I had the chance of interviewing Marnie Haddad, a wonderful fashion photographer based in Sydney.
How long have you been in the fashion industry and how did you get your start?
I have now been shooting fashion for about 10 years. I began my career with a degree in graphic design/ visual communications and then in photography. I started to assist photographers in Melbourne, some of which I secured full-time work in their studio's- a lot of shoots, cleaning, sorting paper rolls and equipment, processing, coffee's, beers.....long hours! I was represented very early, actually as a student, from the model tests I was shooting- Chadwick in Melbourne and Work agency in Sydney.
I began to get bookings in Melbourne; work was a little sporadic for a few years so my agent suggested I move to Sydney to work as my style was more editorial than advertising. I had been visiting magazine editors in Sydney but the go-sees didn't seem to eventuate into bookings as I was Melbourne based. The move to Sydney proved to be a great idea, my agent in Sydney took me on solely, I moved to Bondi and the editorial bookings began. What I believed helped me was a little Polaroid book I had been putting together, with storyboards of my shoots, tests, personal work that the editors looked at as well as my portfolio of prints. This seemed to give a great sense of my style and my interest in fashion photography. I never gave up; I knew photography was my profession. When I left the meeting for my first 8 page editorial booking, I ran through the halls of ACP Magazines and clicked my heels! I adore the whole process from the concept, casting, and collaboration with great hair / make-up to the final result being full pages printed in a magazine- and I am a self confessed magazine junkie!
Who have been some of the people you have worked with and any favorite subjects?
I work a lot now with celebrities; it’s a natural progression when you work in magazines- readers love a star! I think my favorite was working with the Olsen twins. I am a huge fan and they were wonderfully professional and very attractive.
Any bad or interesting experiences whilst shooting on location?
My only bad experiences were when I was assisting. There was an old school style of bullying that I do not enforce on my assistant/ operators now- it doesn't make anyone look good when you shout at them in front of the client. I am now prepared for everything on location shoots- be prepared, cover off any worst case scenarios before they may happen.
What would be your best piece of advice to up and coming photographers?
My best advice would be to find a mentor who can give you guidance on your folio and the look and feel of your style. You yourself will keep up your own motivation but to have a professional opinion from someone in the industry is invaluable, someone you respect. Clients book us on our portfolio and that needs to be very strong and updated constantly so continually organizing your own shoots is very important. It turns out my first agent in Sydney was and is a wonderful mentor; she understands my style and has an eye that is incredibly artistic and up- to-date.
Now for some quick questions…
Favorite designer? Aussie and/or international?
My favorite designer would be Rick Owens. Internationally it would be Ann Demeulemeester and locally Willow.
What do you like to listen to when shooting?
Babyshambles and Rolling Stones work brilliantly for edgier shoots and Christina Aguilera for my teen fashion shoots.
I have so many favorite photographers- Richard Avedon, Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, Nan Goldin, Juergen Teller, Irving Penn; Cindy Shermann... the list goes on.
Lastly, who would you like to shoot as a subject living or dead?
I would love to shoot Steven Tyler from Aerosmith, Viggo Mortensen, Tilda Swinton, Kate Moss, Scarlett Johansson and if he were alive Pablo Picasso