This month, esteemed fashion and events photographer Darren Gerrish is turning his lens to our exclusive Portrait Experience with CHANEL. Here, we catch up with Darren and talk about what makes a great picture, fabulous parties and being starstruck.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. When it comes to Darren Gerrish, a picture is worth so much more than that. He’s photographed today’s brightest stars at the most exclusive events, and now, he’s one of the photographers participating in our exclusive Portrait Experience with CHANEL happening this month.
You certainly know a Darren Gerrish image when you see one. The photographer is renowned throughout the fashion industry for his beautiful, glamorous and irreverent pictures from events, street style, portraits and runway shows. Darren is a regular contributor to the pages of world-renowned titles such as _Vogue, Vanity Fair_ and _Dazed & Confused_ and counts the British Fashion Council, CHANEL, Matches Fashion and the Royal Academy of Art amongst his burgeoning client list.
Having captured today’s most famous faces – from Oprah, Lady Gaga and Kate Moss to Kiera Knightley, Gigi Hadid and the Beckhams – Darren has turned his lens to portraiture in collaboration with CHANEL. Here, we sit down with the remarkable photographer to chat about what makes a great picture, fabulous parties and being starstruck by his favourite French actress.
##### What made you want to get involved with the Portrait Experience with CHANEL at Fenwick?
I’ve always loved Fenwick and the people who work here – they’re all so nice and so genuine. And I always end Paris Fashion Week with CHANEL and it’s always glorious. Fenwick and CHANEL – what a brilliant combination!
##### What advice do you have for clients having their portrait taken to get a great picture?
In my line of work, almost everyone wants their picture taken, but lots of people often feel uncomfortable. The secret is just to relax and enjoy it as much as possible. I’m not a dentist – I’m a photographer and I want to get the best possible picture I can.
##### What was your ‘big break’ into the world of fashion and events photography?
After studying photography at London College of Printing (now London College of Communication), I started out doing art gallery events for Tyrone Wood (son of _The Rolling Stones_ guitarist Ronnie Wood). The people who used to come to that gallery were absolutely amazing – it was the best club to be in at six thirty in the evening. One day, I was looking at my photographs and I decided to phone _Vogue_ – it sounds ridiculous now! Muffie Sproat (former Assistant Picture Editor) then sent me to photograph a party. When I sent the pictures back, she and Emily Sheffield (former _Vogue_ Deputy Editor) said they were the best party pictures they’d seen – and that was my ‘big break’!
##### You’ve attended some of the most fabulous parties around the world. What have been some of the most enjoyable to photograph?
There’s so many, where would I even start? Every party is brilliant. Some of the more recent ones that come to mind are Edward Enninful’s party to celebrate his first magazine as editor of _British Vogue_ and Edward also threw a tiny, private party for director Spike Lee at Laylow which was pretty cool.
##### Do you ever get starstruck?
I don’t really get starstruck, but I do realise how incredibly lucky I am to get to photograph these people. There’s a TV show called _Call My Agent_ and in the last episode of the second season, there’s a party with cameos from the likes of Isabelle Huppert, Juliette Binoche and Béatrice Dalle. I paused the scene and realised I’d photographed all of the French stars there, and I love that. One of my starstruck moments was when I photographed actress Fanny Ardant at the Jacquemus show in Paris. I could have retired right there.
##### You spend your days photographing some of the most stylish people in the world. How do you describe your own style?
Camera. Beret. Baggy trousers.
##### How do you like to relax after a day or night of work?
After a job, I like to go out and eat and have a drink because I’m still so wired and running on excitement. I definitely couldn’t just go home and have a cup of tea. So when I finish, I go out with friends.
I’m very lucky with where I’m sent to work and I’m always out at these incredible, fancy places, but when I’ve got a (rare) night off, I love going to my local pub. It’s full of dogs and I have a couple of pints and a packet of cheese and onion crisps!