Shooting the breeze: An interview with fashion blogstar Zanita
Fashion-famous blogstar Zanita Morgan attracts thousands of people to her personal fashion site daily and has collected an over 4000 reaching twitter audience, more than 19,000 Insta-fans and a wide Facebook following. Four years into her modeling career, Morgan started a blog which collects unique snaps of people, garments, and a range of otherwise-overlooked splinters of beauty. Since the 2009 blog launch, the self-taught international photographic phenomenon has immortalized scenes inside and outside the globe’s most coveted Fashion Weeks, travelled to many of the world’s most striking spots, and has collaborated with some of the Internet’s leading fashion personalities. We caught up with the Fellt network native over dinner at Melbourne’s Asian-fusion eatery, Gingerboy, about art, fashion and photography, and aside from being absolutely stunning, Morgan was extremely humble, grateful and modest about her soaring career. Most recently, she shot the latest RMK shoes commercial campaign, where, in just one day, she managed to snap 10 flawless photographs of the range’s metallic and pastel accessories. Skill.
What piqued your interest in photography?
Buying a camera! I've always loved the fashion industry and wanted to be a part of it. I wasn't until I bought a camera and decided to pluck up the courage to ask a model friend to shoot with me that that I wanted to be a photographer. It was a great day - I remember looking at my friend through the lens and deciding that this is what I wanted to be doing. Kind of an epiphany really!
What is your secret to taking a good photograph?
All the elements really need to fall into place, the right model, the right styling, the lighting. Part of being able to capture the right moment is almost instinctive, you have to feel the mood and the framing. Exercise that creative muscle. Conveying emotion and mood, a connection is also essential. I'm only interested in shooting fashion imagery with a model subject; it involves working with body language and expression to speak through the image.
Where is your favourite place to shoot?
My favourite place to shoot has been atop the Duomo in Milano but I will always be a fan of a retro suburban landscape.
What the best picture you’ve ever taken?
My favourite pictures are usually the last ones I've taken – so in this case images from the RMK campaign! I have a short attention span and get bored easily, always focused on the newest thing. That’s why I love fashion! Next!
Who are your top 5 favourite photographers/ artists?
Claudia Knoepfel & Steffan Indlekofer (they are a duo), David Bellemere, Alasdair McClellan, Hans Feurer and Cedric Buchet.
Which blogs do you follow?
Everyone on Fellt! Along with my blogger friends StyleScrapbook, A Pair and A Spare, Song of Style, Wendys Lookbook , We The People.
Do you think apps like Instagram that turn everyone – to some extent – into a ‘photographer’?
Not at all! Instagram is just a fun way to share images that when collected together to illustrate who you are, what you're interested in, what your life is like.
Would you ever segue into other areas of fashion, like designing or editing? Or other areas of photography like portraiture or still life?
Designing definitely – but not as my main occupation. I'm really not interested in any other kind of photography – it’s just fashion for me please!
Who are your favourite Australian designers?
Michael Lo Sordo, Ellery, Stylestalker, Dion Lee, Arnsdorf.
Who are your favourite international designers?
Proenza Schouler, Derek Lam 10 Crosby, Stella McCartney, Dries Van Noten.
Who are your main fashion influences?
Other photographers like Claudia Knoepfel and Steffan Indlekofer, model muses like Guinevere Van Seenus and Lara Stone, fantastic publications like ID, Numero and V magazine.
Do you think bloggers have an obligation to be transparent with the products the write about?
Definitely not. Magazines like Vogue or Russh don't feel obligated to mention when they use product sponsored in editorials because it’s a compromise on their ability to sell an aesthetic. Provided bloggers are working with brands that suit their own style I don't think it’s a problem – this is how we earn our keep. If a blogger begins to work with many brands that aren't aligned with who they are then the readers will know anyway and the blog will lose credibility.
Are bloggers journalists?
Of course bloggers are journalists! They're writing fashion commentary to readers on a daily basis. I don't believe that this makes all fashion bloggers credible journalists – but it’s not like these writers are stepping up for roles at The Australian or writing for Vogue magazine. You don't need a degree to be termed a journalist just like you don't need to be exhibiting at the MCA to be termed an artist. I think it seems like an insecurity on a good writer's part to feel threatened by the idea that a blogger would be coined a journalist.
How do you think bloggers have impacted the fashion industry?
Bloggers are bringing fashion to people all over the world who otherwise wouldn't get to make a connection with the industry. The beauty of fashion is that it can be interpreted in endless ways and each blogger is presenting their own translation of their influence – and speaking in a relatable voice. The biggest fashion bloggers are highly influential and can do great things in exposing new and upcoming designers and brands.
What are your plans for the future?
I'm a 'fly by the seat of my pants' kinda girl. Don't really like to make too many plans except to say I'm going to be travelling a lot – hopefully to New York City for Fashion Week and perhaps do Scandinavian Fashion Week's like Copenhagen and Stockholm. My end goal would be to work for my favourite fashion publications shooting editorials – ID, Numero and V magazine. Then I can die happy.
All images via Zanita's blog, which you should definitely check out here.