Fall’s elevated, easy pieces encapsulate the season’s key style message: find joy in dressing for yourself. Nadia Pizzimenti tapped Canadian photographers to capture self portraits that highlight their own take on this idiosyncratic trend, and asked them how the pandemic is changing their approach to image making in fashion.
Pratha, Prince Edward County, Ont.
Pratha Samyrajah is one half of photographer duo Saty and Pratha with Saty Namvar. The self-taught team has produced editorials for Vogue Japan, ELLE, i-D, and campaigns for Uniqlo, Sephora and Aldo.
“Fashion photography exists primarily to sell merchandise, so realistically I don’t think a pandemic, economic crisis or societal uprising will change this role much. However, I think the whole approach to image making can – and should – change. There are now interesting conversations happening around hiring the players in a campaign or editorial, casting and appropriation versus protecting creative freedom. These are things we already push for in our work so I welcome this more mass awareness. I hope that as brands cut budgets in order to survive this volatile time that the people with final say will take a chance on better and more interesting ideas.”
Lily and Lilac, New York
Identical twins and photo duo Lily and Lilac Nguyen have spent the past 10 years working between Montreal and Toronto, and now reside and work in New York. Their editorial projects have appeared in the pages of Elle Canada, Harper’s Bazaar Vietnam and L’Officiel Russia. They have worked on advertising campaigns for Aldo, Benefit Cosmetics and Revlon.
“As artists we have a voice, and therefore the responsibility, to make deliberate efforts toward diversity and inclusivity, not only in our photography but in the team and voices working behind it. On a personal level, the pandemic has made us reflect on the nature of our industry, how fashion comes at such a high environmental cost, and how it can perpetuate systemic problems. During this period of self isolation, photography offered a way for us to stay creative and positive. We’re now seeing everything through a different lens, and feeling grateful for what we have.”
Natasha V, Toronto
Natasha Vasiljevic is an award-winning still-life photographer known for her love of story telling through conceptual still-life images. She has worked on editorials, retail and advertising campaigns for HBC, Canada Goose and Joe Fresh.
“Fashion photography has always been a reflection of current social and cultural trends, and I hope the recent shifts in our societies will produce new and even more relevant creative work. Photography is going back to its roots and becoming less of a tool and more of an art form. This assignment has been the best reflection of these new trends, as we embraced creating new images without old parameters of a classic September fashion story. This raw, unscripted, shoot fits perfectly in what fashion always strived to do: inspire, lead and make the better future feel within our reach.”
Rachelle Simoneau, Paris
Rachelle Simoneau is a fashion and still-life photographer born and raised in Vancouver. She currently resides in Paris, working with international clients including LVMH, Airbnb and appearing in publications such as Numero fr and Numero Homme.
“It’s been a while now that brands have been demanding more change and that change is now accelerated because of the pandemic with less travel, less waste and generally more environmental awareness. The protests make us evaluate our own roles and whether or not some of those roles contribute to social injustice. Change is slow in coming but I have hope things are progressing in the right direction. With my personal projects, it’s helped me to be more creative by making something out of nothing, often reusing sets and being less wasteful.”
Marie H Rainville, Quebec City
Born and raised in Quebec City, Marie H Rainville is a beauty, fashion and portrait photographer. She has worked with Elle Canada and Nuvo, as well as campaigns and look books for Little Burgundy, Herschel and designer Eliza Faulkner.
“I believe that going forward, the fashion industry will be more mindful of its choices when it comes to casting models and hiring artists. As all these changes take place, I hope we start seeing more women behind the camera on the Canadian fashion scene, considering we are greatly outnumbered. My need for authenticity in the creative process is stronger than ever. This crisis has brought forth a willingness to be more vulnerable and honest. Spending more time in nature during this time has strengthened its significance in my life. I aim to look for ways to bridge the gap and further align with my desire to make a more positive impact on the planet.”
These interviews have been condensed and edited.
Remote styling by Nadia Pizzimenti. Art direction by Benjamin MacDonald. Editor: Andrew Sardone.
Throughout the fall, new features from The Globe and Mail Style Advisor magazine will be appearing on Saturdays in The Globe and Mail. Subscribers can find the magazine’s holiday edition in The Globe on Nov. 20 and catch up on back issues online at tgam.ca/styleadvisor.