Inside View - An Interview with Salleh Sparrow

This weeks interview is from another inspiration to me pretty much from day one, Salleh Sparrow. Andy Watson mentioned her in last weeks interview but I was already on the case and had sent Salleh her questions! Salleh Is fantastic on both sides of the camera and I was lucky enough to persuade her to work with me on my Glitter concept which is still one of my favourite shoots to date. If you haven't heard of this lady then go check out her work here!!

Hi Salleh, I'm a big fan of both genres of your work, so which came first photography or modelling?

Hi Matt!  Thank you very much, well neither really!  When I was in my teens I was really into illustration but I couldn't do it free hand, I needed a subject. So I thought I'd create my own images and use them as reference. The easiest thing to do was self portraits so I dressed up, put camera on a chair, 10 second timer and ran to pose in time. 

I started loving the photography and dabbled in some editing software. After I posted a few self portraits, photographers liked my look and asked if I'd model for them and thus Salleh Sparrow was born!  Though at that time I called my self Ily Lou after my real name.  

Which role do you prefer?

I get asked this a lot and to be honest it kind of depends on the photo shoot. Sometimes I prefer modelling but mainly I prefer photography.  I love gathering the creative team, sorting mood boards,  location and outfits. I also love retouching the images that's when I can get really creative. 

You take a lot of awesome self portraits, are these planned ahead or done on a whim? 

Hehe thanks. Well I haven't done that many lately but mostly they are on a whim! Unless I have a designers bits and pieces that needs shooting. 

Do prefer modelling for yourself than for other people?

Ah well once again, that depends,  I love self portraits as the image is created by me completely and I can experiment with poses and expressions without restraint of looking silly. But I also love modelling for other photographers as they have a different style to me and waiting to see the images is always exciting! 

Do you find it's helped improve your ability on both sides of the camera knowing what each role requires!

I think so!  When I do photography I know what the model is going through. Like if were on location and it's cold or if a pose hurts to hold for a long time. I can also help new models more being a model myself.  I understand lighting rather well, which I think is pretty handy when I'm a model for the photographer shooting me!

Do you think it makes photographers and models nervous working with you as they know how good you are at both jobs?

It does hinder me slightly as I've been told a few photographers won't book me as they think I'm a ''modelographer'' perhaps they feel threatened or something which is so silly because when I'm a model I turn the photographer side off and just model, but hey its their loss, haha!  I've been a photographer for over seven years and modelling for that same amount of time so I have my own style and have no desire to steal theirs. I haven't come across any models that are put off because I'm a model too though.

Can we see an image from your first modelling shoot?

Haha of course! 

What do you enjoy most about it all?

I love being creative and making art!  It's also a great lifestyle, I meet so many new people and visit so many places all over the place! 

What is the worst thing?

The early starts and trains getting cancelled hah. I also don't like London and that's where I'm asked to go a lot.  There is also a lot of drama on this industry and you have to be careful a out who you trust. 

What has been your favourite shoot so far and why?

My favourite photography shoot was the one me and Natalie Phillips did for my birthday at shell island,  it was just me and her so it was relaxed and the ideas we had in mind worked so well. I'm so proud of those images.  I recently had a circus shoot too and that was such a great collection of amazing people! 

Any bad experiences?

Not really!  Guessed one of the lucky ones :)  

You shoot weddings as well, do you enjoy these? What genre to you prefer the most?

I do indeed!  Yes though they can be quite challenging you have to always be on the ball and make sure you get every shot!  My favourite genre to shoot is editorial fantasy. 

How would you describe your style of photography in three words?

Editorial fantasy beauty

Would you use the same three words to describe your modelling style?

My modelling varies too much to just describe it in three words I guess I'll like to model editorial fantasy but mostly get booked for simple fashion or lingerie. 

What are your favourite three images to date and why?

I rarely like my work after a day so this is tricky hah

I love my images from the ship wreck beach shoot with Natalie especially the one where I Photoshopped a game of thrones dragon on her shoulder.  

I also love the portrait me and James Minahan did with the jawbone on my face.  

I love my images from my shoot a few years back with Stefano Brunesci too!

Where would you like it to take you in the long run?

All around the world!  I want to do shoots in every country and with big cats,  elephants etc. Hopefully one day I can live from the money I make doing what I love. So many shoot ideas so little money hah 

What would your dream shoot be (anything is possible)? Modelling and photography?

I would love to do a safari shoot with big cats in the desert (model and as photographer). I Would love to do a editorial high fashion shoot In a bamboo forest too

Any tips for people starting out?

Experiment!  Take images whenever you feel creative and gave fun playing with them in Photoshop. Make friends with models and have a reliable team :) 

Anybody that inspires you?

I love Tim Walker,  that photographer is incredible.  His work always inspires me 

Whats in your camera bag?

Dust...  Haha Canon 7D, 50mm, 85mm 10-24mm 55-200mm CF cards and a spare battery oh and flash gun 

Quick fire favourites:

Website - Tumblr 

Drink - Tea

Food - Steak 

Music act - London Grammar 

TV Show - Game of Thrones 

Movie - Fifth Element 

Joke - knock knock..  Who's there..  You..  You who?  Yoo Hoo family! 

Day off  - Sunday 

Quote  - moat...

Thanks Salleh for taking this time to answer my questions. I've gathered a few of my favourite images from you on both sides of the camera. To be honest it was a difficult job as you have such an amazing body of work!