20 Sense

20 SENSE: Kristiina Wilson, Fashion Photographer

kwportrait2011I stumbled upon the work of Kristiina Wilson via her blog, which is an expertly curated compilation of the wonders of the internet [translation: a treasure trove of hilarious pictures and intriguing images]. Coupled with her amazing finds (which is saying a lot considering how viral and omnipresent most of the great stuff on the internet quickly becomes), she posts about her most recent photography projects which run the gamut from ad campaigns for the jeweler Monique Pean (among others), model and celebrity portraits (a diverse assortment including Paz de la Huerta, Sebastian Stan, Byrdie Bell, David Wain, etc.), and dope fashion spreads for publications like Nylon, Elle, and Flaunt. Other than a short (yet epic) bio on her website, which reads, “She likes cats, the library, and maybe you,” Kristiina’s online persona is portrayed solely through imagery, so I couldn’t resist the opportunity to pick her seemingly witty, uber-creative brain.

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1. How old are you? 36

2. Describe your trajectory since turning 20 up until now (can be as broad/vague or specific as you’d like). At 20 I was still at NYU studying photography, shooting the odd job and trying to be an artist. I kept trying to be an artist for several years, until I sort of fell into fashion and realized it was a good combination of art and commerce, and that’s what I’ve been doing since. That is the short short version.

3. What surprised you most about your twenties? What went exactly as expected? My 20s were really about figuring out who I was and what I want to do and say, along with making a LOT of big mistakes. Things started to even out in my 30s.

4. Do you feel like you’ve found your niche at this point or are you still searching? I think I will always be searching for exactly what I want to say, honing that voice. For now I’m using fashion as the medium, but I could move to portraiture or documentary, although I doubt it. Never say never.

5. What did your twenties teach you about romantic love? Friendship? Just that who you are in your 20s is not who you’ll be ten years later, and the same goes for most of your friends and love interests. Everyone changes and grows. Don’t make any firm commitments.

6. What motivates you? The need to be better all the time–to make better work, get better jobs, to try to figure it all out.

7. Where do you get the most inspiration? How do you snap out of a creative rut? Travel is great for creative ruts. Walking around in nature is too. As is a good pajama day in bed with a good book and the cellphone off. You can’t be creative 100% of the time and your brain needs breaks.

8. If you had to settle for one motto/mantra, what would it be? I had to answer this same question when I joined a new medical office, for my chart. I put “I like big butts and I cannot lie.” Thanks, Sir Mix A Lot, for helping me out in two situations now.

9. Biggest pet peeve about the blogosphere and/or fashion world? I wish that bloggers weren’t sitting front row at fashion shows now, taking the place of the buyers and editors who actually purchase and market the clothing. That represents a sea change that I don’t care for in fashion. It’s more about form than content right now, which is a stupid thing to say about fashion but is also true to some extent.

10. Favorite aspect of each? A lot of fashion blogs are super supportive and help my work (and everyone else’s) get out to a much bigger audience. Most people can’t afford to spend hundreds of dollars a month on obscure, foreign magazines, so bloggers distributing the work is very helpful.

11. What aspect of fashion photography and its entire process does the average Joe [i.e. me] not recognize or get to see? I think there is a misconception of glamour associated with fashion shoots. I work with my friends and we have a lot of fun, but it’s still work. We show up to shoots in crappy clothes, shoot for opposite seasons so we’re always freezing or boiling, and eat sandwiches sitting on the floor. There is a ton of laughing but VERY little glamour… ;)

12. Favorite person to shoot so far? Favorite environment to shoot in? I don’t have a favorite person that I’ve shot, but I love shooting on locations. Studio shoots are not really my favorite.

13. Your blog is simple, but hilarious. Please pick an iii-worthy image for us all to indulge in–whether it be relevant or totally random. Ok, here is a random one from my archives…

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Be sure to check out Kristiina’s work here, and read more 20 SENSE interviews right this way.

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