NEW YORK – With work published in such top magazines as Teen Vogue, Glamour, Elle and Paper and an impressive client list including Botkier, La Perla, Mercedes Benz and Topshop, Sophie Elgort is quickly earning a spot as one of this generation's most in-demand fashion photographers. Much like her father, the celebrated Arthur Elgort, she has an eye for the beautiful, the spontaneous and the natural. Ahead of Sotheby's 3 April Photographs auction, we spoke with Elgort about her artistic idols and where she sees fashion photography going.
PHOTO: ARTHUR ELGORT
You grew up around photography – when did you realize you wanted to pursue it professionally?
I knew right out of college. I was pre-med, but once I graduated and started interning at Sloan Kettering, I decided that I was interested in a more creative path. Photography had always been a hobby. I had gone on shoots and interned in lots of different parts of the fashion industry. So when some friends of mine needed a photographer for their startup clothing website, I ended up doing all the photographs in-house. The company got lots of attention and I found other jobs from there.
You’ve described yourself as a fashion photographer – do you think you’ll want to break into others types of photography?
The way that I make a living, my commercial work, is through fashion photography. But my personal projects are more diverse. Whether it’s fashion or not, I am always drawn to pictures with people in them. Even with landscapes, I like a photograph more if it includes a person – they could be walking out of the frame. I enjoy faces, beauty and looking at people across cultures.
How would you describe your work?
I really like capturing moments and documenting observations. It’s a sort of reportage style, even if I’m not photographing a specific event. Recently a client said that they love the “youthful optimism” they see in my work. I thought that was a nice way to describe it. I’ve also heard people use the words all-American, feminine, easy and innocent.
Lot 110. Helmut Newton, Sie Kommen (Dressed) and Sie Kommen (Naked). Estimate $150,000–250,000.
How do you see fashion photography evolving these days?
There are a few things I’ve noticed. One is that models are back. You know how models used to be on the all covers of the magazines and then it started to be more about actresses – now models are personalities again. Because of their Instagram followings, they’ve become celebrities. It’s like another era of the super model. I also think that photographers are becoming more famous, too. Growing up, my dad was known within the industry, but unless you were a photography aficionado or art lover, you didn’t necessarily know who he was. Now if you look at fashion photographers like Inez and Vinoodh, they didn’t only take the campaign – their name is on the campaign.
What’s the best advice your dad has given you as a photographer?
Definitely to take pictures all the time and to be camera ready. You can’t miss a moment. He also told me that if you take just one great picture every day, at the end of ten days, you’ll have ten great pictures. I always liked that.
Who are some of your favourite photographers?
I have a lot of them. My dad, Helmut Newton, Ellen von Unwerth and Corinne Day are a few. Tina Barney, too – she always reminds me to pull from my environment and to use what you have and what you know.
To see which lots from Sotheby's upcoming Photographs auction caught Elgort's eye, click below.