Through The Lens: Brett Russell
Three years ago, London-based photographer and Condé Nast College graduate Brett Martindale-Durning was awarded the Best Individual Fashion Project Award. Since then he has gone on to photograph for Vogue, GQ and many more influencial publications. I found it fascinating to learn that a substantial number of his collaborations were in fact with his fellow Condé Nast College peers, and so I was very excited to interview Brett and gain an insight into his impressive work.
Coming from a meeting in Covent Garden, Brett told me that every day was different from the next, each holding new and exciting prospects. After showing me a sample of his stunning photographs, modestly quoting Henri Cartier-Bresson, that ‘Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst;’ I was astounded by how extraordinarily beautiful his photographs were, and that this iconic quote certainly did not apply to him. A rising star, Brett is definitely one to watch.
At a time when digital imagery is more prevalent than ever, how do you aim to stand out from the crowd?
I aim to produce refined and polished work, which I hope contributes to my own distinguishable style.
What is your fondest memory of the Condé Nast College?
Apart from all the amazing and influential guest speakers, my fondest memory would be when we were given a tour of Paul Smiths head office by the man himself. He had us laughing non-stop by the time we left our cheeks were hurting!
Do you have any useful advice you could give current CNC students, for making it into the fashion industry?
Just to absorb every piece of information you are taught and to take every opportunity that comes your way. One job will lead to another so it’s really important to be yourself and leave a good impression. If you approach people and work with a polite and positive energy, it will be reciprocated.
What was your first project after you graduated CNC?
It’s actually unrelated to photography, but when I was freelancing at British GQ I was asked to design the exterior of a race car for a Caterham Cars X GQ Collaboration. That was pretty cool.
Would you say Instagram and social media is a useful way of advertising your work?
Social media, especially Instagram is a really key platform to showcase your work. It’s really helped me connect and collaborate with fellow creatives such as models, makeup artists and stylists. It’s also great exposure when working with established brands and companies.
Who would you love to collaborate with in the future?
It would be great to collaborate with beauty brands such Nars, Charlotte Tilbury and Tom Ford. I love the glossy and clean aesthetic in their campaigns.
What would you say your greatest achievement so far has been?
While I was freelancing at the Condé Nast Studios, I was asked to shoot a still life image for British Vogue, which was printed in their August 2015 Issue.
What are the biggest challenges photographers face during a shoot?
The biggest challenge I face as a photographer during a shoot would have to be creating an image that perfectly embodies what both I, and the client envisioned. This is why effective communication with everyone involved in a shoot is key.
What/ who inspired you to become a fashion photographer?
It might sound cliché, but I find inspiration on a daily basis simply from faces I find interesting and unique. I have always admired the work of Steven Meisel, Mariano Vivanco and Mert and Marcus.
Check out his website: http://brettrussellldn.squarespace.com
Interview by Serena Connolly
Photographed by Chet Thapa