The model-turned-photographer on the Age of Access, his source of inspiration and creative process
The transition from one side of a camera to the other is one that's been explored by multiple members of the film and photography industry. Model-turned-photographer, Christian Brylle, chats to Dazed about his transitional career as he develops his portfolio from commercial fashion photography to journalistic personal work.
Dazed Digital: Could you tell us a little bit about your photography?
Christian Brylle: My photography is motivated by the joy of capturing an idea, bringing life to a character, directing an action or emotion. I aspire to show my world – to make people see it, judge and understand it. My camera is my creative outlet. The images it captures are a projection of my vision and of myself.
DD: What’s the inspiration for your photography?
Christian Brylle: We are in a new Age of Access. The advent of the Internet has rendered nearly anything and everything accessible—media, data, news, etc.—and these boundless resources are available at anytime. We are no longer reliant, or maybe more important restricted by geography, cultural affiliation, or social status to be stimulated. We are constantly influenced by inputs and feeds that aggregate and curate content from all corners of the world. Today, if you’re unable to find sources of inspiration, you must have either your eyes closed or your smartphone off.
One concept that has always fascinated me, is the juxtaposition of opposites. Contrast, both highlighting it and undermining it. The transition I am currently undergoing—from model to photographer—is a case in point. As I switch from one side of the camera to the other, the contrasts between roles are many and apparent. At the same time, the two roles feed off of each other, and in each, I am grateful for my training in the other. Whether as model or photographer, I have been fortunate to work with some of the most talented photographers in the world. These experiences have been key sources of learning and inspiration, helping me to forge and develop my own ideas and concepts.
DD: Can you explain your creative process?
Christian Brylle: As a young artist, this fluctuates significantly from project to project, moving hand in hand with my personal interests and experiences. For personal projects, the process tends to be more organic and flexible. For client work, it is perhaps more structured, comprising an overarching theme and concrete set of references. I expect my processes will continue to evolve as I mature as an artist.
DD: If and how do you strike a balance between shooting for a client and shooting more personal photographs?
Christian Brylle: Between my personal and my client work there is, in the first place, a difference in tools. My personal work is all film, while I shoot digital for clients. This difference speaks to a larger difference in approach. Personal work is not time sensitive, and there is no need to share my work product during the creative process. Client work, on the other hand, typically involves a deadline and a collaborative process—I work with the client to incorporate its concepts and ideas into a shared vision. As compared with client work, my personal work also reflects a more journalistic approach. It documents what is already there in a way that the highly stylized nature of commercial fashion photography does not typically countenance.
DD: Is there anything or anyone you have particularly enjoyed shooting or would like to shoot in the future?
Christian Brylle: This shall remain my secret a little while longer.