FRINGE: Perspectives from a fashion photographer

Originally from Barcelona, Spain, renowned fashion photographer Daniel Garriga graduated from the Tisch School of the Arts in 1993 with a degree in Intensive Film Studies. His editorial work has appeared in Vogue, Vogue China, Marie Claire, GQ, Glamour and many more. He has also worked extensively with Tyra Banks and was a photographer on “America’s Next Top Model.” His commercial work includes advertising for TV shows like “America’s Next Top Model” and “Project Runway” and fashion designers Prada and Oscar de la Renta.

QUESTION: What inspired you to become a photographer?

ANSWER: A love of art, fashion and fashion photography books that I went through. I would look at these books of Steven Meisel, Helmut Newton and think how amazing it would be to do that.

Q: How did you break into the industry?

A: I started working freelance for several photographers, and then I built relationships with stylists, makeup artists and models. When I was ready to start working, I used my contacts. It’s a contact-driven business so the more people you know the more work you can get. It’s the clients that will ultimately open doors for you.

Q: How do you create a concept for a photograph?

A: The first step depends on who you are shooting for. It’s different shooting for Vogue or Allure. Every magazine has different styles. Then, the next crucial step is talking to the fashion editor to come up with a concept. When developing a concept, you can be inspired by art, by music, by other photographers, by something you’ve seen on the street. Inspiration comes from anything. Something that makes you just say “Wow, I really want to do that,” and then you create your own personal story. Then you will contact a stylist who will pull specific clothes for the shoot, and then you will find the model that is the perfect fit.

Q: What has been a highlight of your career? A challenge?

A: I set a goal to become a photographer and it actually works. I’m actually in demand. I am pretty much busy all the time, which has really been the highlight but also the challenge. It takes years to build a name and that kind of demand. It is an ongoing process. You are constantly working on refreshing your relationships.

Q: What are some of your most rewarding projects?

A: Vogue China with model Liu Chen. When I saw it, I felt a mix between fashion photography and art, and I really thought the combination of everything worked. I am also really proud of commercial work, which opens up doors to a lot of things. I shot the billboards and campaign for “America’s Next Top Model” and “Project Runway.” I don’t think commercial is bad; I think it’s good. Commercial is good because it’s big and a lot of people see those pictures all over the world. People recognize it. They recognize it more than editorial, which is always edgier.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring fashion photographers?

A: Be prepared for really hard work, a lot of hours and a bit of a crazy lifestyle. It is not a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job. When you start, it is nerve wracking. You are not recognized [and] you have to be patient because people might not be too interested in seeing your work. It is not about how many pictures you have in your book. It is about the quality of the photos. Two really good photos are more important than 10 average ones.

Hilary Presley is a staff writer. Email her at [email protected]