SUNRAY MAGAZINE has the pleasure to interview to the fantastic fashion photographer Douglas Bassett
Hi Douglas Thank you so much for this interview
SUNRAY: Tell us when started your passion for photography?
Douglas: Photography is a part of everyones life from the day we were born, and we all have a passion to capture a moment in their lives. Often it is our fathers who took the photos, and naturally my father passed onto me my first several cameras. My first girlfriend added to this passion shooting her at sunsets and at lakes and small trips.
SUNRAY: When did you start being an official photographer?
Douglas: You become an official photographer not when you have been published, but when it is your only source of income. That day came fast after I moved from my small Ohio Town directly to New York City upon graduation from The Ohio Institute of Photography. My first job was an assistant to A New York Photographer who was the President of the American Advertising Photographers of America. My first assignment was to get donuts, I said I don’t do donuts, I graduated not just top of my class, and my school, and my State, but was the Student of the Year from ASPP! Your fired! Ten minutes on the first job is over! I said look at my resume, he grabbed it and ripped it up and threw it over his shoulder, shocked, I quickly asked what kind of Donuts do you like! I was named the «Kid» the fastest assistant from point A to B back to A. I toured the vastness city of New York City, meet all of his powerful friends, went into their studios and worked with them, learned greatly, it was the end of the golden age of Photography in New York. The word on the street was go to Milano Italy if you want to make it in New York!
SUNRAY: In what areas of photography do you work?
Douglas: A real Photographer should have an eye, a vision, an idea, to see the world in a different prospective, no subject should be out of his area, nothing is impossible, the concept starts with a light source, add composition. The experience as the «Kid» of New York, gave me a 360 degree enlightenment, but as a young man in the Big Apple and fashion raging around you non stop, and the most beautiful talents on the planet in one city, it would be foolish not to like fashion Photography. I followed that word on the street and got a one way ticket to Milan, Supermodels on the streets, Italian Fashions in my face, with the best of the best who flocked each season to MILANO! it was an happening!
SUNRAY: What are your influences?
Douglas: In Milano the fashion is in your face, it surrounds you, fashion bumps into you every step of the day, and night, there is no escape. The better your photographs the better the models and jobs that come to your studio. Everyone wants a great photographer in Milano, who have prestige and respect. I was given a pass to a fashion show and brought my camera, shot the show, but saw others run backstage afterwards, I followed and my first 4 photos were the top of the top supermodels, I never shot another show from the stage. I have now concluded 6,000 backstage shows, a world record very hard to beat at this point in time. It was their pure raw beauty, and glamour that has influenced me to this day. Fashion is addictive!
SUNRAY: How did your style evolve since you started with photography?
Douglas: A photographers style continues to evolve throughout their career. Communication has been my key, this opens the door into the spirit of your subject, they are the ones who must produce the final feeling of that image without this quality, the new trend in fashion has become boring, still, no emotion, static, non expressive, monochromatic. Fashion Photography is the representation of our society that we all want to dream about, to inspire us to find personal expressions and individualality. Even with the new trends in fashion, (the static image), I have created a new fashion art out of this concept. I have taken the beauty of the model and combined the essence of the designers complex design into one single image, produced in the camera, which creates a single image that can not be reproduced, or undone. One of a kind is art. I have created on instagram hashtag of these samples, #theartofbackstage.
SUNRAY: What equipment do you currently use?
Douglas: Once you spend all of your money on a camera and lens, it often becomes difficult to change system. Every photographer says its not the camera but the photographer, which is true but in digital the better the camera the higher the resolution and quality, not not the actual photograph. The lens does make a big difference, I began with Nikon.
SUNRAY: Tell us the brand that you work?
Douglas: For the last 14 years I was on a fashion team that covered all the Fashion weeks, which included each year in this order, Milano Men, Paris Men, Paris Couture, New York, London, back to Milano, then back to Paris, these repeated twice a year, then the summers men shows and Paris Couture. We went to all the shows large brands and emerging. During off season, Italy is a difficult area to enter into a large brand, connections are hard to make, even if the designer shakes your hand every time at the backstage show. Mr. Armani even said hello to me in Paris once for a mintue to my great surprise.
SUNRAY: You work with very famous and important models as Bella Hadid, how is work with that models?
Douglas: If you were making 100,000 dollars for a show, you would be quite happy with all the people, but even super models need time to see your face, see you at every show they do. What would you say for the first time to a super model? Wow your so beautiful? Can I have a selfie? No way good bye, but if you could discover what they are really thinking at that moment you cold open a very big door and get an interview. Like: hope those shoes fit, or those look tight, hello that is exactly what she was thinking, do it every show and you are friends, I asked Naomi to take a photo with a boss of security once, sent him the photo and for five years had an exclusive backstage access. Using this technique has proven successful with every super top model, being at their first fashion show week in Milano has helped greatly. Top Model connections has been an investment in time, communication, kindness, and to be helpful has worked wonders. This has proven the most valuable tool, which works well also on non top models, but when I needed them at the most important time they always provided that opportunity to photograph them well. Bella Hadid has become one of the most in demand, and our photos have produced wonderful results
SUNRAY: What means the photography to you?
Douglas: Photography is my car, my plane, my friend, my true love! Its is a lifestyle. Being in Milano its an honour. Photography is my car; I stand behind the camera and it takes me around the city. Photography is my plane; I put my camera in a bag on my shoulders and It takes me across the oceans. Photography is my friend; a walk in the park and you will never be alone. Photography is my love; there is nothing I wouldn’t do for a photograph. Photography is a lifestyle; it makes friends, takes you places, and becomes a duty and responsible to capture the ideas and dreams of those we photograph!
SUNRAY: Tell us where we can find you.
Douglas: The new Vogue is Instagram, I joined late but have posted for lost time. Hashtags are Kings and with proper hashtags you can google anything including #douglasbassett. But I have taken the high road on posting and attempted to turn each page into a series of 9-12 and form a visual composition of colour shapes and patterns, 9 posts become a new square, these have become my art within the art. #TheArtofBackstage. Along with #thebackstagecollections these hashtags are also instagram pages I follow, everyone should create their own hashtag followings, My Accounts On Instagram are @douglasbassett, @thebackstagecollections and a new page developing mixing fashion, food, and design, @milanovisualimage. these are also on Facebook along with Studio Bassett. Social media is a job, it takes work and a bit of love to nurture.
Interview by Maria Fernanda Capici
Owner Editor in Chief SUNRAY MAGAZINE
A dynamic Story of Lifestyle the way Italy has been for many decades before Covid. Fashion, is the true Italian lifestyle, it is everywhere and everything you can not escape its power and social prestige. Along with the French, a fashion show was an event far more than just a presentation of new styles, but a social gathering, a happening, the place to go and be seen.