Straight from headlining ‘Fashion Stills, a testament to Haute Couture” fashion photographer and recorder of fantasty – Christian Lacroix wrote the preface to his last fashion book “The Fabric of Dreams” – Gerard Uferas shares his unique perspective for LUX FIX.
Your photography has been described as allowing people to “enter the world of fashion” – what’s your secret that makes viewers feel like fashion insiders?
I started working on fashion without really knowing very much about it. I had worked for years in the world of opera and ballet, and when the question of a new project occured, it was obvious for me that the pleasure I already had taking pictures of costumes behind the scenes of opera houses would naturally lead me to fashion. I think I have the same curiosity as the one of a child discovering a world full of passion and creation. If you feel that you enter this world through my pictures it may be simply because my pictures are the memory of my emotions.
Are you excited by fashion yourself? By the clothes and the spectacle of the shows or is it something you have become accustomed to?
Having worked for years now in this world I am really excited by the incredible amount of talents and passion you can find there. The clothes are as diverse as the world is, they are the vocabulary of the streets and a field for people to express themselves. And I am also fascinated by the shows themselves, especially backstage because this is a place (like in a theatre) where reality is mixed with fantasy, and incredible scenes can happen.
In the pictures in your incredible book, The Fabric of Dreams, there seems to be a happy energetic spirit to the images which can be unusual in fashion photography – is it something you consciously try to capture?
You must remember that these pictures were not set up, they were captured, in a certain way these are reportage pictures. They are the encounter of the outside reality I document with my inside emotions. They talk about what I feel about women and clothes.
What strikes you most about the difference between the images captured “on show” and “backstage”?
When you shoot the show itself it is very difficult to be personal because you have to stay in the same place all the time and the show is created by someone who wants you to see things the way he thinks. But sometimes you can find a way to capture beautiful things that are personal. Backstage is a space that gives you a much greater range, it gives you much more freedom.
Before a fashion shoot, do you prepare yourself to take stylised images through visual research or do you find yourself reacting more to the models as they move?
My curiosity and passion for art and photography are the only preparation I have, when I photograph I try to forget everything and just feel things. If I feel something I try to express it in a glance, without too much thinking. I think this is the best way to get images that I had never thought of before, and when it happens this is a pure joy for me.
You are famous as a photographer of dance – more beauty! Do you find your fashion and dance photography have a similar style or is there something unique to capturing fashion?
I don’t see too much the difference between my fashion and my dance photography. These are two worlds of creation and grace that I discovered with the same enthusiasm.
Finally, your work has just gone on show in “Fashion Stills”, a testament to Haute Couture, do the images from that exhibition still fill you with excitement when you look at them?
A good image should keep a secret inside itself. When you look at it , it is like Aladdin’s lamp, a genie should rise and tell you the story. Some pictures are like that, keeping some magic inside. I hope some of my images have that special quality.