Camden Calling

There’s a thrill in spontaneous location shooting that triggers the same stage adrenaline as any performance art – particularly when your environment is completely unfamiliar, and as dynamic as Camden.


I always get secondhand performer’s envy when watching any kind of show production. A play, a musical, a ballet… even rehearsing at a midtown piano studio for an upcoming film project here in New York, walking through waves of performers who fill the halls and stairwells with their mi-mi-mi‘s and piercing diction exercises and shuffling feet does prompt a strange longing for a life feeding off of audience reactions. On the one hand, there is that sense of family that you hear in erupting cheers and backslapping of a cast and crew as the curtain goes down. And then, there’s the thrill of escaping into a character or concept – putting on a face, laced with authenticity and life experiences, to tell stories and challenge expectations.

That said, I suppose that is the endgame for most creative trades. To push the boundaries, to shift the status quo, to inspire emotion, and other critical buzzwords. Image-making is no exception. But, aside from the obvious joy in getting reactions to the finished product, there is something of a thrill in spontaneous location shooting that triggers the same stage adrenaline as any performance art – particularly when your environment is completely unfamiliar, and as dynamic as Camden.

Before shooting this story in July, I hadn’t spent a whole lot of time in East London for reasons unknown – prior visits had only ever been a few days long, confined to show locations or eerily silent corporate locales. As much as the cool kids like to think of Camden as a cliché, overrun by tourists, et cetera et cetera, the crowds remain charming in their search of authentic London. For these shots in particular, it was the audience interraction and serendipitous discovery of perfectly coordinating palettes (rounding a corner to find these fluorescent orange construction workers was the ultimate hallelujah moment) despite the intense contrast of Alessandro Michele’s Early Renaissance influences against a garish urban maze, that made it one of my favourite to date.

MODEL // Madison Stubbington @ IMG










Margaret Zhang 章凝 is an Australian-born-Chinese filmmaker, photographer, consultant and writer based between New York and Shanghai. Since establishing her website in 2009, Zhang has gone on to work with global brands including CHANEL, Swarovski, YEEZY, Bulgari, Gucci, MATCHES, Under Armour, and Louis Vuitton in a wide range of capacities both in front of and behind the camera, while completing her Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Laws at The University of Sydney. Zhang’s directing, photography, and styling has been employed by the likes of VOGUE, L’Officiel, Harper’s BAZAAR, NOWNESS, and ELLE internationally. She has been listed in Forbes Asia’s 30Under30 and TimeOut’s 40Under40, and her work has been recognized as shaping the international fashion industry by the Business of Fashion BoF500 Index for four consecutive years. CNN has identified Zhang as a leading fashion photographer in Asia and ELLE named her the region’s most influential digital voice. She went on to be the first Asian face to cover ELLE Australia. In 2016, she co-founded BACKGROUND, a global consultancy for which she specialises in Western-to-Chinese and Chinese-to-Western cultural bridging for a range of luxury, lifestyle, and brand initiatives. In 2017, she exhibited a series of 39 unseen photographic works as a solo show in Sydney, and premiered her first short film – a 15-minute exploration of her visceral relationship with classical music on both performance and abstract planes – to critical acclaim. In 2018, co-curated the first annual FOREFRONT Summit focused on inter-industry problem-solving at all scales of business. From this king summit, Zhang developed FOREFRONT+ – a round table series of candid conversations covering subject matters of universal concern. In 2019, THE FACE Magazine engaged Zhang as Creative-Director-at-Large for Asia for its relaunch. Zhang is currently working on her first feature film.