My list of photographers I have admiration and respect for is constantly growing. Fashion photography is a big love of mine and I have spent my life collecting these images. From magazines at a young age and sticking them all over my walls, my journals and finding such inspiration in a particular, clean feel of a photo. Of course, that is now replaced with digital images, although I still love my print magazines and books. The texture of the paper always adds an extra dimension you simply don’t get from a digital image. I remember being at art school, in photography class working in the dark room, well before the time of digital photography being the norm we are now in, and loving what I was doing although spending more time on the floor trying to find the things I would be forever dropping in there in the dark! While I never quite found myself working as a photographer, my love for photography is still as strong as ever.
I was introduced to the work of Geneviève Schuirle a few months ago. Canadian-born Geneviève lives in Italy and has some wonderful menswear shoots, with her black and white photos of particular interest to me. I caught up with Geneviève earlier this week to find more about her work and inspiration.
Exclusive Q&A with Geneviève Schuirle
TMHS: Tell me more about how you came to be a photographer.
GS: I do so much more than taking photographs that I don’t really consider myself a real photographer; I direct commercial, I do illustration and I produce. Photography is my real passion though and I’ve always taken photographs since I was very little with my dad’s Canon AE-1 and the curiosity I had then for images has become by biggest love and my profession.
GS: I don’t know where my fascination for black and white comes from, maybe it’s because I grew up in a flat/grey part of the world; but black and white is for me an elegant interpretation of reality and forces the viewer to use more their imagination and it becomes another subject in the photograph.
TMHS: Accessories are used throughout the menswear shoots. While the model himself is quite strong, the accessories also tell a story. Can you give me an example from one of the images I have chosen to talk about the influence and how the accessory was used for your creative process?
GS: Well, all the photographs you’ve chosen come from a test I did for model agencies in Milan, so I felt free to do what I wanted. I collaborate very closely with my two stylists: Cristina Capozzi and Edita Lugli. Cristina owns the coolest clothing shop in Carpi (Italy), it’s a mix of vintage clothing and independent brands, so when I need help I ask them. They’re both very talented and have an incredible taste so I usually talk to them and they take my ideas to an another and better level. It’s a matter of experimenting with the clothes that we choose, and Cristina always brings accessories that work perfectly. For example there’s a photograph where the model wears a necklace; she found it in a second-hand market and it comes from Afghanistan, and it’s a bridal necklace; when I first saw it I loved it but I didn’t think it would fit… I was wrong.
GS: I have a core group of people in my life that inspire me every day and their dedication to family and work keeps me stronger and makes me want to get up in the morning. Other than that literature inspires me, I’m an avid reader and I read a book every week, and also David Bowie, David Fincher and Peter Lindbergh but in no particular order.
TMHS: What is your favourite menswear photograph you have taken? Tell me more about why and your inspiration behind the work, how you selected the model – and why, and anything else you would like to share about the photograph.
GS: I have four favourite photographs I have taken. I called them as my “happy accidents,” when beautiful things come from nowhere and the model is very relaxed with you; all three of them happened by chance while the models were stretching or relaxing between takes and I happened to press the button. I loved working with them and they were very patient, professional and funny. I rarely do print my work, but I have prints of these at home. (see below for the 4 shots).
GS: People can see more of my work in my website at www.gschuirle.com and contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I also have a Tumblr where I upload the things that don’t always end up in my website (http://gschuirle.tumblr.com) and an Instagram account (https://www.instagram.com/genevieve_schuirle/)
Words and Interview by Sarah Crawford, Founder & Editor