David Luraschi’s creative catalyst is, and always has been, people. His staunch belief that “there is enough great material in the real world” and that “nothing need be added artificially” permeates his witty, wonderfully off-kilter photography. To that end, he is inundated with material and works on impulse – or what he deems, “spontaneous reaction” to capture obscure observations and interactions that the rest of us fail to see. In turn, ordinary scenarios become magnetic and rather extraordinary – in a similar manner to that of late German portrait and documentary photographer, August Sander. An American tourist navigating the streets of Milan, for example, appears as bright as the city road signage that proceeds him, dressed in an entire spectrum of primary colours; a trio of elderly women waiting to cross a busy junction in New York, stand in matching brown overcoats – and, as if by magic, in order of height, too. Consider it realism, at it’s most fabulous.
Fashion has always, if indirectly, played an imperative part in Luraschi’s oeuvre. In fact, his voyeuristic approach to shooting uniquely dressed citizens of all ages, shapes and sizes from behind – became a welcome riposte to the contrived street style images that have so brazenly stoked the social media fire over the past decade. So, it seems fitting that when we speak over the phone, he immediately (and sweetly) declares himself as “not much of a fashion person,” and proceeds to describe his sartorial repertoire for proof. “I’m sensitive to it [fashion], but I’m just really a chino pants, sneakers and grey T-shirt kind of a guy,” he laughs. “I don’t even really look at magazines or go into stores a lot.”
This gentle, understated disposition is all part and parcel of the Paris-based, French–American’s charm. As is his dry sense of humour and overwhelming enthusiasm for his practice. “I try not to over-conceptualise, but to be more of a sponge and an observer,” he explains. “My code is an existential one. I am discreet, I do not disturb. I just really feel that some people are so fantastically dressed that it would be a waste not to celebrate them [laughs], you know?”
Most recently, Luraschi has applied this ethos to an exciting photographic commission for luxury French house, Hermés, documenting some of the label’s most esteemed annual events, such as Le Saut Hermés and La Fête du Theme. “It has been the most wonderful experience so far,” he muses. “I have been fortunate enough to become immersed in Hermés, and have learned so much. From attending the silk scarf workshops in Lyon to meeting the people that have been at the heart of the brand for so many years – everyone is absolutely passionate about what they do.”
The resulting series – which appears on the brand’s innovative Instagram feed and consists of both images and video vignettes – bears all the hallmarks of Luraschi’s light-hearted realism, offering a playful insight into the remarkable people and exquisitely crafted products that orbit the Hermés universe. “Again, it was very spontaneous,” he notes. “It felt a bit like James Bond, get in there and accomplish my mission – whether that’s getting a dapper man to bike around their incredible Rue de Sèvres store in Paris, or capturing an extravagantly dressed woman at the Grand Palais.” Naturally, not all images make the final edit – and AnOther is fortunate enough to present some of Luraschi’s compelling outtakes within this very feature. “Allowing people the freedom to collaborate in this way is something really quite special,” he concludes. We’re inclined to agree.