One of the most exciting parts of running a fashion brand is when you see your vision coming alive in the campaign imagery each season. It is crucial to work with photographers who can not only understand and carry your vision, but also enhance it and add to it in their own unique way. We were very lucky to work with one such photographer for our ss16 campaign.
Sonya Hurtado has worked with many of the top magazines already in her fairly fresh career. When she was still a student one of her photos made the cover of Babiekins magazine. She has worked numerous times with CWB and La Petite Magazine, she was the official photographer for Bubble London campaigns and has worked with numerous fashion labels and pop bands. She is as passionate in life as she is in her work. There is spontaneity in her photography which makes it exciting and unpredictable. Her restless nature does not allow her to repeat herself, so every project she creates is unique, fresh and innovative. She does not concern herself with trends. Her work is more of a gut feeling.
Sonya discovered photography in her early thirties. Coming from a traditional Spanish family she was expected to have a secure, sensible career as a P.A. Any creativity was discouraged. This is the path Sonya obediently followed until she moved to London in her early 20’s in order to improve her English to further her P.A. career. There she met and fell in love with her current partner Charlie, who spotted her talent and encouraged her to peruse her passion. While pregnant with her first child, and holding a full time job she decided to study photography at the University of Middlesex. Sonya finally discovered her true passion and purpose. The rest was history.
We managed to catch up with Sonya and ask her a few questions:-
How did you come to specialise in children’s fashion photography?
I started my career using my kids as models, so children have always being the focus of my career. One day a friend of mine who design clothes for kids asked me to take pictures of her collection. Immediately her garments and the imaginative and playful kids that were modelling and also the location talked to me, and suddenly my mind created a story based in these three elements and it was very exciting. I couldn’t stop taking pictures and I wasted no time to get back home and start retouching them, I couldn’t get away from my desktop to finish this story. The passion, dedication, excitement and sense of achievement that I experienced then told me that I was stupid if I didn’t dedicate my career to do this.
Your shoots are very imaginative and fairytale like. What inspires you in your work?
Lots of things really, music, film and old paintings are a good place to start, illustration books and children’s stories too.
Is there a brand that you would really like to work with?
Oh yes, Caroline Bosmans
They say, never work with children and animals. What are the challenges and the advantages of working with children?
I think we all know the challenges, you can never say to a child stay in that position!
When you work with a child you not only have to work super quick, you need to have a lot of patience but also and more important you need to engage with the kid, which it is very challenging, and you have to do it in no time! You need to have lots of energy and be prepared to change your game from one minute to the next. It is a constant mental and physical exercise.
The advantages are lots to me, once that you engage with a kid you have a ‘little friend’ to play and you laugh so much with them, some of them are hilarious and so cheeky… I particularly like the unpredictable moments, lots of the times they create the shoot because I just follow what they do, going up, going down, let’s run, let’s jump, whatever … I guess I am a big child too. Oh! And I love working with them because they keep me fit, (lol)
Do you prefer to use professional kids models or regular kids?
It depends of the shoot, but would say I like working with both.
How would you describe your style? Do you think you have a preferred style or do you try to adapt to the client as much as possible?
I am not sure if I can describe my style, it is not a forced one, I think it comes so natural that I don’t even realize I have a style…
When I work for others and are not my own projects, I try to connect with the client as much as possible, so I like talking to them a lot and get to know them well, I try to understand what they want to say with the images, I guess what I am trying to say is that I engage a lot with the client so jobs become personal and I guess that means I use my personal style. I hope this makes sense.
I can see that you often use your own children as models in your shoots. How is it working with them?
I have got two children, one is easy to photograph, the other one impossible. But I love working with them, they are my most precious models and I learn a lot about photography photographing them. Every year I do a book with the most impressive images I have taken of them, I think it is a lovely present for when they grow up to have these albums with unusual images of their childhood.
What advise would you give to aspiring children’s fashion photographers out there?
To work really hard and close to your heart, fulfil your creativity.
See more of Sonya’s fabulous work on her website