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Meet Maxwell Swift, Our Videographer

Meet Maxwell Swift, Our Videographer



Max Swift makes us look good. He’s created a signature style that translates into the images he takes, and was exactly what we were looking for when it came to capturing our Fall campaign. So we turned to Swift to help us see all of the beauty in the new season. From the shoes (of course) to the models, the movement, and the spirit and style we wanted to encapsulate in each and every image, Swift seemed to capture it like no one could. With such incredible talent, we caught up with him to see just how he does it, how he got here, and how his subjects inspire him to do what he does best. 


What made you pivot your career? 

I was always inspired by design and actually got a BA in Architecture from UC Berkeley. After college, I worked at an architecture firm for a few years, but I quickly hit a point of monotony, and decided I needed a change. I still love architecture and design, and certain principles of architecture translate into my photos, but I realized soon after getting my first camera that I loved photography way more. 
What drove you to start your career as a photographer?
I purchased my first camera (a used Canon 6D) from Craigslist in 2016. I didn't know much about how it worked, but I was so excited to learn a new hobby. I started out by taking photos of landscapes and cityscapes around the San Francisco area, which is where I'm from originally. After about a year, I was dying for some new subjects so I started taking portraits of friends. I quickly became obsessed with photographing people, which eventually led to my path as a fashion photographer. I knew nothing about the fashion world, but I was intrigued, and knew that if I wanted to make this my career I had to move to New York City. After a couple years, I finally worked up enough courage to take the leap. I arrived in New York in January of 2019 with only my backpack of photo gear and two suitcases of clothes. It wasn't long before I landed a few jobs for some amazing fashion brands, like Oscar De La Renta and Larroude. 
If you get to choose, do you prefer to work with videos or photos?
I definitely prefer creating still images more than videos, but I do recognize the value they bring to brands. I know video content is taking over, but I still get more excited to look at my favorite still images over video pieces. For me, a powerful image has the ability to tell a more complex story with less.
Where do you get your inspiration from? Whose work do you admire?
My inspiration changes based on my taste, which is constantly evolving. If you asked me this question when I first started making images, I would have said that my inspiration came from Instagram photography trends (cringe haha). In my current work, I am inspired by the process of creating an image from film rather than digital—which to me makes a much more impactful image. There are so many photographers that I admire, it would be tough to name them all, but if I had to narrow it down to one that I continuously go back to for inspiration year after year, it would be Mario Sorrenti. His images are so unique and different between each photo set, and his way of capturing the beauty of his subjects is phenomenal.
Any work you’ve done that is your favorite so far? 
Anytime someone asks me this, I never have a definite answer. However, I just wrapped an editorial with Oscar De La Renta for their PS23 collection, which I'm really excited about. Even though I haven't finished the editing process, I can already tell it's going to be my best fashion work to date. It should come out in about a month, so you'll have to check it out when it's posted! 
What advice would you give aspiring photographers hoping to break into the fashion industry?
My best advice, for anything really, is to find something you're obsessed with and do it every day. For me, that something is creating beautiful images, whether that includes fashion or not. There isn't really a day that goes by that I don't find myself wanting to capture a moment of beautiful light. I think that, if you are doing something you genuinely love, it will show, and people will notice your enthusiasm and want to work with you.


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