Refinery 29 discusses modern day women and their relationships with the digital world at Industria Superstudio!

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Candy Kennedy spreads some knowledge of the photo game!

Do you think that growing up in South Africa has helped you in any way to accomplish your goals as a visionary photographer?


Even though I love South Africa I must say no.

I started photography professionally when I was 18 and left SA 3 years later and made the big move to Dubai. Even though Dubai was really restrictive and conservative in terms of fashion, I landed my first big advertising campaigns over there with Qatar Airways, American express etc. Back then in Dubai there weren’t many photographers so even though I was a baby with a small portfolio I was able to get these campaigns and learn the many important elements that are required to work and shoot with such big clients. But a few years later I made the move to Paris, now that for me was the most incredible experience ever, I started shooting portraits of rock stars, old Parisians and the most amazing looking people, and that had the biggest influence on my photography career


You are a South African who has lived in Paris, Dubai, and now New York. Where is home for you and why?


New york 150%.

Since moving to New York, I have fallen in love with this city, When I was young I watched a load of movies based in New York, and they portrayed New Yorkers as rude people, since moving here I have experienced the true New Yorker, who I believe is the most incredible group of people I have ever met. So to answer the question I love New Yorkers, I love the architecture, the grit and dirt of the city, the noise, the taxi’s, the individual style that every person has, the beer, the streets and the fact that people say exactly what they feel over here, they are so real!

Can you tell us more about your short film “What Could Have Been “? When and where will it be released? 

It will be released in about 1 month, it’s a pretty dark film, which is different to the style that I usually shoot, but it was my first film I directed, so my style is still developing. It has some really beautiful moments combined with dark moments so it has a great contrast in filming. 


It seems that you have an affinity for portraiture. What is it about taking portraits that you love the most? 

I love to combine fashion with portraiture, but people’s faces inspire and excite me. When I lived in Paris I would spend hours at a cafe watching people walk by, and now in New York I street cast all the time because the people here are just fascinating! 


Can you describe inspiration in 4 words?

Smoking, faces, tattoos and character

Coffee or Tea?

Coffee without a doubt!


Illustration by CM 

Interview by Ashley Walker 


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1. In 1994 you moved from to NYC from the UK. What inspired you to make that move and how does New York influence your work? 

I moved because the first time I came to shoot here it was obvious that photography was taken so much more seriously here than in the UK. The influence of NY on one’s outlook is tremendous. It’s the best place in the world to live…and its influence on my work is simply that it makes one realize that anything is possible in New York. There’s no such thing as no!

2. Last time you were at Industria you shot Jared Leto. How was that experience? 

Jared was amazing, such a charismatic man, eyes that you could dive into and swim for hours; And to shoot him in studio 10 was perfection! The light in that space is extraordinary, but you have to know how to use it!!

3. You have photographed many known personalities. How do you make them comfortable in front of the camera? Do you guide them to express a certain emotion that you’re trying to capture?

I really don’t know how one puts people at their ease…some people are nervous folk some people aren’t. I suppose I’m able to be just me,what you see is what you get, a fat sweaty old mess of an Englishman. I suppose that puts people at their ease.

Then you try to capture it!!

4. What are 5 essentials that make for a successful shoot day?

5 Essentials:

The ability to see the picture in your mind before you take it.

The ability to ask yourself constantly why you are shooting what you are shooting.

The understanding if what you are shooting and what it will say to the viewer.

That your subject shows up!

…And lastly some instrument to record that which you see (Camera, or whatever).

5. What other creative individuals have inspired your work?

David Bailey, Cartier Bresson, Penn and Avedon

Words by Ashley Walker 

Illustration by CM