Professional Practice: Layla Sailor
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So today we had a guest lecturer/photographer, Layla Sailor. She was discussing with the photography groups her experience at university, after graduating, interests and influences, where she has worked to earn a living as well as discussing in depth the photography projects she’s produced from the good to bad.

First of all Layla is based in Manchester, United Kingdom. People view her as a fashion photographer but first thing she wanted to share with us is that she does not find herself in that way, more conceptual. Her degree work at the time was interested and informed by music and found herself incorporating this into her fashion/portraiture work by editing and overlaying.
Layla has been influenced by many from photographers like Cindy Sherman to films like Jacob’s Ladder and stills from that what gave her ideas for her own projects. She liked the cold, pale, ghostly look and found herself locked away in the studio for hours on end playing with the lighting and finding a technique.


After university got a job working full time at Calumet Photographic to start earning money and funding her photography projects on the side… Kokoshnik.

Kokoshnik is her best known work and is an on-going project she works on yearly. The concept behind it was after she made a look book for a designer who used patterns in different ways which then developed into a personal vision. For Layla its a way to celebrate and show beauty of iconography. The work had been used before in protest posters for Pussy Riot and been successful at broadcasting a political message worldwide.


Laylor Sailor deleveloped her skills and knowledge in motion picture and entered a fashion film award competition for SHOWstudio run by Nike Knight called Mystic Pizza.( and
Within a month apart from each other a friend of hers in Paris wanted to get a group or artists together and create an exhibition and Layla sent some of her work to him and that was called ‘Printemps paris’. After these two shows in two different places in the short space of time between the two, Layla started getting her name heard and past regections wanted to work with her.

She wanted to share with the group that even though most of the time we can hit a dead end with our work, just got to keep going, keep entering work, keep making the work and just one important show can set your career off even after years have past. DONT GIVE UP!

To keep making work and bringing in an income she worked several times with BOOHOO, did PR shots for Jelly and Gin, Metro Images and Whitney Port-Bits and Bobs fashion Jewelry. As Layla was in England she had the opportunity to manage more of a team, get the set builders in instead of herself, had plenty of video meetings. Whitney liked her work produced at the start of her career but that style wasnt recieved that well in America but that taught Layla to ask more questions. The work should of been more commercial to fit in with the audience abroad. All a learning experience.

Another project which happens yearly is her ‘ADVENT’ calendar. She shoots for 1 day only at the end of November, gets about 8 models or as many as possible to create an image to upload every day until Christmas. She has full creative control but likes to have different collaborators each year.

Other things she takes time in to have a break from fashion is photographing lighting and prop design for ‘The Secret Life of You and Me’ by Lowri Evans


Layla didn’t find this her best work but she found it important to share and speak about the work to the photgraphy group as it is ok for projects to not be the best, its ok to make mistakes it’s all about learning.

She shared with us information about her website. At first on her website was everything she ever did going back to her degree work. There was work she did not like and work whats been there for years. The work on your website should be work what interests YOU, its your site not a site for others. She had a full clear out of her site got rid of everything and kept what was important to her.

She has experienced in making music video’s – She had a go
– She didn’t like them so much
– But it paid the bills

I fairly enjoyed Layla’s visit to the university, even though fashion isn’t my interest. I found it good to get an insight in how other people who have gone though the same have experienced the industry and overcome situations and how you should never give up on a dream and passion you have.




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