One of the fashion industry's newest break-out photographers shares an interview during New York's Fashion Week. Meet Richard Guaty, fashion model turned photographer. Find out what makes a model a model in Richard's perspective and how his "late in life" start launched his career!
When you’re behind that lens, what are you looking for in a model? What I mean is, what makes a model a model?
For me it’s kind of funny, I can go through the comp cards, much as I’d like to--Polaroids help, it’s a little more raw and real--I know how photos can make a model look like a fantasy; that’s my job, take them out of the real world, make them look extraordinary, so it’s really helpful to finally meet the model. When I’m working with the model it’s more of an absolute feeling that I get more than when I’m sorting through photos; when I’m meeting a model it’s a feeling I get from the girl or the guy, if they have something more than just sitting there and giving good angles, which you now they have, but somehow I create a capacity within a strange place—we’re both strangers—to make them comfortable, to give me something where someone else looks at that photo and they’re like wow, what were they thinking? And how did they give you that look? And that look is that feeling. And that’s kind of my job; I create that comfortable space where they can give me that good feeling. So for most models what I look for is basically someone who can pretty much just come out of their shell can give me some sort of really strong feeling. And for me a lot of times my work is, I’d say, emotional, in a way—on a basic level, it’s nothing too extreme—but emotional in a real sense, pretty raw and real.
I know you were a model at one point. What was that like?
Back in—I’m actually 31 now—I started modeling when I was…it was pretty late! It was just one of these things: my friend was a photographer, and I had another friend who was a booker, and they both kind of said, ‘hey you can still make some money. And you know you’re 22 years old, so you not gonna be a supermodel or anything, but you can definitely make some money.’ So I took some snaps, got signed to the fashion board on VISION in Los Angeles--a boutique agency--so the whole modeling thing for me, I actually didn’t like it at all. It was one of those things where I kind of had to really look at myself, and you know it was going good, but it was one of those things I definitely wasn’t passionate about it, so I was just kind of going through the motions, and that what you can’t do, that’s pretty much contrary to what I was just saying, you need to be there and bring something to it so I did that for 2 months and found my way out.
And Photography? How did you get into that?
One of the photographers who became my friend--her name was Beatrice Neumann, she’s a really great Austrian photographer--I hung out at her studio a lot in Downtown LA, and kind of just picked up that camera and started shooting, and from that minute took it really seriously. She noticed that. And from there on out it was pretty much all kind of a lot of work ahead that I saw, a lot of obstacles, but super fun.
Awesome! You’re pictures are beautiful. Who are some of your photographic inspirations?
I like different types of photographers. For kind of raw and real, I like Hedi Slimane; David LaChapelle for the opposite, for kind of wild story telling. And I like Norman Jean Roy, very clean, honest-looking genuine work.
To see his work visit www.richardguaty.com.