Photographing a fashion show is always an exciting time. Being backstage with the models and hair/makeup teams, feeling their excitement and nerves, you really get a buzz from being a part of it. In December, just as the weather started to warm up, I shot for Upper Volta’s latest fashion event, New World Soul. Having done their campaign photography, I was also given the honour of being the official photographer! That meant that I got to boss everyone around and elbow other photographers out of the way in the media pit (just joking!)
The event was held at Clifton Street Market in Prahran, which is an amazing warehouse space. It was the same location that we shot the campaign shots in. Look at my photo gracing the homepage of their website! ^_^
I arrived around 6pm, but the models and hair and makeup teams had already done a few hard hours. There were around 40 models, so to have everyone ready on time they had to start early. As soon as I entered the building I was stopped in my track, because my photos were printed HUGE on fabric, and were suspended from the mezzanine! One portrait was taller than me, and there were 8 of them! There was also a full lenght shot that would have easily been three metres high. I was thrilled, they looked brilliant! My shot was also on the little brochures for the afterparty- it looked great with the copy on it, and I was not-so-secretly chuffed.
I took a lot of backstage photos of everyone doing their thing- relaxing, getting their hair done, and eating the amazing food that was provided. A lot of the models recognised me from previous shoots, so it was nice to catch up and have a little chat. I even got to wear a KWAMEE t-shirt to feel like part of the crew.
Whilst there was still daylight, I tried to capture a raw portrait of each model. I didn’t quite get everyone because of all the commotion. I love the diversity of faces that Kwamee had chosen to walk the runway.
Finally it was nearing start time, and guests started to arrive. Champagne was served, lights were dimmed, and backstage we were hushed. It was really tricky to shoot the runway, because it was incredibly dark, there was no spotlight at the spot where the models were to stop, and it was totally backlit. Add a heavy smoke machine, and you’ve got a recipe for trouble. I prefer not to use flash in these types of events, because it can kill the mood and atmosphere of the shot. So I ended up using two cameras; one with a fast lens to capture the models as they were walking, and one with a slower lens, but with flash, to grab them as they posed on ‘the spot.’ I probably looked like a maniac switching between two cameras constantly, but luckily there was a table right next to me that I could rest one of them on when needed.
Needless to say, my arms were pretty buff afterwards.
At the end of the show, everyone cheered and I overheard lots of the audience complimenting the designs. Kwamee even made a little speech to thank everyone for coming. I know he’s a little shy so it was great to see the relief on his face when he felt that the event had gone well.
A few days later, my shots started appearing on the designer’s instagram page. There are many many shots, so please go and check some more out here.