Sunday, February 10, 2013

NYFW Revelation #1: Everyone Takes the Same Pictures

Last Thursday was the first day of New York Fashion Week Fall 2013. It was also my first time at the event. As a street style blogger/researcher of street style blogs, it felt like my debutante coming out party, and I had all the nerves you would expect to go along with that. I didn't sleep well the night before, woke up at 4:45am rearing to go. I'd been at IFBcon (the convention for Independent Fashion Bloggers) all of the previous day, meeting other bloggers, taking photos, and gathering info about how best to infiltrate the events (I'll post more on that another time). Dee, a street style photographer who shoots for Racked New York and her own blog,, among other places, gave me some advice, and we planned on meeting up somewhere amidst the chaos of Lincoln Center. I'm not entirely sure what I was imagining. An occult society of elite bloggers moving through foggy city backstreets in Burberry raincoats. Secret handshakes. Back alley deals. Giant security guards barring access to everyone but Leandra Medine and Bryanboy. I was prepared to comb the grounds for hours prior to finding a good place to shoot. What I was not quite prepared for was how easy it all was. You just walk up to Lincoln Center with a camera and join the 50-150 other street style bloggers hanging out in the courtyard. I had no idea.

A blogger at Lincoln Center
All the big time street style photographers were there: Scott Schuman, Phil Oh, Adam Katz Sinding, Youngjun Koo. So were freelancers for the major style magazines and papers. And of course, there were also a dozen or so newbies, armed with Canon Rebels and bright, furry accessories. After doing this project for the last 11 months, the big name street style photographed instilled far more starstruckness in me than the certified celebrities who strolled by at various moments of the day. And yet, it was all rather chill. Everyone I met was laid back and cool. We may have been competing for shots, but there was an overall feeling of camaraderie, at least when there was no style icon strolling down the covered aisle. I can't say the same thing for the paparazzi, however, who sprang up, seemingly out of nowhere whenever a Sarah Jessica Parker or Drew Barrymore made an appearance. I got shoved out of the way for both those shots and Christina Ricci besides. I never had that trouble shooting Nick Wooster, Susie Bubble, or Rumi Neely. I couldn't back up without running into someone, of course, but at least I didn't feel in any danger of getting stepped on.

Phil Oh photographing Susie Bubble.
I got some great pictures. You'll be seeing a number of them in the coming weeks, plus others from the rest of NYFW. But here's the thing, even if you don't see MY pictures specifically, you will see them, more or less, on someone else's site. After all, we all took pretty much the same pictures of the same people. Our cameras differed. Our lenses were set to different apertures. Our reflexes operated at different relative speeds. And we all attempted to instill our photos with that singular vision that defines us as individual artists, that certain something no one else can duplicate. Or at least we hope no one else can duplicate. Because our brands depend on idiosyncrasy. Just check out the language in Refinery 29's recent Guide to NYFW's Top Street Style Photogs. It's a regular cult of personalities. Without those personalities, the best we can do is hope to get a shot or an angle no one else captures. Otherwise, we might have trouble convincing W,, The Cut, or whatever our preferred vendor happens to be, that we are not, in fact, replaceable. For perhaps, indeed, we are. It's just not that hard to get a good shot of super-star style consultant Nick Wooster. I mean, just look at the man pose while talking "indifferently" on the phone!
Nick Wooster
I've already encountered very similar pictures to my own on various Tumblrs that I follow. Dee photographed a number of the same people as I did on Racked (see them here) — but then we were hanging out together much of the day. I also checked The Cut first thing Friday morning and saw some familiar faces (and outfits) shot by Youngjun Koo. Nick Wooster, check. Leandra Medine, check. Kyle Anderson, check. Oksana On, check. Aimee Song, check. Girl with Russian fur hat and black and white print pants, who seemed to walk back through the crowd of photographers every half an hour, check.

This is not a criticism. I don't see any way around us all having similar shots. We're occupying the same square, eying the same fashion show attendees. And only so many people pass through. I found it easier, in fact, to pay attention to the motion of photographers than to spot stylish people. The real trick is spotting them first. That's when you get the best poses. I'll show you some of my first spots on another day. For now, here's another shot I share in common with Koo.

And finally (for today) here's the rest of the girl whose glasses are featured up top (along with the perfect accessory — a friend). I don't know who these girls are. But they certainly were dressed to get attention. That seems to be the name of the game at NYFW. It's silly. It's kinda dumb, but I gotta say, shooting NYFW is fun. If shooting street style in Philly is caffeine, shooting at NYFW is straight up meth.


  1. Great shots! And I love your recap and musings. It's great to hear a raw opinion/observation on behind the scenes NYFW.

  2. "If shooting street style in Philly is caffeine, shooting at NYFW is straight up meth." Best quote ever! Your opinion on fashion is so addicting!

    1. Definitely quotable. And I really appreciate your intensely honest take on NYFW and street's so different than other bloggers who are either used to the sensation or just don't share it openly.

      Also, it sounds exhausting!!!


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