Cailin is a Canadian born ex-model turned photographer, who is currently building a name for herself as a Tokyo-based photographer. She mainly captures female models on 35mm film, playing with architectural backgrounds and natural light. You may also know her via her former blog MODELBURNBOOK, a tongue-in-cheek confessional exposing the not so glamorous side of fashion modeling.
Here she discusses with us her love for film photography, inspiring women, and the difficulties starting a career as a freelance photographer.
When did you become so passionate about photography?
I think I always have been, it’s something I studied long before modeling. Now that I’ve given up modeling, it just seems like a natural path for me.
“[…] I sympathize a lot with the model. I think I also project a bit too much regarding what she’s feeling during the shoot.”
You seem to love analog photography. Does it add to your creativity?
Yes, in so many ways. I shoot film, but I always back it up by shooting digital, in case the film photos don’t work out. But I hate to see the digital. There’s too much information. There’s no beauty in it. It becomes very technical. I don’t think photography should be about post-production skills. It should be about the moments.
So, you were a model for a long time. Does your experience in the industry impact your work in any way? Do you feel like it feeds your photography or do you try to separate yourself from it?
Yes! Sometimes it’s a bit difficult because I sympathize a lot with the model. I think I also project a bit too much regarding what she’s feeling during the shoot. Like, oh no she’s bored! She hates the photos! She’s tired! She doesn’t want to be here! But, it’s also an advantage, I can anticipate what the girls are thinking, when they will get hungry, when they will need to recharge their mood, and what they need to hear to get thru a long day of shooting.
“The creative process is such a small part of photography.”
You are now living in Tokyo, which has a strong aesthetic. How did the change of environment impact your art/style?
I became more in love with film photography here. And magazines. There’s so many magazines. Actually, my overseas friends coming to visit made me realize that magazines might be a thing of the past elsewhere, but here they are still cherished. Japan is still very concerned with the craft of magazines, u can feel it in the paper…the design. I feel like Japan will revive the magazine, it’s still an art form here.
What is your creative process?
Lately, it’s changed. It used to be about good lighting and beautiful women. But when you want to be employed as a photographer you need to be able to moodboard. Put together a presentation. Show the exact locations where you will shoot, give examples of makeup and hair looks that you want, show the stylist what direction you want to go in for clothing. Then you need to be able to email a model agency and negotiate pay, how many (clothing) looks there will be, what the usage is for advertising. The creative process is such a small part of photography. The creative process is just me being with a beautiful human, and me getting extremely excited by being around them to the point that frantically take photos to stop the moment in time from escaping.
” […] I’ve been meeting up with women in the creative industries, asking them about their experiences. I want to soak up every bit of knowledge these women are willing to share with me.”
Which picture of yours is the most representative of yourself?
This picture is of Natalia Leite, a Brazillian film director whom I met a couple years ago working on a project. She recently came back to Tokyo and we had the chance to catch up. I had no idea how this photo would turn out, but I wanted to capture her after a really supportive and inspiring conversation about our career paths.
For the past year, I’ve been meeting up with women in the creative industries, asking them about their experiences. I want to soak up every bit of knowledge these women are willing to share with me. Everyone has been so kind and I feel so inspired by their stories. So when I look back at these photos, it’s documentation of women I admire but it’s also motivation for me to follow the advice they’ve passed on to me.