Whether it be photographing Robyn for the cover of The Gentlewoman or shooting yet another spread for Porter that leaves us somewhat speechless (and wanting for couture), Liz Collins is no doubt a force to be reckoned with when it comes to fashion photography. Her work seems to grace the pages of all our favorite magazines, so we thought it was time to turn the tables and put the genius behind the camera in front of the camera for once. Collins’ gave us her take on print vs. online and of course her ideal food day…
From start to finish, what would be your ideal food day?
A whole lemon squeezed into hot water, then avocado on toast with lemon and black pepper with a coffee (the only one of the day). For lunch, a dairy-free sandwich, eating it on a curb step [in Soho] admiring Donald Judd’s house on Spring Street. Japanese sashimi for dinner, ideally at Omen. Their avocado salad is heaven too.
What’s the first thing you notice when walking into a restaurant?
The server. I walked into a restaurant the other day and the server started trying to sell the food to us. We left.
Do you have a favorite aesthetic? What is it?
Labour & Wait, a shop in London, is my ideal aesthetic for the home. I like old school minimal; I’m very much less is more. (It’s totally unachievable too!)
Do you have a favorite time period? What is it?
The early 1970’s for sure: The fashion, the beauty, the cars, and the architecture. I’ve always been obsessed.
What’s a camera every person can and should own, that they can use easily?
A Canon G17. It’s brilliant, but I think cameras on phones are now incredibly competent for low-res uses like social media and email.
Your most memorable photo-shoot to date…
It’s always the people you are photographing and the energy they create. Lauren Hutton in Malibu was pretty mind-blowing.
Could you give us 5-10 tips on taking the perfect photo with your phone?
1. If shooting for Instagram, take your pictures in the “square” setting. The crop is already set whilst you take the picture.
2. Filters are mostly overrated; keep it real.’
3. Content is all.
4. Composition should feel instinctive; don’t get hung up.
5. Flash rarely helps. Most modern cameras can cope without flash unless at night. Flash settings are still notoriously slow to work.
Do you collect photography? Who are your favorite photographers and why?
Yes, I have works from [Nobuyoshi] Araki, Jim Britt and other work by friends. I think photographers should swap work more; it’s really fun. I would have to say Richard Avedon and Irving Penn, but I think we are so fortunate to have living legends that will be held as icons of the future, like Steven Meisel, Mario Sorrenti, David Sims, Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott. These photographers will inspire future generations forever.
Do you like your photos online as much as you do in print?
No, but online serves an immediate purpose. Prints are always far more delicious of course, but flying portfolios around the world is environmentally unsound and too slow today.
Where do you look online for inspiration?
Instagram sometimes comes up with a gem, but I tend to still look at books. There is very little that is unpublished now, which in a time of growing social media serves as a very enjoyable contrast. Looking at images without a backlit screen is a far more authentic and genuine experience.
Who are your must-follow Instagram accounts?
My nearest and dearest, (wherever in the world).
In the same vein as what is the new black in fashion, what’s the new potato in photography right now?
*Liz Collins, photographed at Omen A Zen in New York, NY by Danielle Kosann. Liz wears a Marc Jacobs sweater and Converse sneakers.