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At the tender age of twenty, self-taught Fashion Photographer Matthew JA Payne, has already shot the likes of Kanye West and Cara Delevingne. 

After building up a solid portolio, and relationships in both London and Paris, I wanted to know what got him started and how he’s managed to achieve so much, in such a short space of time. 

What got you started in photography and was this something you always wanted to do? 

"I’ve always been interested in Art, but photography seemed to be a growing interest of mine. During school I would always incorporate pieces into my work along with sketches and paintings, however after getting refused from college and being unable to study photography, I dropped out and focused on what I love doing."

Let’s talk Paris Fashion Week and Kanye West... how did that come about? 

"After spending some time building up my portfolio and relationships in London, I landed a job at West Brands. I was working with Kanye West for a total of five months in London and Paris, he was creating his A/W 12 collection which was ready to debut during Paris Fashion Week. I then had the opportunity to work alongside editors Rushka Bergman and Christine Cenetenera as well as other amazing artists and top models." 

That sound’s super exciting, is it always this fun? Describe your typical day. 

"Wake up, answer emails. Plan on the go and become inspired by anything and everything!" 

In a toss up between education VS experience what do you think is more important? 

"I believe experience is the most important skill, of course education is a bonus however if you have an eye or passion for something, you can make it work."

Kanye West
Kanye West

How important is confidence in this field? 

"Confidence plays a big role in my job, the way you present yourself on and off set is very important." 

So how many people usually make up a team on one of your shoots? 

"The size of a team always depends on what the shoot is for, if it’s a test shoot or an editorial, it can start of as a simple 5 person shoot up to a 15 person shoot." 

How much would you say living in a capital city/creative hub like London has helped you? 

"London is an amazing city full of creatives, however I know great artists based outside of London. Take time out to visit the city, create relationships and keep an ongoing interest in your work."  

You’ve worked with the likes of Cassie Ventura, Joan Smalls, and Karlie Kloss – if you could shoot anyone who would it be? 

"This is always such a hard question to answer, but no doubt. Lana Del Rey."

Nik Thakkar
Nik Thakkar

You’re self-taught, do you have any tips for those wanting to educate themselves, and stay motivated? 

"No matter what you want to do or study in the future you can never get enough experience. Motivation is key. You'll grow to learn that you can't let negative criticism get you down. Don't be afraid to make mistakes, just focus on what you love doing." 

How important do you think self-promotion and social media is in this day and age? 

"Self-promotion is key and I personally have discovered a lot of new talents via the internet. On the go, phone in hand, checking up on the latest industry news. Social events and online portfolios also help boost a profile for yourself." 

What’s next in your fashion diary, LC:M has just finished, were you there? 

"I've got a lot of fashion editorials coming up in the New Year, more reality work and I plan to push my portfolio to all new levels. Regarding LC:M, Of course! I was there supporting Ada x Nik all the way!"

"Water Gypsy" Fashionisto Exclusive
"Water Gypsy" Fashionisto Exclusive
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