The rising photographer talks capturing the essence of the UK’s most expressive icons in vibrant photo-series Open That Coca-Cola.

Pictured: Anais Gallagher

Pictured: Anais Gallagher

Summer is coming. And after the year we’ve had, if you’ve already been fantasising about warm weather antics with friends and beads of condensation on a cold drink – you are not alone. And if we were to narrow it down, no gulp on a hot day is more iconic than the distinctive taste of Coca-Cola – with the beloved brand uplifting the world for generations. Refreshing and indescribable – we beg that first sip last forever. And now, this exact phenomenon has been immortalised in a vibrant and intimate photo-series, featuring some of the UK’s most prominent creatives, snapped by up-and-coming photographer Anais Gallagher.

As part of the Open That Coca-Cola campaign – which is all about the indescribable experience of drinking a Coca-Cola – the satisfied faces of radio host and presenter Roman Kemp, rapper Lady Leshurr, Drag Race fave Tayce, social media sensation Saffron Barker, model Rina Lipa and actor Nathaniel Hall have been captured taking their first cold sip. With their bold personalities coming through on full blast, expect some tongue-in-cheek “YEEAHS” and “OOOOHS” – we all know how it is.

We caught up with Anais Gallagher, who unpacks the new Open That Coca-Cola campaign which brings to life the indescribable experience of drinking a Coca-Cola…

[L-R] Roman Kemp, Lady Lessur, Tayce

[L-R] Roman Kemp, Lady Lessur, Tayce

Hi Anais, how have you been over the past few months? Has lockdown affected your creativity or your photography studies and work?
Hi Wonderland! I’ve been great, however difficult lockdown has made my studies at University. It’s important to remember that creativity is a muscle, and you have to exercise it. It’s hard to get back into the flow if you haven’t worked on it in a while, so I‘ve been trying to work as much as possible.

Will you tell us when you first picked up a camera? And when did you realise it was what you wanted to do?
When I was younger, around 6 or 7. Whenever we went on holiday my mum would buy me a disposable camera at the airport that I could take photos on. Granted most of them were of my feet or a blurry drink on a balcony, but I always loved the idea of capturing memories.

Your work focuses on candid, intimate, real life moments where the personality of your subject really comes through – what do you find most satisfying about that aspect?
I love capturing the people that I see in front of me. Often people have a persona that they use as armour to face the world and I find you really get the most beautiful pictures when you allow someone to just be themselves.

Congratulations on the Coca-Cola campaign. Were you excited to work with the brand?
Thanks guys. Working with Coca-Cola was such an incredible opportunity but also daunting, as it was such a large production. Not to mention how iconic Coca Cola is! I was really honoured to be asked.

[L-R] Saffron Barker, Nathaniel Hall

[L-R] Saffron Barker, Nathaniel Hall

The campaign is all about trying to express the indescribable feeling of drinking a Coca-Cola. How would you describe it?
Crisp. Eye watering. Refreshing.

Who had the best Coca-Cola reaction on set?
Everyone! But if I have to pick one… Nathaniel absolutely nailed it, he gave it his all.

Tayce, Roman Kemp, Lady Lesshurr, Saffron Barker, Rina Lipa and Nathaniel Hall… the cast for the campaign is so buzzy, how was it working with all these big personalities?
Everyone bought their all to the shoot and worked really hard. I have to say I was really impressed by the amount of energy they all had.

Who was your favourite to shoot?
I’m a huge Drag Race fan so I’m going to have to say Tayce. She was outstanding.

What was the biggest challenge in snapping that expressive moment in someone’s face after they’ve had a Coca-Cola?
Making sure you’re quick enough, and don’t miss anything. People often give you great moments when you’re least expecting it.

Do you have any tips and tricks for capturing the essence of someone?
I know first-hand that sometimes shoots can be a little awkward and if you don’t feel comfortable or that you’re being entirely true to yourself, you can feel out of place. Therefore, I always try and make sure whoever I’m shooting is a) having a good time and b) can make any changes they want to. That and blasting music really loud usually helps.

Who would be your dream photography subject?
Debbie Harry.

What’s next for you? What are you looking forward to in 2021?
The two things I’ve missed the most about lockdown have been going to restaurants and gigs. Fingers crossed we can all dance along to live music and eat tons of great food in the not too-distant future.

[LEFT] Roman Kemp being photographed by Anais
[RIGHT] Tayce being photographed by Anais

[LEFT] Roman Kemp being photographed by Anais
[RIGHT] Tayce being photographed by Anais

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