Petra Collins was a teenager when she first picked up a 35mm camera, not knowing much about the device or the industry that revolved around it. According to the 29-year-old Toronto, Canada native, she “never learned the basics,” leaving her to explore media as her own teacher – a journey that has now become a reality. into a famous commercial and editorial career (she was photographed for Gucci, Adidas, Vogue, New York Times, CR fashion book and more) and made her known for her signature 2010s style of photography.
“When I took a photography class as a young person, I never felt anything poignant; It feels like I didn’t learn how to take pictures,” Collins said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “When I found alternative ways of learning, it really helped with my practice.”
Today, the educational streaming platform MasterClass announced Collins as one of the newest instructors in their “Session” initiative; The 30-day curriculum, pre-recorded and divided into five sections of three to four 10-minute lessons, is available to all MasterClass members to access at any time. Students will learn about lighting techniques and the process of creating a sequence, and receive feedback on the exercises after each session. Sign up for a Collins class starting today; The class will go live on July 1st.
“I’m looking to teach this different approach to photography which I really think is easier to learn and helps students understand photography better. I think the way I was taught was mechanical. And that’s really not how photography works,” says Collins.
David Rogier, Founder and CEO of MasterClass, said: “Petra’s aesthetic ability has helped define film photography for this generation. “During her session, she provides a unique insight into her style, approach and expertise, helping members learn how they can express themselves creatively through film photography. .”
She teaches the technical basics – like shutter speed – when shooting with a 35mm SLR, and also shares creative approaches to developing concepts and putting herself into the image. “I guess what I really teach is just deep learning and looking within,” Collins explains. “Because it’s an endless information pit – you won’t find it anywhere else.”
Collins first became acquainted with MasterClass when she signed up for a class from David Lynch, who she describes as “my idol” and thinks it’s unique that “the artist is driving the conversation.” . Although she has been teaching at universities since the age of 17 (read: instructing her colleagues), this is the first time she has taught a photography course “on a large scale, where more accessible,” she said.
Students of Collins’ MasterClass can also expect to gain insight into the process of working with some of the entertainment industry’s biggest names; in one section, the photographer – who has photographed Solange Knowles, Frank Ocean and Kim Kardashian, to name a few –– focuses on how to build intimacy with subjects, especially those glittering with ability display.
“The way that I learn everything in art is through collaboration. So whenever I have a topic, I approach it as a really interesting collaboration… I think, ‘How do you want to feel? Or what do you want to own? What image would you like to show? ‘” she said, adding: “I think the whole point with subjects, celebrities and talent is that you really want their input. And then you also want to bring something new to them.”
Most recently, Collins collaborated with teen pop star Olivia Rodrigo on two music videos (“I have to show what I want to do in a feature film,” she says) and released a book, Fairy tales, with Happiness Alexa Demie stars published by Rizzoli. “With my book Fairy tales, My subject Alexa and I are looking back at childhood traumas. And what we’re looking for to help us get through this young phase of our lives. “
Aesthetically, the image of Collins is portrayed varied but consistently as dreamlike and feminine, making her relevant to fantasies – and feverish maiden dreams – appropriate. But in a slight twist on the plot, she says she’s long been inspired by body-adult, coming-of-age horror films, like The Exorcist and Carrie. She also loves the work of Canadian David Cronenberg.
Collins now lives in Los Angeles, where she is exploring a different genre of film: movies. “Moving to LA is really exciting because I’m experiencing – as an outsider – this city that is fundamentally built on popularity, unlike any other city in the world. . All the billboards, and also the historic buildings – it’s haunted in a really beautiful way,” she said. “Now that I am in this environment, it will seep into my photos.”