February 27, 2017

Photographer and Co-founder of Nii Agency, Campbell Addy shoots five talented female creatives for our Dickies x UO exclusive range. We catch up with Campbell about his pre-shoot rituals, capturing authentic moments on camera and a desire to slow down the creative process in fashion.

UO: How did you decide who you wanted to cast for the Dickies shoot?

I just thought about women that I believed to be making a real change and difference in their given field. Be it Mischa Notcutt of TM Casting, who’s been casting great designer shows from Cottweiler to Gareth Pugh or Nadine Davis, co-founder of BBZ London, a club night centred on creative queer women and genderqueer people of colour. I honestly think that they are creating a dialogue that’s needed today.

UO: Do you have any rituals or habits on shoot days to ease yourself into the right frame of mind – setting up music, getting to know your subjects?

Before a shoot I do two things. First being I count everything at least five times. Cameras: check, light metre: check, film rolls: check. Just to make sure I’ve got everything I need. The other thing I do before a shoot is eat a pack of Haribo, often on my own, it’s like a small way of getting myself ready and a quick surge of energy – come to think of it that’s a really bad ritual, I may stop after this interview! I always to try to wear a pair of dungarees whilst on set. The functionality of the garment makes me feel safe as I can place all the items, from a light meter, pair of scissors to a roll of film in my pockets without having to move from the position I’m in.

UO: What was the inspiration behind the shoot and where did you want to take it aesthetically?

For this shoot I really wanted to capture authentic moments and portraits with the cast. As we shot on two locations I wanted to think of polar opposite ways of approach the locations / images. I love talk shows so I thought about the studio locations as if I were on the set of ‘Wendy Williams’, high energy, vibrant and to the point. The other set up was in a beautiful loft apartment in Clapton, so I imagined we were on the ‘Oprah Winfrey Show’, calm and collected and honest.

UO: How would you describe the visual impact, or the feeling you wanted to create in just three words?

Honesty, Beauty, Family

UO: How does it compare shooting just one model, to working with a group for a campaign such as the Dickies shoot?

When shooting one person I have a lot of time to study them before the shoot and during, whereas shooting 5 very different women for Dickies I have a limited time to study them. So with each girl I practically stalked their social media to grasp an understanding of the type of image I could create with them. Whilst shooting, I already had an idea of where things would go, but I had to keep my eyes peeled both on set and off just in case there was a moment I could capture. Doing this for 5 people was intense, but in a good way. In addition, I had to think how we could create imagery that is inherently Dickies but still has a twist of Campbell Addy + the talent all mixed together.

UO: What kind of kit do you most like to use for portrait photography and why?

I have three cameras I use, one of them I’ve had since I was 17, an Olympus OM10, my Mamiya RZ67 and a Canon 7D. I bring all three with me and depending on who’s portrait I’m shooting I then decide what camera to use. For the more reserved / inexperienced people I shot I often shoot on my digital first to show them what they look like and then follow up with the OM10 as it’s small and not as intrusive. Lighting wise I love to shoot with continuous light the most, just as it what I was taught on and feel most comfortable with I guess.

UO: Where do you see fashion photography headed in the future?

Ah this is a hard question, I think if anything it shouldn’t be so fast. I remember reading about the days when the likes of Norman Parkinson and Grace Coddington would take three weeks to produce content on incredible locations! That’s the dream. When you’re able to sit on a creative project and marinade your thoughts in the creative, I believe then you can create iconic imagery.

If you could send a message to the world and everyone would hear, what would your message be?

Be mindful and think about your fellow man.

Shop: Dickies