written by Lauren Persinger
Joey Shaw is considered a celebrity more than a photographer with a list of stunning images with some of the most beautiful Hollywood stars.
A charming man, with the unlimited talent of a visionary.
A man with a strong respect for the world he’s living in, for the people around him, for the bartender bringing a glass of red bull and the cleaning lady right behind us.
A man from the past with a unique way to treat the people like I’ve never seen in 10 years doing my job.
A celebrity with NO celebrity attitude.
A man with a great personality that is making you feel important for what you are.
It was such great hour of my life.
We met on location at a pub in London for the interview and now I’m going back to my office at the magazine, while he’s running at the airport for another location.
I feel like I lived in the past, another life, in the last 2 hours.
Lauren: how many days a year do you travel, Joey?
JS: I’m not sure but I think the most of them I’m in some kind of a new place.
Lauren: new models every day, new make up artists and hair stylists, how do you make them work together as a team?
JS: this is the most difficult side of this job. The most part of the times we have a lot of new people in a totally new location. We have a few minutes to be a team and to work like a team, no matter what. Sometimes the budgets are really huge and we can’t fail. So, I’m not saying it’s easy but if you work with professional people you can make it and you never accept the word “enough”.
Lauren: what you wanted to be as a child?
JS: believe it or not, I dreamed to be what I am. And some of the times I pushed my life in the direction I wanted.
Lauren: how hard is it to become a successful photographer?
JS: it’s very hard. People think it’s a magic life, but it’s not. Sacrifices are a lot, you never have a regular private life and sometimes you think your skills are not enough. And also, who determines if you are successful? Life? Art directors? readers? Just yourself can be proud of what you do, no other people can tell you if you are successful or not.
The day you’ve done what you really wanted you are a successful person, no matter if you are a photographer, a worker or a dentist.
Lauren: have you ever been thinking to give up?
JS: so many times. But it’s real, we need bad moments to get focused on the targets we have in this life.
Lauren: how much do you really think photography has changed?
JS: photography has changed a lot in the last decade.
The digital has pushed the business like never before. There’s people taking pictures everywhere with smartphones and for the most part of the times those are great pictures.
There’s a lot of talent out there.
Lauren: what is missing with the photography from the past?
JS: well, everyone can take a picture with a smartphone in 1 second. The new cameras out there are fantastic tools and you hardly miss a shot.
What I’m missing is that sometimes I have on location some young assistants and they don’t really get why I’m still metering in some condition of light.
This is sad. Because to me, there’s not old or new photography.
We have to use the digital and we must follow the new technologies but we should keep photography for what it is without changing some of the basics, otherwise it’s not photography anymore, let’s call it with a new name.
Lauren: who’s the most beautiful woman you’ve shot?
JS: so many ones, I can’t say one or another. It’s been a privilege for al my career to shoot some of the most incredible beauties you could imagine to meet in your life.
Lauren: what direction do you think this business is going to?
JS: In a much more creative world. That’s what tech can helps to and we should all enjoy it that way.
Today we have the tools we need to do whatever is in our mind. And that’s gold to my eyes.
So, I love the creative direction we are taking I just hope we don’t forget what photography is all about.
Lauren: and what’s photography all about?
JS: the art to see the world, the fashion or the beauty in the way you wanna see it, no matter what. and it’s nice to see people telling other people how they like their pictures. That’s creative and of a great inspiration.
Lauren: can I call you even a blogger?
JS: no, because I’m not at all, and I respect the ones doing that job.
Some years ago people were looking at the bloggers (even people working in the magazines) like stupid guys posting a few words online.
Today the same people work for magazines with not even half of the visitors some of the bloggers have and they get a salary that is not even 1/100 of what a good blogger get.
Lauren: so what happened?
JS: people is not stupid, and they all got bored from magazines posting sponsored pages telling the readers what to buy because a brand paid for that.
One day, a girl from San Diego just wore some clothes for fun showing how and why and that was resulting very close to the readers, very human, not a business matter only.
Lauren: what do you think about fashion photography today?
JS: printed magazines have been falling like crazy, so they needed to cut the budget and that was not helpful at all. As I said the readers are not stupid.
We need to go back in time and bring back some of the great editorials from the past. We should let the creativity to rule our minds.
That is missing today.
Lauren: Cara Delevingne in an interview for Vogue said that this world is full of pervy photographers…
JS: she’s right. totally right, as much as it’s full of young girls looking just for the money and the parties, not caring about anything else, yes, this business is full of stupid people shooting models just to get a chance to finish the day in the same bed.
Every photographer in the world wants to be a fashion photographer, at least 90% of them it’s just because of the models, they don’t really care about photography or fashion and even less about creativity.
And in the 90% they can really be disgusting people.
Lauren: what about the movie?
JS: we are working on. I can’t talk about that but we are working on a script that I really like a lot.
Lauren: why celebs love that much to be in front of your camera?
JS: they laugh a lot and that’s what I love the most from the people. Personality is a matter of feelings and if you are not showing me how you smile, I can shoot you but I will never get your feelings, and that’s what makes a photography different from any other art around.
Lauren: what do you think of Kaia Gerber and this new generation of models?
JS: It’s almost 1 year that I see her pics around and some agencies send us her pics.
I believe she’s pretty a lot with stunning legs and a perfect sense of the style. I believe she can really get the success her mother had in the 90s. She’s got everything that is needed, it’s up to her and her intelligence. Because a top model is not just a pretty face and body, she must be smart enough to make the right choices, because she’s not just a model, she’s a business woman as well.
That’s always been the difference between a top model and a regular seasonal model. Hard work, professionality and level of intelligence.