After a Fashion
Your Style Avatar presents the first in a series of profiles of local high-profile fashion photogs!
SHOOTING STARS It is the glamorous fashion scenario that one always imagines: The gorgeous model attended to by a bevy of assistants armed with a rack of gowns, make-up brushes, hot rollers, and light meters. The fashion editor is stage-managing the affair, and last, but hardly least, the photographer combines all the elements into that one image that captures our attention. This is often the moment that fashion itself happens -- a beautiful model in the right outfit, with the right look that is frozen for a split-second in time. It is the moment of calculated spontaneity that photographers pray for, when a jolt of electricity tells him that this is the picture that makes careers.
The photographer is Andrew Shapter, a Dallas native, who has worked in Austin for the past eight years, bringing international attention to the Austin fashion scene. Drawn by the lack of pretense in Austin, he has zeroed in on the local flavor, refining his style to completely encompass the typically Texan, free-spirited look that is so highly prized by magazine editors who do not live in Texas. Having been a photographer for more than half of his 34 years, Shapter has done a great deal to put a face on Austin fashion photography. In a small example, he points out that through By George's dedication to advertising with photographic ads over the past number of years, Shapter's consistently successful campaigns for them have no doubt been partially responsible for the proliferation of photographic retail ads in local papers (including the Chronicle). He points to the number of stores that regularly employ photos for their ads and utilize local photographers.
Working frequently in L.A., London, and Barcelona, Shapter's layouts have graced the pages of magazines around the world, notably several times in the last year. With the plum assignment of shooting Susan Dell's collection for the ultra-swank Town & Country, Shapter is T&C's man-on-the-spot for the Southwest. Combined with the two extensive layouts in Britain's stylish Bliss magazine, Shapter is bringing the world to Austin's doorstep, rather than the other way around. His relationship with Bliss is such that he is allowed to put together his own team for the shoots, and it is promoted as such. He uses local models, assistants, and locations, and the pride he takes in his work is evident in every frame. He knows that when an editor wants a Texas feel to a layout, he will be able to provide all the right nuances to make it an accurate representation. From a shot of a model dancing on a table at the Continental Club in a Carolina Herrera gown, to the faraway eyes of a beauty shot on a stark Texas prairie, he knows how to give them exactly what they want, as well as give them what they didn't know they wanted. Though he bemoans the color reproduction of his current layout in Access magazine, the work is stunning, and only upon seeing the original prints do his intentions and vision become clear. "It is like a writer's work appearing with misspellings in it," he says, "and you rarely have control over the final product." He is adept at shooting beautiful photos of men, a rare talent, and has an extensive history working with Daily News Record, the bible of the menswear industry. While currently working out the details for a Men's Health layout, he is also in negotiations to shoot a layout for GQ. But perhaps his greatest achievement will have occurred by the time this column goes to print; he and model Rosie Ochoa are expecting their first child any minute now.
This is the first of a series of features about local fashion photographers. Look for other profiles to appear in this column soon!