Louie Banks is one of Brighton’s coolest and trendiest photographers. He has photographed the likes of La Roux and the Maccabees and had his work featured on the front page of the Source magazine. All of that before he had even turned eighteen. We expect to see big things from him in the future. We got chatting to him.
ST: How are you doing Louie
LB: I was celebrating my 18th last night and the night before so I apologise that my mind is not correct as it has been damaged… I hope everything makes sense…
ST: I’m sure it will. First of all, how is someone as young as yourself already so good?
LB: Oh cheers ha… ummm I don’t have a clue really. I guess just not shooting crap stuff like ‘trees’ or ‘scenery’ helps. I don’t want to bore people or myself so I try and shoot fun things and sexy things also. sex appeals to EVERYBODY.
ST: Were you an unusual child?
LB: You definitely could say that. Firstly I was a cross dresser. I loved wearing girl’s clothes so that didn’t make it easy to be a popular kid haha. I used to carry around a mermaid Barbie with no hair and straws for arms, she was called Treasurist and apparently I wouldn’t let her go. I also used to say the oddest things when I was having tantrums like ‘I hate you so much I hope that your socks break’. Apparently I once said in monotone “I am so angry that I want something so bad to happen to you that I cant tell you what it is”. I think that’s a bit odd. I guess it was weird going from being an only child to being one of five.
ST: You just finished college right? When I was at sixth form, everyone was either taking photos of their pets, or single shopping trolleys down an alleyway with the words “urban decay” scrawled across in tag style writing. Did you ever do any of that “standard” shit photography, or were you always doing your own thing?
LB: Nah not really. My first lesson they basically showed us how to use an SLR and gave us some black and white film. The theme was mood. People came back with pictures of bins and shit. I went and got my friend kitty to take her bra off and dripped black paint all over her. I’m not sure if they liked it or not but that’s the kind of stuff I enjoy shooting.
ST: You finish college with such a professional portfolio of work, how did you achieve this?
LB: Well it really helped having loads of hot friends. I have always been surrounded by stunning girls, just by chance, and being able to shoot very cool, charismatic and sexy girls was great. It also caught the eye of the amazingly talented Dark Daze, a Brighton photographer who spotted me on flickr and asked me and some of my ‘model’ friends to come down to his studio and shoot with him. We did a shoot together and ever since then he took me under his wing. With the help of him and all of his talented friends I improved a lot. That really helped and in fact we have started a new fashion photography magazine together with some other Brighton talent called Gang Up – it’s awesome.
ST: Tell us more about this new “gang up” photo magazine exhibition that’s coming out?
LB: Oh good. A chance to blatantly plug it. Dark Daze texted me one morning asking me to meet him for a beer and that he had a proposition for me. We met, we drank and he told me he wanted to start a photography magazine with me. Obviously I was interested and he told me he was going to ask another Brighton photographer, Sam Hiscox to get involved. We wanted some stylists involved so he asked the amazing girls Emma and Stevi who are the creators of Ophelia Fancy who he had been working with for over two years. We then asked for help from his girlfriend and muse who is great at blogging and PR and all that stuff we are shit at. We met up and realised it was perfect, three guys, three girls all with similar interests, mainly photography and getting trashed, and we have been scraping together a sexy, delicately bruised glossy fashion photography mag. No articles, no adverts, just amazing fashion editorials. The launch party is this Monday but that will have already been and gone by the time you read this. So I may as well say it now, it was amazing.
ST: You take a lot of photos of young sexy girls, do you ever take pictures of fat ugly old men?
LB: Nope. I’m shallow, no denying it. I have always shot people who I find sexy. But in my defence for a good picture I really need the model to have charisma. I would shoot people less obviously beautiful people if there was a good idea behind it. For example I was going to do a shoot of lots of old men and women with an American theme. Sunbathing outside their caravans with visors and hot dogs etc but then they did an advert like that for E4 so I couldn’t.
ST: Other than other photographers, what influences you?
LB: People. I know a lot of interesting people and I love to feed off of them. I also am friends with a lot of artists and photographers, just coincidently, and it really helps. Clothes I see, people I see walking down the street, everything. Ideas just pop into my head at random times and I often forget them straight away. But obviously other photographers are the main influences.
ST: What music do you listen to?
LB: Oh god, I love music sooo much and I love a variation. My all time favourite band must be the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s and I have been listening to them for about 7 years now and am still not sick of them. I love Kate Bush a lot, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Ratatat, Florence and the Machine, Bjork, Amy Winehouse, Crystal Castles, most music with a lot of energy.
ST: What films do you like?
LB: Most Films directed by Michel Gondry. He is brilliant I love Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and he has done a lot of dreamlike films like that. I LOVE Tarantino. The obvious films like Pulp Fiction, and I watched Death Proof recently and fucking loved it. My dad is a great one to watch films with, I would always trust him to pick a brilliant film. The other week I watched Babel with him and I absolutely loved it. One of my favourite films was one he lent me called Sheitan (Satan) and I would advise anyone to watch it. It’s so fucked up!
ST: Is there anything you wouldn’t photograph?
Louie will be showing some of his excellent photographs at the Old Music Library, Brighton on Monday 24th August, get yourselves down there to drink some free wine and mingle with some of Brighton’s hottest new talent.
Words by Lutworth
Photos courtesy of Louie Banks