Interview with Fashion Photographer and Filmmaker Kourtney Roy

Kourtney Roy’s striking fashion photography is currently on the cover of Aesthetica. Roy began her career with the intention of becoming a painter. However, after taking a photography course she quickly found a passion for the instantaneous nature of this art form, enjoying being able to immediately capture a scene as it was unfolding. The photographer was born in Ontario, Canada and now lives in France, and her images draw on a large selection of artists such as Jeff Wall, Guy Bourdin, Stephen Shore and Francis Bacon. This year the Aesthetica Short Film Festival launches a Fashion Film strand and Roy has also produced a number of these glamorous short films. She speaks to us about her narrative construction and the benefits of fashion film.

A: Why do you think there has been an increased interest in fashion film in the last few years?
KR: I think that this could be related to a number of reasons. I think one of the main reasons is that in the last few years various SLR cameras with HD video capabilities have been released. Photographers are now able to create their own films with footage that is half decent. In addition to this evolution in technology, social media has opened up new opportunities for advertising online. Advertising is no longer restricted to print or TV. Today, brands, designers and creatives can reach audiences in moving images, animated images, mini-films etc. I also think that smaller budgets have pushed photographers into the role of director as well, especially for smaller projects destined for web output.

A: What are the benefits of fashion film for fashion brands?
KR: It is about taking the world that a brand has created, their image and style, one step further. Fashion photography has always had its roots in storytelling, so film seems like a natural evolution from the still narrative to a moving world the viewer can become immersed within.

A: You are a photographer and a filmmaker, do you find the practices inform one another?
Yes, definitely. I would say that a large part of my influences come from cinema. Often the way I shoot is inspired by movements and shots from films. Normally when I am working on a film shoot I am regularly capturing stills at the same time. I did this in my Lady Dior film and I produced a series of the same name. I would say that my films are more like “images that move”, rather than an actual film in the more traditional sense.

A: When shooting a film, what do you consider?
KR: Money! Joking aside, I think about the same things as when I am on a stills shoot, but just on a grander scale and over a longer period of time. The one thing that is very different is that in film the images need to be scripted and have a storyboard. This is something I do much less in photography. For stills I like to create stories and references beforehand but then let an element of chance, inspiration and improvisation play a large part. With film, for organisational, time and budget purposes things need to be nailed down and constructed before we get to the set. The narrative needs to be clear, not only so that you don’t end up with a bunch of nice footage that goes nowhere, but also so that the crew and actors understand what is going on.

A: When beginning a film project, what is your starting point?
I usually begin with a drawing, a sketch that I have done or an image that has inspired me. I then turn this into a series of ideas that I try to link together and make coherent. Once I have drawn some rough mood boards I write a synopsis, which allows me to create a general idea of what I want to do and also enables me and others to critique it and modify it accordingly. It is a pretty slow process!

Kourtney Roy’s photography is currently in Aesthetica Magazine. Pick up a copy at
To find out more about Kourtney’s work, visit
To enter ASFF 2014, visit

1. Film courtesy of Kourtney Roy