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Xavier Fiddes

Xavier Fiddes on the perspectives of purposeful photography

By Xavier Fiddes

Company Owner, Southern Creative Futures Ltd.

As well as shooting for a varied portfolio of commercial clients including Sky and Bacardi Brands (Bombay Sapphire, Bacardi etc…) Xavier Fiddes has turned his photographic eye to education and teaching young people photography.

His company, Southern Creative Futures, is the amalgamation of years of photography and videography experience working in London and across the south, as well as a natural creativity stemming from his childhood growing up in an artistic household.

Having launched the CIC arm of his business – Southern Creative Communities – to make a collaborative difference in the city of Southampton, Xavier’s perspective on photography is one with purpose at its heart.

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There’s a real purpose behind your photography; how do you feel that photography can make a difference?

Good visual communication is the key to driving anybody's message forward. You capture people's attention for just a few seconds when they see an image and you really have to make sure you get that image right.

These days, everyone has a camera in their pocket, but there's a skill to developing your eye and creating something that's attractive to people and really relays your message.

You've worked on a vast portfolio of projects; do you have any highlights?

My lasting relationship with Sky has been a good achievement. My first job with them at the O2 in London was in 2014 so I've been working with them to produce quality content for nearly 10 years providing a combination of photography and video work that showed off the excitement their customers had when they came to one of Europe’s largest venues.

On the educational side, I'm proud of the fact I've been able to give everyone a chance to use SLR cameras and channel their energy into something that's really good for them. I've worked with lots of young people who have anxiety or long-term health conditions that prevent them from being creative and just seeing them with a camera makes me proud of what I do.

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"I've worked with lots of young people who have anxiety or long-term health conditions that prevent them from being creative and just seeing them with a camera makes me proud of what I do."

Do you find that there’s some crossover between your commercial and educational work?

Yes, they go hand in hand with each other. The inspiration I get from those young people who take pictures and the different ideas that they come up with really informs what I do as a photographer – I feel like that’s helped me push my photography skills and my listening skills. I’m teaching them to upskill but they’re also showing me how to be better at my craft and a better human.

How has and is the photography equipment evolving?

It’s evolved massively from when I used to work in Jessops when I was 16! There was a turning point, around about 2010, when mainstream digital SLR cameras started getting better than film cameras – and since then, year-on-year SLR cameras have become an extremely powerful tool for professional and budding photographers.

The cameras that I use have gone from solely being digital photography cameras to now being multipurpose video cameras. I think the lines between photography and video are blurring: high-end cameras produce video that can look fantastic in the right hands and the quality will look even better as technology moves on.

The rise of the phone camera is an interesting one and the quality you get from your phone photographs is really good. I think phone camera technology will continue to utilise AI more and there’s going to be more integration with how pictures can be manipulated by artificial intelligence, which is both interesting and slightly worrying.

Are there common challenges and opportunities being faced by photographers?

The fact that people have got high-quality cameras in their pockets is a bit of a challenge. More because of perception of skill – mobile phones are very good at making things look good, but I don’t think any phone camera can take away the thousands of hours that a pro-photographer puts into becoming great at what they do.

It’s also an opportunity because it raises the bar on photography. Good photographers will always have a job because they’ll rise above whatever can be taken on a phone.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?

I want to be more active on my road bike. During lockdown I went through a spell of riding quite a lot in the New Forrest, this stemmed from when I lived in London, I did a lot of road cycling. There are a lot less hills here though!

I’m still a bit of a kid at heart – I like gaming. I’m also enjoying building things and DIY at home, I find that physical problem solving quite interesting.

"I think the lines between photography and video are blurring; high-end cameras produce video that can look fantastic in the right hands."

Xavier Fiddes - Company Owner, Southern Creative Futures Ltd.

Which other photographer influences or inspires you?

When I was at university, I liked photographers like Martin Parr. His unique way of capturing English culture really interested me. I wanted to be a fashion photographer, so I really liked the work of Glen Luchford who did a lot of work with Prada. My dissertation with in-part on Jeff Wall, he used to amalgamate a lot of photographs to create new images, so he was at the forefront of digital manipulation.

I watch a lot of movies and TV so filmic pieces from directors like Tarantino and Guillermo del Toro inspire me.

If you could photograph any person or place, who or where would it be?

I’d like to do more fashion photography and work with more people on location.

I don’t travel as much as I used to but if I had the means to go off for a year and take pictures around the world that would be the pinnacle for me.

Xavier Fiddes