Karl Axon is a 2nd year photographer studying at University of Central Lancashire in Preston and currently living in Liverpool. At only 21, Karl’s fashion and editorial photography is already industry-standard, and this was recently recognised by a feature in Vogue Italia.
Interview by Jonathan Baker
Words by Karl Axon
When did you first realise your passion for photography?
I know it sounds cliché but I have always been interested in taking photographs. When younger it was just taking silly photos in the garden with my family’s camera, then my friend got an SLR camera, and I just loved the feeling of it. I always thought of them as being something I would never own, but I ended up getting one for my 18th birthday, and it developed from there. It wasn’t until September 2010 that I knew I could do this as a career.
I took art in college, and I’m currently in my second year at university in Preston. Although I feel that educational systems are good for teaching you the history of the subject, I feel that to truly be good (or try to be good) at your subject, you just need to go out there and do it. My photography has been predominantly self-taught, and to a certain point I don’t feel that university has affected my work.
What current projects/ideas/jobs are you working on?
At the minute I’m currently working on a lot of personal projects. I prefer having control and I enjoy the freedom of shooting whatever I want to do. I did a shoot this week for the local Echo which was fashion-based, and next week I’m going to be shooting some of the cast from ‘Desperate Scousewives’ (the new E4 program) for another publication.
I hope that when people view my work, they get a sense of high quality, or they get some sort of feeling or emotion from what they are seeing. My favourite photographers are my favourite because you can see the photographer in the work, rather than just a pretty photograph. I hope that people can see me in my work.
Do you have any favourite photographers and/or influences?
My favourite photographer is Annie Leibovitz – I love all of her work. I think each of her photographs are so dramatic and perfect and she approaches every shoot differently, and gets really involved in her work.
Have you had any work notably published, and where would you like your work to be shown?
I got published in an exhibition by Vogue Italia early this year in September which was cool, and was a good excuse to go over to Italy. I’ve been published in The Echo newspaper which is based here in Liverpool, and I’m currently trying to get published in London, as well as everywhere else!
I think that it is needed, especially in this day and age where everybody wants things perfect. By that, I don’t just mean that we want people to look perfect, everything is expected in a certain way. If you ordered a coffee but it wasn’t how you expected it, people send it back. Saying that, I think it’s easy to use Photoshop too much, but when used in the right way it does enhance your work.
Finally, where do you hope to go with your photography?
I hope that I end up being able to live off my work; if I could afford to live happily by taking photographs then I wouldn’t need much more.