Photography Monday, December 28th

Photographer profile: Charlotte Thomas

“It’s the person that produces art not the camera,” photographer Charlotte Thomas tells me as we discuss what equipment she uses.

IMG 9310 2She tell me she shoots with the modest Canon 1100d. I’m pleasantly surprised as this is the same model I use as a back-up camera and I’ve long been told by other photographers that I should use more expensive kit.

“I don’t really like polished photos. I see the world as raw as it is. I like to tell it as it is,” she says.

Hereford based Charlotte has built up a fashion photography career for herself with an impressive client list.

The 32-year-old has worked for Topshop and Topman, and shot for Vogue, Vans, Factory Media, BySju X Proudlock, Supra Skateboarding and OFFICE Shoes.

Her work has appeared in The Sartorial Guide, Trap Magazine, Sidewalk Magazine, and Breaks Magazine.

She has also based her career around skateboarding photography and works occasionally as a wedding photographer.

Photos by Charlotte Thomas.

“For me it’s about the beauty of the person whether that is a smile or something I can see in them to bring out the best in them,” said Charlotte.

“Very often in fashion shows you have people there who are looking to pose as if to say ‘look at me, I am great’ but really they are the ugly people.

“I like to photograph people who are there for the fashion – you can see that in them, that’s when you capture the most beautiful people.”

One of the photos Charlotte is most proud of is one she took of model and TV presenter Alexa Chung at London Fashion Week.

“She came out of the Tate Modern and cameras were going mad,” said Charlotte. “What was funny was that the photographers weren’t even saying her name properly.

“I took a step back and captured her fear. There was a real sense of vulnerability there rather than the ‘show and tell’ the media has trained her to do.”

I asked Charlotte how she managed to break in to fashion photography given the fiercely competitive nature of it.

“I am lucky enough to have worked in the industry since I graduated from university,” said Charlotte. “I guess it was friends from Topshop and Topman who gave me the contacts.”

Given her success dealing with this cut-throat competition Charlotte gives the following advice for young photographers looking to raise their profiles.

“The thing I don’t do is use Facebook and Twitter. I just use Instagram to get clients,” said Charlotte.

“And being a female skateboarder and a skateboarding photographer has been my selling point. It is something a bit different.”

Charlotte got into skateboarding because of a teenage relationship.

“I was about 17 and my first boyfriend was a skateboarder so I got into it to try to impress him,” she said.

“I finished with him when I went to university in Leeds (to study New Media Design) and I continued skating.

“There were not many female skateboarders there so I guess we were quite rare.”

After university Charlotte moved to Barcelona.

“Barcelona is a hub for skateboarders for people from all over the world,” said Charlotte. “I went there and worked in a café for a year and lived in a skatehouse (a house full of skateboarders).

“It was the best time of my life. I came back to London and started my fashion career and throughout this period I continued to skate.”

When Charlotte moved to London she worked as a digital content editor.

“I was behind the scenes producing the shots, doing things like model castings,” said Charlotte. “After producing the shots I realised I wanted to create the art rather than be the manager of it.

“I quit to become a freelance photographer.”

Visit http://shotbycharlotte.com/ to see more of Charlotte’s work.

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