CREATIVE skills and creative thinking are the requisite of image-making, even more, when it comes to the realm of fashion photography where conceptual ideas speak louder than aesthetics.
To have a balance of both, fashion photographer Suthan Viran turns to his collaborators, including fashion designers, stylists, models, hair and makeup artists to bring about a stronger and more desirable end result.
Despite having the usual team of creative talents that he frequently works with, Suthan can’t get enough of being around other invigorating minds. His collaborators play crucial roles, contributing their skill and passion to execute a project while working towards realising a shared vision.
What does fashion mean to you?
“Fashion is my everyday art. I believe every person is unique in their own way, and since we’re different, we like to express this through various mediums and I choose to express mine with fashion to deliver a message.
“I’d like to think that my work reflects my character and individuality. My photographs are signs of my achievements, they say who I am, what kind of person I am, and also how I’d like to be looked at.
“I do understand that fashion may not mean the same thing for all of us, just like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg wear the same outfit every day for practicality.
“For whatever reason we choose to believe, fashion does say a lot about us.”
What’s your creative process like?
“I always start with a mood board and sketches before getting in touch with my clients. These concepts would eventually set the tone for the final outcome, from the colour tone of the imageries to the hair and makeup on the models, and everything in between down to the little details.”
Each shoot or project is like a collaborative process between creatives. What is it like to be always working with new people?
“Creating an image completely from scratch is immensely satisfying. I love collaborating with other creatives to achieve a common goal. I also enjoy the problem-solving aspect of photography.
“For me, being a photographer is a right-brain-meets-left-brain profession, it allows me to tap into my creative and analytical sides when shooting.
“I like to work with fashion designers who are comfortable to experiment with colours, it doesn’t matter if it’s muted pastel hues or bright and loud colours for that extra vibrancy.”
As we confine ourselves in quarantine, how do you make the most of your time?
“Businesses have dropped significantly, so I’ve been trying to work around the situation. For product photoshoots, some of my clients actually delivered their items to me so that I could shoot them in my studio.
“Other than that, I’ve also managed to conduct one-on-one online classes on how to edit photos, as well as filming simple tutorial videos that are easy to learn, and posted them on my Instagram.”
How do you find inspiration in isolation?
“With plenty of free time, I’ve been conceptualising new ideas for possible photoshoots in the future.
“I’ve spent so much time scouring the internet on Pinterest and Instagram for new ideas while discovering other creatives’ work. I’ve been keeping up with fashion photographer Paul David’s work for the longest time, I guess you could say he’s my role model. His work inspires me and pushes me to think more and work outside of the box.”