The Proximity Factor… Some Advice to Choosing the Right Place to Establish yourself as a Fashion Photographer

Dovima and the Elephants – Cirque d’Hiver, Paris – 1955 © The Richard Avedon Foundation

Have you ever tried to buy a Camembert cheese in Swainsboro, Georgia? Have you ever attempted to purchase a bottle of “Cristal” champagne in Binghamton, New York? Have you ever tried to find a Christian Dior “Haute Couture” dress for a photo-shoot in Farmington, Indiana? There is no secret why Hollywood is Hollywood, New York is New York, Paris is Paris and London is London. Availability of talent, support, materials and creative grey matter. If I am about to embark on a photo shoot here in Paris, I can call a top model agency for a top model. Call a world class fashion stylist to see the press offices of the top designers to get the “crème de la crème” of the fashion world. Call the leading hair and make-up artist agency to get the most world renowned artists in their field. Hire a world class studio facility to be published in some of the most cutting edge trendy press.

The Proximity Factor

Why? Because New York & Paris feature all of the elements required not to smell of  a “Lack of Proximity” provincial product. The reason the fashion photographers working in the major centers look so polished is that they are. Without those elements, there is no way that one can compete on this playing field. Of course there are different leagues where the game is played. I started this game in Toronto where the best one could do was to be published in Flare, Fashion and Chatelaine magazines. After that, if you wish to climb this ladder, one has to make a move. I moved to Los Angeles, which was a very minor step up the ladder. I have lived in New York, Milan and Paris and have worked in London.

Your best bet, would be to study the playing field and emulate, emulate, copy, copy and copy. Until you are in the right place, everything that will be done will smack of the fact that the tools were not available. Time is so important. The collections come out, we shoot them right after the shows in studio or location. But we get them right away and not one year after the fact. This speaks loudly in its own right. Start doing your research. Type in to Google, “Trendy Press Magazines” or “Fashion Magazines” and see what comes up. Type in “Fashion Trends” as well. These resources will give you a broad overview of what is being published in the different sectors of fashion, beauty and adverting. Enjoy the experience. You may end up being the next Richard Avedon.

About Benjamin Kanarek
Fashion and Beauty Photographer. Some of the magazines I have shot for include: VOGUE (China, Portugal, Brazil, Italia, Paris and South America & Mexico editions), RG VOGUE Brazil, Harper’s BAZAAR (China, en Español & Latin America, Hong Kong, Italy editions), L’Officiel Paris, ELLE (Spain, Portugal and Greece editions), Madame Figaro (France), Cosmopolitan (France and Italy editions), Glamour (France), Votre Beauté, Jardin des Modes, Dépêche Mode, New York Daily News, Fashion District News, New York Times Magazine, W (British edition), WWD, Fashion Magazine (Canada), Flare (Canada), Oyster, Tank, WestEast…