Todd Cole

January 18, 2018

His photographs have appeared in international magazines including i-D, Purple, Self Service, POP, 032C, New York Times, T Magazine, Vogue, The Fader, Art Review, The Journal, and Vogue Homme International. And now it is turn for The Fashiongton Post. We are glad to introduce you a well known US fashion photographer Todd Cole.

The Fashiongton Post: Todd, do you remember what was your first paid shooting? When did it take place and what shooting was that?

Todd Cole: At the beginning of my career I traveled to Paris and London to start showing my portfolio. My earliest commissions were portraits for Self Service and i-D. sometime around 2002. I have always been based in LA, and these great European magazines always needed portraits of people in LA.

F.P.: When you realized that you had enough photographs in your portfolio, what was your next step further to continue promote yourself?

T.C.: I feel like you can never have enough good photos in your portfolio. I always keep shooting images that interest me whenever I have the time. But once I had established relationships with magazines I liked from taking portraits for them, I started pitching bigger stories or ideas to them.

F.P.: Do you have a constant team of specialists/artists who work with you constantly or they change with every new assignment?

T.C.: It constantly changes, but I do have a great team that I have consistently collaborated over the years now.

F.P.: What would be your selection criteria when choosing who will be those people to work with on a next shooting?

T.C.: I try to work with people, magazines or ideas that I respect and if they inspire me.

F.P.: Do you have a personal assistant on the shootings or you always work alone?

T.C.: Both. For larger jobs, I have an assistant that works with me, but I still enjoy showing up alone and doing it all myself sometimes. Especially when I am shooting portraits. Typically I always do those alone. I did shoot the whole fashion story this year completely alone. Just me and the model in New Orleans. I was the photographer, stylist, producer, as well as the hair and make up team!

F.P.:  Should the fashion photographer understand fashion trends himself or he can rely on a stylist in that?

T.C.: Yes, I think they should be aware of trends and the best collections each season. I think they should be inspired by collections they love. It informs the overall concept of a shoot. I think to shoot a good story, you need to be inspired by every element of the idea.

F.P.: How do you build relationships with potential clients?

T.C.: Meeting them in person is a great start. I think if they meet you in person, they get a good sense of who you are and if you are on the same wavelength.

F.P.: What questions and nuances you think should be negotiated with the customer when it comes to the shooting for a fashion magazine to avoid misunderstanding or uncomfortable situations after it?

T.C.: It has been my experience that it is different with each magazine and each shoot. I think developing the ability to communicate effectively and kindly with a client or magazine each step of the way is the best way to avoid misunderstanding.

F.P.: Tell us about your continuous collaboration with the clothing brand RODARTE. How did they approach you for the first time? Have you had a chance to meet Kate and Laura Mulleavy in person?

T.C.: We met years ago on a shoot for Purple Magazine. We hit it off then and have been good friends and collaborators ever since. To me, that’s the point of it all — to make good work with good friends, and have a fun doing it. I think if this happens, the result is usually a success. I see Kate and Laura all the time, we always have a great time together.

F.P.: What is your favorite fashion magazine to read on a daily basis, your favorite movie, your favorite day of the week, and why?

T.C.: Oh, I love i-D the most I guess. It is a great magazine, but I especially love all the people involved, Terry and Trisha, Holly, etc. Favorite movie is almost any Stanley Kubrick movie. Tarkovsky’s films are very important to me too. Really I love so many movies I can’t pick one. Favorite day of the week is Saturday. I try not to work on the weekends and I just get to spend the day with my family.

F.P.: Do you usually visit world fashion weeks and fashion events?

T.C.: Yes, sometimes. I mostly go to NYC fashion week, and Paris fashion week sometimes too.

F.P.: What are your plans as a fashion photographer for the nearest five years?

T.C.: I am very interested in film making at the moment, so I plan on doing many film projects in the next few years. I plan to direct a feature film eventually… Hopefully sooner than five years.

F.P.: And, Todd, as an old good tradition, some pieces of advice to the fashion photographers, fashionistas, and readers of The Fashiongton Post.

T.C.: Perfection is an illusion. There is no such thing as a perfect photo. Once a photographer stops insisting on a photo to be perfect, then creatively he becomes much more free and the process of making a photograph becomes very enjoyable!

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