Rose Callahan

Rose Callahan is a New York based photographer and director focusing on character-driven portraits of cultural tastemakers. With curiosity and empathy she makes portraits that celebrate individuality and the transformative power of style. Two coffee table books of Rose's portraits have been published: I am Dandy and We are Dandy. The books profile a diverse curation of men around the globe for whom dressing is elevated to an art.

What were you working on prior to the shutdown and how has that been affected?

Prior to the shutdown, I had just started the third book with my same co-author for I am Dandy, writer Nathaniel Adams. The book is called Rare Bird, and is all about women with really extraordinary style who create their identity through their style.

I had just started photographing really intensely—fully engrossed in it. The last shoot I did was on Sunday, March 15th. On my way home that day, it became clearer that the lockdown was going to be really heavy, and I thought, “I don't think I should do anymore.” It was time to completely isolate. Rare Bird will still happen, but temporarily postponed.

What has been keeping you inspired during this time?

I started to see some photographers doing remote shooting—one photographer out of the UK in particular, Damien Frost, whom I've really admired. His book of portraiture is called Night Flowers. In it, he showcases portraits of club kids and larger creative communities.

Early on in the quarantining, he started doing remote portraits, photographing people through FaceTime.

Faraway Nearby with @myvintageloveblog and @matthewkarlgale

Have you started any projects during this time? How have you adapted your approach?

In the beginning, there was so much fear and anxiety, which does not create a space for abundant creativity… I felt like I just couldn't dance…But Damien Frost’s technique really inspired me, and opened my mind to alternative visual possibilities. I remember that I had a projector, and I started to zoom chat with people and project the figures inside a space that I would set up. So, I started experimenting, really playing with the technique and process, and it felt as though the creativity was unlocked. I named the project Far Away Nearby to make it something legitimate that I could focus on. The amazing thing is that I can capture subjects anywhere in the world. There was this blonde couple I’ve been wanting to shoot who live in Australia, but at this point, who knows when I’d be able to go over there. However, I was able to shoot them through zoom. It's been really fun; I've done about twenty of them so far. I think it gives people a reason to dress up again.

Faraway Nearby, with Timothy and Katie-Louise @nicolandford

Has this experience revealed anything about yourself, your work, or your industry?

I always thought of myself as a very social person; I believe people are the most important thing. I always knew that having a social life was a very important part of me. But I'm kind of surprised at how much I'm able to be alone. There's so much that I miss—being with friends, going out, and all of that gives me energy…but when I started doing the remote shooting, that satisfied a part of that. It’s not the full experience, but it comes close.

As far as business, being a freelancer for twenty years, my lifestyle hasn't changed that much. The life of freelancing and doing creative work has prepared me for this time. I think this experience would be much harder for someone who is used to going into an office and being around a bunch of people all day. I think artists are conditioned for uncertainty, and are thereby more prepared. Now we’re all living with practically nothing…