CHECKIN’ IN WITH AZCAPTURES
Starting off this year, we decided to begin a new series called ‘Checkin’ In With…’ where we sit down and highlight women we consider to be friends & family of Patta and speak to them about their careers, personal experiences in and out of lockdowns, and what has got them through this period.
For the fourth part of the series, we interviewed one of our own - Ayshe Zaifoglu who goes by the creative name of AZCAPTURES. Ayshe is a multidisciplinary creative from London, who specialises in photography, videography, editing and presenting. She’s a founder of the brand Pay Your Shooter, which uses slogans to promote fair treatment for freelance creatives who often get mistreated and underpaid in the industry. In 2020, Ayshe was one of twenty creatives selected to collaborate on Nike By You to design their own Air Max’s, creating her very own AM95 colourway inspired by her experiences as a gig and events photographer. You might have seen her around, previously working in our London store during the opening year.
Read our conversation below.
Can you tell us about where you are from and what you do?
I’m an image maker from the suburbs of East London. I don’t like to say I’m a creator in just one area because I really do have a load of fingers in a load of visual related pies.
Who were your main influences growing up?
My main influences growing up were probably my parents. They’re very hard working and business minded. My dad was always into technology so gadgets were around me, I was always playing around with cameras and computers and that just led into being a bit of a gadget geek.
How did your career start and where?
I studied film and TV production at the University of York but I really wanted to focus on photography too so I started shooting photos in clubs but that wasn’t really ideal. During uni breaks i made the most of London and was shooting so much for fun and building relationships. From those connections I was skipping uni to be a runner on music videos 200 miles away from my lecture halls and it’s just been a domino effect of natural working connections since.
What’s the biggest highlight of your career so far?
I’d probably say the first billboard that I got with Puma was pretty crazy because it was still quite early in my career. I was getting pictures sent to me of my picture on massive billboards around Europe. It didn’t feel like a lot to me at the time but it’s when you actually see the little photo from your camera screen on such a physically big scale that you’re like woah, look at the pixels fam.
What’s the biggest problem you’ve had to overcome?
I like this question because it plays on the standard assumption of being a female in a male dominated space.
For me, I’m very happy in a male company and I don’t feel intimidated by men but I’ve had to work on that. When I first got into this world, people assume that because you’re a woman, you can’t lift things or don’t have a technically knowledge about anything except how to take the lunch order and that really pushed me to prove that I have the knowledge and the ability to do anything you can do son, and probably better too.
What’s your routine been like?
There’s definitely been different phases of my lockdown life but at the moment I don’t like sleeping with my blinds down. I like the natural light to wake me up super early so I can crack on. I’ve had a lot of editing work recently so it’s just me and my computer in a dark little corner of my room, taking breaks to cook and walk my dog really. Trying to stay as sane as possible.
What would be the biggest thing you’ve learned or taken from the first lockdown that has helped you through this one?
During the first lockdown there was a super quiet period for me in terms of work and it really made me question my purpose in what I’m doing and that if it carried on then maybe I would have to maybe find a ‘real job’. But with some up and down weeks passing, it just solidified in my mind that although I’m only 25, I won’t be working under anybody else again. I trust in my entrepreneurial ability to survive doing what I love. Lockdown has graced me with some of the best jobs I’ve ever had so it’s a bit of a blessing in disguise, helping me slow down and trust the process.
Has your creative process dramatically altered this time around?
I think I’m a lot more thorough with everything. Slowing down has really played to my advantage. Before I would have so many things on at once I would rush and make spelling mistakes in titles and silly things that really would frustrate me but everyone has more time now so...chill out and let me take my time!
How do you see this changing/affecting your industry going forward?
People, brands especially, have now realised that user generated content is way cheaper than traditional content creation so there’s been a mad rise in that which has led me to adjust what I can offer and how I work. I find myself recording a lot of zooms and editing them up and I feel like the remote ‘work from home’ vibe that normal 9 to 5 peoples are now having to do is something that’s being adopted in the media world too which I’m having to learn to love.
What has been your biggest motivation over the past couple of weeks?
I feel like I’m constantly running out of time so to keep myself motivated I always look to my peers. I used to watch people doing the same things as me and be jealous but I’ve done some maturing in my craft but also mentally and now I see my ‘competition’ and embrace it! Seeing my people do well and create great things is really what motivates me to want to succeed, grow and create together.
Do you have any advice or tips on how to remain positive during these times?
Explore music. A lot of my friends make music and I work in music but still I catch myself lost for what to ask Alexa to play for me today, so, I’ve really been pushing myself to explore different sounds and dive into genre archives to keep it fresh and stay learning.
Have you recently discovered any new interests?
I’m really into reworking recently. My little sister is a sewing machine wizard so I’ve been creatively directing a few pieces through her but I’m trying to master it myself and also finding ways to weave it into my brand, Pay Your Shooter.
What artists have got you through this period?
My powerhouse friends. I miss being in the studio and going to live shows with artists so when I hear Miraa May, Sophie Faith, Tertia May, Sasha Keable (the list goes on) I get the craziest nostalgia of actually being together and seeing them do their thing in the flesh but I guess for now, running up their streams will do.
What’s the one thing you most look forward to after lockdown?
I just want a BBQ link up. I feel like summer in London won’t be the same for a while but just one link up with everyone in the sun with no cares in the world, bottles, dancehall and chicken is really what I’m looking forward to.
What’s next for you?
I’m branching out a bit more into directing and presenting because they are both areas I have dabbled in and loved when I’ve actually tried but I’ve always been a bit shook to go out and do it properly because it’s a bit more daunting than being behind the scenes. I’m definitely trying to push the boat out and see what happens.
And lastly, how did you get linked with Patta?
Funny story actually. When I was at university I applied for a graphic internship position. Virgil asked me to come for an interview the next day but I didn’t realise that he was expecting me to be in Amsterdam in 24hrs. Anyway that didn’t happen. Fast forward a year or so I met Damo. He invited me to come and check out the new London store as it was being built. Met the gang and helped with the store opening and from there I was working part time at the store here and there between school. Once I graduated I went on to do my editing thing but the Patta family feel will always be there. Big up the Zeedijk mafia for real.
Written and photographed by Olivia Jankowska
Follow AZCAPTURES on Instagram