Chantel King: Q&A

We sat down with NERD’s beauty photographer Chantel to chat through her favourite projects, her creative push and the importance of diversity and representation not only in her work but also on set.

What inspired you to pursue a career in beauty and portraiture photography, and how has your journey from art foundation to graphic design influenced your unique style?

I began my career exploring fashion photography. I was captivated by Tim Walker’s portraits. I love his wonderful, creative use of lighting and oversized props to enhance his images. Honestly, I began shooting beauty due to a lack of finding a brilliant fashion stylist, which is extremely important in fashion. To my surprise, I find so much joy in shooting beauty and portraits and wouldn’t look back. I love photographing all skin types well and capturing the realness of a person.

Your portfolio showcases a diverse range of projects, from soft and gentle portraits to bold and dynamic compositions. What is your favourite project to date and why?

There are many favourites of mine; however, if I had to choose one, it would be my ‘Synthesis’ series. I love this series because it’s not merely a portrait, but a collaborative piece involving makeup, hair, styling, and art direction. I shot the portraits alongside still lifes, which were then collaged together by the art director to form a new portrait, hence the title ‘Synthesis.’ These portraits have received much praise and recognition.

Your commitment to inclusivity and representation in photography strongly aligns with our values at NERD. How has being a black female photographer impacted your journey in this industry?

Representation is extremely important to me; being seen makes a huge difference in this industry. I address this message wherever I can. I also ensure that I have a diverse team, whether in front of or behind the camera. This diversity is reflected in my portfolio and the stories told through my work. I notice the significance of subtle surprises from models who recognise me as the photographer, and the fact that the majority of assistants who reach out to me are women of colour. They see themselves in me, which is deeply rewarding. Additionally, I strive to pay my expertise forward in various ways.

Experimentation seems to be a key element in your creative process, from playing with different lighting techniques to exploring various styles. Could you tell us about a particularly memorable experiment or project that pushed the boundaries of your artistic expression?

Yes, I love playing with light. The shoot where I pushed myself the most was in my ‘Art of Glass’ beauty series. For this series, I held different vases in front of the lens, creating a beautiful spherical viewpoint of the image that I simply could not recreate in post-production.

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Chantel King: Q&A 22 - Nerd Blog

And finally, tell us a NERDy fact about yourself 🙂

I absolutely love all types of puzzles whether it’s jigsaws, escape rooms, sudoku, or any puzzle where I have to solve something, I get so excited and even more when I complete it.

See more from Chantel here.