Jayden Moosa, from culinary chef to fashion photographer
When you look at the work of fashion photographer Jayden Moosa, it is difficult to comprehend that he's not only twenty-two years old, but has only been photographing for three years. Having originally wanted to pursue a culinary career, it was his friends and classmates that saw the great photography talent in Jayden and urged him to switch career paths. Now Jayden is making a name for himself in South Africa, photographing for established lingerie and swimwear brands. Speaking with him on the phone, it was impossible not to feel the passion and drive that this young South African has to take over the photography world. Mario Testino, watch out!
Have you always known you wanted to become a photographer?
I actually grew up thinking I would become a chef! I have been cooking since the age of seven. Once my aunt asked me to take pictures of her first born son for his birthday party. Since then, I started to take lots of pictures, especially portraiture. But when it was time for deciding a university, I chose to go to cooking school. I thought, I'm good at cooking, this is what I'm supposed to be doing. However, all my friends kept telling me that I was pursuing the wrong field and I kept denying it. Then, in the last six months of my college career, I finally gave in and turned to photography as a full-time career.
Do you ever regret your decision?
No, I enjoy photography much more than cooking. When you prepare a dish for someone, they'll enjoy it for five minutes. However, when you take a beautiful image, you're creating something much more lasting and memorable.
How did you transition to shooting models?
I started with portraiture, by taking pictures of my friends and getting their critique. It was then a natural transition to start photographing models. My image of a 'model' has also changed since I started. I used to think of a model as this superior human that gets treated beyond compare. The person you kiss their toes and can't make any mistakes around. However, the more I've been photographing models, the more I realise how normal they are - they're just like anyone else.
You often shoot models in their lingerie or swimwear. How do you make them feel comfortable in this quite intimate setting?
I typically speak with models in person before shooting them. I like to take the time to get to know the model and find out what they like and what makes them comfortable. If you don't build a foundation with your model, it is difficult to take the best pictures of them. I also always crack jokes and try to make my models laugh on set, that helps too.
What camera do you use?
Canon EOS 5D Mark II
What do you think makes for a great picture?
I shoot with the exposure higher than is optimum. Photographers like Gavin O'Neill choose to shoot a tad below the right exposure so that when he increases the exposure, he doesn't loose any blacks. However, I do the exact opposite. I shoot with a higher exposure to give my pictures a polished finish with maximum highlights.
What's your take on photographers such as Terry Richardson, who have abused their power as a celebrity photographer to sexually assault female models?
I find it disgusting. Terry has such a messed-up reputation and sleeps around with his his models. I've seen leaked images of him in the most uncompromising positions. And images don't lie. But the fact that he is still granted opportunities to work with these major brands, considering what he has done, is really unfair towards photographers like myself. It makes me very frustrated that there are so many talented people around, but we don't get the deserved recognition, and someone like Terry Richardson, still does.
Photographers you look up to?
David Bellemere is one of my favorite photographers. I have actually spoken to him a few times too. I typically can break down a photographers work, however when I look at David's work, I can't figure it out. I also admire photographers like Gavin O'Neill, Gilles Bensimon, Pixpop, Burnt Breakfast.
If you could change anything about the fashion industry what would it be?
The fact that the industry runs on ego and connections.