Munich, Germany-based Erol Gurian is no stranger to being a fly on the wall. As a photojournalist, Erol works with “real people,” so observing them in their natural habitats, capturing their behaviors, and anticipating their next move is second nature to him.
When he started shooting for Caroline Lauenstein’s clothing company, Rockmacherin, Erol took a different approach, interacting with the brand’s message and mission in exciting ways.
Caroline’s hobby had been sewing skirts for some time, but in 2014 she decided to take a few of them to an artisan market in Bavaria. Here, she came across a woman who seemed a bit too interested in the clothing. After grabbing one of the skirts the examining the details, the woman turned to Caroline and asked her if she could make another eighty more. This woman was the owner of a well-known clothing store nearby that specialized in Bavarian clothes.
After mulling it over, Caroline committed to the eighty skirts, and upon their release, they were almost immediately sold out. Traditional Bavarian dress is not unusual in southern Germany, but Caroline’s line combines the traditional designs with modern elements and is all produced locally and sustainably.
Tweaking the traditional designs with modern touches allows for a younger, fresher way to express their culture and traditions. Now, with her daughter and son joining the company, the line has only grown and evolved. In 2020 the brand continues to gain notoriety within the industry as “one of a kind.”
Caroline’s husband is a lifelong friend I grew up with, and both her daughters and her son often model for us. Our shoots sometimes remind me of a family outing on steroids and a tight schedule. It really is a family affair.
Instead of booking the usual models, Erol only photographs “real people,” setting them in a space and doing what he does best.
When Caroline and I searched for the right visual approach, we decided to go with my signature style and shoot unposed, spontaneous photos using real people to tell the story of her fashion. We believe that this goes in hand with the core values of Rockmacherin of being down-to-earth and not high fashion.
Caroline knew Erol through her husband, and when she decided to create her brand, she thought he could help her develop a vision for the product. So, they sat down at her dining room table and went through magazines, catalogs, and websites, printing and cutting out photos of what they liked and what they didn’t. Creating dozens of mood boards, they whittled things down until they found the sweet spot for their mutual visions.
The result was a photography style that communicates her core values of high quality but wearable, accessible, and relatable. These values are rooted in her Bavarian community around lake Ammersee.
The first shoot they did together was in a friend’s empty barn. Quickly, however, Erol realized that a studio setting wasn’t adding up. For the next shoot, they started scouting locations and setting up “situations” for the subjects to showcase the clothes as naturally and spontaneously as possible.
We usually shoot approximately four situations on one long day. When scouting for locations, we try to find locations that aren’t too far from one another to save travel time.
At these locations, nearly everything is improvised. Fortunately, Erol, his team, and Caroline put in a real effort to remain flexible, and when the unforeseen happens, they rely on each other to find a solution.
With Rockmacherin, it’s all about teamwork and trust in each other’s visual ideas and concepts. What is most important is that we’re telling the stories of Caroline’s fashion in a credible, fresh, and sellable way. So far, we’ve succeeded in doing that.
I like how it always comes together and creates a certain magic in the “coincidence” of it all.
Stylist: Monica Liebetanz (MOMA Li Design, Munich)
See more of Erol’s work at gurian.de.
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