Interview & Frank Louis
Photographer：Frank Louis @franklouisphoto
Model：Jace Moody @jace_moody
Model agent：IMG Models @imgmodels
Styling：Frank Louis @franklouisphoto
Jewelry：John Hardy @johnhardyjewelry
WHERE ARE YOU FROM ORIGINALLY?
I was born in Staten Island, New York. 3rd generation Italian.
GIVE ME A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF YOUR CAREER TRAJECTORY – PROFESSIONALLY TRAINED OR NOT, OPPORTUNITIES THAT LED TO BREAKTHROUGHS.
My mother bought me a camera at a very early age. I think I was 9 or so. I remember being struck by the fact that a photo captures a split second in time that can never be exactly duplicated. I also recall how when I would hold up my camera everyone would shy away, yet, when I showed them the final results in a photo album, my entire family would gather around and laugh and smile. I loved that feeling of family togetherness and laughter.
I went to college and studied computer science, but my love for photographer never diminished. I felt my daytime studies tapped into a different part of my brain than did my photography and I loved the mix of doing both. I took maybe 2 or 3 photography classes but the rest was all self-taught. I taught myself studio lighting and feel that is one of my areas of strengths. When photography went digital it was as if my two worlds collided.
HOW IMPORTANT ARE EARLY REFERENCES TO FASHION, MUSIC AND OTHER CULTURE TO YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?
Great question! I’d say music and music videos have the most direct effect on my work, followed closely by movies. I am naturally drawn towards beauty; male and female. Music videos like Madonna’s “Rain”, or George Michael’s “Freedom” or Gwen Stephanie’s “Cool” or “Glitter in the Air” by Pink have definitely impacted my work. I also remember sitting in the movie theater watching the movie “A Single Man” by Tom Ford and almost climbing out of my skin at how beautiful the imagery was. I wanted to run home and shoot. Actually, anything by Tom Ford makes me want to shoot. I love how he mixes male and female sexuality together.
HOW DOES HAVING WORKED UNDER LEGENDARY PHOTOGRAPHERS (IF ANY, PLEASE LIST) SORT OF HONE YOUR EYE FOR WHAT IS RELEVANT AND IN YOUR CASE AWARD-WINNING?
Several years ago I had the opportunity to study under Greg Gorman. His work is so amazing. I had all of his photo books and was a bit nervous to meet him. I was afraid he might not be a nice guy. We have all heard the stories of an inspiring artist meeting someone they admire only to be let down. Well, I can unequivocally say that Greg is as warm and caring in person as one could possibly hope. He taught me to see light differently and by the end of the week-long seminar, he had singled me and my work out and gave me that extra bit of validation that I needed.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO DESCRIBE THE WORKING RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN YOU AS A PHOTOGRAPHER AND YOUR STYLIST ON ANY GIVEN PROJECT? HOW IMPORTANT IS THAT RELATED TO THE SUCCESS OF THAT PROJECT?
The relationship between photographer and stylist is crucial to the success of any image. Generally, both photographers and stylists have strong opinions and a balance has to be maintained. When I work with any stylist; whether hair, makeup or fashion, I like to let each of us do our thing and give each of us space to be our best selves. I don’t like to be too prescriptive, I like to let the stylist feel the vibe and run with it. If I see a stylist being tentative or overbearing I step in and reign it back in. It works best when the photographer is like an orchestra leader. Each individual contributes to the piece.
WHAT IS YOUR CREATIVE MANTRA?
Hmmm, …. another really good question. Not sure if I have a complete answer but this is what comes to mind
• Is it Iconic?
• Will I want to post it on my website or Instagram?
• Is it classic and timeless or will I be bored of it in a month?
• What can I do differently?
• Am I repeating myself creatively?
• Make it work even when you aren’t in love with the client’s vision or model.