The Business of Beauty

From social media stars to brand founders and industry pros, each month we are going to bring you interviews with guests who are experts in their fields. Not only do we value what they have to say (like, really value) but we want to take you behind the scenes into their worlds, for top tips, tricks and insider insight. After all, knowledge is power. 

First up is backstage photographer James Cochrane. Look backstage and you’ll find James among the models, make-up and mania snapping away, capturing the magic of Fashion Week. We recently caught up with him to discuss his career highlights, dreams and lessons learnt along the way. Read on for the full details…  


James & Gigi

Glittery lips for the model of the moment

What is your favourite work to date? Mick Jagger at L’Wren Scott. L’Wren had a closed backstage, only myself and the photographer for American Vogue were allowed in. I was shooting some models when I felt someone next to me also shooting with a compact camera, I turned around to see it was Mick Jagger who I promptly photographed with the girls.

Who is your biggest influence? Don McCullin, Tim Page and all of the great war photographers that graced the covers and content of the Sunday supplements in the 70’s.

What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking backstage photos? Have a wide client base, to absorb the setbacks.

Tips on how to capture the perfect picture? I shoot with a large aperture to slightly blur the skin. Models needs to give shoulder to lengthen and thin the neck, curving shoulders slightly to emphasise collar bones.


Models at...

Temperley SS19

Do you have a signature style? I like to shoot with back-light, either with an assistant or against the light with a large aperture. I like lens flare and atmosphere.

Do you regularly work with the same team? No, I shoot the shows and work with whichever characters are present. I love Sam McKnight and his side-kick Eamonn Hughes, Guido Palau, Eugene Souleiman, Duffy, Syd Hayes, Diane Kendal, Pat McGrath, Stéphane Marais, François Nars, Sally Branka.


Hair King 

Sam McKnight backstage at Burberry

What advice would you give someone who wanted to follow in your footsteps? Never complain; never explain - attributed to Benjamin Disraeli via Kate Moss.

Which backstage looks & trends have inspired you? I like a lip, we have seen very little this past couple of seasons, or a big smoky eye. Something to get enthusiastic about.


Getting lippy

James is all about the detail

If you didn’t do photography what would you do, aka ‘plan B’? I would attempt to write, apparently we all have one good book in us.

What is it you love most about working backstage? I still enjoy it when there is a connection with a model and the camera. When a model invests some energy in her poses.

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve seen or heard backstage? Alexander McQueen running out of backstage in a rabbit costume.

Any brands you’d really love to work with that you haven’t yet? Calvin Klein and Saint Laurent.

Who is your dream face to photograph? There have been so many fantastic faces. Some of my favourites are Arizona Muse, Joan Smalls, Freja Beha Erichsen, Natalia Vodianova, Daria Werbowy and Rie Rasmussen.

Follow @jamescochranephoto

All imagery courtesy of James Cochrane

The Pure Team