Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Jilly Peppa, Outside G-Star, Wall St, New York

Jilly Peppa is executive editorial assistant at WeTheUrban, as well as the blogger behind Manufactured1987 and her eponymous Tumblr.She has also been featured in a recent Diesel campaign, and I think that's how I first became aware of her. I ran into her outside the runway show for G-Star, down in the unlikely location of Wall Street, amidst all the imposing stone architecture and tour guides in top hats. Tyler Joe (shooting for Marie Claire) and I decided to head down there for what promised to be amazing light and a picturesque location. The light, as it turns out, was a bit dimmer than we expected, and the location was so overcrowded with suits and tourists, it was hard to get a good shot. But the two of us were just about the only street style photographers down there, and for the first time all day, we got to spend a little bit of time getting to know our subjects. I got some of my favorite shots from Fashion Week there, including this one of Jilly. I'll be posting some of my other shots from outside G-Star the rest of the week. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Outside Costello Tagliapetra, 15th St, New York


Monday, September 15, 2014

Karl-Edwin Guerre, Pier 59, New York



Sunday, September 14, 2014

Preetma Singh, Outside Peter Som, 15th St, New York

And continuing the green hair theme from yesterday, it's Preetma Singh, Market Editor for the Wall Street Journal. To be fair, though, Preetma did it first. Green hair has become something of her signature, since she quit her job as a lawyer several years back to pursue (a far less lucrative but possibly more personally fulfilling) career in fashion. Thank you, Preetma, for always being nice to the hard-working photographers out there on the sidewalk. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Irene Kim, before Creature of Comfort


Friday, September 12, 2014

Natalie Suarez of Natalie Off Duty, after BCBG Max Azria



Thursday, September 11, 2014

Goodbye, Anna Wintour and the Gang. I am Done with New York Fashion Week for this Year.

Anna Wintour leaving the Reed Krakoff presentation.
 Fashion Week is like that first cigarette a nicotine fiend imbibes in the morning after a night of heavy drinking and smoking. It's gross. He doesn't exactly want it or enjoy it. But he's not about to not have it either. After every day of shooting at NYFW I feel done with it. I've chased enough editors paparazzi-style down the exit routes of shows. I've flattered the egos of enough rising starlets. But by the next morning I need a new fix. I need new pictures, new dopamine rushes. I size up everyone who passes by.
After shooting Day 6 of New York Fashion Week this season, however, I felt really and truly done. My energy had flagged. My enthusiasm was gone. And I was no longer getting a rush after securing a good shot. It all just felt like more of the same. It was time to pack my bag and go. So goodbye, Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week. Goodbye Lincoln Center, Milk Studios, Spring Studios, Pier 59, and the other venues. Goodbye Anna Wintour, Eva Chen, Margaret Zhang, Rachel Wang, and the rest of the editor gang. Goodbye Tyler Joe, Keith Morrison, Hunter Abrams, Driely S., Emmy Park, Chermelle Edwards, and the rest of my shooting companions. See you in February.

As for my pics from NYFW, you'll be seeing those for some time to come. Stay tuned. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Getting Some Distance from NYFW, Day 5

I'm sitting out Day 6 of New York Fashion Week. I needed a break, and a chance to catch up on some other work. I needed to sit down at my computer for a day and reflect on what's happened at Fashion Week so far. And I think I've earned it

Yesterday was a rough day for a lot of the photographers out shooting Fashion Week. Mid-week malaise set in. We were all sick of style stars and short on sleep. Few people even bothered to chase Irene Kim down the street as she skipped and twirled. The day got off to a bad start for those whose schedules, for whatever reason, failed to include the Tommy Hilfiger show. I, myself, was glad to miss it. It sounded like a "shit show" to me — a swarm of photographers all trying to get the same shot and thwarting each others' efforts in the process. But not everyone was so glib.Tommy was where the action was at, and a street style photographer has to prove her worth by being in the center of the action. And, of course, knowing where it's happening in the first place. 
Ethnographer's often speak of those moments of cultural revelation, where they suddenly understand the scene they're embedded within in a new way. The anthropological lens comes into sharp focus. The field starts to look very different. I had one of those moments yesterday. Tired of shooting editors from major fashion publications, many of whom really don't have all that interesting of a style in the first place, I finally put two and two together and realized why so many street style photographers shoot so many images of editors in their fashion week coverage. It's because their editors want them to. Editors pay photographers to go out and shoot them walking into runway events in their borrowed couture. It's how they build their brand. It's how they get their names out there. Friends of mine who shoot for the major fashion magazines all have to make sure to capture their editors going into the events. Otherwise they get chewed out. Some even text their photographers before they arrive. So much for the fashion week circus being the fault of bloggers! The industry has made its own mess. As one photographer put it yesterday, "[The editors] are hiring us to get shots of them."

Figuring this out cast the whole street style mob scene in a new light. Fashion week is where a mess of parties (editors, bloggers, photographers, models, etc) struggle to position themselves within a rapidly shifting social field. Photographers want their work to be seen. Editors want their faces to be seen. Much of the identity-building in the fashion world now takes place outside the runway shows. And what's at stake is not just good shots. What's at stake is one's place within the larger industry. Editors may complain about "all the damn bloggers" outside the shows, but they need them. Those bloggers help transform them from anonymous editors to name-brand fashion personalities, thereby upping their status and making it possible for them to move up with their next career move. I also realized why some editors are so reluctant to let just anyone shoot them. It's not that they hate being photographed. They just don't want to be shot by a bunch of nameless nobodies. Tommy Ton, sure. Phil Oh, of course. But Brent Luvaas from Urban Fieldnotes? Who the hell is he? Editors too have to protect their brands. Being too available to photographers reduces their exclusivity. They have to play hard to get.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Instagramming the Hell out of NYFW, Day 4

Dylan Xue, outside DKNY
I spend way too much time on my iPhone, checking messages, looking at pictures, and yet, compared to the average street style photographer at New York Fashion Week, I am practically an iPhone teetotaler. Other photographers look only in two directions: at their phones and at the door where the models are supposed to come out. They send each other texts about the locations of the next show, monitor Facebook and Twitter for inside information, and obsessively check the number of likes and comments on their latest Instagram post as if it were a running tally of their cumulative self-worth.   
Nora Vai, outside DKNY
It is not at all uncommon for photographers to announce to one another the the number of new followers they just acquired after posting their image of Rihanna, Carolina Issa, or whoever, or to tell each other who just liked their post. "Nabile just liked my photo," a friend of mine who shoots for a major website told me as we were waiting outside Public School, speaking of the photographer behind J'ai Perdu ma Veste. We both understood the significance. Nabile doesn't seem like the kind of guy who likes anything. To a street style photographer these days, Instagram is everything. It's how you build an audience, how you measure your popularity, even how you get photographic gigs. Photographing the right people can get you followed by major editors, stylists, and producers. It can put you on an important person's radar. And so photographers don't take chances with Instagram. They are careful and deliberate about who they post. And if they don't get the response they expected from their followers, they may even delete the image. One photographer explained to me that it can make a model (for instance) look bad if she doesn't get enough likes. He doesn't want that to then reflect badly on him. So even if he loves a picture himself, he'll delete it if it doesn't reach a critical threshold of likes.
SooJoo Park, outside DKNY

Recognizing the importance of Instagram, I started doing something I've been loathe to do at Fashion Week before, collecting names and Instagram handles from the people I shoot whenever I get the chance (or don't already know who they are). It's worked for other people. Time to find out if it can work for me. I'll let you know.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Waiting for Something to Happen at NYFW, Day 3

So much of fashion week is waiting. Waiting for shows to start. Waiting for shows to end. Waiting for Rihanna to finally leave Alexander Wang after the crew at Pier 94 has assured us multiple times that no one else is coming out. "People, we are removing the doors. The only people you are going to see are crew men and teamsters." A likely story, we all thought.
 And then, when the waiting is done, the mad rush begins. The rush to get photos of models exiting the shows while still in runway make up. The rush to get to the next show before the entrance starts. The rush to get to the front of the crowd as that black Range Rover pulls in front of the doors and get the best picture of (take your pick) Nicki Minaj, Die Antwoord, Anna Wintour. I think I was the only one to shoot Skrillex. Poor Skrillex. He seemed like a nice enough chap.  
Shooting in a sea of photographers is no fun. Most of us get sub-par shots, and then they are the same shots as everyone else's. Feet get stepped on. Cameras, occasionally, get smashed (as happened to a certain name-brand photographer today). It's a regular prisoner's dilemma out there. All looking after our own interests, we make it unlikely that any of us will have our interests met. Probably better to pull a Scott Schuman or an Yvan Rodic and just walk away and look for your shots elsewhere. They may not include Giovanna Battaglia or Anya Ziourova, or anyone that anyone has ever heard of, but they will be your shots and yours alone. And how many shots of Anya Ziourova does the world even need? What does she even do again? It sure beats the hurry up and wait game.