Cyntia asks Steven Lee
1. What's your favourite subject when it comes to photography?
I started my career as a street style photographer, so that will always be my favourite. I loved going around New York or Paris, shooting people on their way to a fashion show, dressed up in their favourite outfit and looking their best. You can always tell when someone loves what they're wearing, it shows up in their face and the way they walk. Now that I do not shoot street style anymore, I enjoy photographing still life and being able to tell a story through objects in a photograph. In terms of what I love looking at, portraits are my favourites, and definitely something that I would like to explore more.
2. What keeps you inspired?
Looking at other people's work and what they're doing and discovering new photographers. I collect magazines such as T, WSJ, Self Service, Kinfolk, Arena Homme +, Hero, Love, and whenever I find a photo spread that I like, I always try to find the photographer on Instagram and see more of their work. I also love watching interviews of my favourite designers and listening to them talk about what inspires them, especially if it's a collection that I really enjoyed. I find it so inspiring to listen to other creatives talk about their inspirations and how they translate that into their own work.
3. Can you name 2 great movies or shows to watch during this season?
The pandemic has really given me the time to catch up on all the shows and movies that I wanted to watch, but didn't have time to. I recently started watching The Undoing with Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant and finished the whole series in a day. Other great shows that I got into were Downton Abbey, The Queen's Gambit, Veep, The Morning Show, there are so many good ones!
4 What's your advice to someone who would like to be a photographer?
One of the best experiences I got during my first job at Hudson's Bay was to be able to go on set and see how other photographers work, to see how they interact with the model, make them comfortable, get them to do what they were envisioning, see how they communicated with the hair and make up team and stylist, etc. It may not seem like the most important skill to have as a photographer, but most of the time, photography is teamwork, and it is as important to have a good way of communicating and interacting with your peers as having the other obvious necessary skills. I always recommend new photographers to assist a professional photographer in one way or the other, and to absorb everything. You always need to keep learning - look at magazines and photographs, study the masters, try to figure out what makes you attracted to an image, is it the lighting and how do you achieve it? Is it the angle the image was shot at, or the composition of the photograph?
Steven Lee asks Cyntia
1. What's your starting point when thinking of a new collection? How do you get inspired?
I believe the starting point is deep thinking and intuition. Design is intuitive, you have to pick up the signs along the creative process. It is extremely exciting and beautiful. I love reading about design and also observing the movement of objects and fabrics. That really inspires me. I think there is nothing more beautiful than a garment with movement and fluidity.
2. As a small business who is just starting out, what would you say were some of your hardest obstacles to overcome?
There are many steps involved when it comes to starting a business. The ability to keep moving forward is the most important thing when it comes to obstacles. The hardest obstacles are being able to focus and believe in your work. To follow your own path even if you are not so sure where it will lead you.
Have the trust within yourself and go on. Mistakes are there for you to make and also learn. Sometimes in design a mistake can be a solution, so keep on going no matter the circumstances and adjust accordingly like you are sailing. : )
3. If you were not a jewellery designer, what else would you be doing?
I grew up with the idea of being a fashion designer. As I mentioned before I love fabrics and their movements, I have attended classes of pattern making back in university and it was extremely difficult and I didnt have the passion for it, so I let it go. If I was not a jewellery designer I would be into the film industry, I love many aspects such as scripts, photography and music, I am very curious about it. I read and watch old cinema constantly and it always amazes me all the process behind it's a true work of art.
4. If you could get anyone dead or alive to wear your jewellery, who would it be?
I would love to see British interior and furniture designer Ilse Crawford wearing one of my pieces. I love her work and her whole point of view about design.