Sydney, 5 June 2006
A wet, windy and cold afternoon we hooked up with a San Fransisco-origined photographer; a gentleman now based in Sydney whose work has been serving the fashion industry over the last 10 years.
Outfitted in a winter coat, leather gloves, and brolly, we jump on the L38 heading west. Destination is Camperdown, a 10-minute bus ride from Sydney
’s city-slick centre. Entering the area, rain thickens, and the industrial facades look increasingly unwelcome. A puddle of water, cold and muddy, soaks through our chocolate coloured boots. Swearing at this, we’re thinking “A quick cab ride back to the city would be a helluva lot more sensible”. Committed to our meeting though, and curious of course about Joseph, we abandon all thoughts of a foolish retreat.
Placed at Kilner Lane
, not far from the main highway, we find Marvin Joseph
in his photography showroom. Named “Mango Studio”, it is obvious that Joseph has put a lot of effort into his funky work place. Stylishly divided into two floor sections, the photography-covered walls and flawless wooden floor differentiates this location from other photographers' work places. “When I took on the studio a year ago,” Joseph says “I wanted to create a functional work place with a lovely atmosphere. People enjoy working here.” A lovely surrounding is eminently correct, as we enjoy the warming cup of green tea during the interview.
Inspiration for his photo shots comes from perfect compositions – art, places, music and faces. Sources he’s been able to enjoy in different parts of the world. “I’ve been travelling round the world taking photos, but still have a long way to go,” Joseph adamantly claims. In this sense, he refers to his photography, which is a very modest way of talking about his work. Joseph has
come a long way. With published works in Oyster magazine
, he's a highly acclaimed photographer shooting fringe fashion editorials, as well as more commercially related adverts.
Equipment-wise, for a fashion shot, Joseph uses his reliable camera and a single light. Light exposure without much complexity and detail has become a trademark he regards highly. “Working on my own, and finding the right compositions, was challenging when I first went into business,” says Joseph. Luckily, today, this is less of an issue as he’s surrounded by the best players on the market; a stylist and some hair and make up artists, who work with Joseph most of the time. “We’ve been working together for years, and know each other really well,” he says.
Joseph takes pride in knowing that fashion editors often leave their ideas to him. Referring to himself as a Creative Director, he’s putting great pressure on his own work. “I’m very tough on myself and wouldn’t consider the work complete until every aspect of the shot is perfect.” Before leaving we ask Joseph to describe his own niche. His immediate answer is – “Edgy, sexy and with heavy tones of avant-garde.” An accurate summary, we agree. Unfortunately a form of work far from easy to ‘sell’ in the rather conservative Australian fashion industry.