We are happy to share with you an interview with a fashion photographer and director from New York City Steven Leone. Steven has been traveling the past five years throughout Europe shooting for magazines and modeling agencies in cities such as Paris, Milan, Barcelona, London, Stockholm, Prague, etc. Steven’s motto is organic images!
In this interview, Steven shares his beginnings in photography, how he stumbled into it, what projects he is working on right now. So, check out this interview for more tips from pro-photographer, and for the fashion photography classes check our article.
How did you start photography?
I sort of stumbled into photography as something to pass time with years ago. After directing a couple of short films, I wanted to do something that was less dependent on others, as is the case with film productions; something I could just do solo. I figured I’d buy a relatively cheap camera and take some pictures, as I love the play of light and shadows. So I bought a brand new entry-level DSLR and started taking pictures of my actor buddies.
Although they weren’t perfect images, I was quite pleased with the results, especially a series with a female actor friend. That’s when I got the urge to shoot models.
I then began hoarding female apparel purchased on eBay. Initially I wanted to do conceptual photographs that told a story, but the model participants I’d found who were willing to cooperate were mostly concerned with looking beautiful, which wasn’t such a bad thing since modeling agencies like to focus on the model when you’re shooting for agencies themselves, as opposed to brand campaigns.
I went from actors to freelance models to agency represented models.
What do you appreciate the most with fashion photography?
I can’t say that there’s anything in particular that I appreciate about fashion photography. For example, if I enjoy shooting models with a vintage film camera and the most casual everyday outfit sans make-up artist or stylist, that technically isn’t fashion but just photography.
What projects are you working on now?
I’m currently working on a series of black and white film fully and partial nude photography. But the focus isn’t nudity itself, but rather models doing things that would seem a bit intriguing, absurd or comedic while being nude.
Whom have you learned the most from?
I haven’t learned from anyone in particular. I presume it’s via osmosis from a mosaic of painters, cinematographers, photographers and models.
If you had to use only one camera and one lens, what it would be?
I don’t have a penchant for anyone camera as I see it only as a means and not the reason for the outcome of my or anyone else’s vision. As long as I know how to operate it, any will suffice.
As for the lens, that would have to be a 50mm prime. It’s my go-to, all-purpose lens. I can do portrait or full-length shots on people with little to no barrel distortion. I do use other focal lengths for other purposes, but the nifty fifty pretty much stay on my camera 85% of the time.