L I F E . S T Y L E D .
When I first started photographing bloggers, which was almost by chance in the first place, I was shooting a group of bloggers in Downtown Dallas and everyone was asking who was going to New York Fashion Week. A science major in college and steadfast in practicality, I was confused by this conversation. Can you just choose to go to a fashion week? I thought it was invite-only. I thought it was, for lack of a better word, for important people.
I got my first taste of New York Memorial Day weekend of 2016. I was a second shooter at a wedding in Princeton, NJ, and the lead photographer suggested we hop over to NYC for the rest of the weekend. True to my practical tendencies, I typically set the bar low for new experiences, tempering any disappointment that might come from greater expectations. New York was wonderful.
Four days after I got home I was on another early flight from Dallas to La Guardia, this time going as a blogger’s photographer for the long weekend. That was my first look into what I call “Club Blogger.” The truth is that bloggers are “important people.” With less runway shows and more “exhibitions” influencers are able to interact, share with their audience, and sometimes even get products to shoot, share, and earn commission on. It’s all very interactive and of course brands benefit from people sharing what they’re putting out.
I saw the business side of blogging. I was still living in a world of making these beautiful moments, dressing the part, dancing in sunlight, sipping martinis in a dark bar — curating and enjoying moments that I could dance around and take photos of to share with the world! It’s not quite that simple. There’s deadlines and guidelines and quotas. I wouldn’t say it was disheartening, I would say I’m thankful I got a good look at what it takes to produce killer content to get brands to notice you and take you seriously.
Since that first taste, I promised myself I would go back every New York Fashion Week — both September and February.
I continue to go because (and Jacey Duprie touches on this beautifully) I heart NYC, and I especially love embracing a city by photographing people in it. New York offers nearly every background I could hope for, I love the light, and I love that bloggers are there with inspiring looks. I actually prefer February because I’m a sucker for photographing layers, coats, boots, and menswear inspired looks. Whenever I get back to Dallas, I find myself explaining, “I love going to New York and I love that when I leave I know I’ll be back in six months. I love photographing people and I love photographing people in New York. NYFW is a great time to go because everyone’s there! I’m always happy to go, and if I can offset a trip to New York even a little bit by photographing people, then that’s great!” By going every year I’ve built up a client base of people who know they can shoot with me. If you’re curious, just go. Immerse yourself, don’t wait until your “credentials” line up, just jump in.
Fashion Week is for important people. I’m not important people, but I love photographing them. I love being up for anything and meeting new people. It’s always an adventure. I learned last September when I was getting far too serious about the numbers of my final payout from the weekend, that the experience has to be more than numbers on a balance sheet, and that was the worst experience so far. I almost left early. I’ve since remembered to embrace whatever comes my way. I’ve shot with some of my favorite bloggers — people I followed while studying bio and just imagining what it would be like to have a life that let me travel and wear the clothes I want and meet fascinating people.
Let yourself explore. Let yourself create. Let yourself breathe.
I go because I love it.
part one of a fashion week reflection, part two on how I shoot while I’m in New York