SELF TALK w/
founder of BRICK MAGAZINE
How did you know this was going to be your thing?
I didn’t really, I did BTEC in art and design at college. I was that typical art nerd at school, just loved it. Towards the end of my first year at college, we had a project focused on photography. I was convinced up until that point that I was going into fashion design or graphic design, I hadn’t even thought about photography but I really enjoyed it. One of my tutors said that my work was really good and that I should focus on photography for my next project, so I thought maybe I will! So I got my first camera, which was one that I borrowed from college a canon 35mm point and shoot. I also had a little digital camera I would take to parties and take pictures of my friends with as you do when you’re a teenager thinking you’re in skins. I decided I really wanted to do fashion photography at London College of Fashion and I got in. Growing up in the middle of nowhere, seeing fashion magazines and fashion images was really my way of getting into photography because it was the most accessible form of it. I remember being on holiday when I was thirteen seeing American Vogue, seeing these mad Annie leibovitz shoots that had all these crazy sets, I was like wow! When I was 17 it started to make sense to me, this is something I could actually do.
How did it go from that to BRICK?
When I graduated from uni, I was doing a lot of fashion editorial stuff that I got bored of quickly. I would be shooting portraits on editorial shoots, and the stylist would be like we really need to get a full look of this. But I was always gravitating to portraiture, I would always book models based on their personality rather than look. I prefered the connection with people rather than the clothes, but don’t get me wrong I love seeing other peoples fashion work. I think it just took me a long time to figure out, there are so many incredible fashion photographers but I was just not that person. In 2011, I was shooting lots of editorial I would approach them with artists, it happened with Frank Ocean. The first time he came to the UK, I pitched him to 4 or 5 magazines and they were all like “We don’t know who he is” or they weren’t interested. It happened with Asap Rocky, Tyler the creator, huge names that people just weren’t interested in. All these things that I could see so clearly that a lot of the fashion and music titles weren’t picking up on, I was thinking why are you not biting on this? I got really frustrated with that, I would go to gigs and thought I would create a scene for these artists that create such great energy. It was an idea I put on hold because I never had a full plan or deadline. Also I didn’t have money to come from to sync the project or the connections in the music industry, but I had been shooting for magazines like Clash. I said I should be hired for the hip hop editor, because they weren’t including many artists of colour and I thought there was a big area of music and culture that they weren’t covering. I worked there part time for a year, which gave me an idea of how putting a magazine together worked subconsciously. I wanted to start Brick for a really long time, and I thought if I don’t do it now someone else is going to make a magazine like the one I want to make because theres a gap for it. The hip hop artists were getting bigger and I said it needed its own thing, I took six months off working random jobs in between and saved up my money. I started putting Brick together and the first one came out in May 2015 with Schoolboy Q and Wiz Khalifa on the cover.
How do you think about the future of Brick?
Thats a tough one, I think for me print will never be replaced. There’s something special about the physical object, I don’t think it’s something we would ever lose but we do really want to start to make an impression online of really good work. So I think we want to make more documentaries and short films, making things that are an extension of the magazine and doing stuff like this pop up in Hammersmith doing talks and workshops. Which is great because at the end of the session, everyone swapping instagram handles and it’s really nice to be able to build a community. As much as Brick is about music, I think it’s also become about creativity, because we always try to commision really great photographers, stylists and hair and makeup artists. We just want to keep trying to do more things for the community that evolved around the magazine.
Have you had any issues as a woman in business?
I think little things, for example rolling up to a shoot and it being assumed that I’m somebodies assistant. I think people are shocked when they find out i’m a woman, I get so many emails like ‘Dir Sir’ which is part of the problem, because why is it being assumed I’m a Sir? But overall I’ve been quite lucky, I haven’t had any big problems I can think of.
Do you have a work life balance?
Oh, I don’t. Me and Sam are together, work together and live together. You get home and it’s not going to be a situation where work isn’t going to be discussed. Especially when it’s your own business, if you remember to do something you just think I’ll just quickly do that. There’s never really a clear break, but I do yoga and I run which helps me to clear my head. An hour of exercise may not be the best, but I try to do at least something for me every day, I read every morning instead of looking at my phone.