It’s apparent that London-based photographer Cochi Esse is an old soul, her diverse body of work meshes the modern beauty aesthetic with a timeless vintage flair. You’ll see references to Marilyn Monroe, Edie Sedgwick and Frida in her work, as well as playful nods to other eras. Her sense of styling, color palette, as well as the use of film all lend to her overall vision. We chatted with the aspiring photographer about her process and she’s a pretty interesting character.
LF: What inspires your photographic vision these days?
CE: I would say that cinema and architecture is what inspires me the most nowadays, especially the film iconography of directors as Stanley Kubrick, Fritz Lang or Wim Wenders, the photography of Gabriele Basilico and of course literature always inspires me, such as works from the beat generation. For example Kerouac and Ginsberg, Fitzgerald above everyone else and of course Robert Frank’s photography.
LF: Your work has a modern yet jazz agey feel in a lot of the stories. Are you drawn to a vintage aesthetic?
CE: I suppose I am. I am a kind of an old soul, a very melancholic person. It also depends on the fact I am shooting in film and that certainly helps to give my pictures that vintage feeling you mention.
LF: What eras inspire you the most?
CE: I’d say the 50s and the 20s, but I have studied history of Arts at university and I am Italian, so I’d say the Italian art of the XVI century certainly inspires the study of the light and the colors in my pictures.
LF: You’ve collab’d with a lot of big mags, including Vice and Vogue Italia. What are the most important things to remember when working on editorials like this?
CE: For this question Id like to rectify the fact that the pics on Vogue.it were pics I took and i submitted to the Vogue.it section and they received a talent mention. I personally think that this platform Vogue Italia has done in the last couple of year is a big good thing ( and opportunity) for young emerging photographers especially to realize what the fashion ‘ market’ is looking for at the moment in terms of creativity. Vice is almost family for me, I can easily say that I have photographically grown into the magazine culture being it was the first photographic job I ever did and for long time, especially the musical jobs I have done for them.
LF: You use film. Why?
CE: I use film because I find it more sincere then digital. The photographic approach to the subject is more honest, the times are slower and that allows me to take my time to engage a relationship with the subject to move around it, to observe it.
LF: You’re a New York/London based photographer. Do you travel a lot for jobs?
CE: I do travel for work not as much as I would love to though.
LF: If you could shoot anywhere in the world, where would it be?
CE: I would most definitely love to shoot in Japan, I have at the moment a crush on everything Japanese.
LF: The Diesel Reboot series felt like a step into Frida world. Are you a Frida admirer?
CE: I am a big Frida admirer, one of the few famous women in art. So strong and determined and powerful yet so fragile and delicate. Her art is so complex in the feelings and so basic in the style.
LF: What gets you off, literally or figuratively?
CE: I think challenges do, when something is difficult or complicated. I love trouble.
LF: How FAST do you live?
CE: I think like everyone else I do live pretty fast, I don’t think there is any other choice nowadays. You need to be updated, reachable, always on the go, multitasking (even more if you live in a big city as London or New York), still I deliberately try to slow parts of my life down. With work for example, I love the slow times the film requires and imposes : shooting, processing often manipulating… It takes a whole week to see the first results and for me that’s more exciting then any fast result.