Anthony Maule: Well, you come to New York to make money don’t you?!! It’s a business here and you have to have a product to sell; that’s the message you get when you come here. London still aspires much more to the ideal of being avant-garde, so the spirit there is still much more about creation over commercialism.
I would recommend everyone go to London when they first start out just to experience it. I mean, I can only really talk about it from my own perspective but when I first went to London it was the mid-late 90’s, there was this big energy there back then. It was cool to be the poor struggling artist and I think there’s always been this general opinion that everyone has about London being this hub of creative energy.
It’s partly to do with the history of punk culture being born in the UK, even though aesthetically it doesn’t really exist on the street as much anymore. The spirit of punk still exists in many different ways and maybe always did even before it became a brand… It’s just inherent to British culture to be like, “What the hell, I’m going to do what I want.” People from all over still want to buy into that so they come, they feed off of it for a while and they learn how to be individual. London’s really good at that.
CM: How did you meet the editors you work with?
AM: The connection to Andrew [Richardson], Karl [Templer] and Olivier [Rizzo] was all through Guido, Marie [Chaix] was more of a sort of organic process. Sometimes it seems that you just meet up with people and it kind of clicks or it doesn’t. I’d seen Marie’s work and she’d seen mine, we both liked each others’ work and it sort of went from there. We met up and 2 weeks later we shot a story for Acne Paper, it just sort of clicked. That was quite special.
I have a great relationship with Andrew as well… his office is around the corner. I’m interested in what he’s doing with Richardson Magazine; I think it’s the perfect voice for him and we are always kind of throwing crazy ideas around. He’s rather subversive…he always likes to kind of subvert the flow (laughs). That’s why I really enjoy working with him, because he’s someone who will really question something over and over and I find it more interesting to work with those kinds of people. I like the way he thinks and the way he references things. It’s nice for me to work with someone who thinks like a photographer.
CM: It seems that you have your teams that you enjoy working with and have a great creative rapport with them…but there is always that one person that you really sort of look forward to working with one day…Who is that person for you?
AM: That I’ve not worked with? Big Mac….I’ve not met him (laughs). I’ve read in some of your previous interviews about this sort of cross-generational period where the new generations are having the chance to work with their icons and I kind of feel like I’ve been very fortunate so early in my career to work with a lot of my icons already. To be able to collaborate with people like Fabien and Olivier [Rizzo] already I just sort of went…off the wall, in a way. I didn’t preconceive any of that, I was just surrounded by people like Julian [Watson] and Guido who were incredibly supportive, believed in me, and were interested in launching my career…Melanie Ward is another incredible stylist that I’d really like to work with. People like that, like Melanie and Joe, they are kind of structured, simplistic, and graphic. I’m just naturally drawn to those kinds of people. I’m a bit like that kid out of that Rodriguez film “Planet Terror”…you know, the one with the toy dinosaur that says, “I want to eat your brains and gain your knowledge.” I’m just fascinated by people with experience and history in this business. I just see what we do as such a privilege that I want to use it to educate myself, it makes it feel more real for me that way. I have to say though that I’m just as interested in working with people from my own generation and younger, it is totally different but you can learn from everyone I think and especially now the younger generations seem totally in control of the future so I’m looking at working with a broader range of people now…….I’d love to work with Panos too, his work just kills me.
CM: Dream publication?
AM: French Vogue.
CM: Do you look at the arrival of digital as the reason behind an over saturation in fashion photography? Or do you look at it as the reason behind an increased sense of opportunity for people to work within the business…
AM: Well it’s postmodernism, isn’t it? That’s it. Perhaps it’s a weird term to use but that’s how I see it. That’s the world we live in now, everything is over saturated so that everything, in itself, is very modern and relevant. But it’s both really….of course there’s more opportunity now and than there ever was and digital has definitely made it more accessible to everyone, but I think we all start to see that technology is bringing something very different, very new, to the table and it is very exciting. It will force change and that’s a good thing. The people that adapt to it and embrace it are ultimately the people that will survive.
CM: You were saying print pages are being threatened as we head toward online media, yet somehow during economic threats and the arrival of the online publishing world there seems to be numerous sort of niche print publications opening up…
AM: I think that will always happen. We always need independent voices no matter what format they come in, but you know, the idea of the print magazine as a luxury item is nothing new. Portfolio was luxury, Egoiste was luxury; the idea has been around for years but I think for a while now that’s the only thing that print media has been left to aspire to become…As digital takes over, print publications will simply become more and more desirable and collectable. So that’s the point, if you can back it, it’s still an interesting time for the independent voice in print media now and maybe that’s why you’ve seen the interest, because they could see that happening and they’re passionate about what they do. Look at Self-Service, it’s the perfect example… it’s like buying a book, it’s the same price as a book!! (laughs). It’s totally decadent and embracing the times in its own way. I love it! There’s something very nostalgic about print media now and we still need those people who are obsessed with it to keep it alive.
CM: What would you say is the best way to start?
AM: At the end of the day I don’t think there is one route. I think there is the route for you, what feels right and is organic for you is your way to go. For me, the path was just very natural. I knew I wanted to be a photographer when I was 14. I was in school and I wasn’t thinking too much about my future really but then I had these tutors who, when I graduated art school, were like listen, if you want to be a fashion photographer just go to London…so I went to London. Then, for a long time I was happy just to feed off the industry and see what was out there before I even thought about what it was that I wanted to contribute. I really needed that period of experience first before I was “ready” and I was educating myself with the industry too. There was so much that was new to me when I first moved to London. It can feel very intimidating at the beginning so the best advice you’ll get from me would be to gain as much experience at the beginning as possible, stay focused on your work, and be patient.
CM: So what about now, what’s next? What can we look forward to this season?
AM: Ah, hah! Well, this season will be very exciting… lots of changes, new editors…I don’t want to say too much. It’s just all evolving and the industry is so transient, what I say today is going to be different tomorrow anyway, so that’s it. I’m really excited about what’s going to happen over the next 12 months…