Irena Eastington is a popular fashion photographer who has her own commercial studio in Surrey, 30 minutes from central London. Irena has recently been busy photographing for Revlon and L’Oreal and despite also currently working on a new television show, she kindly agreed to complete a spotlight interview for Urbanity Chic. Read on to discover what fashion means to Irena, who her favourite photographers are and what her current career highlights have been behind the camera.
Q: How did you get into professional photography?
After graduating high school, I attended the Kiev National Trade & Economics University. I took evening courses which allowed me to work during the day as a junior accountant for an advertising agency. Being very artistic, I started to watch graphic designers and I learnt Photoshop in my spare time. After two months of teaching myself and watching professionals at work, I was promoted to the position of a graphic designer. I graduated University with an MBA in Business Management at the age of 22.
Soon after graduation, I left the Ukraine and moved to London where I began a successful career in modeling.
After 3 years modeling, I decided to go from in front of the camera to behind it. I purchased a Canon 5D camera and the rest is history. My love for photography was the just beginning. When I was modeling, I studied and watched professional photographers at work and I knew this was a career that I was destined to follow. This is what I love.
Q: What do you enjoy the most to photograph?
I love to shoot faces. I try to capture the moment where a model’s eyes seem to talk to the camera. I always say to my girls “seduce my camera, don’t look at me, don’t think of my approval for your pose, just let it be and let your emotions out.” I get great results from this. It always seems to work.
Q: How was 2010 for you?
It was amazing. I opened my own commercial photo studio. I also started to get involved with a lot of interesting projects, such as F.A.M.E, the prestigious L’Oréal Professionnel Colour Trophy, Revlon Professional, etc.…Watch this space!
Q: Which modern day fashion designers or fashion icons do you look up to?
Three of my favourite designers are Alexander McQueen, Jean Paul Gautier and Galliano. They have some avant-garde edge in their work, which is always inspiring and the over the top representation of their garments is intriguing and truly inspiring.
Their clothes are a work of art, not always to be worn, but they definitely leave you thinking about the garment.
Q: In your opinion,what makes a good photographer?
Connecting with the model, have passion about what they love, be a bit pedantic and notice that small detail that will transfer a photo into a work of art.
Q: Do you prefer using film cameras or digital?
I use only digital… I am too young to know film photography but i would like to experiment in the future with film and to develop pictures myself.
Q: Do you prefer to shoot on location or in the studio?
I prefer to shoot in the studio. I guess because its there where all of my lights are permanently setup but I would like to shoot more on location.
Q: Do you have an interesting story about a particular photo shoot you’d like to share?
I like to shoot with “raw material.” I use the word “raw” to mean a new model who has little experience but is willing to learn and work their ass off to get the best results.
I had a great experience working with Emilia Samuelson, a model from Sweden. I’d never worked with a model 6’2” tall before so I thought it could be a problem to shoot her at the studio. However, after Emilia came to the studio, I instantly thought we could pull out some great shots.
I was working with my personal friend and professional hair stylist Julia Barrano. We had a concept to create 3 different looks for Emilia. After the make up was done, Julia started to style her hair in an avant-garde way. It turned out that her hair style made her so tall that she only just fit under the canopy of the infinity wall which stands at just under 8ft tall. Despite this, due to her look and the work we put into the shoot, in my opinion it was the best shoot ever.
Q: Do you have a specific style of photography that makes you unique?
I love colours and I love crazy hair, so I try to make it my signature style.
Q: Do you have a favourite photograph?
Yes, for my favourite photograph I worked with the model is Emilia Samuelson, who is originally from Sweden, and the stylist Julia Barrano. The results speak for themselves. Hope you can see why I love this shot.
Q: Who is your favourite photographer?
As a photographer I admire several people – each of them have their own unique style. I love Andy Gott’s style, who actually shot me as a model and who also became a client of my studio.
I also love Peter Lindbergh, Helmut Newton and Marcus Klinko, who I met in London whilst he was filming his own reality show for Bravo TV called “Double Exposure.” He is truly inspiring and passionate about his work.
Q: Is there anybody you would like to work with (either behind or in front of the camera)?
I would love to work with Adriana Lima, Monica Bellucci, Megan Fox and Kim Kardashian.
Q: What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion for me is a freedom of expression. Each month we have new trends in clothing, electronics, food and basically everything….
Advertising in magazines, TV, radio and celebrity endorsements all inform us daily what the latest trends are. Telling us both what is in and what is out. We live in a very fast world so the important thing for me is to be fashionable with a style of my own. To be fashionable is to be accepted as part of the modern world. Don’t be a follower. The main rule here is DON’T BE BORING, DRESS CUTE WHEREVER YOU GO, LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO BLEND IN. You set the stage!
From a photographic point of view, I am in heaven because some of the things designers come up with are just a joy for my creative imagination.
Q: How would you define your personal style?
My personal style in photography…hmmm.. colourful… Avant-garde hair, bright makeup, but at the same time it’s simple photography.
Q: Where are you based?
I’m based in Redhill , Surrey, 30 mins from central London UK.
Q: What’s it like living in London?
It is the people that make this city such a unique place. London is a very large city with a huge mix of characters and cultures. It is like a melting pot and a place where you can both be yourself and express yourself as a talent . Be quirky and never give up that which makes you stand out from the crowd.
Q: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?
Working with the big names in the hairdressing world such as Robert Masciave & Julia Barrano. Being able to work on my own projects and getting into the finals of the biggest hair competitions. Also owning my own studio allows me to express myself as an artist.
Q: What are you hoping to achieve in 2011?
It has already proved to be a very busy year. Presently, I am involved in a big TV project. Unfortunately I cant talk about it yet, but watch this space and I’ll see you on the screen soon!
Q: What do you do to relax?
I eat, I work out, I surf the internet finding things that interest me and constantly learn about things I have a passion for. To be frank…. I’m really good at doing nothing. I consider this as a talent.
Q: What songs are on your iPod at the moment?
Currently I’m listening to Shine Down, Adele, 3OH!3
Q: Do you have interesting hobbies?
I love to exercise so I spend a lot of time in the gym. I wouldn’t say it’s a hobby, but it’s a necessity after you shoot those fit models. I just want to shift some calories 😉
Q: If you could give a little piece of advice for aspiring photographers, what would it be?
The art of, or having the eye for photography, is something that can’t be taught through reading books. It has to be in you and the camera just helps you capture that which your eyes see.
I think if you just start in photography, first be technically educated, then develop your own unique style which will help establish you in this field.
Q: What motivates you to do what you are doing?
I had an amazing mentor named Jim Carter, who unfortunately passed away this April. When I showed him my work, he said to me, “ Kid you’ve got what it takes to be the best”. He also said my last set of pictures should be in Vogue. One day I want prove he was right and I guess hearing those words from an amazing photographer like him, was a great inspiration and sort of confirmed to myself that I’m doing right thing.
I love photography, I love to make people beautiful and I am very proud of the profession I have chosen.
Editor’s Note: Irena Eastington’s creative flair as demonstrated in her portfolio cements her place as a top fashion photographer. By having a strong perception of light, fashion and a unique ability to capture dynamic expression in print, Irena will undoubtedly be both successful and in demand for a long time to come.
If you’d like to see more work or contact Irena, just follow the link to her website below:
web page link: www.irenaeastington.co.uk