by Victoria Herrera (Published on Tuesday, January 15, 2013 on Statusmagonline.com)
Some photographers make you want to possess a woman’s thighs, jaws, collar bones, nails, or breasts as if you can measure each part against each other. Other times, they make you desire a coveted handbag or perfume. While those are all true; EMMA SUMMERTON emerges as the kind of artist who steps backward from each fraction to be able to see the whole picture—body, face, flaws, sexuality, story—everything. So if you love her work, that means, you love her world.
On the corner of my desktop is a folder of photos I’ve pinned for inspiration. These are images most of us only envision in a dream. Apparently, the images were shot by Emma Summerton.
There is a wily magnetism in her photographs that make us gravitate to them. Perhaps, it is her lighting or composition or maybe it’s just how she makes things very soft and sensual. At the core, her images channel the energy of a woman in a way only a woman photographer can understand; these women are free, kooky, sexy, and slightly mad unafraid to be themselves. When all is shot and printed, we realize our desire to live through them. We want to be those women. Naturally, Emma regards her muses as an extension of herself.
Born in Australia, Emma was influenced by the kitschy atmosphere of the land down under. She studied Fine Arts at the National Art School in Sydney and worked as a photographer’s assistant for five years before eventually packing her bags for London to be an assistant to Turner Prize-nominated artist, Fiona Banner. She recalls, “I did painting at art school and I thought I would become a painter but found myself enthralled with photography so I chose that as my major. One day I will paint again, but I am very busy with my photography right now, and painting takes a lot of time and solitude.”
When she was slowly letting go of her brushes for the lenses, Emma first helped Fiona Banner on her artistic projects, ranging from stretching canvases to screen printing. She eventually picked up the camera again when she shot images of herself making art. Fiona ended up having Emma take some images for her first book, allowing Summerton to travel in New York and Germany to shoot pieces in galleries.
A long way from her apprenticeship—these days, you can find Emma busy casting models for her upcoming photo shoots. Her clients include several high fashion bibles like W Magazine, Vogue, Dazed and Confused, Self-Service, and i-D. She has also shot several ads for Burberry, Topshop, Anna Sui, Yves Saint Laurent, and Miu Miu.
“It’s surprising to meet people in different cities, then you meet them again in another city,” said fashion blogger and photographer Onin Lorente. It’s definitely true.
His blog, Style Anywhere, requires him to travel extensively. Onin has traveled to Milan, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, New York, Singapore, Macau, and Hong Kong, just to name a few. But it wasn’t always a life of travel and fashion for Onin.
For the past seven years, Onin was working as programmer for multinational companies in Singapore and the Philippines. “Back then, I was doing programming for survival, but I also like what I’m doing with fashion—blogging and photography.”
Then one day, on a trip to Cambodia, Onin met Paulus, creator and editor-in-chief of issue-one.com. Onin says: “He told me I couldn’t be doing both because I will really lose focus. Aside from that, he inspired me because he was also a programmer. And he left his job, started styling for shows and eventually started his magazine.”
Various industry people he would meet also supported his dream. “In NYC, I met a professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology, and she told me, ‘You know where your heart belongs.’”
Last year, Onin followed their advice and quit his job to pursue his passion 100 percent. “I was really thinking, maybe this is the right time to start. Maybe I can make fashion photography a full-time job. At least, I will try.”
His programming background also eased the transition, especially when it came to managing his own website. “The technical stuff helped me a little in what I’m doing,” he says.
This leap of faith provided a whole new learning curve for Onin. From learning how to take better photos, to writing his own copy in his blog, he is a person who continually tries to improve on what he’s done. He’s had his share of negative feedback, as well. “I also believe that I cannot please everyone,” he says. “I do what I feel, what I want to do, as long as there are people who feel inspired…”
Onin has already been tapped to cover several high-profile events, and his blog has gotten the nod of approval from Vogue Paris, Glamour Paris, and Marie Claire Italia.
Apart from his street style blog, Onin will also be shooting more fashion editorials inspired by his favorite photographers, Peter Lindbergh, Paolo Roversi, Yelena Yemchuk and Baldovino Barani. Onin’s work has already appeared in Design Scene UK, Quality Magazine Berlin, Garage Magazine Philippines and Hotel de la Paix Siem Reap.
Onin also plans to publish a book of all the people he’s photographed from different cities, and this isn’t limited to only street-style shots. “When I was in Macau, I photographed an old woman. I was so tired and on the verge of figuring out what to do with my life. And I met her and asked her for a photo. I liked her presence,” he shares.
It’s great to look back on how all these amazing and surreal experiences started from a blog site. Onin shares his best tips for aspiring fashion bloggers. “Pick your interests first, whether you are into fashion photography or you want to have a style blog. Keep your layout and presentation clean. Have less distractions on your website. Express yourself but know your limitations, and learn how journalists write their stuff. Read a lot of articles, too.”
Onin does as he says. His biggest dream is to become editor of his own art and fashion magazine. No doubt Onin is on the right path to making this happen.
(PDF courtesy of JJ San Luan, Layout courtesy of Onin)
A little post I wrote for Chalk Magazine’s September Issue
Coco Dotson (Coco&Breezy)
Hey, girls! So tell me what you’ve been up to lately. How has life been for you?
Breezy: Life has been great and exciting.
Coco: Yes, we have been up to a lot, which is always exciting. We have been designing and working on some new projects that we are looking forward to sharing with everyone.
I read somewhere you made shades to protect yourself from “taunting peers.” How true or false is this story? How did you decide to truly turn this into a real business?
B: The is very true. Imagine: twins with a unique style, living in the surburbs of Minnesota. Yeah, people used to stare, laugh, and make fun of our style.
C: We started wearing and designing our eyewear before we thought of it as a business. Our dream as kids was to be designers and entreprenurs living in NYC. It always sounded unreal, but we knew we could do it. We took a visit to NYC for our 19th birthday, and of course, we were wearing our sunglasses that we designed because we felt like it was a shield of protection. So, when we came to NYC, people were asking where they could purchase the eyewear, and we didn’t have an answer. So, the last few days of our visit, we mentally decided we wanted to go home, quit our jobs and sell our car to move to NYC to start a business of the eyewear designs we were just creating for ourselves.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learned from your journey so far?
B: You have your ups and downs. The down times are the best times to reinvest in yourself and business to figure out what is it you can do next.
C: The business side. In the beginning of our journey, the only thing we knew was being creative. After a few months, we met our business manager, Duane Baker, and he whipped us into businesswomen. You can’t just have a beautiful product; you need a beautifully structured business in order to have a successful product.
We can see the obvious similarities between you two, but tell us what are the differences no one else knows?
B: I have a mole on my right side of my neck [laughs]. That’s how everyone has been telling us apart as kids.
And now, the most important question: who styles your hair?
C: You know what’s so funny? Just a few days ago, we received some awesome extensions from @MyExtensionz and we are so proud of ourselves. We did our hair ourselves for the first time. We colored them. We had to bleach it blonde first, then we added a turquoise blue-ish green to the ends. We also made our own clip-ins ,and it turned out awesome. And Breezy’s boyfriend shaved the sides of our hair for us.
Coco answers about Breezy:
My sister will randomly call me to talk about nothing. We call each other when we are separated. If we are in a uncomfortable place, we call each other.
She always takes photos of us together.
Last week, I caught her stealing a cookie we baked together. We split everything even, and she tried to get an extra one.
You can tell it’s her if she wears a beanie hat or fitted cap.
I once pretended to be her when we went through customs at the airport on the way to Cayman Islands. It was for fun, we switched IDs.
I love her most when she comforts me.
Breezy answers about Coco:
My sister will randomly call me to talk about nothing! [Laughs] It’s annoying, but gotta love her.
She always takes photos of cool art on the street.
Last week, I caught her trying to wear my favorite boots, ugh [Laughs].
You can tell it’s her if she wears these red boots. [Laughs] She loves em’.
I once pretended to be her when a guy called, and she wasn’t around. So I answered the phone and pretended that I was Coco [Laughs].
I love her most when she knows an inside joke, and we laugh together randomly.
Interview by Victoria Herrera
Photographed by Zeko Eon
For the full story, grab a copy of STATUS September 2012 issue
Published in the September 2012 Issue of Status Magazine
Eyewear designers and twins COCO AND BREEZY spill why it’s great being each other’s design doppelgängers.
by Victoria Herrera
Photographed by Zeko Eon
Surging on the fashion radar are eyewear designers Corianna and Brianna Dotson aka Coco & Breezy. It’s a mix of hustle and heart that have blown these Minnesota natives into New York City, quickly gaining an underground following among the city’s trendsetters. “Imagine twins with a unique style living in the surburbs of Minnesota. People used to stare, laugh, and make fun of our style,” says Breezy. “We put our love for sunglasses, creativity, and our want to block people from starring at us together, and that is how we were inspired to creative eyewear.” After a trip to NYC for their 19th birthday, onlookers were quick to notice their personally designed frames. “So the last few days of our visit, we mentally decided we wanted to go home, quit our jobs and sell our car to move to NYC to start a business of the eyewear designs,” says Coco.
Known for their edgy and detailed designs, their sunglasses have already graced the faces of Kelly Osbourne, Serena Williams and Nicki Minaj. Adidas also tapped the design duo for a collaboration for their “Originals White Space Project” this year. But it’s not just fashion these girls have an eye for- they have also explored video directing, with their short fashion film for Selita Ebanks’ swimwear line Sass. With such drive and ambition, these girls are set to make sure their creativity stands the test of time.
You started your own eyewear and accessories line, how did this love first come about?
BREEZY: As kids, my sister and I were always creative. We would re-design all of our outfits, designer our own accessories and even sew our own outfits.
COCO: The love for designing and fashion has always been there. The significance of eyewear started from our love for wearing sunglasses.
What is currently inspiring you right now?
B: Right now we are inspired by Egyptian Art and Gods. Gold to represent Royalty. Music. Mixing fabrics and materials. X-ray technology. Grunge and the mixing of decades.
Who has been the most inspiring person you’ve met because of your job?
C & B: Freddy Leiba
Moving to New York from Minnesota at 19, how did you guys prepare for such a jump?
C: I think we started preparing ourselves when we were kids. We would set a list of goals on a piece of paper with a Sharpie and we would always accomplish the goals we set.
B: I’d have to say that was what prepared us to have good work ethic and know how to hustle. The way we got the ball rolling was never giving up and thinking big. Also, we were always true to ourselves. I think that is important when starting a brand- to remain authentic.
Between the two of you, who is the creative person and who is the business person?
B: Im more of the business person. I’m more aggressive and I like numbers, so that is why I have the final say between Coco and I. Coco is more creative. She is a perfectionist, so she has the final say in all of our designs. But when we are in our creative process, we design together. I usually start a project and she finishes it, since she has the final say in the creative side. It’s actually really amazing, and I know since we are twins, our minds are on the same wave path, so we are always on the same page creatively and business wise most of the time.
Some people do not mix business with family, but for you it’s intertwined. Is it ever hard working with your sister 24/7?
C: I think we are in a unique situation. We aren’t just sisters, we are twins. I’m not sure how the other twins are, but although Breezy and I are extremely close, we know how to separate business and being sisters. I would have to say it’s amazing to be doing our business together since our minds are on the same page.
Are there other creative itches you’re dying to scratch?
C: Well we recently just showed our paintings. It was super exciting b/c It was our first time showing another side of us that we haven’t shared.
Now that I have time to sit by my computer, I’d like to share with you guys more parts of the Banago story:)
- If you have an idea you think is a great one, don’t pass on it, everything starts with an idea, but try and be original and authentic. Anything that comes naturally and organically usually are the most successful business brand models in any industry. When this happens you don’t have to push for many things to work things just naturally come into place.
- Start with figuring out your end goal, anything is possible when you know what the end goal is because you can visualize it. You just have to walk backward to figure out how to get there.
- When you meet people, and I mean anyone and everyone, listen, really listen to what they have to say, you will be surprised what great things you will learn and how you may be able to help each other along the way, this is where the most valuable relationships are made.
- And do your research, always have a Plan B to every step of the way, and have a plan of how to fix things if Plan A goes wrong because usually it will, best thing about that is you will learn a great deal from it.
- Lastly dream big, don’t be afraid to take risks and never take “no” or “I can’t” for an answer. Lead from within and everything else will follow.