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FASHION - INTERVIEW

Interview with Photographer and Art Director Isshogai Daimyo

You could have designed a beautiful dress by using the finest materials with high-quality craftsmanship. But the high-quality photograph is one and only way to show your designs with all the beauty and details. I talked with Isshogai Daimyo about his career and the importance of high-quality photography for the fashion brands.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Isshogai Daimyo

Isshogai Daimyo

FASHION - INTERVIEW

by Melisa Kaya

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Isshogai has discovered his talent and passion for photography in his mid-thirties. He decided to pursue the right way before starting his photography career, and first, he studied photography in France and he combined his previous professional experiences with his talent and passion to create a flawless vision. He worked for some high-end fashion brands such as Chanel and Jean Paul Gaultier, and these works published in notable high fashions magazines. I had the opportunity to interview Isshogai Daimyo about his career, basics of fashion photography, and the importance of high-quality photography for the fashion brands. Whether you are a photo enthusiast or a brand official, enjoy this interview.

Isshogai, when did you get your first camera, and how did you decide to pursue a career in photography?

My first camera was a present from my ex-wife in 2003. She was from « la Réunion » island, a French one near Africa and wanted to send a photo of our daughter to her family.

When I have something new I always try to learn a lot about it. So I tried to learn how to do a good photography. I came on a website who is not anymore online (sanspretention.com) on this website you could put a photo and during 48h nobody knows who did the photo and everybody can tell his opinion about the photo. I learned so quickly that I was many time surprised by the quality of the photography I did. Many professional photographers from France began on this website. I was at this moment not professional. It’s in 2005 when I had 2 divorces in the same time in my life: with my wife and with my company that I decided to do a short train at Gobelins School: one of the best photography school from France. After that I began directly to work as a photographer.

Isshogai Daimyo

Photo by Isshogai Daimyo

How did your interest in fashion photography start? What is the most special aspect of fashion for you?

At the beginning, I didn't want to focus on a special kind of photography. I tried to do all the kind we can found like architecture, reportage, food photography ( I’m so bad on food photography lol ). I loved to do portrait and fashion. Still, I’m young, I’m fascinated by human, and I love to shoot all kind of human photography. Fashion came after... In fact, it’s really strange. I’m not a fashionista but I really loved to do fashion photography.

At the beginning, I didn't know anything about fashion but I loved to create photography that tells a story. Create something perfect and fashion was something natural for me. It’s difficult to explain but in all my life I'm in the search of perfection. Like in martial art when you do 1 million times the same move to found the perfect one. Has I said I didn't know anything about fashion but I learned, if you are a fashion photographer you have to know fashion, brands, fabrics etc. Especially when you’re shooting high fashion, because it’s so different from ready-to-wear-pieces.

There is not a kind of fashion photography but many: ready to wear, underwear, couture etc... You don’t shoot something that costs 150 000 € like a ready-to-wear-piece.

For High fashion dress, you have to be really careful. Some of the fabrics are so expensive and delicates. We have also sometimes a limited time to shoot those dress who travel on different shooting during the same day. In that case, your creativity is different. On ready to wear you could use all the creativity you want. You are more free of all your movements and of what kind of image you do.

What kind of projects do you prefer to work on?

I love when a brand come to me with just the need for new photos and let me help them to define the perfect photography they need. We take the time to define what are their clients, age, etc and what is their brand identity. With that, we can see what kind of photo they really need. The second kind of work that I love is high fashion. High fashion dresses are incredible. They are a piece of art. I look at them like we can look at a sculpture and try to found the perfect situation / pose for it. Creativity here has the limit of the respect of the designer work.

Isshogai Daimyo

Photo by Isshogai Daimyo

You have worked with many notable brands, could you tell us about your previous works?

In fact, I had in front of my camera close to all the high fashions brands. From Chanel to Jean Paul Gaultier. I shoot them for different high fashions magazines. Each time I create a story, with huge mood boarding that all the team could see, feel and follow. Many time I'm the art director of my fashions stories and I really like to manage my models a little bit like a movie maker could do with an actor.

Isshogai Daimyo

Isshogai Daimyo

What was the first commercial product that you photographed? If you were shooting the same photo right now, would the result be very different?

It was some wedding dresses for a bridal brand. And today I’m sure that the result would be totally different… because I always try to shoot after a shoot to do a better photo... to add something new or a different point of view. Model’s direction, for example, is something that I worked a lot since this time. Lighting too... at this time I was using a lot of mix light: ambient and flashes with I think too much flashes. No, I try to remove a lot the flashes and use them just to give the little + on the dresses.

I changed also of makeup and hair artist, the kind of model and I don't photoshop my photos anymore. Today I work with an agency who does the photoshop on all my photos. So of course result should be different and I really hope so lol.

Isshogai Daimyo

Photo by Isshogai Daimyo

What are the key points that you pay attention to most before accepting a new project?

The first point is Adequation between what the client wants and what he wants to pay.

I don't accept the low budget. Because I’m doing high-quality work... nobody trust in your quality if you are not expensive… just imagine buying a Rolex at 10€.. will you trust in its quality?

The second point is a kind of respect to my clients: I don't accept to work with my clients' competitors and I don't accept to work with clients who do bad quality fashion. Because clients don't want to see low fashion near their creations.

The last point is more a question of feeling. If I don't feel the client and his brand, I prefer not work with them but I'm really cool and easy to work with. I'm not a star photographer, just a human who is now photographer after being many things.

What do you think about the effect of a good photograph in the buyer's decision?

The question is: what is a good photography? The good photography is the photography who respect the brand identity and who give to the client the desire to buy the product just because their identity is close to the brand’s one or because they want to... sometimes it’s just a question of a dream.

A good photograph will give to the brand the photo that he needs and not a beautiful one. Sometimes it’s strange just take as an example The Kooples. Their photos are simples and use an angle that nobody wanted for their brand because it crushes the model’s tall. But while nobody does that angle it becomes The Koople angle… and now nobody can do a photo of 2 peoples with this angles without an implicit reference to The Kooples.

Isshogai Daimyo

Photo by Isshogai Daimyo

What are the most common mistakes of brands? What do they think and make wrong about the importance of photography?

The most common mistake is to reduce the photography budget when they have money trouble. Many time it’s the first point that they reduce and it’s really bad because while doing that they write everywhere, in their press kit, showroom, shops, catalog etc that they have money trouble! I remember a brand who did a bad season... the shooting after we came to Mykonos with 2 good models and create a catalog shooting full of blue sky, white and pure wall etc... result was incredible:

First, the shop had holidays feelings, and all the staff loved to work in this universe. The sellers loved the catalogs and regain trust and hope. They just loved to show the catalog to clients… this shooting saved the brand. Just because they push a little bit more money in the shooting while thinking it’s now or never.

Another one is to negligate the model’s budget. In the fashion, the model is more important than the photographer just because the model is the face of the brand. Show someone a good photo of a bad girl he will say... humm this girl is not beautiful... show a an incredible model on a normal photo everybody will say WOW this girl is incredible!

Model’s budget AND casting are really important.

What type of services do you offer to your clients?

All depend on the client’s need. I can help him to define what he needs. Sometimes what he wants is not exactly what he need. I can manage after a full production service including backstage video, fashion video, mood boarding, location found, shooting etc... I do art direction and production for some of my clients.

For some other like some production company or adv company I can manage just the photo shooting... just come to shoot and go. But many time they like to ask me my opinion regarding the project.

Isshogai Daimyo

Isshogai Daimyo

Is it possible for abroad clients to work with you for their products' photo shots?

Of course! My main clients are in China and Italy. With the correct budget, I can manage a shooting in any location around the world. But it’s also possible to do a shooting here in Paris with a full French team. This could be really interesting. For a limited coast. Casting is made by Skype. A client comes 1 or 2 days before the shooting with their products. And receive after the shooting a selection of photos. He chooses the number we have decided regarding his need and then the photoshop agency work on the photos under my direction. It is quite simple and optimised.

Business owners want to solve their problems with the lowest possible costs. Despite this, why should they work with a professional photographer?

Lower cost means lower quality. This rule is simple and true. With a professional photographer, you will have an optimised presentation regarding his cost. The lower rate is not many time the solution. The solution is more an optimised rate that will not stuck the brand and give a comfort zone to the production. Sometimes I saw huge productions in Paris and I feel that it was not optimised. I remember to see a shooting for underwear French brand on a Paris Bridge with 3 trucks full of material rented, a staff of 30 peoples etc.. and feel that I can manage the same production for 1/10 of their total expanse without losing quality. This knowledge has a rate and it's a that my clients pay.

The other important point is that a brand needs a constant quality. They need constant quality for their product but also for their photo shooting. With a professional photographer that point is always true. A professional one will normally always give the same quality level regarding the budget.

I remember a story that a friend photographer told me. He was in Cannes, shooting some star during the festival and he saw a huge shooting with an Instagram influencer has a photographer. He saw panic in the shooting because there was a problem with the photo and nobody know how to manage that. Just hile listening to the shooting my friend knew what was the issue but he prefers to tell nothing. Just to let this magazine understand that there is a difference between a real photographer and an influencer.

Isshogai Daimyo

Photo by Isshogai Daimyo

Which factors determine the project budget?

There is a lot of different factors :

The first one is the using of the photos: you don't pay the same if you do an advertising in 2mx3m all other the world end a photo just for a newsletter.

Second is the size of the production: the place we have to rent, if there is some trip etc... travelling days are normally to be paid to the team etc... for example, regarding the shooting place, I know the place from free to 8000 € / hour. So you see this is really depending on the idea.

Last important point is the model. You don't pay the same for a new face model, an experimented one, a top model or a movie star. Of course, the rate is different but the result is also different for the brand. When you work with a top model or a movie star, in fact, the model gives to the brand a kind of new value... just imagine a backstage image on an Instagram post from the model with 75 000 000 like this is a huge advertising.

In your projects, do you work in a previously defined concept or are you creating the concept?

The 2 are available:

With productions or adv company I work on the previously defined concept.

With some clients, I create everything and on some other, they define the first line of the concept and I develop it.

Isshogai Daimyo

Photo by Isshogai Daimyo

What are your expectations from your clients for a successful collaboration?

Trust !!! trust is the most important thing. And to respect this we all have to say what we do and to do what we say. I always respect that point this is really important for me. My team and me, we always do our best to create the good result for our client.

How do you protect the rights of your photographs in this online era?

I'm not sure this is something really important to focus on. I don't focus on that BUT when I saw a not authorised use of my work I always speak about it with a copyright lawyer. And I'm really good to found them I was an internet security engineer in another life lol.

Could your clients use the photographs in any publication, catalog, website, ad or other platforms in the future?

That is to be defined during the pre-production meeting. This I also something that we can discuss after the shooting. Depending on the budget etc I usually give a comfortable copyright package to my clients.

What advice would you give to photographers who want to pursue a career in photography?

Go go go! Take your camera and do the work. Don't listen to peoples who tell you that photography is dead. This is not true there is a lot of people who live from photography and you can be one of us. Just trust in you and never back down.

What is your favorite photograph that you have ever taken?

I don't have a really favorite photograph that I have taken. There is many that I like but no one that I prefer :)

What do you think about social media? How can our readers follow you?

Today social media is something important for photographers. Like Instagram, etc.. but at the same time, I'm tired of the superficiality of that kind of media. You can make more like when you are a young and sexy girl who post sexy photos of you going to buy food, at the sports club, buying a coffee than when you post your best photo work. We live a special era… for Instagram, I try to post a photo every day but dont have time ( and courage lol ) to like and comment so many photos :)

Isshogai Daimyo

Photo by Isshogai Daimyo

Anything you would like to add that I haven’t asked?

I can tell you a little bit more about me. I didn't make photography before 35 yo. Before being a photographer I was security engineer in the internet, I worked in emergency service like 911, work in electronic... etc all those experience helped me to be what I am now and they give me my way to think of a new photography, to handle a situation and to create a different thing.

BE a photographer is not only pushing a button but create emotion in the eyes of people who look at your work.

Thank you Isshogai for this enjoyable interview.

For more information, please visit website of Isshogai Daimyo





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