Othello Grey and Neva Wireko are Toronto-based fashion and editorial photographers who have been featured in publications like High Snobiety, Hypebeast, Street Dreams Magazine, and Complex. For our recent On Fashion And Images project, they were invited on set to shoot photos of Fabien Montique’s latest series and short film of the same name, made in collaboration with The Creator Class through partnership with Canon Canada. We asked them to weigh in on the intersection of fashion and photography, below.
I view photography as a catalyst and fashion as a conduit. So fashion conducts ‘the message’ and photography causes ‘reaction to the message’. As a photographer my role is to receive ‘the message’ from the ‘fashion’ side first and then add elements of myself which will direct what the ‘reaction to the message’ will be.
This way of thinking allows me to be very fluid with my work — I can add more or less of myself to my photos depending on what they require. At times I’m formulaic in defining what the photos will need (heavy amounts of research on concept, poses, angles, lighting etc) and other times I let myself decide without any premeditation. I’m a very distant/private person, so this entire process of ‘receiving’ and ‘reacting to messages’ is important to me, as it’s the main way I communicate to the world.
Anything we view in the world of art is meant to trigger some sort of response and there’s always that initial moment of personal examination before we’re ‘told’ what we’re looking at or what ‘message’ the artist/art is trying to convey. That moment in between explanation and personal understanding is where I try to exist in my work.
Photography is the way I express an on-going quest to understand myself and the world around me. It’s an intriguing medium to work with because it gives you the ability to showcase moments around you from your own unique perspective.
I don’t particularly love the fashion industry but I’ve always been fascinated with people or things with style and character. That’s what always drew me to fashion photography, capturing those little nuances that exist all around us.
I try to tap into emotions and create moods/attitudes that allow people to relate to my images beyond just the clothes that are in them. There’s already a premeditated narrative given to the garments by the designers, so as a photographer I create ways to allow people to identify with clothes beyond them just being a ‘product’.