Derrick Argent

Originally studying Digital Art and Animation at university, after leaving my home town of Aberdeen, I became heavily influenced by Graphic Design, Technical Drawing, Art and the music scene. Only taking a Thursday afternoon class in film photography, it was not until some years of living in Glasgow, that a decision was made to take photography more seriously. Some experience was gained working part time in a camera shop, whilst continuing with university, to gain a degree in the subject. Work was achieved through articles in various magazines, getting signed to an agency, travelling, assisting in the running of a warehouse studio, before finally having an office in Glasgow.

The artistic process taken for a fashion shoot usually starts around a month before any photographs are taken. Communication meetings are set up to gain knowledge and understanding of what the final project is going to look like, whilst trying to maintain and keep the vision and style which is close to your own and still make an impact. Working with images and drawings can be much easier to comprehend, than texts and written emails. Choreographing shoots as working visuals is more effective for me. Sending a few images via email with some notes can be much more meaningful and leads on to improved ideas, far more than a large block of text. Everyone perceives visions in a variety of ways, which can be misleading for both the photographer and the subject when shooting as there are many creatives in a room often fighting to have their vision captured as the most important. This can create chaos and confusion overall. The final product of the shoot can then be so diluted that there is no formal or original idea left, and ends up with images that may be acceptable rather than excellent. It is far better to get the main idea or design set in stone first, and then let creativity on the shoot take over, by trying out and generating new ideas.

Derrick Argent

It is hard to give an overall process to the actual photographic element throughout a fashion shoot. The reason being is some shoots may be up a mountain in winter, with the photographer having to carry half a studio, models looking like they need to be hospitalised with hypothermia and the weather turning during the shoot! This can make the equipment unusable, models uncomfortable and original plans thrown out of the window! My advice would be: know how to use just a camera properly, use natural light and a flash perhaps. It will and can save the shoot and you will also have a good story to tell after. The other side of this can be the complete opposite – in a studio, time on your side, no weather problems and some beers, wine or anything with a percentage!

I find myself motivated to create the final image, where inspiration comes from minimal design, concentrating on composition and layout. Composition is a huge part of making images really stand out, as well as the post process of the images. Being a fan of technology helps, as using certain types of software or inventing new techniques to use on images, can drive the whole photo shoot, rather than engaging simple adjustments. In a purists world old techniques and technology would be used, not embracing new techniques. However, while agreeing with this concept to a certain degree, I would feel slightly trapped with what I could achieve, in terms of the final outcome and design. When starting any project, I try to visualise the final outcome. For example, if images are taken for an exhibition or magazine, I imagine how they would look on a massive scale or in the pages of the magazine itself, where I mock up the images in the magazine layout then add text with design elements, in order to visualise the final outcome.

Derrick Argent

Photographs which I find interesting could be called fashion images but I think ‘style’ suits what I do better. I like to work with a variety of individuals for final photographic outcomes, whether they are great models, people from the music industry, artists, snowboarders… get the picture! It is always interesting to change themes, as well as moving from studio to location. Editorial Shoots can be interesting, as there is so much room to breathe and get truly creative. When designing the final layout, there may only be a small number of images with a person in them and the others may be something as simple as a collection of brick walls. What is important is making the images work together to get an overall feeling or vibe for the final image choice.

Having a problem with never being happy with my work is sometimes a curse but can also drive me to really challenge myself in all aspects of photography and design. Often it can be hard to get work published or attract new work while waiting for the next project to come together. Patience is needed! It’s hard to get over but it happens.

Derrick Argent

I believe travel and new surroundings is hugely important to the creative process. Being in the same city constantly can be challenging for creating new ideas, because there is a feeling of “been there, done that”. However, this is simply that the surroundings can sometimes no longer feel inspiring to you.

Currently, I am working out of my office at ‘The Whisky Bond’ in Glasgow, where meetings take place and the post production is completed. It’s great to finally have space to design and create as recently, my office was a coffee table and a laptop in my flat. Consequently, there would be a struggle with the tasks needing to get done. Previously, the studio which was shared with friend and photographer Garry MacLennan was a small industrial unit – a freezer in winter and sauna in summer. However, that studio is always looked back on with amazing memories which I will leave for another time.

Always follow what you believe is right for you.

Derrick Argent

All images courtesy of Derrick Argent.

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