Ethan Covey is a Vermont-born, Brooklyn-based portrait and travel photographer. This is Ethan’s second feature on herbeautymag, check the first one here.
How did the idea for the series come about?
Kate and I were connected via Instagram. We’d been appreciators of each other’s work and had chatted about wanting to collaborate. Eventually, there was a weekend when Kate was in NYC and our schedules lined up. I had the location and an idea in mind for a set of images that contrasted the rather regal setting with clean, minimal portraits showcasing Kate’s look. I’m very pleased with how the set turned out.
How do you approach these intimate shoots?
Comfort and open collaboration. When there’s time, I like spending a little while chatting before we start taking photos. I like getting to know the people I work with, and establishing a level of comfort is necessary in order to get unguarded images. I also really enjoy bouncing ideas back and forth with the model. Whereas I usually have a general idea as to the look and feel of a shoot, few things make me happier than reaching a point with the other person where we are bouncing ideas off of one another and truly creating together.
Why did you choose medium format film for this particular shoot?
There’s this cliche that once a photographer begins experimenting with medium format, 35mm film seems so underwhelming. That’s pretty much been my experience. Medium format film is so beautiful. The qualities of light and shadow get accentuated in a way I really love. Also, there’s the issue of how many frames you have to work with. With the camera I used for this series, I can get 15 images per roll of 120mm film. I find that limit causes the model and me to be more in sync, more creative and attuned to making each shot as expressive as possible. It’s a challenge I enjoy and one I find greatly refreshing—particularly when compared to shooting digitally.
Does living in NYC inspire your work?
Absolutely. Yet NYC can be such a swirl of stimuli that escaping is a necessary palate cleanser. Additionally, travel and the variance of light that comes with new places is such an important aspect of my work. I’m always searching for fresh spots where the day presents itself in a different way: capturing that, that’s my hunt.
What’s next for you?
First, thanks to herbeautymag for the continued support. I really appreciate it. As for work, I have a number of projects in progress at the moment—both portraits and fine art work. This fall is already busy with travels to a number of spots where I’m really excited to shoot. I’m keeping busy and staying inspired.