Stella Cove has made it to many different beaches around the world and love to see our reach get to one of the most beautiful states, Hawaii! We have been reaching further with the help of our Instagram community and collaborating with our new friends! Stephanie Matthew is one of those fantastic people! She can get excellent shots while working on a new project and keep her creativity active! We are hoping to see our White Pom Pom Bikini for Girls and other terrific SS17 swimwear hitting the North Shore!
Photographers are sure to be influence by their travels and their home atmospheres. This plays a crucial aspect of how they create their own style. When surrounded by beautiful beaches and exquisite sunshine, Stephanie surely knows how to capture swimwear similar to our White Pom Pom Bikini for Girls! Her interview will reveal some of her keys to success!
Stephanie Matthew Interview
Are there any photos which stand out in your life as having moved you the most and if so why?
Recently, I'd have to say this shoot- (attached) I feel like I went back to my roots, I shut myself off from any outside inspiration and went inwards. I completely shot with a feeling instead of a picture in my head. I took almost a year break and wasn't really inspired, had a block. You'd think being in Hawaii, surrounded by these beautiful locations I would be inspired but Hawaii is a different look, the lighting is different, the colors are so bright and vivid, maybe I just needed time to learn it's moods. When I look at them now they look exactly how wished them to- I let the beach and nature call the shots, the wind, the barefeet, the rawness, the sun was way too bright- and I just went with it, it shouldn't have worked but it did. And that spot, I call it the coral graveyard, is where the current brings all the dead coral and its covering the beach, it's a place of endless inspiration for me.
Do you listen to music when you're working, if yes, what kind?
Sometimes I will before I start editing, to get going. A lot of times though it distracts me, I don't know why I can't do both things at once. I tend to lose myself and daydream with music, I am a true pisces, I'm always in my own world. Might be surprising to hear that when I do listen to music I love Kid Cudi, he's so complicated and layered but I love him. Kanye too.During shoots it's a lot of Taylor Swift and Katy Perry of course, for the kids.
Do you know what a finished piece of work looks like or does it develop as you work?
I do, in a way. I go in knowing the feeling I want, the look. the actual poses and exact locations for the most part kind of develops on its own. I can say about 90 percent of the shoots dont look like my pinterest boards, haha. I wish I could be more organized like some photographers I've seen, with shot lists and moodboards, but I have to be ok with how I do it. I go in and I figure out the kids- are they shy? outgoing? and then I look around at the light and figure out the best spots. I sometimes wonder if it would be different if I worked with adults, with kids you kind of have to go with the flow, you aren't getting that super "editorial" look if they won't even stand still. But I'll look at the clothes or the theme we come up with and I figure out what they should say, to get them as close as possible to the theme.
What's the best part of the process? What's the most challenging part?
I love working with a good team, where we all bring our special talents and we create something together. Those late night group texts where the stylist, hair person and set designer are all throwing ideas out there and then they show up with these amazing props and outfits. I love finding those kids who are so easy and effortless in front of the camera, the ones who need barely any direction and while I'm shooting I'm already excited about how they're going to look. And then I'll go home and immediately sit down and find my favorite shots. I also like the first part of editing, finding the right colors and look of the pictures. But I absolutely do not like editing mass amounts of pictures, I cant stand sitting around staring at the computer, even worse is taking about a thousand pictures and having to edit that down to 100. Pure torture. I wish i could pay someone to do it, someday maybe.
One of the many things we appreciate about your photos is that your subject seems to have the courage, when in your shoot, to let a emanate a more personal part of themselves. The photo looks very honest. How do you manage to make this happen?
That's a huge complement actually, I beat myself up for so long about not being the jump in the air photographer, the running on the beach, doing cartwheels Target ad kind of thing. I love catching kids when they just look at me. So many kids are trained to immediately do this cheesy smile as soon as they have a camera in front of them and I'd much rather have that in between look, plus I feel like I'm getting better at figuring out kid's personalities, I don't force poses, I let them sit and stand how they normally would because the second you tell them what to do they turn into stiff robots and then you turn away and they loosen up. I always say, just look at me, or how would you sit on that rock or whatever. Shoots aren't always easy for me, I'm all of a sudden the center of attention, the kids are looking at me, the mom's are behind me, sometimes the client is next to me. I'm introverted and this really takes me out of my comfort zone. But I love the honesty of kids, I love working with them, I end up being friend with their moms and keeping in touch. No kid has asked me to photoshop their back fat, I dont retouch their faces at all or have them wear any makeup.
If you could photograph anyone in the world who would it be, also how would you style them?
A kid? Maybe a young Vanessa Paradis, I was in love with her when I was little, when she was a singer, that amazing gap in her teeth. I'd recreate her Chanel birdcage shoot, where she's swinging through the air, whistling. Maybe I'd shoot it all white this time instead of all black, no fishnets. Of course a young, Kate Moss with her original British teeth. I remember one of her first shoots, in an issue of seventeen magazine. It would be hard to figure out something to do differently with her, shes done everything, something that shows her freckles though for sure.
What would you tell your younger self?
Don't under value yourself, remember that moment when you told yourself you would never make money as a fine art photographer? Reconsider that. Stand up for yourself, you don't even want to know how many shoots I helped set up, find locations, props, models and ended up with assistant credit only and I never said a thing.
What do you think is the role of photography today?
I kind of like the shift right now, I was very discouraged a couple of years ago because The kids industry was so oversaturated. Photography was my dream profession since I was little, it's what I went to college for, I studied it, was abscessed with it. Then with social media and these amazing camera phones everything changed. I think it's different now, the ones working right now are very talented and the ones who weren't so serious about it were weeded out or are just on Instagram.
What hopes do you have for your works the moment you release them into the world? How do you wish for them to affect people?
I don't know if I could say what I wish people would feel about my pictures. Sometimes I feel like they aren't mine to have that power any longer after they are out there. They could have a totally different meaning for someone else and I don't want to take that away from them. Also I'm my own worst critic, I'm so hard on myself and sometimes I just fall in love with a shoot, my team and I put so much into it and I become protective, I hope people see the hard work and effort that goes into it. I hope people see them as art, it's not so easy to turn kids photography into art, I come home exhausted from chasing crazy kids around trying to stay true to my younger, magazine collage covered walled self but it's worth it.
What advice do you have for any new photographers?
Shoot, shoot, shoot, like crazy, find your style, look back at the masters for inspiration but don't compare yourself to anyone out there now, you can see right through those people. And when they say, "can you drive two hours in LA traffic and shoot this baby shower/pop up event/birthday party for my blog for free, it will give you so much exposure and will be so worth it", it never, ever is.