High up on the roof of an old factory, the crowds milling below on London’s Brick Lane completely unaware, a photo shoot is happening. Behind the camera is Dean Martindale - who in just a few years after going pro has forged a formidable name for himself in the style world, not to mention over 50,000 followers on Instagram. Today he’s shooting Carlotta Constant - British GQ’s style editor - a rising star of publishing both on and offline. We set Dean and Carlotta the challenge of photographing Superdry's autumn/winter 17 jackets range and found out more about their both inspiring and aspiring careers.
Hi Dean and Carlotta, for the uninitiated can you tell us what your day job entails?
Carlotta: Ha! It’s definitely not a day job - I can be up at the break of dawn for a photo shoot or at fashion events into the early hours. I love it. In the office, my main responsibility is editing the style and grooming pages of GQ.
Dean: Like Carlotta, my work isn’t 9 to 5. Even when I’m not shooting, I’m constantly looking for inspiration. Beating myself up about how I can improve. Then working hard to improve!
What’s the greatest thing about your job?
Dean: Literally everything about it. Getting to meet new people, working with great brands and travelling the world.
Carlotta: The people definitely make it - you meet some truly inspiring individuals, be that on your own team, talented photographers, or at GQ we’re lucky to shoot some of the biggest stars on the planet.
Speaking of stars, who have you met that really blew your mind?
Carlotta: It’s hard to choose - I’m easily star-struck, as you can probably see on my Instagram! We recently shot Ed Sheeran for a GQ cover - meeting him was amazing, he’s as cool and as down to earth as you can imagine. I also just styled and interviewed [rapper] Loyle Carner who was awesome.
Dean: Hanging out with Pharrell was probably one of my best days on the job so far - that definitely blew my mind.
How did you both get started?
Dean: I was in retail for 11 years doing menswear buying. I just lost the love for it. Woke up one morning and thought I’m going to try something new. There was something in me telling me to give photography a try. The rest is history.
Carlotta: Lots of interning, lots of making cups of tea on shoots or lugging around heavy suitcases. My first break was as FHM magazine, where I worked my way up to deputy style director, then I made the jump to GQ and haven’t looked back.
Who are your inspirations and influences?
Dean: Music is my main inspiration. It can flip a switch in my head and open up ideas for me. I usually leave it to the model to choose on a shoot but if I get my chance to play DJ, it’s always Prince.
Carlotta: There’s so many! When you work in publishing, you’re constantly looking for new ideas, pulling inspiration from music videos, Instagram, Pinterest... and I look at other magazines from around the world. Print is still one of the most creative and interesting mediums.
Dean, tell us a little about today’s shoot for Superdry - what was the idea behind it?
I wanted to show the versatility of the jacket, giving a stylistic nod to elements it might be exposed to over a typical British winter. You’ve got nature - leaves, sunlight, water - juxtaposed with the urban environment, a contrast I'm really interested in. We also created cinemographs, which I think work so well on Instagram. It’s simply one bit of moving action in an otherwise still frame, and it really captures your attention.
Dean, you work with a lot of amazing models - what makes someone stand-out?
The best do the must subtle poses. You don’t need to be moving around loads. It’s about having confidence in yourself too. There’s so many to choose from. Joanna Halpin is a pro. Also, Grace Hodge is one to watch. Oh, and obviously today with Carlotta has been great too.
Finally, where’s the best place you’ve both been to on your travels?
Dean: Miami, I had such a great time there!
Carlotta: I couldn’t pick a favourite but I went to Coachella in California this year, and it was amazing.