Seen a smartly composed, polychromatic, behind-the-scenes photo from the fashion world? Chances are you’ve stumbled across the work of photographer Landon Nordeman, whose work has regularly graced the pages of New York Magazine, Vanity Fair, The New York Times, The New Yorker and National Geographic. The photojournalist was inspired by the fashion work of other documentarians like Larry Fink, Jeff Mermelstein and Alex Majoli and has become the “go to” guy for a quirky glimpse into the enigmatic world of fashion.
You’ve become the go to guy for behind-the-scenes and insider fashion photography. How the heck did this transition occur from your less glamorous beginnings in documentary photography?
I was always interested in fashion—even when I photographed behind the scenes at dog shows or Elvis festivals. Fortunately for me, talented editors such as Stella Bugbee and Emily Shornick at The Cut, and Beth Bristow at the NYTimes trusted me with assignments to cover fashion week. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity.
When I think of your photography, I think “COLOR!” Can you talk about your approach to taking a picture of fashion and fashion subjects?
I do love working in color—whatever the subject. Color can convey emotion, and I love how it can describe the feeling of a place or a moment. And the fashion world truly embraces color—so it’s a fertile environment to photograph.
You use flash quite frequently vs solely relying on the sensitivity of modern DSLR sensors. Why?
I like how flash can isolate the subject—and also heighten details—to clarify the intention of a photograph. So, no matter the lighting conditions, using flash helps me express what I see. Did you ever hear that story about when someone once asked Bill Allard how he deals with bad light?…His answer was, “There’s no such thing as bad light.” I love that.
Your images frequently appear on various social media accounts. Do you ever rely on the cameraphone to take photos, or do you mostly use DSLR?
I mostly use a dslr with the flash. Although I love the phone, I find I can’t create the look and feel I want by using the phone to shoot.
Speaking of which, what gear is likely to be in your bag? What photo apps on your phone?
Canon 6d or 5dM3, 35mm lens., Canon ST-E3-RT Speedlite Transmitter and a Canon 600 ex speedlite. iPhone 6 with Instagram and Photoshelter.
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