KAASH MODELS

Kaash is the CEO of Kaash Models, an agency based in London with models also located in Birmingham, France and hometown Bermuda, where Kaash grew up. We got to sit down with Kaash to learn more about what it takes to run a busy agency…

CEO Kaash, shot in Shoreditch, London.

How did you get involved with modelling originally?

“I used to model a bit before university but I had some issues with how myself and some of the other models were treated, so I decided to leave and create my own agency. It originally started as me just giving jobs to my friends who were also models – I fitted it around Uni as I still had to revise for exams – but it just grew from there.’

‘More people started approaching me for jobs and other models wanted to get involved. It went around by word of mouth at first and then I decided to take it seriously as a business.”

What has been your career highlight so far?

“I would say the biggest highlight was when The Plug released his project, we got to be on the D Block Europe and Offset video set for the ‘Rich’ song. In the same week, we also did the Swarms, Annie and Polo G’s video ‘Telescope’.”

You moved here from Bermuda four years ago – how did you get to where you are now, doing high profile shoots, in just four years?

“I think it comes down to me networking every time I meet someone – even if it’s just mentioning what I do to an accountant. You never know what could happen in the future. I think it stems from that, as well as just staying organised and professional.”

How do you go about networking?

“Just face to face, or online, a mix of the two. I would say it’s about a 50/50 split. Everything is better face to face – meeting face to face with another agency, for instance, it’s very important as you get to meet the artists, the cameramen, everyone involved on a set.”

“I often go to events just so I can meet people and see what happens, and then I’ll follow up with just an email or a message. You can’t force that sort of thing but if they bite, they bite. I just keep putting myself out there and doing these things. It’s like applying for a job – you just keep trying and trying until someone gets back to you.”

What qualities have helped you grow your company?

Model Camryn Swan. Photo by Ryan Souza, RYZE Photography
Model Camryn Swan. Photo by Ryan Souza, RYZE Photography

”I think my ability to adapt is one thing that’s helped me a lot – I lived in New Jersey for a little while before I ended up here, so I’ve had experience of living in several different countries. I think that’s rubbed off a bit in terms of how to deal with different people. When I say ‘adapt’, I mean adapting to different people and how they see things as well as just different environments. People are different to manage – some of them you can just leave to get on with it, others you have to take a bit of extra care to set them on the right course. It’s a useful skill to see just who your client is, what they want and how you can work with them to give the best service.

“Organisation is another thing which I keep bringing up. I can’t let anything get in the way of delivering for a client and a key part of that is communication – that’s very important. If a client has completed a job or is in between assignments, time mustn’t be wasted. When you’ve got over seventy girls on your books then these things become important.”

Is that how many girls you have working for you?

“Yes, fifty or so actual models and twenty who we’ve recently recruited. I’m proud to say I know all of their names, all of their heights and where they’re from. They’re all just such different people, and I love them all for it. There’s one girl, for instance, who arrives at every shoot looking like mandem and then she’ll just turn on the magic, and she’ll be all beautiful, wearing a dress and everything.”

Do the models approach you to join the agency, or do you go out looking to recruit them?

”When I started it was them approaching me, although I would reach out to certain people I wanted and recruit them. Nowadays I have a dedicated recruitment team though. My website has a link for prospective models to send applications and then the recruitment team will be in touch within about two weeks to see if they want to take it further, so that’s usually how it works.”

“Even little things like how quickly they respond to our emails all gives us a sense of just how professional they are. Things like a girl’s Snapchat or Instagram all show us how they present themselves, and we take those things into account too. We do

n’t even ask for professionally-shot pictures in our application – we just let them send in whatever photos they feel will make the best impression, and if we see potential there, we will take them on board. Even if they’re not wearing make-up in the picture, beauty is beauty – if we like what we see and judge that you treat it like a professional, then that is all we need.”

Model Camryn Swan wearing Sub Tropic, shot by PhotosPhresh.
Model Camryn Swan wearing Sub Tropic, shot by PhotosPhresh.

You talk a lot about organisation – is it stressful balancing Kaash Models with being a student? Or does it come easily to you?

”I’ve just started my last year at uni and, of course, there have been times in the past where I’ve felt like it’s all too much to handle but most of the time I actually find it quite a refreshing change from the agency, as the subject matter of my degree (philosophy, politics and economics) is so different from the agency.

“My degree involves quantitative data – finding patterns in large amounts of numerical information – and I find that sometimes translates to what I’m doing in the agency, too. At the end of the year, I’m able to look over the figures and see which girls are getting booked and why, or which girls aren’t.

“I don’t think going to university was a necessary qualification for what I do – or, in most cases, what anybody wants to do – but I think that for me personally, uni definitely helped by introducing me to like-minded people to network with.

“I’ve met people who are going on to start their own clothing brands and businesses. That sort of thing really helps to keep you motivated, like-minded people who are all growing together. But I think that instead of uni, the most important thing for starting your own business is simply to sit down and ask yourself ‘is this for you?’.

At the end of the day, you’ll be working a lot harder and longer than you would in a regular job. As an employee, you can clock off work at 5 pm. With your own business, it’s so much harder to separate yourself like that. Some days you’ll be getting up at 1 am to work and wonder how you’re going to keep going. You’re always moving forward, looking at how to expand or what to try out next. That pace never really lets up.”

Model Yaz Barker posing in Canary Wharf, London. Shot by Harrison Dante Jerome.
Model Yaz Barker posing in Canary Wharf, London. Shot by Harrison Dante Jerome.

Where are you planning on taking the agency? 

“We’re expanding into more countries, looking for more booking agents who can provide commission jobs. We’re also working on some clothing and merchandise which should be coming out this year. Other than that, we’re just looking to keep growing. This business is very day-by-day. You never really know what the future holds. A lot of our business comes from music videos and brand ambassadors – some companies send our girl’s merch and they get paid to model it.”

 

“I have a team of 5 agents, who are working with us now, which is helping us a lot. We’ve also started Kaash Mafia, which is performers of any type and talent including fire breathers and dancers. Growth into other sectors is the main goal moving forward for 2020/2021.”

Visit the Kaash Model website and Book your models today.

Keep up to date online with Kaash Model’s Instagram.

WORDS BY Kaash & Ed Rosser
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Ed Rosser, Ryan Souza, PhotosPhresh & Harrison Dante Jerome
SOCIAL Kaash Model's Instagram

FIRST OF ITS KIND GLOBAL FUND FOR YOUNG LEADERS TACKLING THE IMPACTS OF CORONAVIRUS LAUNCHED

One Young World partners with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and United Way to launch Covid-19 YoungLeaders Fund

At the same time, new data from One Young World reveals two out of three (62%) young people don’t believe the government has adequately addressed their concerns regarding coronavirus

The survey also found 72% of young people have volunteered their time to help others during this pandemic.

Shot by One Young World.

15th May London: One Young World – the global forum for young leaders that counts Meghan, Duchess of Sussex; Justin Trudeau; Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Emma Watson as Counsellors – today announces a first of its kind fund for young leaders to provide urgent finance to those fighting against the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

New statistics from 1,000 young leaders globally finds that two thirds (62%) don’t believe the government has adequately addressed their concerns, and over half don’t believe there has been enough international cooperation.

However, young people are continuing to spearhead activism globally. The research found a staggering 72% of young people have volunteered their time to help others during this pandemic, yet they continue to be underfunded.

The fund has been established to provide the immediate distribution of finance to young leaders on the frontlines of the COVID–19 response – with donations distributed widely across countries and sectors.

Recent statistics from One Young World highlight the impact of investing in the young generation. On average the social return on Investment is 15:1 – for every $1 invested, $15 of social impact is generated.

The initial projects to receive funding include;

  • Heidy Quah, Malaysia, Heidy and her organisation Refuge for the Refugees has focused efforts on this forgotten group. To date she has provided 5,878 bags of food across 461 locations, reaching 29,390 vulnerable people.
  • Dr Radhika Batra, India, Kenya & Nigeria, Radhika founded Every Infant Matters (EIM) to give all children in India a healthy start to life. They are currently tackling the crisis in India and Kenya by manufacturing tens of thousands of PPE equipment in these areas.
  • Rinesh Sharma, Fiji, Rinesh is Founder of Smart Farms Fiji, an agro-technology initiative. In response to COVID-19Smart Farms has developed the “Growing Essential Greens Home Kit System” as an innovative solution to the food security and health consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Achaleke Christian, Cameroon, Achaleke has founded the ‘One Person One Hand Sanitizer’ initiative, producing over 15,000 bottles of sanitiser and distributed them to 12,000 separate households.
  • Jolyon Layard Horsfall, United Kingdom, Jolyon is the CFO and Co-Founder of Happy Space, a UK-based charity dedicated to preventative mental wellbeing. Happy Space has created a campaign called #HappySpaceAtHome distributing 90 support packages to vulnerable households, free-of-charge.

Ella Robertson, Managing Director of One Young World, said: “Young leaders are part of the most connected, informed and resourceful generation in human history. They have proved this time and time again, with their capacity for innovation, understanding of digital tools and high levels of social responsibility. We now need to ensure they have the funds needed to tackle some of the largest issues created by Covid-19.

From every country in the world, the response has been staggering, the collective innovation, empathy and spirit has meant many projects are supporting those most vulnerable. I am thrilled that we can now support them financially, ensuring money is making a difference. In the past 10 years we have built One Young World to become the largest corporate support network of any European NGO, we must now utilise this expertise and efficiency to ensure those on the ground are supported, globally.”

Jayathma Wickramanayake, UN Special Envoy for Youth said: “The Covid-19 Young Leaders Fund is exactly the bold action that is required to champion young people who are so bravely combatting the coronavirus on the frontlines. I commend One Young World for this fantastic initiative and urge others to support this effort to ensure that young people’s work is properly funded and respected. Young people are at the heart of the response and we must ensure they are supported effectively.”

The fund will continue to accept donations with the aim of making hundreds of thousands of dollars available to frontline projects. Those wishing to apply for the funding will be able to apply via an online portal on the One YoungWorld website. All projects will be subject to due diligence and reference check process; One Young World’s monitoring and evaluation process has been designed to ensure minimum burden to frontline workers whilst allowing donors to have complete visibility of where their money has been spent.

To apply for funding or to donate please click here.

WORDS BY Writer's Name
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Photographer's Name
Scott Styles and Scott Supreme

Cooking up with Supreme and Styles

From finding EJ CD’s in a cereal box to working with some of the biggest music artists in the world, Scott Supreme and Scott Styles are super producers in their own rights. We visited the studio in Central London where they produce their music to sit down and learn more about their journey so far…

Tell us a bit about yourselves.

Supreme: “I am Scott Supreme, a music producer from London. I have worked with the likes of Young Dolph, Blade Brown, Team E. I also run an online music leasing service.”

Styles: “I am Scott Styles, you may have heard my ‘Beam Me Up Scotty’ producer tag from songs like ‘Whippin Excursion’ with Giggs. I run an online beat selling business alongside my bro Scott Supreme as he said. Along with this, we are starting up a record label and have a lot of exciting talent that we are looking to sign. On top of all of that, we also run a production company called Digital Trap, so there’s a lot going on.”

Left: Scott Styles Right: Scott Supreme
Left: Scott Styles Right: Scott Supreme

How did you get into music?

Supreme: “I got hold of an EJ CD, you know, one of those EJ dances from a cereal box. I installed that into my computer and was just dragging it and dragging it, making some loops here and there, and before I knew it, I had kind of outgrown it. I don’t know if you would remember the MTV music generator, but I was also using that for a while. Before I knew it, I was working on what I call fruity, (FL Studio, fruity), which is a producer software.”

“That was it, I was hooked. I was about 12 or 13 when I got into FL Studio, I wasn’t too serious at that stage, I was just learning and playing around with loads of different methods, and after a while, I progressed and developed with it.“

Styles: “Music didn’t start as early for me. I didn’t know I wanted to do music until I was in secondary school. I never really messed around with any of the old software. I was listening to a lot of music, of course, but I wasn’t producing any younger than that. Secondary school happened, and everyone around was starting to rap. I started out rapping with everyone else because it was just normal, but I was more fascinated about the beats. This was back in the days when Grime was starting to pop, so it was an interesting time for music.”

“It got to the stage where I just had beats/instrumentals on my phone. I would prefer listening to them which enabled me to dissect them, which was interesting for me. Everyone knew me for the guy who had the best beats on his phone. Even though they weren’t beats I was producing at the time, I still liked the fact that people would come to me for the latest beats.”

“you know when they say you have to put in ten thousand hours? You have to.”

“This was when I was in year 8/9 and even then, the year 11’s were coming to me for exclusive beats because I had managed to get my hands on them. That then developed straight away into FL studio 5 or 6 when I was 14, it was the best windows program producer software I downloaded out of a load I had tried. From there I have just been trying to improve every day.”

Scott Supreme producing some new music in London.
Scott Supreme producing some new music in London.

When did you start your career in the industry?

Supreme: “In terms of online stuff, I was 18 as well. I remember being in college getting the business up and running. The production was nowhere near the level of what I am producing now. I feel like every year you progress. You have to put in the hours, you know when they say you have to put in ten thousand hours? You have to. I listen back to beats that I was producing only last year and still see a huge progression from then to now.”

Styles: “It was different back then we were 18, that was 9 years ago. This was when YouTube was just starting. We never really had access compared to the tools that are available now. That doesn’t mean it’s easier, the game is different now,  a lot more oversaturated for one. Back then it was so much more limited to make and push out music, it was the MySpace days.”

Supreme: “Even down to accessing knowledge, it was limited. Now you can go onto YouTube, you can learn about anything, everyone can now learn to be a producer, graphic designer, you can learn anything you want, because of the access to tutorials. Back then there weren’t tutorials about anything. Even down to the little things, how to install a VST, how to download samples, how to alter something in your mixing, you would have to figure it out yourself which took a lot of time.”

Styles: “A producer these days could be selling beats within a year, because of the access. For us, it was 4 or 5 years, and even then, we didn’t start making serious money until we were about 20,21, so three years after we started the business.”

How did you both meet, and how did the relationship form into what it is today?

Styles: “We first spoke through Facebook once we had realised that we both made music. There were very few people doing what we were doing back then, especially from the area we were in, West London. It’s funny because a couple of years after we met we found a mixtape of beats that someone else had put together, and it had both of us on the cover.”

“That’s how close Supreme and I were in terms of the people we were working with. Back then, music was a much smaller circle, now everyone does music. We collaborated on one or two beats which started the relationship. Then Supreme was trying to sell a camera.”

Supreme: “I had this small handheld camera which I had bought for a college project. I ended up not getting the right spec so I couldn’t use it, so I thought I might as well shot it on. Ebay wasn’t a thing so I was just messaging people on Facebook.”

Styles: “So he hit me up for a camera. Around that time my Midi keyboard had broken, which is a piano type of keyboard. So I replied saying ‘no’ to the camera but if you have a keyboard for sale then I’ll take that because I need one badly. Then he said that he had a spare one sitting there which he could sell to me.”

“When Supreme went to post it, there was a postal strike so he couldn’t, which led to us meeting up. He drove down to my house which was the first time we had linked up. This was about 10 years ago. Supreme was on making R&B instrumentals at the time, so we just made some mad R&B beats. From there, it just flowed and it became a thing most weekends to where we are today.”

Supreme: “I had just finished college and I remember it started to become part of my routine most weekends. The same routine, order some of Olivia’s pizza, and then we would just be working.”

“When you’re in a vibe, try and scale it as much as possible.”

Styles: “One thing I would tell anyone, if you are on to something you need to give it you’re all. Back then we didn’t have a clear vision, we were only eighteen, nineteen at this time.  However,  if we really got behind some of our projects and pushed them, who knows what would have happened? But you learn. When you’re in a vibe, try and scale it as much as possible.”

Scott Styles producing some new music in London
Scott Styles producing some new music in London

What have been your career highlights so far?

Supreme: “There was a point when we both took a spontaneous trip to Amsterdam. It was a random mid-week thought. I remember the feeling around the time of booking the flight that everything we were doing was really working out. I had quit my job that year, Styles and I were patterning industry work, we had businesses that were generating enough for us to not have to go to work.”

“All these years of struggling and doubters, that feeling you get when you feel it’s finally going somewhere was a sense of relief, even though you know you have a long way to go still. You get that more as you go along, but that was the first time I felt it.”

“I had the same feeling when we were in a session with Young Thug, Gunna, Lil Duke, Wakka and Giggs. We played one of our beats, which we already knew was a banger as it was one of our personal favourites. When we played it, it took over the whole room, everyone stopped and was just straight vibing with it. That was another similar feeling, a highlight, confirmation that we can do this. As a creative, pressure builds in certain situations, but you never really feel the full weight of pressure if you are equipped for those certain situations, this is something which you learn and grow with.”

Styles: “For me, one of my career highlights has to be the Drake concert we went to at the O2 Arena. ‘Whippin Excursion’ was going off at that time. I remember me and Supreme were going through a really bad time in our lives.”

“We had a lot of aggro at home, we had new kids on the way, the studio was having to go, there was a lot of stress building. I was staying at the studio on the sofa at the time and felt like I needed to pick myself up and do something fun, so I made sure Supreme was free and then just booked the tickets that were available the night before.”

“This was the first London show of the Drake Tour, so no one knew what the set up was, or what was going to happen. We were there enjoying it, Drake was doing his thing, and all of a sudden, the whole stadium turned green. “Whippin Excursion”, the song which I had produced starts blaring around the whole arena, and Giggs jumps out in front of twenty-five to thirty thousand screaming people. I was just looking around screaming as well, I lost my voice. I had no idea the song was part of the set.”

Supreme: “It was completely in the moment, the mad thing was that the energy levels changed so quickly, within a matter of hearing the first two seconds of the song. We were gassed and screaming. Seeing a song that Styles had made in our studio go to this level to that many people, when you looked around all you saw was lights out…it was mad.”

Styles: “Another one was the first time we went to Miami. We got up off of our backs ten days before and just booked a trip to Miami. It was something that we wanted to do when we first linked up, living the dream, which is something we had spoke about. When we made that happen I believe it was monumental.”

“This was at a time when I was working quite close with Ace Hood, so we were able to link up in the studio with him over there. We had a big condo high up, seafront, with the craziest of views. We weren’t budgeting, we thought that if we were going to do it, then we were going to do it properly. That for me was really living life. There was pressure for us to make something happen over there, but we didn’t feel it. It was our first time in America. We ended up going clubbing with Ace Hood, it was all crazy.”

“We had already been working with Ace, we linked up with him through his engineer, Indie – it was a big part of why we went over there. We hit them up with the suggestion of us coming, and if we did, could we get to work? They said ‘for sure’. So for us, we had always spoken about going to America, so when we had an opportunity, we made it happen.”

 

Supreme: “It was another one of those moments, you have times when you think, ‘is this ever going to happen? I’m spending all my time and money on this music venture.’ When you have moments like these, it reminds you why you do this, and when you have slight glimpses of it, you think this is what it could be like if I do this every day, and give it my all.”

“You fall in love with the process, building brick by brick”

“Styles and I used to listen to Ace Hood all the time as fans, so to go and meet him, then produce records for him and then for Styles to go on and produce 5 songs on the album Starvation, it was wild. At that time we didn’t know anyone doing what we were doing, it felt like we weren’t sticking to any guidelines, we were just doing what felt right.”

“Whatever felt right we went and did and we still do, but it’s all a little bit different now because we are dads, but, essentially, we have always just gone off of energy. If we are both sat there feeling passionate about a project or a potential project, then we will go and make it happen. At the end of the day, having an idea is great, but executing an idea is even better.”

“The reason why the industry is so interesting to us is that we are both the kind of people that like to watch something grow, we like to plant a seed and watch it develop. You fall in love with the process, building brick by brick, and now we are here.”

Choose three attributes that helped you get to where you are today.

Supreme: “Patience is a big one, also perseverance and confidence. I think you have to know yourself, know your strengths and weaknesses, be self-aware and then work on that. Knowing your time is going to come. We are ten plus years into this and still feel we are nowhere near where we want to be yet. It’s having the determination that I’m not leaving this earth until I complete my mission.”

What can we look out for?

Styles: “We are in the process of setting up a record label, all the contracts are getting written up at the moment and once it’s out I’m sure you will hear about it. We feel we have got something brewing in the background which can take us to the next level we have been searching for.”

Social Media – @imscottstyles and @scottsupreme

Websites – Scott Style’s beat store and Supreme’s beat store

WORDS BY Scott Supreme, Scott Styles and Ed Rosser
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Ed Rosser

Charlie Sawyer Photography

We got to speak with Charlie Sawyer, a household name in the London photography scene, shooting commercial campaigns for some of the biggest brands and influencers around the world. In this interview, we get to learn more about Charlie’s journey in his early career…

How did you first get into photography?

‘It all started off as a holiday passion, which quickly developed into a keen interest of mine when I began my college course, instead of photographing the mundane subjects around me, I decided to go and photograph interesting people. For example, going to London Fashion Week, capturing the individuals who have dressed up to the nines and attending the shows. This became a personal project of mine which soon caught on with various outlets, Instagram pages and magazines asking to use my street style images for their features.’

‘I sent the images to the various influencers and people I shot, and that gave me the interaction I was looking for. From there it was very much Instagram focused, I started to get a few mentions and tags which developed an ever-increasing following on my account. After that, I turned from influencers to brands, which is the source of all projects and where the creativity stems from. It has now gone in a full circle with the brands I’m now working with using the influencers I stared shooting with on day one!’

‘After my A-Levels were over, I decided to leave education there, I believed three years at University might not necessarily benefit me as much as three years in the trade.’

‘I started off capturing events for free or low pay and shooting small fashion campaigns as well as some of my friend’s brands. This gave me the opportunity to meet the right people, network and widen my circle within the creative field. It was all small scale jobs at this point but it certainly got my head in the right place and established my enjoyment for the job, before I made it a career.’

Mercedes 280 SL Favor Shoe campaign, Charlie Sawyer Photography
Conrad sitting behind the wheel of a Mercedes 280 SL for a Fairfax & Favor shoe campaign. Houghton Hall, Norfolk.

Did you find you learnt a lot from college or more from working for yourself?

‘I don’t like to say it because it can affect other peoples thoughts, but I feel college really didn’t benefit me in the way I thought it would, I learnt the history of photography and the very basics of a camera, but it’s not until you get out in front of clients with models, that’s when you really start to learn.’

‘My style is very commercial, I feel it’s naturally progressed this way’

‘Essentially, college didn’t teach me the trade or the art, it was more about looking back over the history of photography and specific photographers work. It wasn’t until I had left college and started to go out on shoots, that I began to gain an understanding of how to monetise my skill and create a business.’

How would you describe your style of photography, or do you like to switch it up?

‘My style is very commercial, I feel it’s naturally progressed this way as the majority of my commissions are about shooting an item of clothing for a brand, which is to be sold using various means of advertising whether that’s featuring on the brand’s website or Instagram and Facebook etc… or out of home advertising boards, tubes, buses etc… therefore my style sits in the commercial bracket.’

‘I often have personal projects on the go such as editorials that I work on to keep those creative juices flowing and you’ll often see a different style to my work when it comes to these.’

What’s the creative process before a photoshoot, is there a lot of detail?

‘Photoshoots tend to have three stages, pre-production, shoot day and post-production. The pre-production meeting, which often includes myself/creative team, a creative director and/or art director and the brand representatives. This is to discuss the aim of the shoot, purpose of images, plan of action for the shoot day and timings. I should leave timings out of that really, it seems impossible to stick to timings on a shoot day. :)’

‘Come shoot day, hair and makeup team are usually already hands-on-deck first thing, working away on the model so he/she/they are ready to go, whilst the creative team are setting up cameras/lights/laptops’

‘Assuming the shoot has all gone according to plan, it now moves on to post-production which involves culling a couple of thousand photos down to usually around 4 or 5 which will be used in the final campaign. Colour grading and editing of the images is done by myself whilst any high-end retouching that’s required is sent off to professional retouched.

Once images are received and finalised, they’re then to be signed off and approved by the client ready for release.’

‘That is an example of a large shoot with a substantial team, whereas I often do the smaller stuff too, I love to test creative ideas with models, so that means getting in touch with an agency, to see which guys and girls they have available. These shoots are a two-way process meaning the model may want a certain look or image shot for their portfolio which I do in return for their time helping me with my creative idea. What I enjoy most about test shoots is the ability to try new ideas without the responsibility of delivering for a specific brand or campaign, it’s a chance to explore creative outlets!’

Barbara Lopez, Herbal Essences Campaign, Shot by Charlie Sawyer
Image of Barbara Lopez, Mexican Influencer and model, shot for Herbal Essences Campaign. Kew Gardens, London

What are the pros of living and working in London and abroad?

‘I’m born and bred in Surrey, but my line of work has taken me into the capital. My scope of work doesn’t really exist on the same scale outside of London so the biggest pro has to be the accessibility to work but also the ability to travel to cities such as Tokyo and Cape Town and still be able to find work across the other side of the world.’

‘Back in 2018, myself and four influencers/models travelled to the Maldives to trial a proactive content creation idea. We paid for our flights, collaborated with two hotels over there and contacted brands we have all worked with previously to go out there with an array of items ranging from hats, shoes, bikini’s, dresses and more. There was a fee charged to each brand that wanted imagery and/or videography shot in the Maldives to ensure it was a profitable and successful trip. Something I would love to do again in the near future.’

‘I went to Los Angeles last September, this was my first time visiting so I used it as an opportunity to meet LA-based creatives, models and brands with the hope to fly back for work.

‘I’ve also been fortunate enough to travel to Paris Fashion Week, Milan Fashion Week and obviously London. Next on my list, is New York Fashion Week so I have to say the travel aspect is also a major pro for me.’

What was LA like as a working environment?

‘It’s a beautiful part of the world to be able to work in, I feel the work environment is about who you know, not what you know. You might say that applies with anywhere in the world but I felt that even more so with Los Angeles.’

‘I can see myself spending quite a bit of time over there in the future, the vibe of the city is incredible, nearly everyone I met over there seems to be in the creative industry, not sure if that’s because of the areas I went to or it’s just dominated by creatives.’

‘Word of mouth goes a long way in the creative industry’

‘Whilst I was there I managed to fit in five shoots over the two weeks – The light is beautiful, it’s a real golden light that I haven’t really experience before. Certainly helps those images look a little bit sweeter. The variety of shoot locations is endless, you’ve got all the beautiful beaches, Downtown LA, Hollywood Hills and a short drive to my favourite area, Malibu!’

You’ve worked with some big brands, how do these kinds of opportunities come about?

‘A big thank you to Instagram really- the number of connections I have made on Instagram early days really let me jump start my career being able to get in touch with industry leaders to seek any help or guidance. Since then it’s allowed me to get in touch with brand directors, PR’s, models, make up artists, hairstylists etc… whether it’s seeking potential new work or getting a team together for a shoot, Instagram is a great platform for it!’

‘Word of mouth goes a long way in the creative industry, it’s a small circle and everyone seems to know everyone so it’s paramount to keep that reputation high. My website is updated regularly ensuring any new potential clients are seeing my latest portfolio.’

‘Some opportunities such as a feature in Vogue, don’t necessarily come from personal activation, it can be a case of the publication picking up a visual story which they’ll write up about. Often brands will push it to the press which ensures the story gets picked up and featured.’

What helped you get to where you are today?

‘A creative skillset, friendly face and a chatterbox. I think it’s fair to say you make your own luck but you have to have a skill behind it. I’ve worked on my photo and video skills rigorously over the past couple of years, whether that’s visual ideas that I want to master or post-production work like retouching or colour grading so that’s certainly helped me get to where I am today.’

‘The last two sound cliché but I feel they have assisted me on my career path. A friendly face on set goes a long way, especially when it comes to directing the model and wider team. Nobody wants a dull or miserable person at work so keeping positive and happy is key.’

‘I’ve also been very proactive with how I go about meeting people and being on the lookout for new commissions. I’m always up for a coffee or a lunch when it comes to discussing shoot ideas, upcoming work or general meetings keeps it relaxed and informal which I believe works well in my field of work. It comes down to healthy working relationships at the end of the day, most of my clients that I shoot with regularly, I’m now lucky to call friends.’

Cenie wearing 'SAME' bikini poolside. Shot by Charlie Sawyer
Cenie blocking the sunlight wearing ‘SAME’ Bikini poolside. Los Angeles, California.

Did you find it quite daunting to reach out to random people?

‘Initially, it was very daunting as it came with a lot of rejection. I was messaging people from a photo-based work account that had a few good photos on, nothing too special, with a simple request which was to shoot for the brand they worked for – with the amount of no’s I received, this taught me quickly that I was going the wrong way about it.’

‘I changed my ways and realised it was about building a true relationship with the brand representative instead of just steaming into their DM’s asking if I can shoot the next campaign. I now meet all new potential clients face to face for a coffee or a lunch to chat about the brand, requirements and how I’m able to achieve their needs.’

What have you got coming up?

‘I’ve got a few exciting projects in the pipeline including heading back to Los Angeles to carry out three commissions, a road trip to Scotland in a special Morgan car and a few exciting fashion campaigns being shot for Spring/Summer 2021 – Yes, we often shoot between 6 and 12 months before a campaign and collection is released.’

‘Something else I’ve been working on recently is organising a trip to a location house in the countryside, with a full creative team including photo and video, hairstylists, makeup artists and set designers to be able to approach brands for a content creation trip, similar to what I did in the Maldives but this time on home soil.’

‘Follow me @charliesawyerphotography to keep up to date on what I get up to!’

Leticia, Taylor Morris, Shot by Charlie Sawyer
Leticia wearing the ‘Orange Zero’s’ for Taylor Morris Spring/Summer 19 campaign shot in London.

 

WORDS BY Charlie Sawyer & Ed Rosser
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Charlie Sawyer
SOCIAL See more of Charlie's work.