Suki Dhanda // Candice Carty Williams // The Observer Review

The Observer Review article / Suki Dhanda website

Anita Sethi’s interview feature on The Observer review website. Photograph by Suki Dhanda

Candice Carty-Williams is a British writer, best known for her 2019 bestselling debut novel, Queenie, which was bought by Orion after a four-way bidding war between publishers.

‘Sometimes, life can be stranger than fiction and you have to laugh about it’ Candice Carty-Williams photographed in London last month for the Observer New Review. Photograph: Suki Dhanda/The Observer
Light tests with Suki Dhanda for the Candice Carty-Williams feature for The Observer Review. Kings Cross, London

Photographer: Suki Dhanda

Assistant: Holly Taylor

Interviewer: Anita Sethi

I had the pleasure of meeting Candice alongside Suki in the Guardian’s studios in Kings Cross.
Suki was adamant on picking a colourama which suited Candice’s outfit. As an Assistant, this meant that this colourama change had to be done quickly and once the talent arrived. Safety regulations have to be considered and communication with the photographer will be reduced so preparing the space beforehand and getting as much creative direction from the photographer you can beforehand the talents arrival ensures smoother operation.

‘Sometimes, life can be stranger than fiction and you have to laugh about it’ Candice Carty-Williams photographed in London for the Observer New Review. Photograph: Suki Dhanda/The Observer

A lot of being a Photographer is talking with the stylist, producers, interviewers and indeed the talent to achieve the shots they want. As much as this sounds complicated, at the end of the day, you have a person in front of you, authentically themselves and essentially all you need. If you were on a still life shoot things would work a bit differently, the stylist and set designer take more precedent because they would have to bring and style something authentic, in this case with a model you dont have worry about that. Everything, is timing, a keen focus and trusting in your assistant. On this day, Candice asked to wear a grey hooded tracksuit instead of the blue option shes wearing to resonate with her young readers. Suki tested this and it was only after reviewing the tests did she explain that visually it would be as effective be as effective compared to the other items of clothing she brought with her, like the blue.

If there’s one thing I have learnt from Suki, it’s to be decisive and communicative. Believing your creative decisions and not second guessing yourself or others can not only bring you great pictures but also nab you fans and future clients. Believe in your talent and don’t be afraid to explore outside the box. A lot of the time the trodden path is also true to its word, and there’s nothing wrong with trusting in the people that came before you also. So either way, dont worry and let the moment happen.

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