by Peter Foley
It was eleven or twelve years ago, having only been stringing for EPA a relatively short time when I got a call from Matt Campbell [then NYC Bureau Chief, now epa’s Director North America] who was coordinating US assignments, he said go down to Bryant Park and give Jason Szenes a hand with fashion. I remember exactly what I said; “you don’t have to ask me twice”. I get to photograph beautiful women and you pay me for that- well ok somebody’s got to do it. So I get to Bryant Park, find Jason and he say’s “have you ever photographed fashion before” I say no, he rolls his eyes and tells me when the model’s right foot crosses over the left, click the shutter, everything else looks like crap. It was one of the single best pieces of photography advice I ever received.
Jason had shot fashion for a few years for different agencies and was an old pro by then, I was the rookie but together we became epa’s New York fashion shooters. Fast forward to the luckiest day of the year, Friday the 13th February 2015. The second day of the fall/winter fashion shows at Lincoln Center and splashed on the front page of the New York Times ABOVE THE FOLD a beautiful image by our Bureau Chief Justin Lane taken on the first day of fashion. To let you know how rarely this occurs I can only remember two or three fashion pictures in more than 10 years ever on the front page of the NYT’s and they were below the fold. Justin is a unique talent and I’m always glad he’s on our team.
Every New York fashion season presents its own particular set of challenges, this season being no different. We start off with 10-15 below zero temperatures, I’m not complaining because a couple of hundred miles to the North, Boston I think has 10-15 feet of snow maybe not that much but it’s deep. New Yorkers are used to cold winters but this is Minnesota cold.
Well that’s enough history, chest thumping and weather reports, you all wanna know what is New York fashion week really like. I think from a photographer’s view point you either love it or hate it and I do love it. You do face a certain amount of small indignities like waiting long hours sometimes for the shows to start, being crammed into the “Pit” that can fit 50 photographers but somehow we manage to fit over 100. That everywhere you go, you need a special credential –runway-front row-backstage- but when it’s all said and done and the lights come up, the music starts to beat and those gene pool lottery winners start to strut their stuff- it’s really exciting and you as a photographer start to think maybe today I will catch that perfect moment. When the light, the subject and the composition magically appear through the lens and you capture it. All photographers live for that moment. Well that’s enough for now, next installment we’ll dish the dirt on those world famous fashion designers… and I will leave you with one of my favorite backstage pics from last season’s Malan Breton show, a little risqué!
More images from the Fashion Week in New York