February 27, 2017

Photographer and Co-founder of Nii Agency, Campbell Addy shoots five talented female creatives for our Dickies x UO exclusive range. From models and photographers, to stylists and DJs, these ladies are a talented and creative bunch. We caught up with the faces of the campaign to find out a little more about their stories.

Name: Mischa Notcutt
Occupation: Casting Director, Stylist, DJ.

UO: You’ve had a residency on NTS radio and hosted a club night at Vogue Fabrics. How did your career in music kick off? Where do you want to take it next?

Yes, I have a radio show called PDA with Larry b and crackstevens and we have a sporadic club night of the same name. I started djing for selfish reasons, as I wanted to hear music I wanted to listen to. It was the same reason we started the club night- to get our fave dj’s to play for our friends.

UO: What is it about music that you love?

It is the way it makes you feel. It can engulf you in euphoria and be the hug that you need.

UO: Can you tell us a little about your casting agency, TM Casting? How did you come to open your own agency?

I started TM with Troy a little over a year ago now. Both of us were working doing casting and we decided to join forces.

UO: What kinds of things do you look for when casting a new model? What makes a subject compelling?

The starting point is the brief about what the photographer/stylist/designer wants to convey and how we can tell that story with different characters. Obviously some models are just mesmerizing and can work in any scenario.

UO: When was the first time you felt like you succeeded in your career?

The first time I got a paid styling job.

UO: Words to live by?

Fortune favours the brave.

Name: Nadine Davis
Occupation: Film Maker and Curator

UO: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?

I’m a queer film maker and curator from south east London and the youngest daughter of Jamaican immigrants.

UO: You studied Digital Film Production at Ravensbourne University – how was that experience, and what was the most important thing you took away from it?

Uni was great. I went when I was around 21 because I never really envisioned myself getting a degree but decided the industry needed voices like mine. So I had a very different experience to a lot of my peers. I traveled quite a lot and spent my second year in San Francisco and Texas studying queer and feminist sex work. The experience really brought me into my consciousness and made me really question my creative politics.

UO: You have since founded a monthly exhibition and club night called BBZ, for creative queer women. How did the idea come about?

My partner and I were going through quite a rough patch and needed something to stick our teeth into as well as somewhere to be. We both love raving but felt like the community element was missing, from most of the nights we went to. Being queer women of colour, our community is everything and we were desperate to see that reflected on our dancefloor and behind the decks.

UO: How do you hope to challenge and change perceptions of diversity through BBZ?

If I’m honest, we just want queer people of colour to feel like they don’t have to live in the shadows, remind them to take up space, be unapologetic and create.

UO: Who keeps you going?

It annoys me how obvious this answer is but definitely my better half.

UO: What is the biggest struggle you have had to overcome?

Myself. My mental health is something I’m always grappling with and I find it so hard to practice self-care in the face of success. I guess with BBZ I get to practice a sort of collective care.

UO: When was the first time you felt like you succeeded in your career?

When I met the Morley’s chicken CEO.

UO: What experiences over the past few years have most affected your creative development?

I came out the other end of a really difficult bout of depression at the beginning of last year, it made me really look at the themes I chose to explore in my work. I was always looking at the problem but never the solutions. Now all I want to do is question and challenge the status quo rather than just highlighting it.

UO: Words to live by?

Refill the brita filter.

Name: Nadine Ijewere
Occupation: Photographer

UO: Can you tell us a little about yourself.

I am 24 and a photographer originally from South East London.

UO: You studied fashion photography at LCF, publishing your dissertation on The Misrepresentation of Representation. Can you tell us a little about how you arrived at this theme and what went into the creation process?

I started to notice that the same stereotypes were regurgitated throughout certain fashion images throughout the years. For example, if it was a shoot that had an African theme there was always reference to tribal makeup and wild, animal like behaviour from the subject. This led me to ask where these stereotypes originated from – I started looking into colonialism, researching and reading many books, ‘Orientalism’ by Edward Said being the most known.

I wanted to explore the concept of labelling a culture (which was different to the west) with certain tropes to deem western culture superior. I wanted to create a project the challenged these ideals and stereotypes; to show that they are staged and not essentially true.

I chose to shoot this series in a studio environment because it’s like a stage in itself. I wanted to portray the concept that these stereotypes were also created as if on a stage. I wanted to have elements of the studio creeping into the frames, such as the wires and lighting to again enhance this idea and to also take a step back and view the bigger picture. From there, I wanted the subjects I’d chosen to not be from the country that was being portrayed, to show the diversity in today’s world. Anyone can be from anywhere.

UO: Did you always want to be a fashion photographer?

I still don’t know necessarily if I would call myself a fashion photographer. From a young age I knew I wanted to study fashion imagery, but my style of work has changed a lot.

I used to want to shoot glossy fashion imagery but I think from the research from my Misrepresentation project, my work became a lot deeper. I was more interested in the subject of identity and how we identify ourselves. Also I wanted to celebrate diversity and there has always been a lack of it, I feel, in fashion imagery.

UO: Were there any figures or photographers who particularly inspired you on your journey?

In terms of style, the classics, Irving Penn and Richard Alvedon are my top two. I really admire the lighting and the character they bring out in the subjects. I am a huge fan of fabric backdrops and natural lighting but with more contemporary subjects. Also Vivianne Sassen for the abstract element she has, but then I also enjoy the works of Lorca DiCorcia, Crewsden and McCurry.

UO: We love your Same/Difference portraits series of mixed-heritage sisters. Where did the idea for this project come from?

I think I had shot two different girls on separate occasions and then I thought that they looked so similar that I wanted to shoot them together. From there I started thinking about the similarities and differences between people. More so in siblings who have come from the same parents but can look very much alike like twins or completely different as if unrelated at all. I wanted to document that visually with focus on these features. Therefore I had the siblings wear similar garments so these similarities and differences could be picked up on.

UO: What is the biggest struggle you have had to overcome so far?

I think its the case when you think you aren’t good enough. A lot of artists battle with this constantly but then I think to myself, I didn’t do photography to be successful I do it because it’s something I am passionate about, to celebrate identity and to also give an insight visually.

Name: Nyaueth Riam
Occupation: Model

UO: Can you tell us a little about yourself and what you do?

I’m a free-spirited, free the nipple kind of girl. I work in a theatre facilitating acting workshops.

UO: Had you always wanted to be a model or is it something that just happened?

I’ve always been interested in theatre & performing. Modelling kept creeping up on me from a young age, but it did not come easy.

UO: Were there any models or other figures that inspired you along the way?

Public figures like Naomi, Iman and of course Alex Wek have proven that modelling is a great platform to help people in the world. They’ve shown that they can use their power to build something, not just for themselves but to help people who are struggling or want to be part of the industry.

UO: You’ve walked for Molly Goddard and Wales Bonner – how were those experiences? What did you take away from them?

The previous shows I have done are good experiences and I could see how hard the team work to present an amazing show, I just make sure that I deliver.

UO: What is the biggest struggle you have had to overcome so far?

Nothing comes easy and in this industry my biggest struggle would probably be the rejection.

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

Fashion is heading into a world that caters to everyone.

UO: Words to live by?

Be grateful, stay graceful & WERK.