Not all who follow in the footsteps of their parents succeed, and those who do often find is difficult to make a name for themselves rather than so-and-so’s son or daughter. And yet, Brian Haider has managed to escape the label of “son” and simply thrive on his own. The Brazilian based photographer creates captivating fashion editorials, weaving stories while tastefully elevating the complex perception of female sensuality. Influenced by two highly regarded creative parents, Gilberto Haider and Adriana Zselinszky, Haider’s sensorial photographs are as accessible as they are beautiful.
Portable: How did you get into photography?
Brian Haider: Despite being the son of a photographer and today remaining his assistant, my father Gilberto Haider, is one of the best commercial fashion photographers I’ve ever seen, and to whom I owe everything. I have always had the deepest respect and admiration for his work and life. I can tell you the exact day I entered the photography world, it was about 6 years ago, when I was running errands at the mall, and unintentionally spent an entire afternoon in a bookstore, browsing for hours in the amazing book “Hotel Lachapelle” by David Lachapelle, completely ecstatic and fascinated by the strong images, perfectly colored by the genius, I spent all the money I had and bought the book. No doubt from that moment on, I started to look at everything and everyone from a different angle, from a new perspective, certainly it was when I really got into photography.
P: Did growing up in an artistic and fashion-influenced environment influence you to focus on editorial and advertising work?
Brian Haider: Yes, no doubt having grown under these aspects has influenced me. My mom, Adriana Zselinszky, was a top model and today is a fashion editor and producer, extremely creative and a wonderful person. I spent my childhood traveling around the world and watching her amazing career as a model (while she worked with great photographers for major brands and designers, my father was taking care of me), and even when we lacked some money, there was always creativity and fantasy in every special occasions and holiday. Even today she can literally create a dream environment in our home during on Easter, Halloween, Christmas or New Years Eve. I grew up watching our house become scenographic, weather it was for a job or for a celebration, so I can very happily admit that I am very influenced by my mother in all aspects of my life and my photography.
P: Overall, how would you describe your photography style?
Brian Haider: I believe it is a lab style; I like to imagine my sessions as a laboratory, open to all kinds of new experiences with lights, colors, movements and poses. For me there is no right and wrong in the picture world, I just hate the idea of having something predetermined to follow, I think my style is based on improvisation, emotions and feelings. Once an advertising agent Marina Montagner from the company Symrise came to me and said my picture was “extra sensorial” and that my style was unique to perform a certain type of project, although I did not quite understand the meaning of “extra sensorial”, I accepted the challenge to spend an hour in a room without assistants and without any flash lights, shooting blind people from the Foundation for the Blind Dorina Nowills. The result was fantastic and was displayed in a recognized gallery. The fact is that I only understood what “extra-sensorial” meant when I saw one of the “blind models” I had photographed, touching one of the pictures in the gallery and literally feeling the portrait that had done of her—the photos were printed with some areas embossed on special paper. Actually the blind woman saw and understood in the purest and most simple form what was going on in my photography. From then on, I think “Extra Sensorial” is a good term to define my style.
P: A majority of your work is built upon the idea of erotic femininity, what draws you to that?
Brian Haider: Maybe I try to represent through photography something that excites me, some newly created story, or one that has been studied and researched deeply or creatively and intrigue the viewer for a few seconds, it doesn’t really matter “what” will be photographed, but “how” it will be photographed. I try to make of my photos as posters, something that teenagers would have in their room, something provocative, rock’n roll, a “visual ecstasy” and eroticism (not shown so explicitly or heavily), it seems to me a great reason to get it.
P: Who or what inspires your work?
Brian Haider: My girlfriend inspires me a lot, Tim Burton’s and Alfred Hitchcock’s movies inspire me, The Strokes, The White Stripes and Lana Del Rey inspire me, my fetishes inspire me, a scream inspires me, Kate Moss, Gemma Ward, Natalia Vodianova, the genius Nicky Knight, Mario Sorrenti, Steven Klein, LaChapelle, Sebastian Kim, Tim Walker inspire me, a beautiful sunrise, a beautiful sunset, fog, a cornfield, a mist, a road, flying saucers and aliens from the past, the Loch Ness monster, reactors and particle mills, churches, Alice in Wonderland, basically that sort of thing, people or scenario inspire me very often.
P: Do you prefer photographing outdoors as opposed to studios?
Brian Haider: Yes, I once rented the studio from a photography teacher and ended up being caught clicking the model in the ladder of the place and not using all the flashes, lights and equipment that were available to me.
P: What is different in your creative approach shooting editorial as opposed to one designer’s collection?
Brian Haider: When shooting a campaign, first I try to understand what the designer is looking for and then I try to merge my light with the concept of the collection, trying to create some kind of harmony between light, look, model, colors and scene. When I’m shooting editorial it’s the same thing, but the clothes are no longer the priority. The concept of fashion photo is in the attitude, in the feeling that the image transmits, that’s what matters. I believe this to be the difference.
P: What projects do you have coming up?
Brian Haider: Right now I have the fall-winter 2013 campaign for a brand named Alix Shop, three editorials with male models to be launched by the concept magazine ROMEU Mag, from my friend Rodolfo Rubens, a big spread with the international model Natalia Zambiasi represented in Brazil by Joy Mgmt and a crazy editorial with three amazing models that I named “MADemoiselles”.