Behind the Camera
Posted on 18 July 2017
Models spend an inordinate amount of time in front of the camera, posing and creating some of the most iconic images and magazine covers in the fashion industry. As their careers centre around photoshoots and sets, it's unsurprising that many models choose to develop a career in photography.
Ellen von Unwerth and Indrani Pal-Chaudhuri turned decades of modelling experience into illustrious photography careers, shooting some of the biggest names in modelling and moving onto creating some of the most popular album covers in the music industry.
The newer generation of models are also turning their hand to photography; Kendall Jenner recently shot the cover of Love magazine, Gigi Hadid took backstage fashion week polaroids for V magazine and Behati Prinsloo has a website dedicated to her photography.
As more and more models choose to step behind the camera, we’re documenting some of our personal favourites and most inspiring.
Being one of the world’s first supermodels wasn’t enough for Helena Christensen. As she has grown older, Christensen has adapted her love for and history in the modelling industry into a new passion; stepping behind the camera.
For Christensen, her work and exploration as a photographer has been her greatest intrigue, where she can express her creative intuition without limitations. She's also uses her photography to better the world, documenting how climate change affects some of the world's poorest communities for Oxfam.
As she has honed her craft she has proven herself to have a unique eye for capturing real moments and demonstrated an exceptional understanding of the power of photography.
Speaking in an interview with PORTER magazine in 2015, Helena said, “When I work as a photographer, I get so excited and exhilarated I forget to breathe…I don’t ever once talk about stopping for lunch as a photographer, but as a model I want to stop for lunch like an hour into the shoot.”
Linnea Eleanor "Bunny" Yeager was a force to be reckoned with! As a pin-up girl she enjoyed an illustrious career and is widely credited for the popularity of the bikini in America. She sewed most of the pieces she shot on her models and herself, later boasting about the fact she never worn the same outfit twice whilst modelling.
Yeager entered photography to save money by copying her modelling photographs, enrolling in a night class at a vocational school in 1953. She steadily built her reputation as a photographer over the coming years and endeavoured to turn the image of a pip-up - a career with a less than savoury reputation at the time - into high photographic art.
Countless exhibits of her work have been held both during her lifetime and as a memorial after her death in 2014. The story goes that one of her images for a high school assignment was sold and the rest is history, her most famous work with Bettie Page and Playboy followed, and she worked both behind and in front of the lens for some of the world’s biggest magazines.
Her obituary called her "one of the country’s most famous and influential photographers."
Models are often treated as blank canvases, to be seen and adored, but not heard. Suki Waterhouse is part of the model set changing the stereotype. Waterhouse turned to photographer in order to regain a sense of control over her career that she felt she was losing being a model.
She prefers film photography over snapping pictures on her iPhone. "It's so exciting, because it feels like a proper memory. When you're in your 80s you don't want to be looking at pictures on your phone.”
Waterhouse explains that she uses her images as a visual diary, which perhaps one day she would like to publish. "It's a document of my life… everywhere I go I write down things I hear people say and memories… you do forget things and I don't want to because it becomes a blur otherwise."