In Conversation: Gez Gethings and his amazing photo memory games

London-based photographer Gerrard Gethings entered the world of photography after getting a studio that turned out to be next to the iconic Terry O'Neil's studio.

Originally planning to use his new studio for painting, Gerrard ended up working with his new neighbour in 1997.

"I kind of fell into it, really," Gerrard recalls, "I started working for Terry O'Neil. He was a cool guy and did amazing work. I got into photography that way."

It wouldn't be until 2008 when Gerrard would discover animals to be his photographic muse after bringing home Border Terrier puppy, Baxter.

Now one of the world's finest pet portraitists alive, Gerrard has two amazing photo memory games dedicated to dogs and cats, a brand new one coming soon with drag queens, and a fourth in the making.

"It was one of those ideas that I'd had for a while but just as a fun personal project but nothing really pushed me to do it," Gerrard says about the first memory game.

With only a few small editorial bits done, Gerrard was given the push he needed by Laurence King Publishing when they asked him to do it for them.

"I wanted to do a photobook because I figured that's what you do when you're a photographer. You make a big book you can show off and put on your coffee table."

However, Laurence King Publishing had the "brilliant idea" to turn the photos into a memory game.

"The game has been a lot more successful than a book would have been," Gerrard admits, acknowledging that the market for games is much larger than the photobook market and anyone who likes dogs would love the game.

The 'Do You Look Like Your Dog?' game has now been out for over two years, with its release being September 2018.

Gerrard says that his favourite photo duo from the dog memory game is the one of Jessica and Buddy the Bichon Frise.

"I’m a bit of a sucker for that one. Because this stuff has been everywhere now, this is one of the images that’s always used."

The cat game, which came out in October 2020 alongside the photobook version of 'Do You Look Like Your Dog', had a very successful start.

"Out of the starting block, I think the cat one has sold more quicker. The cat game got off to a flying start."

With three games now under his belt, and a fourth in the making, Gerrard has an interesting approach to finding his models.

Gerrard turns to members of the public as well as social media to find his cast, meeting people in the park or at the corner shop that might look similar to the dogs and cats he's already photographed.

"It's better to use real people, it's more fun," Gerrard explains.

"They find it exciting, no one's jaded. It's very new to them to walk into a studio. I love working with Joe Bloggs."

Gerrard says that around 60% of the people he found were through social media, and the rest were off the street.

"My wife's in it, my boy's in it. I'm in one. One of my son's teachers is in one.

"One time I wanted a guy who looked like Hagrid so I posted a picture and asked if anyone knew anyone who that looked like him. A guy came up and he said 'I look like this' and he looked exactly like that."

Gerrard is also having his work featured in three exhibitions, at The Museum of Walloon Life in May, Fotografiska, Stockholm in October, and a third open-air exhibition called the Andorra Biennale, which is being transferred to Barcelona.

"It's ace," Gerrard says about being approached for the exhibitions.

"When I was a painter, you’d be banging your head against the wall trying to get an exhibition, trying to get a painting up somewhere to get your stuff seen. Now, I get invited to do them and I love it. It’s the best. It kind of justifies all the hard work."

You can buy Gerrard's pet memory games on Amazon and pre-order his Drag Match game - which includes drag star Courtney Act, and the season two winner of RuPaul's Drag Race UK - for a May 6 release.

Gerrard currently uses the 5D Mark IV, a 35mm lens for big animals, and 50mm, 85mm, and 100mm. Gerrard prefers to use the 100mm macro for portraits.

He also uses pro-photo gear, a beauty dish, soft boxes, and occasionally umbrellas.

Follow Gerrard's journey




Do You Look Like Your Dog Memory Game

Do You Look Like Your Dog Photobook

Do You Look Like Your Cat Memory Game

Drag Match Pre Orders

Laurence King Publishing

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