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Meet Soo Burnell: the fine art photographer has an exciting year ahead

Fine art photographer Soo Burnell is a customer-turned-friend. Last month, we visited Soo in her beautiful studio on the outskirts of Edinburgh to discuss her plans for the rest of 2023.


Naturally, our conversation flowed to fashion and Soo's adoration for nice materials and quality basics.

“I live in black, denim, khaki green and white. It’s my go-to palette as I never get tired of these classics, but also it means that everything is easily mixed and combined. I’m drawn to nice materials and good quality basics; the shirts and jackets that you can throw on and not have to think about.”

Soo wears Skall Studio
Soo wears Skall Studio's Oversized Andy Tee
Jakke
Jakke's Gianna Shirt meets Good News' Goat Sandals
A detail (and teaser) from Soo
A detail (and teaser) from Soo's studio
The wear-with-everything Harry Vest by Kowtow
The wear-with-everything Harry Vest by Kowtow
New-in Klara Worker Jacket by Nudie Jeans
New-in Klara Worker Jacket by Nudie Jeans

How would you describe your work?

My work explores my passion for architecture and composition. I’ve been fascinated by both for years, both consciously as a photographer but also growing up in Edinburgh and absorbing so much incredible architecture. Throughout my work, I’ve always wanted to capture the striking geometry along with the dramatic proportions and atmosphere of each space. The eye is drawn in to the architecture and the symmetry, and I use blocks of colour to show interesting shapes and proportions. I love the orderliness of symmetry and it calms my busy mind. 


There’s also nostalgia in my work, which is something that’s evolved over time. This is particularly apparent in my Cinema collection, which I shot in two cinemas: The Scotsman Picture House in Edinburgh and the Regent Street Cinema in London. They’re such interesting spaces architecturally. And there’s also a really nostalgic aesthetic in my new collection, I am home, which comes through in the clothes and in the styling of the models.

What do you like to wear whilst shooting?

I live in black, denim, khaki green and white. It’s my go-to palette as I never get tired of these classics, but also it means that everything is easily mixed and combined. I’m drawn to nice materials and good quality basics; the shirts and jackets that you can throw on and not have to think about.


I’m also drawn to the subtle tones and the understated aesthetic in menswear where it’s more about the fabric and textures. I think that’s also about ease of wear. When I’m shooting, I don’t want to think about what I’m wearing; I’m completely focused on the models and the light and everything that goes into each photograph. Clothes that are comfortable and effortless are key. 


I really love that effortless vibe from Skall Studio with pieces you can wear again and again. I also enjoy the simplicity of Thinking Mu; I could wear those easy tank-and-trouser combos everywhere.

What kind of music helps you through an editing session?

I listen to a mix depending on what mood I’m in, from London Grammar to Ólafur Arnalds. I love saman from Arnalds’ album re:member. Other pieces that are really speaking to me at the moment include Alone in Kyoto by Air; Comptine d'un autre été, l'après-midi by Yann Tiersen; Where’s My Love by SYM; Sound & Colour by Alabama Shakes; and The Game of Love and also Something About Us, both by Daft Punk.


Side note: soundtrack your day with treen; follow us on Spotify.

When you’re not working, how do you like to spend your downtime?

I’ll visit local coffee houses with friends, and I always enjoy wandering around galleries being inspired by exhibitions. There are so many great galleries in Edinburgh and it’s one of the things I really appreciate about living here. Sometimes it’s also simply about enjoying a building, like the Scottish National Portrait Gallery or the National Museum of Scotland, both of which inspired my latest collection of works, I am home.


And I also love having beach walks with our girls Ruby (Korthals Griffon) and Nola (Whiplington). Elie in Fife is my favourite beach to escape to.

What does the rest of your year look like? Any exciting collaborations or exhibitions?

It’s going to be busy! I have a few really exciting collaborations coming up that I can’t speak about yet – sorry, but watch this space! - and I’m exhibiting in Belgium in September and in Paris again in November and December. That’s going to be a really great way to end the year.

Soo's Picks

Klara Worker Jacket
Klara Worker Jacket
Goat Sandals
Goat Sandals
Gianna Shirt
Gianna Shirt
Andy Oversized Tee
Andy Oversized Tee

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