most airtime in your life?
Well this is where I embarrass myself. I have an extremely varied music taste, I am a secret country music fan. My love is Taylor Swift though. I have been a fan since I was 16 and all my friends laugh at me for it. I’m cool though other than this I promise.
How are you spending this summer?
I would love to say being mysterious and exotic on a beach but most probably in my studio with the fans blaring. I will take a little holiday at some point! Somewhere hot with ice cream. I turn 22 on July 10 so will have a week of celebrations for that and sing Taylor Swift – 22 non stop.