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Interview with Susana Hervas and Alex Archer

1 Can you introduce yourself to our readers?

We are Susana Hervas and Alex Archer. We meet each other 17 years ago on the Mediterranean coast, Alicante, as we were at our late university days. We both were very interested in fashion and advertising photography, we used to talk about it over a coffees. Soon, we understoodd that together we would be stronger, so we started our professional collaboration. We started from the idea that teamwork is the best way to take on the challenges presented by photography. We are based between Madrid (most of the fashion shootings are found there) and Alicante (we keep our roots, and there’s a lot of work too). 2 How would you describe your photography style?

Our philosophy is based on the search of beauty through simplicity.

Hervas & Archer create images where you can find force, color, and elegance. The fact of being a duo, a man and a woman, gives us a vibrant perspective. We are very curious too. We love to try different things and meet new people, to work with several artists.

3 How did you get into fashion photography? I (Susana), since I was a little girl, I was in love with the world of fashion, so did Alex on his side. That’s why when we started to take pictures, those were fashion portraits. At the beginning we worked with independent magazines in Spain, we were free and creative, that’s why we got some unforgettable editorials. And at the same time, we started to gain some clients and shot our first campaigns. Time has brought us till our present; we work for several magazines as Cosmopolitan, Mujer Hoy, or XL Semanal. Our work opened those doors, step by step. 4 Where do you get your creative inspiration? We get our creative inspiration from art, classic art, painting, sculpture… we are always searching. We also watch a lot of movies. How all those artists used the light, the volumes, the color… It’s lovely to learn from such amazing masterpieces.

5 Is there any artist/photographer who inspired your art? We love all the classics photographers. We have grown up with them. Avedon, Ritts, Newton, Weber, Lindbergh, Meisel, Demarchelier… Some of them are still on top today. We also love Mert & Marcus, Inez, and Vinood or Luigi and Diango as they are tandems as we are.

6 How much preparation do you put into taking a photo or a series of photos? We work as a team with a stylist and makeup & hair artist. We decide about the styling and the mood with the stylist. Then we determine the location or a background in the studio, and we choose the model who fits in our idea. Then we decide the makeup and hair, but if we are shooting beauty, we talk first with this artist to create the mood. If we work with a celebrity, we study the personality or style of this person.

7 How important is the location and the background? This is a primary question for a fashion shooting. When we decide the mood, and we want to create a modern Marie Antoinette, for example, we have to search the proper location (could be a palace) or furniture o scene props to create an ambient for the pictures in the studio. If you want to focus on styling, it is better to use a grey or white background so that the concept would be the clothes. But if you want some drama, maybe a black one can work better. 8 What advice do you have for other aspiring fashion photographers? We collaborate with several photography schools in Spain. We always encourage our students to take risks, to try everything they want without fears. They may fail, but in those mistakes, they can find further solutions, to grow up as a person and also as a photographer.

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