FARHAN LASHARI - PHOTOGRAPHER
We caught up with fashion photographer Farhan Lashari who speaks to us about his journey in the fashion industry, his professional life and what advice he would give those tapping in the in same career field. Read on...
Hi Farhan! Tell us about your journey as a fashion photographer – how did you start, your first campaign etc.
I’d been playing with the camera since 2010 and it seemed like a well familiar toy until I found myself being entranced by the world of fashion. Fashion was always challenging for me and I felt deeply fascinated by its wonders. Like in a constant state of awe. From conjuring up a concept, to finding the right muse, a suitable MUA to the appropriate styling and crafting and then executing the right lighting, you know. It was all terra incognita.
I collaborated on my first shoot in 2018, financed it myself and then tried my luck a few more times. Turns out it was purely hard work and well, a bit of luck, sure. Warp.io was the first brand that entrusted with their campaign. Waseem Jewellers was second, but during that entire year till mid 2019, I may have done three to four shoots maximum. Long story short, my proper journey began right after covid-19, that’s when I started doing campaigns, my confidence boosted and here we are now.
How would you describe your photography style and what do you think sets you apart from your competitors?
I cannot quite categorise my style. I just know that I always try to be unconventional. What sets me apart from others is my own unique and flawed play of light and shadows. My flaws are my style for the most part, I suppose. People are too good and I’m too flawed. One of them is that I’m a control freak when it comes to light. I always try to take 100% control of lighting. It’s not because I don’t know how to let go or lose control but my conscience doesn’t simply allow me to press a button on the camera in the natural light. I mean, there is nothing like the natural light but what’s my input in it? All I have to do is just click? No absolutely not! So, I literally draw light diagrams before the shoots and then test them if I have time. And well, that’s where all the fun is isn’t it? Drawing light diagrams, then painting with those lights later on. It’s all part of the excitement.
From where did you get inspiration for most of your shoots? How do you stay innovative?
Well obviously, you need to always keep drawing inspiration from the artist community that’s indulging in all sorts of creative pursuits out there, not only restricted to photography. Additionally keeping an eye on the international market is something which always keeps you on your toes. If I stay updated with the latest trends and fill my brain chalice with the juices of creativity via frequent shameless consumption of different forms of art, I remain motivated and driven to forge and put together something out of the ordinary as well. To give you further insight into my creative process, I always start with one word, ponder over it for a while and let it take the wheel of imagination and drive.
If I’m able to catch a glimpse of the theme I’m looking for in my head, I immediately begin my research for references so that I can express to my team the adventures which I’m experiencing alone in my head
As a photographer, what challenges do you face in the industry and hope to overcome?
Well, most of the brands in Pakistan play it safe when it comes to concepts and themes. Almost every brand is going for those typical pre-made sets or the same locations like the qila or all the havailies, which is quite frankly, repetitive and redundant.
The industry is a lazy organism with a comfort zone that’s been developed over the years out of which it refuses to crawl out due to which innovators like me or several other talented artists are unable to find a creative playground to frolic about in
However, I have never allowed these hiccups to suffocate my expression, which is precisely why I decided to put together as many editorials as I could to express myself - those who are willing to listen and see, will find me.
What has been the most memorable moment of your career, so far?
Believe me, really, I tried picking a favourite but I couldn’t. Quite honestly, all the shoots/projects I did had one aspect or several which left a mark on my spirit which I always carry with me and those marks push me to be better and better.
If there was one celebrity you could photograph, local or international, who would that be and why?
That’s a difficult question but if I have one shot at this then I would definitely want to do an editorial with Ursula Corbero, who played ‘Tokyo’ in ‘Money Heist’. She has a strong personality not just in the TV show but also in real life. Also, unlike her other contemporaries, her fashion sense is graceful and classy, not to mention her poses. If I hadn’t watched this TV show I would have believed that she is a high fashion model.
Almost every brand is going for those typical pre-made sets or the same locations like the qila or all the havailies, which is quite frankly, repetitive and redundant
In your opinion, what are your thoughts on the Pakistani fashion industry?
I think the Pakistani fashion industry is progressively maturing. I like how the trends are changing. Simple rule: if you can carry the vibe you can model, you don’t have to be tall or fair in complexion and all. There are a few brands that are changing the face of fashion in Pakistan and I’m happy about it.
What advice do you have for emerging photographers that are looking to break into the fashion industry?
My advice to them would be to understand light physics and overall physics of photography as well as understanding colour theory. A photographer has to read in grade detail about arts and has to explore different artists and know about their work. In one line; Explore, understand, execute. Don’t be afraid.
INTERVIEW: SAFA ADNAN
PHOTOS: COURTESY FARHAN LASHARI