LOUISE PARKER

Louise Parker is both model and  photographer. While working for designers such as Dior, Saint Laurent and Chanel, she is documenting the fashion industry with a clean and disenchanted eye. Condo converses with her about staying both behind and in front of the camera.

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1- You are both a model and a photographer, staying both behind and in front of the camera. Knowing the secrets of the two roles, which are generally divided, what have you understood of photography, being a model? What have you understood of modeling, being a photographer?
For me, photography came first. However, I am not entirely sure how my study of photography has affected me as a model, aside from the fact that it is has made me a much more curious model. I studied fine art photography in college, which meant I hardly worked with a digital camera and had no studio experience. I have come to appreciate the importance of lighting and direction when it comes to a fashion shoot. I am always interested in learning about lighting, flash, different cameras etc. Since I began modeling I have also found a new appreciation and respect for fashion photography – no matter the model, it’s not easy to create an original and beautiful fashion story.

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2- Do you come across any criticism from the fashion industry because you work both as a model and photographer? How is this double role perceived?
I haven’t encountered any criticism but sometimes I find it hard for people to appreciate both sides of me. For some people, I think it’s easier for them to see you as one or other. However, I have also received a lot of amazing support and feedback on my work. My agency, fellow models, certain stylists and photographers, as well as some publications have been very supportive. For me it is important to always remain professional and prioritize my job as a model; I am not hired to photograph, that part is always secondary.

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3- In your opinion is the photography fashion world still dominated by male photographers? How is being a female photographer and model affecting the way you take pictures?
Recently I have been working with a lot of young, up and coming female photographers, which has been amazing. Although I have had similar experiences with several amazing male photographers, the atmosphere often changes when working with a female photographer because the relationship is more relatable. I have found myself pushing outside my comfort zones in a really rewarding way. In terms of my photography it is important that I am female but even more importantly, that I am also a model. I am fully immersed in the world that I photograph and therefore this sense of reliability is true between me and my subjects.

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4- How is your practice as photographer changing in the years? Modeling can be harder and harder as time passes, do you think that at some point you will completely focus on photography?
I am always thinking about what is next. Right now I love my job as a model and hope to have a long(ish) career, but I also hope to start integrating more photography projects into my daily life. There is a lot of downtime as a model and I have slowly been figuring out how to manage my time to pursue both. In the next couple years I hope to explore other areas of photography, primarily photo journalism. I would love the opportunity to photograph stories and subjects outside of the fashion industry.

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5- Talking about modeling can you describe the social environment in this industry? It seems very competitive and hard both physically and mentally, can you please tell us more?
To my initial surprise, I have found other models to be very friendly and supportive. There is this kind of “we’re all in together” mentality that is really wonderful. Fashion week is the most stressful and difficult time for most girls, myself included, but this is when I have found the most genuine support and care from other models. Outside of fashion week, my family and friends from college have been the most important to me. It’s easy to get sucked into the fashion world and lose perspective on what really matters to you. I feel very lucky to have my life and friends from before I began modeling.

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