LAHORE: Guddu Shani does not need any introduction as he is one of the leading fashion photographers of our industry. The primary focus of his work is to bring revolution in fashion.  His work is often compared to paintings, as it represents a collision between the worlds of fashion and art. With a huge contribution in the development of fashion advertising in Pakistan in terms of aesthetics and techniques in a short span of time, Guddu Shani has become a top priority for the top of the line brands of the country when it comes to their branding and target oriented advertising and marketing with one stop high end solution. In 2004 he completed masters of fine arts as a graphic designer from College of Arts and Design, Punjab University.

In 2009&2012 Guddu Shani got best fashion photographer award at Lux Style Award. In an exclusive interview with The Nation he talks about his career.

Following are excerpts of the interview:

Tell us about your journey in Fashion industry. Did you always want to be fashion photographer or did you have other ambitions as a child?

I’ve always considered myself an artist, working in paint mediums from a young age. Photography has always been my passion not only fashion photography. From the time I was studying in university, I had been working on various projects. In 2004 I completed masters of fine arts as a graphic designer from College of Arts and Design, Punjab University. Since my childhood I always had passion for photography and I have struggled a lot to become a prominent face in this industry.

 How much did your family support you?

My family was really supportive and always motivated me. My elder sister is a fine artist and we also had a family textile brand.

From photographer to a stylist, how would you define your journey?

It’s been a beautiful journey so far. We have all top brands in our basket, Touch wood!! We are the only company which provides photography, filming and directing services in the Fashion industry. I think I had photography in myself. Since my childhood I use to draw different designs and capture my family’s pictures from different angles with my camera. From the time of university I worked on various projects related to photography. Later on I realised fashion photography is made for me.

Describe your work philosophy?

My work philosophy is fusion of classicism and old school into very present time.

Apart from good make up and dresses, how important is styling in photo shoots?

Our fashion industry is growing rapidly and keeping up with the modern trends is the need of the hour. I feel styling is as much important as the bat and ball in cricket. The brand gets more recognition and limelight among masses.

How essential is brand owner’s input in styling the models? Do you take all decisions yourself in terms of model selection, location, set and other necessary elements?

Definitely the decision is not one sided. We follow the brief of the client and add our valuable suggestions. The end product is always the result of both party’s efforts and decisions.

What is more challenging to you; styling models in TV ads or photo shoots?

Styling models in general is challenging, whether for a photo shoot or a TV ad. It requires a lot of skill and thought for styling the model according to what is trending and what would catch the target audience more.

Tell us about Guddu Shani Films?

Guddu Shani films are fastest emerging division of 360 degrees. We aim to provide our client with a world class television commercial (TVC) production that delivers excellent service and technically sophisticated, entertaining and effective advertising. We are based in Pakistan with a sub office in Bangkok, Thailand and strong relations with our partners in Italy, Switzerland, India, Malaysia & Dubai.

What is the importance of brand research before you finalize a theme for the brand?

Brand research is very important to know about the audience you have to target and what sort of themes and agendas have been used by the brand earlier to appeal the target audience. Hence, it takes a lot of brand research before finalizing a theme for the brand.

What are the biggest challenges of working in Pakistan fashion industry?

Making and sustaining real human connections. Every day is filled with new people to meet and opportunities to interact with all types of personalities. The hardest is maintaining long standing relationships. Developing market and influence your client about new ideas is the biggest challenge.

What does fashion mean to you?

Fashion is a distinctive and often habitual trend in the style in which a person dresses. It’s an art that has so much to do with the development civilization.

Tell us something about your brand 360 degrees?

Our nucleus is our customer as we believe in our customer satisfaction. Our strength is working as a team with our customers as our company motto is “Together we go together we grow”. Today our company is a team of capable designers, artists, highly professional and educated people.

You direct and produce TVC’s/ new media video for brands like Sana Safinaz, Gulahmed, HSY, Khaadi and many more. Share your experience.

It was an amazing experience as a film director. I have done 2 years certification in “classical film direction “from London School of Film and Media. Utilizing your own studies and vision for moving pictures is awesome. Because of the new media the opportunity is even like multiplied by hundreds.

You got best Fashion photographer award in 2009 &2012 at Lux Style Award. Tell us something about it.

It was brilliant experience to win award. To be nominated as a best photographer is an award itself. 

What equipments do you use for the best results?

I have all the brands. I have Cannon, Pentax and Nikon. It all depends upon the project we are working on.

What photographers from past or present have influenced you the most?

Well there are many creative people in this industry. The work Ather Shahzad and Khawar Riaz have produced is unmatched.

Any new project in pipeline that Guddu Shani fan’s should be looking forward to?

We are currently working on Khaadi and Nishat and couple of new brands. We have launched our very own Guddu Shani mobile application last year, which is being updated with our latest works and is easily accessible on mobile phones.