Magnus Hastings – Stepping out of the box

We’re sure you’ll have seen some of his fabulous work so far, he’s worked with many amazing people after all, but here’s a chance to get to know the gorgeous Mr Hastings a little better.

BWD: How long have you been a photographer and what would your alternative career path be?

Magnus: Well I was a child actor and went on to drama school so acting was my thing, but I taught myself photography in my teens and then realised I loved it way more than acting as I hated waiting for other people to give me work, I felt so out of control so switched careers and never looked back. As photographer I can both take commissions and create my own art – which I clearly prefer.

BWD: The box frame #gayface, where did it come from and was it dreamt up specifically for Instagram?

Magnus: Following the success of my book “Why drag?” I wanted to come up with something that was more queer inclusive, but also wanted to play with the idea of using social media as a gallery and promotional platform. So I figured a square was the most social media friendly, then a box, that could create theatre and let people express themselves, so it was more about the most social media friendly shape and not just Instagram. But also it’s a satisfying thing a white box, it reflects light beautifully and gives people space to play, mini theatre pieces, it works even better as gallery pieces and changes when images are shown next to each other.

BWD: It was a clever creation, we’ve certainly enjoyed seeing you capture so many great characters and story-lines in that box!

BWD: Do you have your own studio space or do you share with others?

Magnus: I have my own studio in West Hollywood

BWD: What is your go-to camera and lens right now?

Magnus: For this I use a canon 5d and a 50ml lens.  It needs to be very straightforward for the project

BWD: What was your first ever camera – the one that started it all?

Magnus: I inherited my dads Olympus I think it was. But I got my own canon pretty quickly

BWD: And a star was born!

BWD: You shoot a lot in the studio right now, how do you feel about on location shoots?

Magnus: Ha ha look at my back log of work! I shoot very much on location, my #gayface project is clearly a studio project (though I have had the box in the street before), but if you look through my book you will see a lot if on location and I actually love that way more.

BWD: We actually really enjoy your Drag and Caught in the Act (with the stunning Courtney Act) galleries, but there’s plenty to check out on your website and in the book for those who haven’t seen already!

BWD: What is one of your favourite shoot concepts and which picture are you most proud of so far?

Magnus: These two images (both location shots) I love. Incredibly simple but just perfect: Vanity Fair  (wigs by Vanity) in Sydney 15 years ago and this shot I did in London. I was commission by Red Bull to do anything I wanted for a famous gay bar (The Box),so I hand picked the extremely hot staff and cast them as the village people. No-one got the concept when I explained it as they thought the village people were so uncool, I said village people but like grumpy flawless supermodels and I styled the whole thing too.

BWD: Both of these shots are incredible and you’re right, though quite simply, they are at the same time great to look at (plus we’re all friends of Dorothy). We’ve gotta say we’re feeling some things for the village people that we never expected, the casting was impeccable.


BWD: Do you tend to use Lightroom, Photoshop, a combination or something entirely different?

Magnus: I use capture one for raw files  and Photoshop

BWD: Is there a song you like to listen to while seeking inspiration or taking shots?

Magnus: I listen to very funky pop playlists I make, which people love, they make people happy.

BWD: Music is definitely the key to a good mood, we’ve actually go a playlist ourselves – you should check it out next time you need some positive vibes!

BWD: Can we hop in your box some time?

Magnus: I am counting the days til I canter that fucker down. I am in the final stage of putting together my new book of the best of #gayface, including new images, which is coming out this fall from Chronicle books. I am going on hiatus or possibly just stopping as I have been doing it for over two years now and I am going bonkers. I would have stopped by now but then Covid happened and it was just sitting there, so I force myself to get in it everyday as a commentary, but I really am looking forward to doing something new, though never say never!

BWD: We can’t wait to see what comes next, that book is gonna be a visual treat for sure. Perhaps we’ll drag you out of the box for some cocktails instead – maybe grab a couple of those village people for good measure!

We love ourselves a bit of Magnus and we’re sure you do too, go check out his website, Instagram and Facebook right away!