Cliché as it may seem, Paris-based Kelly Ferreira says that she finds inspiration in everything—from pictures to music videos, movies to books, Wes Anderson to Ru Paul’s Drag Race. Anything colorful catches her eye, so she loves all the extravaganza involved in creating the different challenges and outfits in the latter. She admits spending a lot of time watching TV shows, often just for the “colorimetry of the scenes.”
For someone who adores color, she says it is a bit ironic that her favorite photographer is Helmut Newton, whose remarkable work was often shot in black & white. Kelly explains, "The elegance and charisma that come out of his pictures always amaze me and he is the one that got me in love with fashion photography. The pictures he took for Saint Laurent or Mugler will always be my favorites."
How did you get started in photography?
I started to take interest in photography when I was about 12 years old, I had an older cousin who relied on me to take her pictures and I didn't really see it as a chore, I really enjoyed it. At 14 I got my first camera, a Canon EOS 600D, which I still have today. From that moment on I started taking pictures of my friends, we used to organize photo shoots outside on days that we didn't have classes and that's how I started to develop a taste for photography. I then put this passion aside a bit as I grew up, but I’ve always been the photographer of my group, the one who takes everyone's picture because I know everyone's good angles lol. I took up photography more seriously 3 years ago, and that's when I started shooting film too.
What do you like about shooting in film?
Compared to digital photos, the texture, the colors, the grain that film photography offers us is unparalleled. I try to not retouch my photos with film, or just enough to accentuate the colors a little bit more, because generally, they stand on their own, and this is something that I don't find with a digital picture.
But I think what I like most about film is the expectation, the mystery and the precision that it requires. The fact that you are limited to about thirty prints per film requires you to think before you press the buttons, you have to be able to visualize in advance what you want from the picture, and that's what makes the image unique in my eyes. With film it's more about quality than quantity. It is much easier to be totally amazed by 30 photos taken with film than by 600 shots taken with a digital camera. And for me that sense of wonder makes all the difference.
I also love the feeling of impatience and excitement created by waiting to receive my photos, discovering the shots once the film has been developed, and getting more and more excited as I discover another image, this is what makes me love film so much today.
How do you prepare for pictorials? Any special routines or habits?
Before a shoot, I usually work on a moodboard, which I send to the model so that they can understand my vision and we can agree on the theme of the shoot. I also make sure I have enough film to capture everything I have in mind, and I always try to prepare my equipment the day before so I'm not in a rush the next day. When I am stressed before a shoot I like to meditate and try to keep a positive attitude. I tell myself that if I was chosen for the job, it's because I deserved it and my work spoke for me, so there’s no need to be afraid of failure or anything else.
When shooting fashion portraits, do you plan ahead or prefer to keep it spontaneous?
I do like to plan ahead because I'm a fairly tidy person and a perfectionist, so I always like to know what direction the shoot is going to take. I work a lot by visualizing everything in my head, even if things won't be the same in reality. I like to imagine every little detail of a project, sometimes I spend hours on Pinterest finding inspiration for a moodboard, but none of it really matches what I have in mind.
But that's also why I love spontaneity and creativity, when I come to a photoshoot, I always come up with different ideas from what I had originally planned and I'm just as happy with the result. I also like to talk to my models so that they can share their ideas if they have any. Let's just say that I like to plan the foundations of the shoot, but I'm totally open to ideas that may come to me when shooting.
What do you think makes a memorable fashion photograph?
The clothes are obviously important to create a good fashion photograph and when I say this, I am not even talking about designer clothes. You can make cheap clothes look very expensive, depending on how you style them and how the model makes them look. But I think that great teamwork is what is truly important to make a memorable fashion photograph. Hairdresser, stylist, make-up artist, model, photographer, artistic director etc., everyone’s work is needed in the process to create a great photograph. I work alone with my models most of the time, but in the future, I am really looking forward to working with a whole team of creatives.