What I Want To Be When I Grow Up: Fashion Photographer

I hear a lot of students are having a hard time deciding on a major. I hear a lot of grown ups talk about hating their jobs. So here it is: a series of interviews about What I Want To Be When I Grow Up. This is here to help people decide what occupation they want to occupy. Or, it’s here to help people resurrect their dreams of being a rickshaw driver or a lightbulb tester.

First occupation in the spotlight: A Spook.

Second occupation in the spotlight: An Archeologist.

Third occupation: A Writer

Fourth occupation: A Scientist

Fifth occupation: A Stay-At-Home-Parent

Sixth occupation: Doctor Dorian from Deadliest Warrior

Seventh occupation: A Zookeeper

You know the old Irish saying: “A picture is worth at least three potatoes and a head of cabbage.” Erm … uh, that’s not it! I mean … “A picture is worth a thousand words.” That’s right! So instead of introducing the dynamic and artistic Cody Bess who is an American photographer working in New York City and Los Angeles, and residing in Houston, Texas, specializing in Fashion, Editorial, and Entertainment photography, and the proud daddy of a brand new baby …. um, where was I? Oh yeah, instead of introducing him I’ll just show you some of his amazing work. And if you’re not convinced of his top talent and want to become a fashion photographer yourself by the end of the slide show…then obviously you have dial up internet and the pictures aren’t loading.
And now, let’s hear it from the man himself. May I introduce you to, Cody Bess, photographer:
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I have always had an interested in building and creating things.  When I was younger, I always envisioned myself being an Architect.  It fit well with me being able to dream up ideas, draw them out, and start creating.  This was before I learned there could be a future and career in the arts world.  As soon as I learned I could be taking photographs and creating art for a living, I was sold.
In this day and age of photoshopped models, plastic surgery, and cyborgs (they DO walk among us), what is your view on enhanced beauty vs. au naturale?
This is a very difficult question to answer, especially in the entertainment and fashion industry.  Personally I am all for natural beauty, but commercial job scenarios are different.  Especially while defining beauty in the fashion and entertainment worlds.  Everyone, and every client has a different “ideal”.  Depending on the job assignment,  the final product may call for flawless skin, flawless body, etc…  While other assignments call for capturing the raw natural beauty of a subject.  Photoshop is an extremely important tool to know while trying to meet expectations of your clients.  Knowing that I can finishan image to a client’s expectations, as well as my own expectations is very important.  Now, cyborgs…. don’t even get me started… :)
Model or . . . cyborg?
Who are some of your fashion photographer heroes?
Some of the photographers I have always admired are Steven Meisel, Patrick Demarchelier, and Norman Jean Roy.
Steven Meisel (self-photographed)
Patrick Demarchelier (photo by Victor Demarchelier)
Norman Jean Roy (pic from Vanity Fair’s contributor’s page)
What do you love about your work?
What I love about being in a creative profession is that you HAVE to come up with new ideas, and different ways of conveying a message.  It is hard for me to stay focused on one thing for too long, so this profession is perfect for me!  Each job can be so different, so every day takes me in a different direction.  Whether it be a studio fashion assignment or documentary work,  the variety is the most exciting part!
What do you not love about your work?
Generally speaking, I love what I do.  But hours do get a bit crazy at some points.  So, starting a family and figuring out scheduling is definitely a part I do not like.
If a kid wanted to become a fashion photographer when he/she grew up, what would you tell them to do while they’re young?
I would tell them to shoot as much possible.  The best way to learn is by trial and error.  Some of the most valuable lessons and tricks I have learned have been while on set of shoots.  Personal work is the absolute best way to learn how to accomplish certain styles and be able to have to confidence to carry them out if a client calls wanting your work.
What have been some of your favorite photo shoots?
My favorite photo shoots are the ones that carry the most pressure.  I love the challenge.  I recently have been shooting cast promo photos for TV shows, which come with a lot of pressure from producers, deadlines, etc…  This coming weekend I am shooting in Miami for Vh1 that will have a live broadcast of the photo shoot as well.  So, the more pressure the better!  Definitely may end up being a favorite.
Basketball Wives L.A. Vh1
I love your Street Portraits. And when I say love, I mean adore. They are so great. This wasn’t a question. Just a statement saying that everyone should go check them out !!! 
List 3 things you’d love to have in your future regarding your career.
-I would love to be represented by a great agency within the next couple of years.
-Make my way into the more mainstream fashion magazines.
-I would love to have published my first book within a few years as well.
Generally speaking, what type of personality traits should fashion photographers possess?
I feel the most important personality traits to posses while trying to “make it” as any type of artist are self motivation and confidence.  Artist will always have to keep producing new work, whether commissioned or personal work.  It is so easy to become lazy about creating new work, but new fresh work is what keeps artist current and working.  Also, you must have the confidence to stand behind your work and let people know you can accomplish a client’s vision.  Photography is a very competitive industry, so you have to be able to stand above your competition.
Thank you, Cody tha Best … I mean, Cody Bess! Go check out all the rest of his amazing pictures. And for goodness sake follow him on twitter and Facebook.
And now I have a special treat for y’all!
Here’s a phenomenal film directed by Scott Brignac, and guess who the director of photography is? If you guessed Cody Bess then you are RIGHT! Self-Sabotage is a cycle of short-films composed for Derek Webb’s FEEDBACK. It’s beautiful, breathtaking, alive … a stirring work of art.

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