Posted on: April 29, 2024 Posted by: Comments: 0

Our interview with the incredibly talented Austrian-born photographer Linda Leitner, who now lives in Paris and already has experience working with most of the world’s famous fashion magazines.

The Fashiongton Post: Being originally from Austria, how did the path bring you to France? Why did you decide to get settled there?

Linda Leitner: My journey has been quite a long one. It all began with my passion for extreme sports photography back in the Austrian Alps, when I was around 17 years old. I used to travel for years for all kind of winter sports and all the destinations where you could find snow. However, after some time, I felt a longing for something more, and was missing a deeper connection in my work. I followed that instinct and started all over again by assisting several renowned fashion photographers across the world and found my own calling in fashion photography, which eventually led me to Paris in the end.

F.P.: What inspired you to start a career in fashion photography? Was there a particular moment or experience that sparked your passion for it?

L.L.: There was never a specific moment – rather, it was a gradual transition and realization coming from my experiences. Growing up, I always loved fashion and art. What drew me in and still does, is the freedom. Freedom to explore, experiment and create. I love the idea of no right and no wrong. It’s the magic of telling a story through imagery that keeps me motivated.

F.P.: In today’s digital age where everyone has a camera in their pocket, what do you think sets professional fashion photography apart from amateur or smartphone photography?

L.L.: I believe the essence of professional fashion photography lies in a photographer’s dedication to his or her craft and vision. The time we spend envisioning and preparing the outcome is immense. Whenever I plan a photoshoot, I fully emerge into the idea, my vision and everything leading to it. It is an intense but amazing process.  Also, for me personally, it’s about the presence of film photography. I shoot 90% of my time on film. I love the slow process and all the knowledge which comes with it. I’m really happy that the industry came to a point, where film and the process behind is really appreciated and loved again.

F.P.: Where do you get your inspiration from, and how do you interpret that into your visual storytelling?

L.L.: Inspiration for me is a wild mix found in the unlikeliest places. I draw it from my travels, everyday moments, and the world around me. It may be super simple and random things, which inspire me: a light situation, a shadow, a color palette, a shape, an architectural building, or a pattern. I take loads of photos with my phone and store them for further inspiration, whenever an idea sparks.

F.P.: What’s more relevant and trendier when shooting for a fashion magazine: an indoor studio photoshoot or an outdoor location?

L.L.: While studio photoshoots offer more of a canvas for creating light, which is fun – outdoor locations already bring its own story and add a dimension to the storytelling. Personally, if I would need to choose, I’m drawn to the raw authenticity that outdoor settings bring. I also love the idea of bringing a second dimension to a story. It’s not only about fashion, it’s also about the landscape, a destination, and the culture behind it. And it’s amazing to merge two worlds into one photoshoot.

F.P.: In our modern age, social media has become a powerful tool for sharing and promoting fashion photography. What’s your tactics as to that?

L.L.: Social media has been, and is, a very valuable platform for networking and exposure. I’m very grateful – it opened a lot of doors for me and let me connect to amazing human beings and creatives in the industry. On the other hand, I really try to keep it real amidst the ever-evolving algorithms and find my balance in there. Rather than compromising my visual identity for likes, I focus on staying true to my aesthetic and share my journey and creative process with my audience.

F.P.: What is an ideal strategy for collaborating with the agencies which represent photographers? Should photographers wait for an agency to notice them, or should they approach such agencies themselves?

L.L.: In such a competitive industry, proactive engagement is key. While waiting to be noticed, I believe taking the initiative and reaching out to agencies yourself is always a good idea. It can be intimidating, but could lead to opening new doors and potential amazing collaborations. This is probably the advice I would also give to myself.

F.P.: What are the advantages and disadvantages to have an agent/agency representing you?

L.L.: While I currently navigate my career as a self-represented photographer at the moment – I solely have an agent for moving image direction – I know the benefits of alignment and synergy that can come from a collaboration with the right agent or agency. For me it’s very important to vibe and match with an agent on many levels. It’s like finding your creative counterpart. Effective and transparent communication, shared visions and strategies for the future are crucial. If you’re aligned on those, it can be a beautiful symphony and collaboration, which nourishes both sides.

F.P.: What was the funniest story ever happened to you during the photoshoot?

L.L.: There are definitely a few funny stories collected over the years. I keep telling myself to keep a diary, to remember – but I’m chaotic and never started one. There’s one funny moment I can recall which happened during a photoshoot on location. Some clothing racks stood a few steps away from our set – in an obvious production environment – fully filled with the designer looks. Random passersby walked by and before we knew it, they thought it was a flea market, going roughly through all the pieces. One brave soul even asked if they could offer twenty bucks for the Chanel look. Here we were, creating high-fashion magic, only to have our designer looks mistaken for bargain finds. It was a nice reminder that sometimes, reality can be stranger than fiction in the world of fashion photography.

F.P.: Traditionally, your piece of advice to The Fashiongton Post readers?

L.L.: Create, create, create. It’s the soul’s medicine. Growth comes from reflection. So embrace the critical eye. It’s a sign that you’re still evolving, still pushing boundaries, still uncovering the depths of your artistic vision. Embrace the journey, embrace the process, and above all, never stop creating. For in the act of creation, we find not only beauty, but also ourselves.

Official site of Linda Leitner:

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