This Irish photographer has one simple rule when it comes to retouching
'Be selective about what you put out into the world'.
The fashion industry is competitive, from an outsider looking in, it can also seem pretty damn daunting. Despite this, the world of fashion is filled with vibrancy, energy, and colour, a huge part of which comes from the images that are captured by photographers.
Bumped into @girlstolelondon at @emmagannonuk book launch the other night and we hugged for a very long time. It's been a while and a lot has happened ❤Here's a shot from 2 years ago when we worked on this really fun shoot for @radleylondon where was I was IN the photos and not taking them, no matter how much this photo may fool you. (It was in fact taken by the talented @memoirmode) . . . . #london #fashion #style #photographer #fashionphotographer #photography #fashionphotography #girlboss #interview #creative #creativecareer #career #radleylondon #myradley #lotd #ootd #wiw
Twice nominated for Irish fashion photographer of the year, and winning gold at the Prix de la Photographie Paris in 2015, she's no stranger to success. Despite this, you could say her career beginnings were 'interesting' and despite the high pressure and competitive nature of the business, Holly continues to flourish whilst maintaining an important set of morals.
Listen in (12.34) below to hear Holly's interview or keep reading:
Holly didn't begin her life with a camera in her hand, in fact, it was only after completing her degree at Trinity College in Dublin and moving to another country did her love for photography begin to develop:
'I came to it quite late, I studied history of art and French in Trinity, I moved to Berlin and I got really into photography when I was there. When I moved back to Dublin my flatmate was a film producer and they needed a stills photographer and so she just gave me the job and I just developed my portfolio. Because it was Celtic tiger times I decided to do an MA in photography with Goldsmiths, which is absolutely not necessary at all, you do not need an MA in photography, what you need is lots of practice and experience'.
While studying photography in London the onus was certainly on fine art, so developing photography projects and then exhibiting the work in galleries was the aim of the game, a practice that Holly found quite lofty and essentially a lonely process:
'I spent maybe 6 months developing a project then I'd really hope that a gallery would want to exhibit and then hope that someone would want to buy my work. I decided that fashion would satisfy the commercial desires that I had but also would allow me to create really beautiful fine artwork as well, and it was like starting all over again.'
Love this #bts shot of me shooting @giftnyakuta in Shepherd's Bush Market - thanks for the pic @marta.krolewicz . . . . . #london #fashion #style #photographer #fashionphotographer #photography #fashionphotography #fashionshoot #strobe #canon #model #mua #stylist #flash #portfolio #book #marketing #girlboss #beauty #beautyphotography #beautyphotographer #summer #location #profoto #femalefashionphotographer #mumboss
Despite having the talent and the drive, the fashion doors are incredibly hard to barge through and it took Holly time to establish herself within the industry, opting first to go down the route of street style photography in an attempt to establish her brand of images, of course, this came with some downsides as she soon found out:
'I thought doing street style would be a good foot on the ladder and so I did that for a bit, but always with my eye on shooting main fashion editorials for magazines and campaigns for brands but I found that people like to pigeonhole you and so everyone knew me as a street style photographers so when I would approach editors about shooting fashion editorials they would be like 'no you're street style' so I actually had to do editorial during my own time and then just let the rebrand infiltrate into people's minds before I began getting commissioned.'
In a world where image can be everything, we wanted to know Holly's stance on retouching. Rarely separated from our beloved social media accounts, we're constantly bombarded by images of unattainable beauty. Which, if you're having a weak moment of a Wednesday night, that beauty can be pretty hard to swallow (while sitting wedged between cushions on your couch, Love Island blaring, a bowl of Corn Flakes in hand). Holly is pretty clear on what she deems appropriate for consumer consumption:
'I mostly do my own retouching, I would always ask to sign off on photos before they're published. I have one rule which is that I'll never slim a model down, but beyond that, I'm happy to enhance the photo in whatever way is necessary to create an aspiration because that is really the point of photography'.
That's a pretty good rule to live by in our books... you can check out some more of Holly's work here.