With editorial credits that include Italian Vogue, Vanity Fair, Vogue Pelle and GQ—and many a cover among them—the work of fashion photographer Greg Lotus has been flooding newsstands for more than a decade. This week Lotus celebrates the opening of his first solo show, “Impressions,” on view through April 14 at 1stdibs’ new gallery space on the 10th Floor of the New York Design Center.
You’re getting ready for your first solo exhibition in New York. How did you come to show with 1stdibs?
I started to interview with different galleries, and had some nice opportunities presented to me. But I wanted to do something a little bit out of the box, so I approached Michael Bruno [the founder of 1stdibs] about doing a show.
Had you already known Michael?
No, I just picked up the phone and called him and coincidentally they were preparing to open their 10th Floor gallery space—this was back in November. So the timing was perfect.
Charles Churchward curated the show. How did the relationship begin?
I really liked the book he did on Herb Ritts, “The Golden Hour,” and of course I knew his work when he was the design director for American Vogue, so I gave him a call. We met for a coffee and it took off from there.
And did he make the image selections for the show?
Yes, we worked together a bit, but Charles is great. I really respect his eye.
What’s the earliest piece in the show?
It’s from Italian Vogue and it’s from 2004.
But you began shooting many years before that.
Oh yes. Most of the pieces in the show are from Italian Vogue, a few from Playboy—not the American version—GQ, Russian Vogue. And we went pretty large with the format; the smallest piece is 40 by 60 [inches].
And do you shoot exclusively on digital?
Mostly, yes. But I started in the old school days with contact sheets, holding the loop up to my eye for hours.
So when did you first pick up a camera and know that was what you wanted to do?
I was 28. I was living in Seattle and photographing my roommates who were models, and then their agents started to call me and asked me if I could shoot someone else, and someone else, and someone else. And about a year into it my phone rang and it was Bruce Weber. And he asked if I’d be interested in shooting with him.
And is that how you ended up in Miami?
Yes, I went to Miami to meet with him, but I never ended up working for him. But I did get turned on to Miami as a location and a market for shooting—and I also have a home there.
And then you had another pretty significant meeting soon after that, right?
You could definitely say that. I went to Paris for a shoot and had the chance to meet with Franca Sozzani from Italian Vogue.
Were you nervous?
I was very nervous—she’s the goddess of fashion. We met at a hotel and I presented my portfolio to her. She never looked me in the eye. She opened my book, looked at the first page, and then closed it and slid it back to me. I was like, Oh no. But she said, OK, you give me a story.
And just like that, you had your first Italian Vogue spread. Tell us about it.
It was in 2004, we shot redheaded models whom we styled with hairless cats and ferrets. Four of those pieces are in the show.
Is there a signature style to your work?
I think every photographer goes through phases in their career where they try different things. I love color as much as black and white. Most of my work has a sort of retro feeling, with desaturated colors.
Have any artists or photographers inspired you over the course of your career?
I think we’re all inspired by different things at different times. Sometimes it’s a memory, or a specific visual that triggers me. And as far as another photographer, Herb Ritts has certainly been an inspiration, and Bruce [Weber] too. You know, your typical kings of fashion.
Do you have a favorite subject to shoot?
Nature is an element in a lot of my work, but it’s not just about a giraffe or a camel. It’s an element in the picture, whether it’s graphic or textural. It’s more conceptual than about a particular subject.
What’s up next for you?
I’d like to have a show in Paris and possibly Los Angeles, and of course I look forward to taking more pictures.
A catalogue of Lotus’ work—including images not on view—will accompany “Impressions” and will be available at the 1stdibs gallery.