Beatnik style: Mara Sommer

The Photographer's Mail talked to Mara Sommer, the photographer who shoots for D&M Hair, about the latest Beatnik campaign for the salon. The shots were entered into the Australasian hairdressing competition Hair Expo, where D&M Hair became a finalist in the Australasian Salon Team of the Year category. Find out more about Sommer in our quick-fire interview below:

Mara Sommer
Mara Sommer

D-Photo: What's your favourite part about working with D&M Hair? 

Mara Sommer: I love the creative process with Danny Pato [Art and Hair Director] and the rest of the crew. We have lots of meeting before the shoot, and on the actual shoot day everyone knows exactly what to do and has a clear idea. I think that makes it so much easier — the images are in my mind already and I can totally concentrate on my shooting and bringing those ideas to life.

Can you pinpoint a few of your favourite images and tell us why? 

From the Beatnik shoot I really like those shots where the person completely transforms once their hairstyle changes. Often you could tell the models were feeling the different characters. The body language changed. Androgyny is always a theme in the D&M shoots, but this shoot pushed it the most, and sometimes it's hard to see who is really a boy, or a girl who looks like a boy. I like that this might make the viewer look twice.

Mara Sommer
Mara Sommer

If you had all the time in the world what would you love to shoot?

I possibly would do what I do now, but spend much more time with each shoot. I saw a documentary about an old Vogue shoot — they had a month to do one shoot. They were travelling to the location, looking for the right characters, and then they had a couple of days to do the shoot. I would love to do this! Because of the limited time everyone seems to have nowadays, including me, unfortunately, I often feel very rushed on a shoot.  I dont even have time to wait for the right light most of the time, I just have to deal with what is possible. I feel those circumstances have a huge effect on how the shoot looks in the end. I would love to have the time to wait for the right light or weather, to find the perfect model for the job, and to shoot at the best location.

What's your photographic weapon of choice (favourite piece of equipment)?

I am shooting with a Broncolor Scoro, which has a very fast recycling speed. I find it very annoying if I miss a shot just because my flash wasn't ready, and I shoot quite fast.

Do you have a preference? Studio shoots or on location, and why?

I like shooting on location because I think it is easier to create interesting images. The locations give you something that is already existing. In the studio you have to create everything yourself. I like shooting in studio too, but only if there is a clear concept, and then I think you can create amazing images in a studio too.

Mara Sommer
Mara Sommer