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.

Tall Tale Tuesday: The Numbers

Howdy sirs and ma’ams. So great of you to show up for this trek into the land of my imagination, where I put you in any type of landscape or fable I so desire. Forgive me an evil laugh *mwa-hahaha!* Last week everyone who commented picked a number, and I took that number, and used it in a tall tale. So gather round and listen to the tales:

42 the number of times Derek Hawkins has hacked into the federal reserve’s computer and changed the print so that every $5 bill had Abe Lincoln with a handlebar mustache and hat.

43 the number of times Gene Lempp, the greatest federal reserve employee to ever live, caught Derek Hawkins hacking into the federal reserve’s computer and then painted a handlebar mustache and a cyclops eye on him with permanent marker.

69 the number of cars Renee Shuls-Jacobson jumped over in her monster truck.

82 the number of days it took Anne-Mhairi Simpson to track down a mother bear who’d left her berry picking basket on Anne-Mhairi’s front porch. The mother bear was so grateful she gave Anne-Mhairi a handful of the sweetest blueberries she’d ever tasted, or probably ever will taste.

298,777 the number of seashells it took Aanna to make into a boat to get her off the deserted island she’d crashed her hang glider into.

8 the number of years it took Eden Baylee to create the spider that bit spider man. (5 is the number of minutes it took for her to regret ever making the spider once she saw what a whiny lad Peter Parker was.)

11 number countries Kathy Owen has visited by hanging onto the wings of a bi-plane. She claims it’s more comfortable than riding coach in an airliner.

100 the number of shoes JRD Skinner has stolen from different monarchs around the world. But he’s not greedy, he only steals the left one.

9 the number of traffic violations Liz McLennan got while trying to teach her blind neighbor how to drive. You’d think the police should be more understanding of someone trying to do a good deed!

16 the number of times Tiffany A White has been mistaken for Marilyn Monroe. “You have her eyes and her demeanor,” they all tell her, which is why she always refuses to take Nembutal.

Infinity the symbol Lynn Kelley found on some alien technology she discovered in the desert of Tanzania. She hopes it signifies the number of days it will be before the alien’s return.

888 the number of motorcycles Jesse had to buy before he found the one that was just right for him. “Motorcycles are like wands,” he said, “The master doesn’t choose the motorcycles, rather the motorcycle chooses the master.”

13 the age of Billie Joe Woods when she received her first Nobel Peace Prize for discovering the way to end tribal warfare. I didn’t get through her whole thesis, but I know that it involves jumping rope and garlic pretzels.

square root of pi X the number of molecules in an average cat whisker is what Sonia G. Medeiros said was her favorite number during her TIME interview, which made her an instant celebrity to the molecular physicist and cat lovers.

101 the number of times Emilie G had to repeat the words “nuclear” to a certain president before he started saying it right.

99 the number of baths Annie, the ultra-famous skunk photographer, must take after one of her expeditions.

That was great fun! Let’s do it again!

Head and shoulders knees and toes! Leave a body part (keep it PG, sirs and ma’ams) in the comments below and you’ll win your very own tall tale in two weeks time (will be posting tall tales every other week from now on).

Have a good day! Stay reals.


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