Snowdonia is The Perfect Place
Charlotte O’Shea is a Welsh fashion and portrait photographer located in London. The works are dreamy, cloudy, contemplative, painted with elusive emotions that soar in the atmosphere. Distinctive gazes, rare faces, the beauty of the souls and the colors define the frame as a signature element.
In this interview, we speak with Charlotte about shooting outdoors, creating particular aesthetics that outreaches for reciprocation of emotion, the importance of casting and defining her own style.
Hi Charlotte, please tell a bit about yourself, your childhood, your hometown.
Prynhawn da/Good afternoon! I was born in the Conwy Valley, North Wales and then continued to live in Wales my whole life up until recently when I moved to London. My upbringing, surrounded by nature has definitely influenced my work, I often incorporate contrasting feelings of freedom and isolation. It's important for me to shoot primarily on location as I find it the most inspiring environment to create work.
How did studying photography for fashion enable you to find your unique angle through the viewfinder?
In all honesty, I feel as though the university was more about meeting new people and finding confidence, I was quite shy and not too sure of myself so I'm thankful for this. I don't feel as though I learnt much about photography or the fashion industry during my time there. It wasn't until after I graduated that I started to find my style. I believe that when you shoot analogue, the expense and importance of each shot is a very effective way to improve your attention to detail and eye for composition. So, I would say that unintentionally through shooting film I have pushed myself to develop a particular style that now feels natural to me.
Who is your dream collaboration?
I would have to say, Simone Rocha, Alexander McQueen, Gucci, Chloe... I am obsessed with all things romantic.
What is exciting for you in fashion editorials and catwalks?
"I love to see an idea come to life, it's important to create aesthetic, narrative or an experience; to evoke emotions, whether it's negative or positive".
You tend to feature very interesting faces in the editorials you worked on. What are some of the criteria to choose the right model for the idea you are working on?
It's interesting you have picked up on this. Casting is such an important element for me, I like to work with people who immediately grab my attention, someone who looks, unlike anyone I've ever seen before. The ability to appear mysterious, fragile yet strong are qualities I often seek as it compliments my concepts.
What is your favourite location in which you feel happy or get re-energised?
Somewhere remote, where the air feels fresh, and the atmosphere is calm. Snowdonia is the perfect place to re-energise.
Where do you see yourself living in 5 years?
I see myself living in London for the foreseeable future but who knows!? A lot can happen in five years. I feel as though I'm only just taking my first steps and there's a long road ahead.
Which was the most demanding photo shoot you had been a part of and how did you manage to make it work?
I find shooting backstage the most demanding, you never know what you may be faced with, and you have to think very fast. I prefer to make use of the light that is available so it can be extremely challenging when it is dark. It can also be daunting walking into a room full of people who are more established within the industry, I still see myself as a newcomer but I have met some truly wonderful people, and it has certainly helped boost my confidence.
How do you set the frame to get the right dynamics in the end product?
"I only shoot with prime lenses, so I move around quite a lot and love to shoot at different angles. Personally, I think it's good to try and find a balance so that you can experiment but also make sure every frame counts to maintain a feeling of craftsmanship".
What was the most inspiring catwalk show you had ever seen? What did you love about it?
Most of the time I am backstage, so I don't get to witness the show itself but having the opportunity to photograph the past two seasons at Simone Rocha was a dream come true. Every component is magical from the details to the venue to the music.
If not photography what would you be doing today?
When I was considering studying at university, it was either going to be fashion photography or something biology related like anthropology.
What is your next upcoming project and what is its main theme?
It will be a story showing the relationship between women and the sun.