Sydney Claire: Fashion Photographer’s Case for Diversity

Fashion photographer Sydney Claire likes to play with angles and composition, use sophisticated lighting, and add a touch of surrealism. Her works are elegant, colorful, vibrant, and dynamic. Whether she’s commissioned for editorials or does her own artistic projects, Claire extends the boundaries with determination and faith. 

A recent addition to the MINUS ART prints collection, Sydney Claire talks about her inspiration, unplanned shoots, and life-changing experiences.

How would you describe your visual style, and when did you realize you’d found it?

I would describe my visual style as painterly with touches of surrealism. I enjoy playing with crazy angles and compositions while keeping a deep, almost Rembrandt-style lighting. 

I’d say the last few years have really been critical in finding and developing my style and aesthetic. I’ve been shooting since I was a child, but the past three years have become the defining years in my artistic practice. I feel that at 25 years old, I finally feel like I am making the type of work I want to be making. 

How do you develop a creative idea? Do you plan out your creative process or go with the flow?

Honestly, I’m just so inspired by people. I often find someone on Instagram or scout them in person, and the mood-board and aesthetic for the shoot just come to me. People and their personalities are crazy interesting. 

I’m definitely more of a go-with-the-flow type of creative. I’m super relaxed, and I like to just have fun and exchange positive energy on set. A lot of my favorite images are products of last-minute, unplanned shoots with my creative friends. 

What is a favorite piece or project of yours, and why? 

I talk about this project a lot, but I love my shoot with this woman I met named Cynthia. I scouted her in a restaurant I had worked at; she was a retired nurse who had never modeled in her life. We shot an editorial on my birthday, and the experience of making her feel comfortable and confident was life-changing. 

What I value most from our interaction is the unlikely friendship we have cultivated and created. Her existence in my life has been so critical and perspective-changing. 

What have been the most rewarding and most challenging parts of your artistic journey thus far?

I’d say that the most rewarding parts and the most challenging parts of my career go hand in hand - you have to overcome big challenges before God gives you big rewards. All of the mistakes or challenges I’ve faced have ended in a lesson, regardless of whether or not the outcome had been positive or negative. I feel life has a funny way of showing you your path through challenges and lessons. 

My biggest way of overcoming challenges is remembering my path and reminding myself that everything happens for a reason. Life removes obstacles to make room for the things that will propel you and bring you higher. 

My rewards always outweigh any challenges. I have never thought to myself, “this struggle isn’t worth it”. It is worth it times a thousand. Nothing I have in my artistic career has come easy, but it has all been one hundred percent worth it. 

What are you currently working on?

I’ve been trying to further diversify my portfolio. You think your portfolio is diverse, then you meet a bunch of amazing people that challenge that fact. I have crossed paths with so many amazing trans, non-binary, plus, and disabled models. I want to start seeing that type of diversity in magazines, ads, campaigns. Ultimately, it’s up to us as young artists to change the narrative. If we all make work about the things we wanted to see in our respective creative industries, we can change the spectrum and inspire the generations after us. 

Find Sydney Claire's fashion photography prints here.
Intro written by Monica Radulescu