An Interview with Australian Fashion Photographer Christian Blanchard
I was researching the best online magazines for our submissions article when I came across Tangent Magazine. Somehow I became mesmerized by Christian Blanchard’s editorial called Ceremony. Upon further investigation, I found his picture on Tangent’s website and thought he looked like a really cool dude. Maybe someone I’d like to grab a whiskey with. After spending a good amount of time on his website and seeing a lot of his very accomplished work, I decided to reach out to him, all the way to Australia, and asked him if he’d be interested in answering a few questions for Breed. So I present to you Christian Blanchard!
What got you interested in photography, specifically fashion photography?
At a young age I was forced to switch from my left to right hand, which impinged my abilities at school with arts. One of the most humiliating memories as a child was the day I arrived at a new school and the first class was arts. The alienation of being the new kid and the kid that couldn’t draw was enough to conclude I would never become an artist.
Jump a few years to high school and my photography teacher, Cliff Woodroofe, literally opened my eyes to photography and gave me a tool to express myself with. He challenged me with the topic of Scopophilia and from that I started to explore the world of voyeurism and the female form. This exploration has grown into 15-year career and obsession with fashion photography.
Did you go to school or are you self‐taught?
After high school I went onto a tech but only lasted a year due to the frustrations of prior learning. I decided to get out into the industry and work at a studio unpaid for a year with the perception it was free education rather than slave labor. That year humbled my overly zealous ego by revealing how little I knew and how much I had to grow.
I stayed with that studio a few more years and then went out on my own and learnt the rest along the way through trial and a lot of error.
Are you finding work in Sydney or are you finding you have to travel for work?
There is enough work to make a living in Sydney but I am a gypsy at heart and love to be on the move seeing new places and meeting new faces.
I grew up in Perth and spent five years in Melbourne before moving to Sydney in 2010. Sydney is home but Melbourne is still a big part of life because I run a studio hire business, www.l1studios.com.au, and still shoot for a lot of clients down there. I travel between the three cities plus trips to London, Asia and/or New York each year.
Travel is as much a necessity as it is a pleasure and I have found several ways to keep flying interesting and something I look forward to every week. One of which is an ongoing exhibition project I have been shooting for several years.
What’s your game plan over the next 5 years?
New York, Los Angeles, New Zealand, Tokyo and Shanghai. Far too many options but all great horizons. I just wish one could step forward and take me by the hand.
Do you see yourself always being a fashion photographer?
Fashion photography has become a large part of who I am today. I love the process and think a part of me will always want to shoot it. However another side of me will forever be seeking new explorations and creative processes.
My first solo exhibition was a few months ago and it really changed my way of thinking. Creating to exhibit is such a different discipline to fashion and the outcome was incredibly rewarding in a creatively wholesome way.
I am planning more artistic endeavors such as exhibitions, publishing books and making films to help find a balance between fashion, art and commerce.
If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?
I love food and I love the outdoors so either a chef or a landscape gardener. I need to be visual, tactile and away from a desk.
Outside of Fashion photography, what blows your mind?
Making films. They make me feel so insecure, vulnerable and naïve. There is so much to learn and life experience is the greatest teacher.
Beatles or Stones?
Beatles. They revolutionized the sound of music for the world and pulled it off with such grace and style.
If you could shoot anywhere in the world, what location would you want to shoot?
In the clouds. Every time I fly through clouds my eyes light up. I ponder the many ways I would photograph people floating and dancing if we could only defy gravity.
Describe your dream job?
A feature film with a large amount of money to spend on it. I just need an Executive Producer with a few million dollars to allow me a few years and the final cut privilege.
What obstacles are you dealing with in your career and what are you doing to overcome them?
The biggest obstacle is choosing what and where to next. I am forever lost on a journey of many roads. Trial and error is a good way to learn but I think some guidance and words of wisdom from a mentor would really help.
What’s your advice to young, emerging fashion photographers?
Embrace social media and learn how to make films.
But steer clear of fashion photography if you want to be wealthy. Too many try, too few succeed.
What are you listening to right now?
Loud Reed – Rouge. I only heard it a month ago whilst watching the ‘Before Night Falls’ and now obsessed by the brooding sound of the strings.
More of Christian’s work on his website.