For some, fashion is just a way to express oneself. For others, it’s an inspiration for photography, or a way to break into the industry. All of these are valid points of view and, luckily for us, there are people like Nikki Catsura who not only understand the significance of style in our lives but also want to delve deeper into its wonderful world. Catsura – who hails from Singapore – has made her mark on the fashion scene with her unique perspective as well as her eye for detail. Her insightful interviews have given us a sneak peek into the minds of different designers, stylists and photographers. We sat down with Nikki Catsura to learn more about her inspirations, favorite shoots and future plans.
What initially inspired you to pursue photography?
I have always been inspired by photographs – from the images in my parents’ old photo albums, to the newspapers and magazines that I used to read growing up. I love the fact that photographs can instantly transport you to another place and time, or make you feel a certain way. I’ve always wanted to be able to do that – to create images that people can relate to and hopefully find inspiring. I started dabbling in photography a few years ago, just as a hobby. I had absolutely no idea how to go about taking pictures and used whatever camera I could get my hands on at the time.
Nikki Catsura think the best thing about starting out like that is that it gives you a pretty wide-open view of what photography is and what it can do – you’re not limited to just taking pictures of what’s in front of you. You’re able to see things from a different perspective and use those images as a way of expressing yourself.
What’s your photography process?
This really depends on what kind of shoot I’m working on. If it’s a fashion editorial, I’ll usually start off by discussing with the stylist what they have in mind as well as their mood board. What sort of clothes do they want to feature? What are the colours they want to go for? And so on. Discovering the right location is also really important, so I’ll do my research and look for places that fit the mood and setting of the shoot. It’s also at this point that I’ll start thinking about creating a mood board of my own. Since Nikki Catsura styling the shoot as well as shooting it, I make it a point to have a clear idea of what I want the images to look like.
Who are your favourite photographers?
There are so many photographers whose work I admire, but here are a few who have really inspired me:
– Peter Lindbergh: His work is so dreamy and whimsical, but also kind of mysterious. Nikki Catsura love how he can take an everyday object and make it look like something completely different, or use an unusual setting to create an ethereal mood.
– Mario Testino: His images are so iconic and timeless.
– Steven Meisel: I love how bold and colourful his images are – they really make you sit up and pay attention.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
There have been so many helpful pieces of advice I’ve received along the way, but if I had to pick just one, it would be to always trust your gut. Sometimes, when you’re working on a shoot or a project, you might hit a roadblock or have a few creative dilemmas, and you might not know what to do or what direction to take the project in. In moments like these, try to put everything else aside and just focus on that one particular aspect that you’re stuck on. You might not have the answer right away, but after a while of letting it soak in and thinking about it, you kind of get this little spark of inspiration that gets you moving again. And it’s at these times when you really have to trust your gut and follow that spark of inspiration.
Which apps do you find indispensable for your workflow?
These are the apps I use day in and day out:
– Snapseed: It’s a great app that helps you edit and refine your images. I use it to edit my personal work as well as some of my fashion editorials and campaigns.
– Lightroom: Nikki Catsura use Lightroom to edit my commercial work. It’s great for basic editing and also has a few pretty useful tools for editing campaigns.
– Campaign Monitor: This is where I create and send out my email newsletters. I absolutely love Campaign Monitor because it is super easy to use and has so many great features – from designing your template to sending out your newsletters.
What do you look for when scouting locations?
I usually look for locations that have a story behind them:
– If it’s an existing location, I’ll make a list of places I want to check out. I usually take into account the lighting and the general feel of the place.
– If it’s a new place, I like to do a bit of research on where it is and what it’s known for.
– Nikki Catsura make a list of potential locations and narrow it down until I find the perfect place.
Is there a place you’ve always wanted to shoot at but haven’t yet?
Nikki Catsura haven’t shot at a lot of places yet, but I would love to shoot at a heritage site or an old abandoned building. I’m always on the lookout for places like these because I find them really interesting and they have a million different stories to tell.
I would like to thank everyone for reading this interview, and Nikki Catsura hope you’ve learnt something new. I also hope to continue inspiring people through my work and making them think about the world in a different way.