Jaime Perlman - Art Director, British Vogue
How did you start off in the industry? Tell us about your time as an assistant to Fabien Baron at American Harpers Bazaar?
I was lucky to land a job working with such talented people like Fabien Baron and Paul Eustace straight out of University. I learned so much during that time. It was a very interesting but sad period as it was during the passing of the talented editor Liz Tilberis. I feel privileged that I was able to have worked with her very briefly.
How did you career progress from there?
I left Bazaar to work in the Art Department at American Vogue, starting as Designer, and eventually making my way up to Associate Art Director. After 5 years there, I was offered the Art Director’s position at British Vogue and moved to London. I’ve been here for 5 years, and this summer I launched an online side-project called TEST. It’s a platform for fashion film and photography.
From your view how has the industry changed overtime?
I’ve seen the technology of the publishing industry change drastically. At first, with the introduction to digital photography, and now with the emphasis on the moving image, it feels like the fashion and publishing industries are in a period of exciting change.
You launched your own website TEST in September, what was your concept behind TEST and what has been the response to this new platform?
I wanted to create an outlet for industry creative's to experiment and have their most creative work shown to a large audience, without the restrictions more commercial media can impose. And I wanted to give a chance for everyone in the industry to have a moment in the spotlight by having a question and answer for everyone involved in the shoots.
How do you view your relationship when working with a photographer?
I think my most important role with photographers is communication. The biggest mistakes are made when an artist is unclear about what is to be expected. If the work isn’t up to speed, I try to give honest feedback as well.
What do you look for in a photographer and their work when commissioning?
I look for a photographer whose work naturally translates to the assignment, whether its their use of location, master of lighting, an aesthetic, a vibe, etc.
What makes a portfolio stand out?
It’s hard to say what specifically makes a photographer’s book stand out. For me, I think it’s when someone’s work grabs you emotionally. Even though fashion photography is communicating an aesthetic or selling a product, it’s possible for these images to have strong emotional resonance.
How should a photographer approach you with their work?
It’s easiest for people to show me links to their work online. Having a good website is one of the best ways to get your work seen, as it is immediate and takes up little time and effort for the art director. If a commission seems likely I will usually schedule a face to face appointment after viewing the work digitally.
What are the most common mistakes photographers make when approaching you to show their work?
A lot of photographers will approach me with work that relates nothing to what Vogue or TEST are about. As an artist you need to think about how your work might translate into the magazine or website your work is to be published in.
Lastly, do you have any tips for photographers that want to work for you?
I think photographers need to have integrity and conviction in their work. It can be a long bumpy road to success, but self-belief will make it endurable.
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