Kristiina Wilson is the NYC photographer behind our shoot in Issue 3 with this year’s most talked about male model, Andrej Pejic. Capturing a side of Pejic that is oftentimes overshadowed by his more Avant-Garde depictions, this is a shoot that truly epitomizes Wilson’s free-spirited and youthful approach to her art.
How did you start out in photography?
My parents gave me a box camera when I was five or so, but I started seriously considering photography as a career when I took classes in high school and built my own darkroom in the house. I went to NYU’s Tisch School of the arts to study photography for my BFA and then to UIAH in Helsinki Finland for my MFA in photography.
What do you consider to be your “style” of photography?
I hope that it is happy, off-beat, raw and fun. I hope that it shows the personality of whoever I am shooting, model or celebrity.
As well as photography, you’ve shot some films. Do you have any preferences between working with each of these formats?
Nope - I like working in both mediums. For me the fun part of shooting moving films is the editing process, while with shooting stills it is the actual shooting that I enjoy.
What’s been your favourite shoot to date and what was it that made it so good?
My favorite shoot right now is one that I did with my best friend Xoan @ DNA for Fiasco magazine’s Color Issue. Obviously it was lovely to shoot such a close friend, and I am so happy with the results. I think the shoot came out so well because we know each other so well and can push each other to do our best work - and we really do!
On the flip-side, what’s been the worst and why?
I don’t think that anything is the worst, because there is always something to learn from, even a difficult day.
What’s the most important thing for you when you’re doing a shoot?
I always want to make sure that everyone on the team has good energy and a good mood so that we can all work together to produce the best work possible and have fun while doing it!
Tell me about the background to the shoot with Andrej and how the day went?
I wanted to show Andrej how he is as a person, as a guy - not how he is so often in big fashion shoots, all done up in couture and womenswear. He is a beautiful guy and also makes a drop dead gorgeous woman, but that is not how I wanted to show him. I wanted to find out who he is and show that. We had a lot of fun, talked a lot (he wants to be a lawyer!), ate some very tasty sandwiches and enjoyed our day together.
You’ve worked with some incredible models like Andrej in the past. To you, what is it that makes a good model?
As long as the person is comfortable with themselves, knows how to move and knows who they are, they will be a great model. A good amount of life experience always helps too. ;)
Do you find it easier working with male or female models?
Generally I find it easier for what I am trying to say to work with male models, but there are a few favorite female models that I am always happy to photograph!
Who or what are your current influences?
I think that everything in life can be used as inspiration in artwork. I have folder that I throw images into that I love, but I also love going to locations for ideas, or just looking at the strangeness in the everyday. The absurdity of daily life plays a big part in my thought process, also comedy -- and of course just reading books.
What made you decide to start up a blog?
Honestly, I always forget that anyone actually looks at my blog. I kind of just use it as a reference for myself. I post images that I like and use it like a weird little diary. I just did it for myself, so I wouldn’t forget so many things that I find throughout the day. I am sure it makes no sense to most people (if in fact anyone is actually looking at it), but that is ok.
What advice would you give young fashion photographers in the making?
I am not sure that I have a lot of advice without being asked a specific question in particular. Everyone’s situation is different, everyone’s experience in the industry is different. I think the most important thing that any creative person can do is to find their own voice, and that is something that can take an entire career to accomplish well. But I think it is really something to focus on and think about. But as for advice, mine is: BE NICE.
They say fashion isn’t as glamorous as it all seems. How have you found this industry as a whole?
My life definitely isn’t glamorous! But I don’t want it to be. I like my house, I like my yard, I like my cats, I like reading my books and having my friends over and drinking wine and not running all over the city all the time. I am kind of a grumpy old young person. The industry is whatever you make of it. If you like partying and being fancy there certainly are plenty of events in fashion that will cater to that. But if you don’t like it, you don’t have to do that stuff. I don’t, and my friends don’t. It’s ok either way.
What are looking forward to most in the future?
Continuing to be happy and to make better and better work!
For more on Kristiina, check out www.kristiinawilson.com
Words By Aideen Shannon