We're loving Misha Taylor's take on South Africa's Rovos Rail - a video and photo-logue on the cult site Nowness.com. We catch up with the South African photographer to find out more about his journey - on the train and his new home: cruising the magical Parisian streets.
iFashion: Rovos Rail story - how did the shoot come about?
Misha Taylor: I was fortunate enough to be contacted by one of the Editors at Nowness. They have such a great team, so I was over the moon to be collaborating with them. We spoke briefly about the idea, and were all very excited about the prospect. The People at Rovos were wonderful and extremely accommodating, its a family owned business and a lovely family at that. So they were happy for me and Julie to run around with a camera glued to my face and her acting the fool. It certainly didn't feel like work. I'll never forget falling asleep in a king sized bed, looking out the window watching the Karoo slide by.
iF: You're a South African living in Paris, what is it about the city you find so attractive?
MT: I moved to Paris from New York. There really couldn't be two different cities out there. Besides the history of art and fashion, I think the anonymity initialy drew me there - I loved the way I was able to glide around the city seemingly invisible. As a photographer you always hear about the famous light in Paris, and there is nothing like walking along the river at sunset after a spring rain. The city's stones appear to glow from the inside out. Once I saw this, the hooks were in.
Of course this turned into an existential experiment as a few months down the line I really did start to feel invisible and try as I might to get people's attention to share these little magic moments, they are and will remain unwavering in their Parisian-ness. About a year after that I found a general acceptance/relief in the mannerisms of the city, I realized I was able to do as I please.One can literally walk the city naked and people will barely bat an eyelash. This combined with the previous two steps really allows for a fantastic space to be creative, I found myself having to carve a little piece out of the city to live in, and once I had, that space is truly my own, and inside it I am whatever I want to be.
iF: Do you think in order to be a 'recognized' photographer (fashion photographer?) it's necessary to live out of SA?
MT: I suppose that depends where you want to be recognized, I know some wonderful people that have made a really good go at it without leaving, and have shot for every magazine in SA. But I think if you are after a global recognition then there are really only four cities in the world where you are able to do that: London, New York, Paris and Milan. It's where all the big houses are, all the big magazines, where most designers have their ateliers, most stylists are based, and almost every major photographer has their studio. The business is about who you know, and how far you can stretch your talent with those relationships. There are so many people trying to get in that unless you are there, reminding them of your capabilities and work, you are quickly forgotten.
iF: How did you get into photography?
MT: My father was a photographer, he gave me my first camera when I was 8. I never really thought about doing anything else
iF: What's happening in the future?
MT: Work wise, I have some really interesting projects going on.... life wise, the same as always, just looking for interesting places to go and stories to tell.