Crowned as the most collectable photographers in the fashion industry, the British expatriate and artist, Simon Procter, sets foot in Dubai, UAE for the first time to exclusively showcase his collection of works with The Chanel Shows to tribute fashion’s most respected and emblematic designer, Karl Lagerfeld. The reputable persona has been affiliated in numerous projects with an arsenal of high level clients and along that journey came across the late Karl Lagerfeld who set him straight into the first project to document his latest Chanel spectacle in NYC.
Simon Procter was one of the most fortunate who got to witness behind-the-curtain of the world’s fashion legend and of Chanel and had then come out with the book entitled LAGERFELD – THE CHANEL SHOWS. In this book, Simon showcases 10 years of CHANEL’s most impactful fashion shows and also a few original images that he captured from his unprecedented access from Lagerfeld and CHANEL. During the event, Procter gives us a tour to elucidate some of his striking and beguiling captures from The Chanel Shows and also an insight into Karl Lagerfeld’s unparalleled vision and elusive personality.
Without batting an eyelid, he quotes: “Karl has been a tremendous support throughout my journey, and is one of the most pleasant people I have ever worked with.” – But that’s not all, let’s sit down and listen to more of Procter’s journey with his photography and working with Karl Lagerfeld.
Q1. Tell us a little about your exhibition and what brings you to Dubai?
This exhibition is a showcase of my last 15 years of work with Karl Lagerfeld and Chanel. I have a wonderful gallery in Europe and the 7 art galleries collaborated together and put this up and it is absolutely fantastic. I think they’ve done a wonderful job. I will be signing my books during the event and I am very proud of my association with Karl Lagerfeld and I think he was a wonderful person and I hope people enjoy seeing what he did.
Q2. Be it a person, a landscape, a word or basically any creative element that is bound to make your imagination run wild; according to you, what makes a good photograph?
II think that is a wrong way to look at it. If you look at a composite piece of music or a painted picture there’s a thousand infinite ways to do that. I believe photography is a very new medium and it’s only a few hundred years old, it’s just that there’s so many different ways if you see like a socio documented picture there is a certain kind of thing happening, so I think it’s important to firstly not treat it as what is a great picture, all the different sort of facets of photography they all have their different types of attributes. I think an image is generally just something that attracts you but more importantly it stays with you a little bit. Like you think about it afterwards and the ultimate thing is that people will remember it and come back to it.
Q3. Where do most of your inspirations emerge from? What makes you decide “maybe that’ll make a good picture?”
I think the process is much bigger than that, you have to put yourself in that position, like you’re just wandering around looking for a nice image isn’t really my personal point of view. It’s not really the way you find these things, I mean if you’re a street photographer for example there’s a little bit of a myth which would be controversial I mean all the great street photographers don’t really walk around, they have ideas and they come back and you have to build something. Maybe you have an idea or an inspiration or you see something, but at the end of the day it’s work, you go back and you re-attack it and you try it again. I am not really a fan of the idea where you wander around you see something pretty and you take a picture of it; it’s much more difficult and more of a longer journey.
Q4. Aside from photography, you are also a painter. One of your notable works ‘Rolande, Death of a Painter’ is incredibly unique. What does it aim to convey?
Yes, I trained in painting and sculpture. Well, that was a very interesting piece it was actually my neighbor who was a painter and she passed away and the family knew I was quiet close to her, and she’s been a painter for more than 40 years and her studio was just covered in paint as you can imagine and I said I want to do something and I basically used my medium of fashion photography at that time and then called Christian Dior and they sent some couture and we basically made it something like a tribute to her with the medium of Fashion photography, which I thought was very interesting, so it was very personal.
Q5. Having been affiliated with some prominent brands and eminent figures in the fashion industry, such as Chanel & Karl Lagerfeld to name a few. Can you tell us what your biggest takeaways were?
The biggest thing is being grateful, you know Karl did a lot for me, we worked together a lot and it basically affected everything. You know when people know you’re working with him it opens a lot of possibilities and also to see someone like that, one of the things that I learnt from Karl was that he treated everybody well. You know when we conduct a shoot, he would come on the shoot and say hello to all of my team members and I would come with like 10 people with me and he would take the time he would say hello to them, shake their hands and honestly, it’s a simple thing but I’ve never seen anybody I have worked with, even the stars I worked with all over the world, nobody has ever done that.
Q6. What keeps you motivated? And what should we, as the audience keep an eye for from your side as your future continues to progress?
I just love it, I love creating and for the last few years I’ve been trying to develop a future film so maybe see my future film, that’s a great passion of mine. But I like everything related to fashion, image making, photography, painting, but as per your question, a future film.