“First of all, the hat”: Federico Cabrera on the vision behind éN Hats campaign photos

“First of all, the hat”: Federico Cabrera on the vision behind éN Hats campaign photos

Federico Cabrera, the photographer of our latest campaign photos, thinks a hat is one of the most defining fashion items. Who is this mastermind behind the camera?

 Federico Cabrera

You are a professional fashion photographer. Tell us how did you end up becoming one?

My first experiences with photography date back to mid-90s in Buenos Aires with a 35mm point and shoot film camera, photographing friends, redesigned vintage clothes and bands in boiler rooms and building basements, or at least that is the kind of work I remember the most from that time.

It was later when I left Argentina that I had more serious opportunities and people became interested in my work. My career in photography really started to take shape in the early 2000’s after some assignments in Tokyo and also later shooting for my own brand in Helsinki Gilles et Dada.

 People in colorful hats looking at the camera.

Is photography art for you?

Everything can be art; it depends on who is watching.


You are involved in publishing REVS magazine. How did it start? Is it your personal project?

I founded REVS in 2011, the two first issues were free and only distributed in Finland, from the third issue it became an international magazine with distribution in over 20 countries.

The title has a very diaristic approach since I have included a lot from my personal life into it and work, I have made for it, but it is still a magazine and a compilation of stories and curated works from a wide range of artists and designers. There has always been a bigger team than just me behind it, but that team has changed many times throughout the years.


You shot this campaign on film. Why film and not digital?

I actually shoot both digital and film on a regular basis, but this particular campaign needed a certain colour and feel that only film can give you. I mostly shot it on medium format 6x7 which is a lovely aspect to work with. I think that the location, the style, and models gave me a great opportunity to work with this format as I aimed for a kind of cinematic look in the series.

 People in colorful hats looking at the camera.

What was your inspiration behind these éN Hats campaign photos?

Well, first of all, the hat. I think a hat is one of the most defining fashion items. Depending on how you wear it, a hat can make you mysterious, charming, confident. You can hide behind it or you can use it to stand out. I think the vision was to capture one of those moments in which you see someone with style, and you say, “oh look at her, the girl with the hat.” That look, coupled with the urban setting became the base from which the campaign took shape frame by frame.

 Woman in white hat looking at the camera.

How about the location? What made you choose this place?

The location was Merihaka, a rather peculiar 1970s apartment complex that is almost a monument to concrete. One of its most distinctive features is the lack of traffic that actually runs through the area at the underground level making the absence of cars an excellent feature and a great location to shoot in.

The grey high-rise concrete housing blocks made the backdrop for a movie like scenes captured in stills. The area is also right next to the sea, and as if we would have planned it, it was exceptionally windy that day which gave a certain dramatic feeling to some of the photos in the campaign.

Instagram @federicogastoncabrera


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