photography by Conrad Dornan
Conrad Dornan has many talents, in addition to photography he has traveled the world as an editorial hairstylist for clients including Dior, Hermes, McQueen, Chanel, Vogue. His instagram is a perfect illustration of his range, from cover shots for Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar to more intimate shots of friends and scenery, never without a sense of artful composition. We love his take on the feel of our linens, evoking the sensation of a warm but breezy summer afternoon.
How have you been spending your time during quarantine?
I've been fortunate enough to be quarantined since early March on my family's homestead in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. With Wyoming being the least populated state in the United States, there has been plenty of outdoor time, and restrictions here eased a while ago, although it's not normal by any means, it's been a blessing to be out west and not home in NYC. I'm always finding things to stay busy, from painting, to creating stop animation videos, writing and taking photos. I've been able to house a few teams for small shoots in isolation and also have been able to spend time with my family, mountain bike, skateboard, and hike. Recently some friends picked me up in an RV and we drove out to his family's lake house in Wisconsin and then we inched our way back to NYC.
Do you think there will be lasting shifts in our culture following the recent events?
I think and hope there will be massive shifts in our culture. The BLM movement I hope can change the way we as a people not only address race and one another, but the way our government (and us as voters and community members) addresses systematic racism. Same goes for the LGBT community. Everyone needs to vote for humanity. Also - aint no one gonna be hugging strangers for a minute.
How did you find photography and how has it evolved for you?
I've always been drawn towards photography from an early age. Anything artistic has always spoken to me. I started assisting a photographer over 16 years ago in NYC, but turned out he was a bit of a misogynist and all around creep, and I was thought I was a little too color blind at the time to do any of the retouching, but while I was working for him, before I quit due to the "all around creepy vibes" I met a hair stylist on set and watched him spray paint this girls hair silver with actual paint, and he seemed to work with his hands and travel and help create the overall look on set, and seeing how every other kid at the time was trying to be a photo assistant I figured - fuck it - i'm just gonna do hair and travel the world. So over the past 15 years I have been an editorial hair stylist. I assisted Guido and Sam McKnight and went on to do my own work in NYC and Europe, working with clients and magazines such as Dior, Hermes, McQueen, Chanel, Vogue, Reedition Mag, Harpers Bazaar etc, as well as collaborating with the top photographers in the world. Over that time I always payed close attention to all the people I worked with and would always help the photographers on set if I could, and then during Covid, I just figured I could do just as good a job as any of my friends and that I should just do it myself. So now I've been shooting, and it's the most fun ever! In a nutshell ya know.
What is your creative process like?
My creative process is in my dreams, the books I read, the art I make, the streets, the kids, the models, the makeup artists, and my brain.
Where is home for you?
Home for the past 19 years has been NYC although the mountains (and Jamaica) always have my heart.
What advice would you offer to your younger self?
Advice to my younger self. Never give up, focus hard, don't sweat the small shit, love people to the fullest, and maybe some winning lotto numbers...
What are you dreaming of?
I had a dream last night that my friend Jamie K Waxmen sent me a bunch of couture looks to shoot in the Desert in New Mexico for an editorial, but instead I smoked weed with a coyote and burned the clothes and took photos of the coyote instead.