We clearly remember the first time we got in touch with Cecilia Dean. At the time we were working like crazy launching the photography field on ITS. It was back in the beginning of 2005, when we had just presented ITS#PHOTO and had started thinking about who we would have loved to have in the jury. Apart from photographers, we were really trying to think of who was working on the most wild and creative visual projects. It didn't take much to think about Visionaire.
Visionaire is a multi-format album of fashion and art produced in limited edition series. It has no prefixed format, comes with a different theme each time and also used to have no prefixed timeline (it is now published three times a year). Collaborations is what Visionaire mostly works on, gathering the most important and fast-forward thinking artists, photographers, designers, art directors, image-makers, personalities and more, giving them freedom to push the boundaries of Visionaire's original format. Cecilia Dean is among its founders and editors...
When Cecilia confirmed her participation at ITS#FOUR we were thrilled and the same time worried to meet with a super-posh, superstar-style figure who would have given us nightmares to satisfy her requests. We were already thinking about "oh my god she's going to ask for a limo, and probably a huge suite...". Cecilia is nothing like that. It took 20 minutes and were chatting at dinner easily, smoking rolled cigarettes outside like friends who hadn't met for a long time. When you get acquainted with the likes of rockstars, actors and popular icons as Cecilia is (try to research her name in Google images..), you might loose touch with reality. Not her.
Since ITS#FOUR she has become our friend and has always been part of the photography competition jury, doing her best to help us invite the most interesting photographers and key figures in the jury.
Let's sum up some biographical info. Cecilia Dean was raised in California. She moved to New York where she began modeling at the end of high school. Then she met photographer Stephen Gan and make-up artist James Kaliardos. She modeled in Paris, Milan, London and Tokyo and has worked with photographers Richard Avedon, Mario Testino, Steven Meisel, David Sims, Steven Klein, Irving Penn, and Peter Lindbergh. During all this she even managed to obtain her Bachelor of Arts degree in English and French literature from Barnard College, Columbia University NY in 1991. In April 1991 Visionaire Publishing was launched together with collaborators Stephen Gan and James Kaliardos. In September 1999, V Magazine was launched along with the Visionaire Gallery. In September 2003, VMAN magazine was launched. Currently, Cecilia runs Visionaire from creative concepting to sponsor relations to distribution and press. She is also a visiting professor at Parsons School of Design where she teaches a course on publication design.
Here's what she told us in the interview:
EVE: What is in your opinion creativity, and what does it mean in your life?
CECILIA: Creativity is freedom of expression, to be able to think in a way that is outside of tradition. Part of me very much likes tradition. But my job is all about new ideas.
EVE: Can you tell us about your experience at ITS?
CECILIA: It’s refreshing to see young people with a passion, who are eager to make it in the world. I give them a lot of credit for presenting their work to a bunch of strangers and discussing their work in a different language other than their mother-tongue.
EVE: Looking back at your career and seeing the young talents of today, what is the best advice you feel you can give them apart from believing in what they do?
CECILIA: Do whatever you do all the time. If you are a photographer, I believe one should have a camera on them at all times. Be open to suggestions. Focus. Be disciplined. Have fun.
EVE: Thank you Cecilia for your time.