Lorentz Gullachsen – Member profile
Posted by: GabrielleThursday, 19/07/12
Lorentz was one of our earliest members and his distinctive photographic style really stood out. We approached him to see if we could find out a bit more about him, and what it takes to achieve the commercial success that he’s enjoyed.
How did you break into commercial photography?
I was lucky that there were fewer photographers around when I started. I assisted in London after graduating, but couldn’t afford to stay on in the smoke so I returned to my home city of Birmingham and, with two other ex students, established a studio. I took on anything I could, but as a young guy I was naturally very interested and quite good at photographing girls, both for fashion and calendars, and as this was the heart of the automotive industry, I even won a few awards.
I look back and find it hard to believe I was living the dream. I was getting paid – very well – to do what I loved. I was a big fish in a small pond, but there was a cost; the real work was in London, so I made the decision to go. I was living in the south Midlands, at the time, so I commuted between Brum & the West End.
Luck was kind to me, and I worked for some very talented Art Directors who had faith in me and gave me the breaks I needed.
I seemed to get luckier the harder I worked, shooting my own work as well as commissions, building a folio and learning my craft.
What lessons did you learn in the early days?
I wish I could have afforded to assist for longer. I was never the best assistant, so I made many mistakes. But now but I recommend to any graduate, work with good people and you will benefit – even if its not in your area of interest. You need to understand the business and learn the craft. You don’t do that in three years at Uni.
Why did you decide to move from fashion/ glamour to location work?
I was mostly studio based, I worked (still do) very long hours and in winter I never saw daylight.
I changed direction deliberately, choosing to shoot on location with a large format camera. My folio changed first, and then so did the commissions.
My first big commission was for Bentley, shooting across Europe and ending up in Venice.
What influence did your fashion experience have on your approach to location shoots?
I think being able to work with people helps and my early location commissions often had people in the landscape or environment.
I was lucky that lighting was something I seemed to be good at, and light applies to all photography. Master lighting and you can photograph anything!
Tell us about a memorable shoot or image
Where do I begin? The best shoot is the next one I’m doing!
When I stop feeling excited about my work it is time to stop.
Many shoots end in a great image, but often it takes days, if not weeks of planning, production and shear graft, which you instantly forget about when you’ve got the image you wanted.
That magic has gone with digital – its there in a mili-second. But when you have captured that decisive moment; caught that perfect expression; there is a feeling that is almost spiritual.
I shoot for myself. Call it fine art or whatever. I just have to take pictures. I have been lucky to have travelled to some wonderful locations. Perhaps the location I’ve visited most often is California, it’s a great place to shoot. I secured the commissions for Gallo Wines, so that meant that California had to be the location.
Recently I’ve found New Zealand to be the location of choice and have been out there shooting for O2.
We’ve heard that you also teaching?
I’m now also shooting in Spain, combining photography with my interest in teaching. I lecture at a few Universities, give seminars and run workshops that will be delivered in both the UK and Spain. I always knew that I was going to teach or as I prefer to say ‘coach’ photography.
What are your views on commercial photography today?
It is great to see how digital has changed photography into a more universal art form, it’s not always good for photographers, but you can’t stop change.
Photographers will have to reinvent themselves – I see it as the most exciting time for visual communication. Photography is only part of what a photographer should deliver.
Convergence is a wonderful opportunity to provide communication to an ever-growing market.
More information & contact details
07836 504 777.
Lorentz is exhibiting at The Elan Valley Centre from 21st July 2012 til 5th August 2012
A preview exhibition of an ongoing project, documenting the Landscape of the Elan Valley and the infrastructure that captures and delivers the Water to the City of Birmingham and beyond.
This exhibition grew from Gullachsen’s final personal practice project, the work is still in production and it planned to develop this body of work, culminating in a book and exhibition.
Gullachsen has shot worldwide as an advertising and editorial photographer, working for many international clients including many airlines and tourist boards, automotive clients from Rolls Royce to Skoda and consumer products from hair care products in New York, to phone networks in New Zealand. He has won many awards including D&AD pencils and the prestigious Association of Photographers, Gold.
Gullachsen is also a visiting lecturer at Hereford College of Arts and is a tutor for the Open College of the Arts, delivers workshops and seminars through Calumet.
The shoot has been done on a PhaseOne Digital Back on Hassellblad and Cambo Cameras, The project started in 2009 and it is due to be completed in 2014
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