Photographer Kal Yee: “I used to start out a lot of models earlier on: giving Marcus Schenkenberg his first booking after seeing him rollerblading in Venice beach”
08 nov, 2015
Hello World of Models, I was born in San Francisco and live in Los Angeles. My interest in photography was sparked during college (University of California, Berkeley). My father bought a Nikon F (a completely manual camera) which he didn’t know how to use, so I picked it up!
I’m self-taught so I still do everything: help with the concepts, present to theclient, produce the shoot, do the makeup of male subjects and oversee female subjects, do the photography/videography, do the retouching/video editing, draw illustrations if they’re involved and sometimes help with the layout. It’s intense but I love it!
The digital era and the impact of world economic crisis on fashion photography
I couldn’t wait for digital cameras because I retouched my images for publication and with film each frame had to be scanned. I think the technology is great but many can become too dependent on it and not develop the other aspects of making an image.
I think the economic climate for photographers has been very challenging for the last several years. One has to decide if he/she wants to hang in there and how to shift for the market. You have to love doing it.
Special moments making perfect pics
Sometimes everything falls into place: you feel this artistic excitement- your eye is more alive.
Discovering the potential models and watching them grow!
I used to start out a lot of models earlier on: giving Marcus Schenkenberg his first booking after seeing him rollerblading in Venice Beach, starting Rande Gerber (Cindy’shusband) out as a model after meeting him at a NY club, etc. I like the process. I would teach a new guy I found about modeling, take their first shots, send them to an agency, watch them grow. It’s cool.
The funny and unusual backstages´ moments
A few years ago the designer Rynshu asked me to shoot his ad for Vogue Hommes and walk in his Paris show. So there I am directing 4 guys for the Vogue Ad which is being filmed for Japan Fashion TV, then quickly changing and walking in the show. I was kind of nervous doing the runway but tried not to show it. There was this young Asian model in the show who was giving me these strange looks and attitude like ‘who’s this guy shooting the ad and now walking with us??’. I tried to ignore him.
Top 5 cool favorite places for a shooting and why
People always ask me what is my favorite place to shoot and it’s a hard question: Well. Here it goes
Tokyo: I love the consciousness and sensibility of the people
Rio: The energy is great [and the guys are Hot. ]
NY: the energy and excitement.
Paris: the beauty of the city.
IMAGE worth a THOUSAND WORDS?
I’ve begun to do more video and more work in Tokyo. My japanese clients have been selecting the models mostly- slim, attractive European looking.
I will be doing more video, work in Vegas (hotels)
And when you´ll join my world? I´m sure u´ll have a real good time under the Brazilian tropical sun!
U don’t have to sell me on Rio and Sao Paulo- I LOVE your world!
Kal Yee Photography
If anyone is interested in a copy of my book: Slide, just email me.
Interview by Ed, the Brazilian photographer