Monday, January 28, 2008
Meet Fashion Photographer: Piper Carter
Photo courtesy of Ward/VH-1
Being that I am a die-hard reality TV fan, I tuned in to watch VH-1's photography-based reality show, The Shot a few months ago. I knew I was going to be hooked since it combined my love of photography with addictive reality TV. The show featured the super talented BG fashion photographer, Piper Carter, competing with 9 other up-and-coming lensmen for a chance at photographic excellence!
Her intense passion for her craft and abundant charisma made her an ideal person to interview for BGG. I was lucky enough to speak with her recently. Check out the Q&A!
BGG: Where are you from?
Piper: I’m from Detroit. Actually the exact street of the original Motown!
BGG:Do you currently live in NYC?
Piper: Yes, I currently live in New York City.
BGG: How long have you been a photographer?
Piper: I have been a photographer since 1992!
BGG: What made you decide to become a professional photographer?
Piper: I became a professional photographer because I wanted to make beautiful images of women.
BGG: What kinds of images do you enjoy photographing?
Piper: I am a fashion photographer, so I enjoy working with interesting lighting, locations & situations. I enjoy coming up with cool ideas based on film imagery and sort of recreating the atmosphere or psychological state.
BGG: Describe your photography style.
Piper: My style is a combination of raw, earthy, cinematic, strong, beautiful, simple and fresh.
BGG: What inspires you as a photographer?
Piper: As a photographer, I am inspired by beautiful cinematography in films. Great lighting I see on the street and in the paintings of the masters from the northern renaissance.
BGG: What made you audition for the VH-1 reality TV show, The Shot?
Piper: Actually, I got a call from VH-1’s producers in NYC asking me to come in and audition.
BGG: Do you have any regrets about appearing on the show?
Piper: I am happy I did the show. It was a great learning experience and I received lots of exposure and recognition for my work.
BGG: In three words describe your personality.
Piper: My personality is so vast; I am not sure if I can capture myself in three words or I may give the wrong impression if you catch me on a different day. But here goes: friendly, humorous and inspiring (lots of people tell me I inspire them).
BGG: What was your most enjoyable shoot on the show?
Piper: My most enjoyable shoot was the underwater of course because I won! Plus my image was amazing! I loved the dress, the girl, the lighting. Everything was just gorgeous! I was hoping to capture an image that was breathtaking and I did. I saw my shot in my head as we discussed the plan of action; and I executed it precisely as I saw it. The model took direction extremely well. It was very successful and it felt good shooting it.
BGG: The least enjoyable?
Piper: My least enjoyable shoot on the show was the kids because children are not my aesthetic.
Piper: I like to shoot women. I will shoot what the client wants of course, but my aesthetic is women. I like to create images based on the silhouette and structure of a woman’s body, life, etc…I am always thinking about romance when I shoot. For my taste children do not offer what I am hoping to achieve with my images: confident, strong and sexy women living an awesome life filled with romance and beauty. It was difficult for me to “see” children in my images.
BGG: Name a few publications where your work has been featured?
Piper: I’ve had work published in British Elle, Trace, SPIN, Essence and my videos on French Vogue’s website.
BGG: If you could choose one celebrity BG (brown girl/woman) to photograph, who would she be if you haven’t already photographed her?
Piper: Jurnee Smollett, she is amazing! I’ve loved her as an actress since Eve’s Bayou and I had been looking for her in film roles ever since. I love her talent and think she’s absolutely beautiful! She’s very passionate and comes across well on film. I have so many ideas for her. I would love to do collaborations with her and do my fashion film series. I have so many ideas for her. I’ve started doing fashion films: they’re anywhere from 15 seconds to 2 minutes and are purely visual candy). I could shoot her again and again in a studio with the fan blowing her hair and just one light or on location walking on 125th Street in Harlem wearing legwarmers and a leather jacket. I’m just thinking off the top of my head. She’s incredible!
BGG: Is there a tip that you can give BGG readers to help them take their best shot while being photographed?
Piper: Be confident! Don't think too much. Practice in front of the mirror and take lots of self-portraits so you can learn your best angles.
BGG: What advice can you tell other aspiring and younger BGs who want to make it in the male-dominated photography world?
Piper: I can say be true to your image. Learn as much as you can, drink lots of water & get rest because it’s a hectic field. Have faith and shoot everyday! Meet as many people as you can. Daydream a lot! Reach out to companies and let them know you exist. Read trade publications like PDN and get yourself listed in LeBook. Test as often as possible. Always tell yourself yes and practice yoga. Not only does the heavy breathing alleviate stress, but constant stretching helps you get into awkward positions so you can get the best shot!
All photos were taken by Piper. For more information check out her website: www.pipercarter.com