William Walsh

William's work is one of those things you sort of stumble upon -- a rare find. I was at my niece's birthday party last weekend talking to my sister about the new direction of my blog. She's a photographer, and suggested I take a look at William's stuff on Flickr. The minute I saw his stream, I was in awe. No way could this kid be struggling as an artist.

His photography is bold, innovative, and thought-provoking. Ford told him to keep it simple, and who knew such intricacy could be found in simplicity? Only with William Walsh. If this is what his headshots look like... I can't wait to see his editorial!

Darrah: I hear you are out of school. So am I. It's hard to break into the fashion industry when you're broke. What's your plan for getting back into school? How much longer do you have left?

William: I had to drop out for the time being. It's costly, and I need a day-time job to pay the rent. It's my goal to make it back and finish my degree. Hopefully when everything falls into place I can return. I've only managed to finish three semesters in school, and I've only done two of my required photography classes. So, realistically when go back I have about three more years [smiles].

Darrah: I try to look at it like this -- we strive to learn everyday, so years don't scare me. What made you decide to do fashion photography? Where did you start?

William: My start in photography is linked to a chain reaction that happened during high school. Originally, I wanted to be an illustrator, so I started taking art classes and continued doing so for three years. It wasn't until the end of my third year that I decided to purchase a camera. I wanted to snap anything that inspired me so I could sketch it later. From that day on, my camera never left my bag! There's nothing like fashion photography. Like illustration, the artist can create something that's totally void of reality if he/she chooses to. I don't care for reality. Most photographers wait for moments to happen, and in fashion you don't wait around -- you create those moments. That's why I love it.

Darrah: If you didn't have to wait a moment longer, what designer would you love to photograph?

William: It's hard to name just one designer, so forgive me. This list goes on -- Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino, Giorgio Armani, and Dolce & Gabbana. No one designs like these people. Everything is refined and crafted in such a way that each buyer leaves their store wearing a piece of art. They give their photographer's so much to work with! During my first year of college I lived and breathed the photographs done for them by some of my heroes in photography.

Darrah: Their work is definitely inspiring. Since you've seen your fair share of high caliber models through Ford, what do you look for in a model? Is there anything you expect them to bring to the table?

William: For me, a model is a muse. If they're not inspiring, I can't get anything out of them. The ideal model must have something that sets them apart from an average individual on the street. Whether it be personality, perfect skin, or a strong face. I love a model whose willing to give it their all to get the perfect photo.

**Check out some video footage of William working with models**

Darrah: I've seen some of your models pose nude. Does that make a shoot awkward?

William: For me, it doesn't. When a model is able to be stripped of everything material and confront the camera just as they are -- magic happens. I'm there to do a job of getting a great picture -- and I do it.

Darrah: Who inspires you?

William: Masters of the medium such as Helmut Newton and Richard Avedon. The need to get away from reality, music and the need to always create. As for keeping it fresh, I try to do my best each shoot to bring something new to the table.

Darrah: That makes sense that Helmut Newton inspires your work. I can see the comparisons. I've had a few photographers say the same thing. Moving on -- What camera do you use?

William: My primary camera is a Nikon D80 paired with a 50mm and 85mm 1.5 and it was bought through money my parents gave me for school. I have had the joy of using much more pro systems, but until the day comes where I can afford one, I will rock my D80.

Darrah: Nice folks! I hear you're from Jamaica. When did you come to America?

William: Even though I'm from Jamaica , I've had American Citizenship since I was five-years-old. I thought "Why not study here in the U.S.?" Previously, I've made trips to New York city but decided to try something new and fresh. So, here I am in San Francisco.

Darrah: Gotta love the west coast. I noticed you have a lot of black and white photography. Do you do color? What do you prefer?

William: I do a mixture of color and black and white. Ever since I started to find my way in photography, I've had a fixation with black and white. I remember when I first started my visualization class -- I was told all our images had to be in black and white, and I nearly had a panic attack. As I progressed in the class, I noticed that if you master black and white, you can master anything! All the distraction that comes with the use of color is taken out of the image. From there, you learn to evaluate your tones, lighting, and shapes. Black and white pictures will always be timeless.

Darrah: I like how timeless your photographs are. I feel like they'll still have the same impact in 20 years. Hopefully Ford can see that. I still think it's amazing that you work for them! How did you get that job?

William: I decided to go around the city asking various agencies if I could do tests with their models. I decided to go for the top guns -- Ford. Thankfully, they loved my work and I love the work relationship I have with them. So far, I've done a total of four or five shoots with them, and worked with about 10 different models.

Darrah: My sister said that you are shooting models who are trying to break into the Ford modeling agency. How do they get in contact with you? What's the process?

William: A little correction is needed on that end. The models I shoot for Ford are models already signed with the agency. The models outside of Ford shoot with me because they like what I have to offer, and are in the process of building portfolios. Most of the models I've done work with outside agencies have been friends, and models I've met through Model Mayhem. Thanks to those first models, I am here now. Even with the Ford models, it's an equal trade. They offer you a face, and you impart turn that face into something marketable.

Darrah: So, I have to ask -- where is your day-job? Do you like it?

William: I work in retail, and may I add that I hate it?! For the time being, it's what pays the bills. Hopefully one day I can make my true love my day-job.

Darrah: I'm sure you will. If you had to work for any magazine, which one would it be?

William: I would choose either Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Bon, V Magazine, or Italian Vogue -- for their fashion spreads and photography. Aside from the question, Digitalphoto Pro Magazine also has a lot of great tips, interviews, and news for people in the industry. I learned all about my gear and lighting through their publication .

Darrah: Harper's Bazaar is one of my favorites. How do you select the jobs you'll take?

William: It's about shooting what I like. If I like a particular concept, I'll shoot it. Right now, I'm learning a lot about the industry from working with different agencies and their models. Hopefully more jobs will present themselves.

Darrah: I'm still really shocked they haven't. What are your goals for this coming year?

William: I have a few -- getting published, more networking, improving on my work, turning photography into a full-time job that pays the bills, and learning everything I can along the way.

You can follow William's work on Flickr, or read about his amazing adventures on his blog! He's definitely one hot photographer to keep an eye on!


lydia said...

Such a talented photographer! Great interview Darling!

Pretty Little Pictures said...

Great interview - very insightful and lovely photography!

Couture Allure Vintage Fashion said...

Thanks for sharing! I love the photos.

The Indie Handmade Show said...

Darrah, your blog is fantastic! I adore your interviews..I will follow you! :)

Darrah said...

Thank you!! William's work is brilliant.