Gaschette is a conceptual styling and fashion show production company based in Joburg. It was started by Jessica Lupton and Lauren Du Plessis (who has since gone on to form one half of new label Avant Apparel). Their goal in the beginning was to inspire through fashion, which Jessica continues to do with regular photo shoots and shows that tell stories and push styling boundaries.
Some of the best Gaschette stills work has been done in collaboration with fashion photographer Steve Marais. Jessica says, “Steve and I have an amazing synergy, and I think we really meet stylistically. We both believe in keeping it simple but always pushing an idea a bit further. There’s nothing worse than looking at a picture that is nothing more than a girl in a pretty dress. We’ve been working together for about a year now with ten shoots published and another 3 to be released next month.”
Steve agrees a good team is key, he says, “It’s so important that the people working with you are on that same kind of level, and when a shoot gets really hairy, to have good humor about it.”
His fashion photography philosophy is similar to Jessica’s, “It’s so easy to look completely over-produced. Like it’s trying too hard. I only learnt this after a couple of hits and (many more) misses. My pictures tend to be minimalist, in that I like to shoot with available, often natural light. When lighting a subject in studio, I think simplicity is key. But then of course, I prefer location shoots to shooting in studio any day.”
He explains his process, “Fashion photography definitely has its own language, that thing that makes it just work. But personally I prefer to find something more behind it, something that’s real and that makes sense in the moment. That’s why I’ve always got these ridiculous story scenarios that models have to work through and play out. It doesn’t matter what the story is; what does matter is for the model to do what comes naturally in a given situation, and I just capture that moment.
The goal, I guess, is to make pictures that have a conceptual background and a strong identity, but not to throw everything you’ve got into it. So it’s an exercise in restraint a lot of the time.”