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Technische Daten

Dieser Artikel ist leider nicht verfügbar auf Deutsch
March 2010

With youth and talent on her side, it would appear that Lara Jade has the world at her fingertips. The 21-year-old fashion protégée works with a host of blue-chip companies, designers and magazines and happily plies her trade at London Fashion Week or mingles with the glitterati in New York and Milan. Despite her world being populated by the young and the beautiful, her own age can work against her. Lara Jade’s youthful exuberance has a telling impact on her wistful shots, yet despite the fantasy, her kit is far from fancy as Mark Alexander finds out.

“I’ve failed to get jobs because of my age,” Lara admits candidly. “Because fashion photography is high-profile work, some clients don’t want to use someone who’s only 21; who they think won’t have the necessary experience; who will mess up and then they’ll have to spend more money putting it right. They tend to associate age with experience.”

© Lara Jade

A self-portrait by Lara Jade.

In the high-octane world of fashion photography the influence of youth is everywhere, so you would have thought a fresh approach would be coveted, but apparently this is not always the case. “You can be 30 and still be too young even though you have 10 years’ experience, which is still not enough for some fashion brands,” says London-based photographer Lara Jade. “Photographers get paid a lot of money and to put that responsibility into a young person’s hands is seen as a bit of a risk. It is getting better – I’m sure by the time I’m 25 I’ll be trusted.”

The intransigence of the fashion world makes the achievements of this young photographer all the more remarkable – last year she picked up the Association Of Photographers’ (AOP) Public Choice Award for her portrait, ‘Bernadette’. Yet, despite a growing reputation and a lucrative contract with Milan-based agency Sudest57, her photographic education only began six years ago when she picked up her first camera.

Cameras

“When I first started, my dad had a video camera that took still shots,” says Lara, who was at school studying art at the time. “I was researching a lot of fantasy artists and came across the website deviantart.com - I saw how people were capturing fantasies rather than drawing them. I’d always felt a bit lost with my art and as soon as I picked up the camera and started shooting, I felt this was the way I saw things. It just clicked.”

© Lara Jade

Shot outside on an overcast day. Digital work added in post-production in Photoshop. Shot with the EOS 5D with the EF35mm f/2.0 prime lens, the exposure was 1/4000sec at f/3.5, ISO 500.

The teenage Lara quickly moved on to a 'point-and-shoot' Polaroid, then to a Casio, before graduating to her first Canon – an EOS 350D when she was 16. She had just started at Sutton Coldfield College, studying photography. She explains: “It was a perfect time to get a new camera because I had to learn everything from scratch. I was completely lost but the 350D opened a lot of doors. Having full control over the image was quite strange at first. Everything seemed to work and I didn’t have to rely on Photoshop as much.”

Today, Lara’s photographic requirements have moved on, although she still likes to keep her set-up as uncluttered as possible, opting for the subtlety and logical layout of an EOS 5D. “When it’s in my hands, I find it really easy to use,” she says. “Everything is there and I know how to change things quickly. I feel really comfortable with it. When I upgrade, it will definitely be to the Mark II.”

The compact size of the 5D has other advantages. “I don’t like big, bulky cameras because I work a lot on location. The 5D is easy to carry around. For instance, I’ve just got back from New York and on the flight home I carried it on as hand luggage in my handbag. I have a lot of camera bags but I prefer to be fashionable, and there aren’t a lot of fashionable camera bags out there.” With style an issue, the 5D seems to be the perfect 'fashion accessory' – small enough to hide away in a handbag but big enough (in sensor size) to create large-scale poster prints.

© Lara Jade

Two studio shots – the lighting was one softbox in front, plus a 'key' light on the left hand side to highlight. The background textures were placed in Photoshop afterwards. Shot with the EOS 5D DSLR with the EF24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens, the exposure was 1/800sec at f/4.5, ISO 100.

Lenses

To complement the EOS 5D’s stylish good looks, Lara opts for lenses that isolate the model for intense and intimate portraits. For this she follows her 'primal' instincts. “I tend to use primes, so I’ve got an EF85mm f/1.8 USM and a EF50mm f/1.4 USM,” reveals Lara. “I love shooting at a distance, especially when on location, and because I use the wide aperture you get that lovely blurred background. I like to emphasise this by shooting far away from the subject and the 85mm helps me achieve this. The 50mm is sometimes too wide on a full-frame camera, especially when I’m shooting fashion, so I tend to use it for full-length shots.”

Lara’s only zoom lens is an EF24-70mm f/2.8L USM that gives her much-needed flexibility in the confines of a studio. “I like it because you can zoom in and out instead of changing lenses, so I tend to use it more in the studio for clients’ shoots, especially where space is restricted and I need to zoom out more. When I’m doing outdoor editorial and fashion stories, I tend to use the primes.”

The simplicity of Lara’s set-up, which more often than not relies on a 5D and an 85mm lens stuffed into her handbag, extends to her lighting kit which, again, has been devised with travel in mind. Indeed, because she relies so heavily on natural light, foldaway reflectors are a staple of her kit: “I take reflectors out a lot because they give you so much versatility with the light. You can reflect the light back up, use two of them, or use the opposite side and get a completely different effect.”

To position the reflectors, Lara calls on an assistant to help out, especially on big shoots where her aide might also be asked to position her Bowens lights. “The kit is heavy, so when I’ve been on location in the past, I’ve used the travel battery and the softbox without the tripod so someone has to hold the light. It works really well but I need to experiment with it more,” admits Lara.

© Lara Jade

Taken outside on an overcast day. Lara explains: "I shot three shots and stitched them together in Photoshop." Taken on the EOS 5D with the EF85mm f/1.8 USM prime lens, the exposure was 1/1600sec at f/1.8, ISO 500.

Lara’s work has a classic, retrospective feel that delves into the romantic notions and fantasy worlds she so desperately wanted to capture when she picked up her father’s video camera. Yet despite clear references to these often surreal genres, her approach to photography remains pragmatic and ‘earthed’.

“I’m more creative than technically-minded,” Lara concludes. “I know a bit, but I’m not one of those people who knows everything there is to know about the camera. I think people can be one or the other – they can know everything about film, the camera and lighting, but they’re not that good at photography, and then you get the other side which concentrates on creativity. I tend to pride myself on knowing about the creative side and experimenting.”

Technical

Lara Jade's equipment:

Cameras:
EOS 5D

Lenses:
EF24-70mm f/2.8L USM
EF35mm f/2.0
EF50mm f/1.4 USM
EF85mm f/1.8 USM

Accessories:
Bowens flash lighting kits
Bowens reflectors
Lastolite reflectors
Lowepro camera bags