Fashion weeks are all about the Fashion Industry having a massive gathering to show the designs and ideas they have which reflect the trends evolving in what people are wearing out in the real world. A real world which has many influences. Music and youth culture being prime but also social media, celebrities and even politics. The shows and catwalks at fashion events are held a few months before the seasons they are aimed at. London Fashion Week (LFW) for the Spring & Summer collections for 2017 (SS17) were held in the Autumn of 2016 and I was lucky enough to get passes and invitations to shoot backstage and front of house (the catwalk) for The Bite Mag which has recently published it's 19th issue containing its report and my photography on LFW SS17
I've shot several catwalk shows since my introduction to them at a Canon sponsored event a few years ago. It's exciting and something so different from the usual photographer experience. Shooting for yourself though is fun and it doesn't matter if you miss the best shots because only you will know. The best shots being when the model has the toes of the front foot just touching the ground. The underside of shoes in catwalk photography is not wanted. Shooting for a publication is a whole other level. I spent several hours at home in the preceding day making sure my camera and other gear were fully prepared. Batteries charged including as many spare batteries as I could find. Memory cards emptied and formatted and plenty of back up cards just in case. Lenses cleaned. Passes safely organised.
There are some things which you just can't prepare for though. The morning of the first day of LFW, London experienced some of the heaviest rain in years. When I got to the station to get the train into central London the line had been closed due to flooding.
All I could do was run home as quickly as possible carrying a lot of gear and get my car to drive to a station on another line and hope all would be ok. Thankfully it was, but it did mean I missed the first part of the first catwalk show. Once a show has started no-one in the photographers pit moves. It's incredibly tightly packed and to the models must look just like the magnified eyes of a fly with all the lenses facing forward.
Over the four days I shot 13 catwalk shows and took far too many images. Too many images because I was making sure I got those perfect feet placements in the shots. Timing is something I have never excelled at (dancing and computer games were never really my thing) so I shot the extra frames to make doubly sure. Watching the model move down the cat walk through the viewfinder, my one eye is taking in the position of the model in the frame to tell one hand to move the zoom ring of the camera whilst at the same time watching the foot position to find the rhythm and tell my other hand to press the shutter button. Like learning to drive a manual car or patting your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time it just takes practice. And I started to get it.
The yang to the ying of shooting so many frames is the time it takes in post production to select the best images. Practice and experience at the show certainly saves time on the computer. Pretty much anyone could point a camera and press a shutter button. Part of being a good photographer is knowing when not to press the shutter. It's curation at all stages. Something which has probably got a bit lost in this digital age with cameras that can take ten's of images a second. As my photography career evolves I'm taking less images and more great photographs.
And now I'm pleased to say my photographs have been edited and designed into a report about LFW SS17 in The Bite Mag which I can share with you all. Tear sheets are below. To go directly to the report with my photography use this link LFW SS17 where there are videos taken by the House Videographer who was stood to my right. Page 121 has the amazing Pam Hogg collection which features Anita Pallenberg (who died this year) dressed head to toe in gold. More articles can be found at www.thebitemag.com