Five years ago the event and fashion photographer Edmund Fraser decided to make the switch from printmaking to photography. We think that was a very good decision, because he has created a strong signature. With his experimental approach towards fashion photography he sets himself apart from other fashion photographers. He does not shoot your everyday beautiful girl in a beautiful dress with perfect make-up. Fraser’s pictures are more real and expressive.
His latest series ‘Time Bytes’ is full of emotion and bold expression. He invites the viewer to look at the details of the intimate feelings the real life couple has towards each other. He explores the relative new medium of 3D images with an open and playful mind, which lead to atmospheric and joyous images.
Volt Café: What do you feel that’s different about your brand of photography?
Edmund Fraser: Strong angles in black and white can look nice, but I love real energy, intimacy and colour. That said I’ve never seen my personal work as possessing much of a unified quality as I like to use each shoot as an opportunity to try something new if I can get away with it.
VC: Why did you decide to make a switch from printmaking to photography?
EF: The main difference with photography is the human engagement, which is very important to me. Additionally, material costs were a serious barrier. Photography in this day and age is incredibly accessible. It’s fantastic that anyone can pick up relatively cheap equipment and make a go of it, whether for their own pleasure or professionally. In terms of the industry, the low entry level and increased competition is only a good thing for high standards in the long term – it forces anyone who takes it seriously to produce better work and think more creatively. In any case, I love printmaking and would love to return to it one day. Aesthetically it has been very influential – I love big blocks of colour and straightforward images with that ‘wow’ factor.
VC: What inspires you?
EF: Sometimes nothing, but the opportunity to create something new everyday is a great driving force to find something. It’s amazing to be able to test new methods, meet new people and stumble across brilliant ideas that can be worked into image making. I think it’s really important to draw inspiration from multiple avenues whether you’re looking at architecture, film, literature, internet culture or whatever/whoever’s in front of your face.
VC: Please explain the concept behind this series? What do you understand by ‘Time Bytes’?
EF: This series is the first introducing my take on the 3D concept. I wanted to use the technique I had been working on to explore a variety of subjects and take a very small moment and give it those extra dimensions and that extra sense of realism. With regard to the image of real life couple, Scott (Premier) and Victoria ended up using an NJOY e-cig as a perfect alternative to a traditional cigarette, as it took so many takes to get it right without smoking the whole studio up. Plus it’s just too horrible to exhale a normal cig into a loved one’s face! ‘Time slicing’ as a method in filmmaking is by no means new – it’s been going since early development by the brilliant Tim Macmillan back in the early 80’s before it’s popularisation as ‘bullet time’ in The Matrix. ‘Time Bytes’, as a first series, is an adaptation of the original method on a smaller and more editorial friendly level.
VC: What drew you to start using 3D image making?
EF: My initial experiments were with a 1989 Nishika N800 3D camera with 4 lenses exposing onto 35mm film. To be honest, there was no intellectual backing to my original interest – I just thought it looked very cool with the added dimension. My subsequent motion camera rig was made up of 35mm film looped around 24 lenses with the shutters triggered by dental floss in total darkness. I loved the results and although it was a good starting point, it wasn’t very reliable and the specialist film costs were astronomical. The digital rig I have now is just an extension of that. The increasing possibilities on web and motion advertising platforms gave me legitimisation to explore the medium and invest myself fully.
VC: Many of your images have a certain kind of natural feeling – the models look comfortable and at ease. Why do you strive for this?
EF: I see technical knowledge and innovation as important, but a relatively small factor at the end of the day – how you engage with your subject is exclusive to you and the longevity of your work. I don’t believe in models as mannequins. Every shoot, personal or professional, is a collaboration between the subject and the photographer.
VC: Do you prefer print or digital, and if you have a preference, why?
EF: I’ve always tried to experiment with as many different photographic mediums as possible. I still use medium format and 35mm film in personal and (less frequently) commercial projects. It forces you to think in a way digital often doesn’t. I love the nostalgia of snapshot 35mm imagery and there’s some brilliant photographers using this to their benefit, but at the moment I think it’s been overemphasised to the point of saturation. I think print media will always have a place – it’s a pleasure to have the ownership of a physical piece. On the other hand, the point of the motion series was to experiment with image making specifically for web usage. The possibilities the digital realm and the Internet as a platform haven’t been fully explored – this is a serious attempt to begin to utilise the possibilities it provides. In the future I’d love to explore the possibilities of interactivity within motion imagery.
We are not the only ones who’ve noticed Fraser’s outstanding work. Glasgow will feature his work on selected buildings this March.
Images by Edmund Fraser
Words by Nikki Neervens
TagsEdmund Fraser, Nikki Neervens,