"I tried to explain to her that everything I wanted to do was kind of with feeling. So, if she put on a piece of clothing and it made her feel a certain way, then I wanted her to express that and play with that, and I would capture it. And she was like, 'Oh that's funny, because my name translated into English means feelings', which was really just a nice coincidence. And she totally got what I meant by that, and we collaborated really well in that way."
Working with the theme of done and undone, Ward sought to embrace the movement and in-between moments of Aouatif responding to the clothes. It's indicative of how she likes to work - intimately and sensitively, moving away from artifice and seeking to ground her work in reality. Using only daylight and working with slower shutter speeds, the resulting images have a playfulness which never veers into fantasy, which she is keen to avoid. She likes to make work that feels believable. In the case of fashion, she admits that this can sometimes be more difficult, but comes down to working with a team engaged in creating something together in the best way. She loves being able to incorporate different creative inputs from the team she works with, such as the blond hair woven into Aouatif's braids. Adding more texture and definition, details such as this served to elevate existing features, but also created something different to how the model had been shot before.
The angles in Ward's work are often unexpected and she does not shy away from getting too close to her subjects. If anything, the closer she gets, the more she feels that she gets from the person. When discussing artists that inspire her, she mentions photographer Mark Cohen, whose distinct style of street photography captured people in close proximity, cropping and revealing in an often disquieting way. Cohen achieved this by shooting with a wide angle lens but getting his camera as close as possible to his subject, a method that Ward also likes to work with. But where this can come across as brash and invasive in Cohen's work, in Ward's images, it reads as a gentle but assertive curiosity. She is not afraid of intensity in her search to get close to the people she photographs, yet it's clear to see how comfortable her subjects feel with her behind the lens.
"I really like playing with angles where you feel like you are the person, somehow. A lot of the time, I would like to take away the paper so that you would feel like you're really there. That's what I always wanted to do with imagery, or fashion imagery or portraits, to make the person looking at them feel like they're actually physically there. So that's why I play with those funny angles, get really close to people."
Originally from a fine art background, Ward applies this artistic approach to her work, which spans across portraiture, fashion and documentary. Whether shooting a model in beautiful clothes or images of someone in their home, she seeks to build a connection with other people and capture something real and human with each interaction. Moments captured on walks or whilst travelling can often inspire collaborations with brands, and she enjoys finding ways to balance her vision and aesthetic with the demands that come from working with different creatives in a fashion environment. You can find more of her work on her website and Instagram.
Model: Aouatif Saadi at Select Model Management
Styling: Josefine Englund
Makeup: Carolyn Gallyer
Hair: Terri Capon at Stella Creative Artists
Fashion assistant: Venetia Tyler