Andrew Woffinden

Possibly the nicest fashion photographer in the world

Photos by Andrew Woffinden

Without word of a lie, if you’re ever feeling crap and want to look twenty years younger with zero retouching, call Andrew Woffinden and ask him to come over to your house to take a photograph of you immediately. Then when he hands you that snap, put in a frame and look at it forever….

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The photographic equivalent of five Botox injections, an hour in therapy and a good nights sleep (which neither of us have had in five years – the sleep, we’ve had the Botox), we’re thrilled Andrew agreed to work with us on our first blog. Regularly shooting for ELLE, Nylon, Japanese Vogue, Esquire, Matches Fashion.com and, um, Nico & Nate, Andrew has photographed some of our favourite women including Helena Christensen, Salma Hayek, Gillian Anderson, Kim Gordon (Stacey’s hero) and most recently Claudia Schiffer at home (oh, and yep, us).

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He clearly loves women, and thank God for that – he’s surround by them. Andrew lives in North London with his wife, Lauren and six year old daughter, Addie, who he adopted from birth. With a lovely family and finally having reached what can only be described as the pinnacle of his career, yup, shooting for this blog, his master plan is ‘”to carry on doing what I love”. Amen to that, Andrew and Amen to you for making us look fresher than we feel. (We don’t normally look that good).

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I’m married to the American novelist Lauren McLaughlin…

We met at a party when I was visiting NY on New Years Eve. It was pretty much love at first sight. We met and I didn’t leave her flat until it was time to come back to London a week later. After 3 days of being together we decided that I was going to move to NY. I came back to London moved my things out of the flat I was staying at, packed my case and went to live with her in NY with pretty much no money, no career, nothing. I guess it was like taking in a stray for her. I asked her to marry me at a family party a couple of weeks later, sort of by accident. I was drunk and had no intention of asking her to marry me, but it just came out and that was that. Her Sicilian American family made sure I knew that if it was just my attempt at getting a green card it would be dealt with in the "traditional" Sicilian way. Luckily, it was the real deal. We lived in NY for 11 years and moved to London about 4 years ago.

My wife is…

super feminist, hard ass, hot, mega smart.

I wanted to be a professional cyclist, but after spending time racing in France and Belgium I realised it wasn’t for me…

So in a bit of desperation I asked my Dad if I could borrow his camera because I thought maybe I’d like to try being a photographer. He wasn’t exactly encouraging since I’d spent six years studying engineering. But oddly enough when I look back now with the understanding of who I am, it almost seems inevitable that I became a fashion photographer. It is without a doubt my absolute calling. It’s what I was born to do.

I don’t think any journey to being a parent is easy….

We always wanted to adopt. Initially, our plan was to conceive one child biologically then adopt the second.  After realising that we couldn’t conceive and deciding not to go the IVF route we met with an adoption lawyer in NY where we were living at the time. After that it all happened so quickly.

After going through the process of getting approved for adoption (meeting with social workers, getting background checks, etc.) we got a call from our lawyer telling us there was a woman in the midwest who was eight months pregnant and looking to make an adoption plan. We sent her a profile we’d put together describing who we were then spoke with her on the phone. The next day she called us back to tell us she’d chosen us to be the parents. One month later, Lauren flew to the midwest to be there for the birth. I was in Paris at the time shooting a campaign. But I set off the morning she was born and travelled non-stop for 22 hours to get there as fast as I could. She was born while I was travelling. When I finally got to the hospital, the nurses handed me my one-day-old daughter and I loved her absolutely and unconditionally from that very moment. It was the easiest, most natural and beautiful thing.

The best thing about adopting a child is giving a home to a child who needs one.

That's a good thing. But it’s funny, it's the child that gives the parent so much more.

I'm a pretty soft dad...

In fact, I just asked Addie and she says I’m a nice Daddy! My wife and I are fully equal partners in parenting. I spend as much time with Addie as she does, I do the same number of drop offs and pick ups etc. That's really important to me. I’d hate to be the second parent.

When it comes to kid rage...

Once she’s reached the rage point, nothing can make her stop so the only thing I can do is work on not reacting myself. Sometimes I focus on my breathing and realise that the mind is it’s own place and peace and harmony can be found within yourself in the most trying of times, and sometimes I go into the bathroom, lie down in the fetal position and scream. One or the other.

I do most of the clothes shopping for Addie...

I do two big shopping trips a year, usually in H&M and Gap. She grows out of things way before she has the chance to wear things out. There's lots of leopard print and cat prints, as I do like Addie to be dressed in the worst possible taste. As they say, the only taste worth having is bad taste. She is really beautiful, so I don’t like to dress her in anything too pretty or perfect, as I’d rather play down her prettiness. It’s not a great thing to be overly invested in one’s beauty. She wears Grandma’s knitted jumpers which are amazing. She’s such a talented knitter!

When it comes to adoption each person and situation is different...

I think there are many ways of making a family, and even if I could, I wouldn’t change anything at all. Adoption is the most amazing thing.

I only have one joke I’ve been telling it all my life...

A man sees a sign for a sandwich shop and on the sign it says: "We make any sandwich you want, ANYTHING!"  So the man walks in and says, “I’d like an elephant ear sandwich, please.”  The owner goes to the back of the shop and comes out a minute later looking downcast. He says:  “Sorry but I can’t do that.” So the man says: “But what about the sign? It says you’d make any sandwich!” The owner says: “I know but we ran out of bread.”

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