We sat down to chat with fashion and celebrity photographer Matthew Eades. Since assisting the iconic Corinne Day in the early noughties, his extensive career has seen him shoot stunning campaigns for brands such as Jaeger, Harrods, M&S and John Lewis, and his editorial shoots have graced the pages of British Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Grazia and Sunday Times Style, to name but a few.
What draws you to fashion photography?
I feel that taking a fashion picture, whether for a magazine or a commercial client, means freezing a moment in designer history – you’re recording trends as they emerge. I shoot lots of celebrities, too, and I love the challenges and variety that involves. I haven’t had a boring day at work in my whole career.
How would you describe your style?
I’d say it’s an amalgamation of the people I’ve assisted and admired from over the years. I worked for a great photographer called Robert Erdmann, and I learnt all my lighting from him. The relaxed, incidental twist comes from Corinne Day.
What makes for successful fashion photography?
Good lighting, good casting and good humour. I want people laughing on set, enjoying themselves, with the music blaring.
I always try to be friendly and accommodating. I don’t understand it when someone says, ‘Oh, I worked for so-and-so and he was horrible.’ If you’re funny and genuine, you’re going to get that back. I don’t like pictures of models looking stern or vulnerable – I want them looking happy and relaxed. I also want them to appear comfortable in what they’re wearing. These things translate well for any brand.
Which photographers inspire you?
Tim Walker’s pictures are nothing like mine, which I love. I look at them and think, ‘Wow! I’d never dream up that,’ even though I believe I have a good imagination.
I also like the lighting, the drama and the contrast of Inez and Vinoodh’s pictures. Bailey is a classic – an absolute icon of portraiture. And Corinne Day, Herb Ritts, David Sims, Cecil Beaton, Irving Penn, Richard Avedon: all these people are very important to me.
Tell us about one of your all-time favourite photos
The first images that overwhelmed me – and made me want to be a photographer – were those of Kate Moss on the beach, shot by Corinne in 1990 for The Face. To this day, they’re among my favourite pictures of all time. They also started a life-long obsession with The Face. I bought every copy until it folded, but I never shot for it because it was over before I moved on from assisting. I’m disappointed about that.
How has industry changed over the years?
In the relatively few years that I’ve been involved, the industry has changed – or should I say, evolved – dramatically. The photographers I assisted had almost total image control: film ensured a certain private and personal element to the work; digital has made the capturing process much more public. This allows for client approval as you shoot, but also removes the magic from that first post-shoot meeting when you present your work.
If you could shoot anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
Good question. Marilyn Monroe in her heyday on the Vegas strip!
What would you like prospective clients to know about you?
I treat my career very seriously. I never think, ‘That will do.’ You’ll get the very best I can achieve. Always.
Click here to see more of Matthew’s work.