Guy Gooch – yes, that’s his birth name – has received a fair share of comments just based off his name. “I used to get a lot of stick for [it] at school, but then I started finding the humour in it” explains Guy alongside seeing a Twitter post of gooches and all the jokes that come with it after posting his work online. Truly, “You can’t not respect that”.
But Guy Gooch is far from being just a name. The Essex-born artistic mind does it all and prefers to do it without a label. “I can’t really say I’m a photographer and director because I like animation and that sort of stuff as well”. Starting photography at 15, Guy fell into animation as a result of lockdown free time, and everything else “snowballed” since.
“I was way too shy to be going up to people”, explains Guy on his early stages of street photography. Citing Jill Friedman and Elliot Erwitt as inspirations, Guy’s own artistic philosophy leans more towards “watching and letting things happen rather than conducting and forming something in front of you”. That candid approach to photography has transpired into all of Guy’s creative ventures. You don’t need “to get the Rembrandt lighting on their cheek” he emphasises, describing his own aesthetic as “scrappy, not very precise” tying in nicely with “feeling this kind of enjoyment out of the mistakes”.
Guy approaches any projects proposed to him with that exact organic approach, including the music videos he shoots for Ray Laurél, the now-musician who Guy went to school with. The two got together to shoot a video, which to this day Guy cringes at: “it was bad, like aggressively bad”, almost calling it quits on his directing days before they even started.
Having directed Ray Laurél’s gritty music video for CHARLES JEFFREY, the aesthetically DIY visuals for Unconditional and shot the raw images for their “Manic Pixie Dream Boy” EP, Guy has stepped into the role of a conscientious maker rather than just a watcher, being able to bounce off creative ideas with the artist. Most recently, Guy took on his biggest animation project for Ray Laurél’s latest release, U SAID!, a project that took relatively little time based purely off Guy’s excitement to dive into his new-found creativity.
As his creative output diversified, Guy didn’t need to build the courage to go up to people, with others approaching him. Online music publication The Line Of Best Fit will “send me a message [saying] ‘you down to shoot this guy on this day?’”, one of them being UK rapper Arrdee. Sometimes, it’s the subject of the image that reaches out to him, including Florence Pugh. “She was extremely relaxed with […] just doing something that I thought was going to work”.
While it depends on project to project, Guy isn’t just the guy behind the camera, but rather the mind behind the camera. Whether it be those who want their picture taken by him letting him do his thing, or Guy naturally taking the lead. “I don’t necessarily need to talk about stuff [I’m doing] the whole time, I just know what works”, he explains not pretentiously but nonchalantly.
Still working from home on days where he’s not on set, there’s no such thing as a typical day for Guy due to his multi-media ventures that all “feed different parts of me”. On shoot days, Guy becomes his social, extroverted self while “when I feel like a recluse and I want to hide in my room for days and days on end”, Guy will work on his animated projects. There’s no preference for him, with each project being so different and requiring a distinct approach. But Guy has one golden rule: “I never ever want to limit myself”.
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