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I have been photographing the annual fashion show at Cornell University for 9 years now. I’m starting to consider whether next year (my 10th) should be my last.
Whether it is or not, I will be approaching the College of Human Ecology about putting together a retrospective of photos covering that 10-year period, and possibly making it available as a book published by the Cornell University Press.
But I’m getting ahead of myself!
Many of the 9 years I’ve been taking photos of the show (including the very first one), I start by photographing the models and designers getting ready back stage before the show. I then shift over to the runway in time to photograph the show.
One of the years, I stayed back stage while a fellow photographer photographed the show. It was interesting seeing what goes on back stage *during* the show and to capture it photographically.
Anyway, I have always liked taking photos of the unstaged activities going on before the show. While the show itself can be quite visually spectacular, it’s less compelling from a human interest perspective. What happens back stage before the show is full of emotions and idiosyncrasies.
So here I present a selection of photos I took before the 2014 fashion show in chronological order, ending with two shots from the subsequent show.
(You’ll probably notice that the photos get darker and darker. This is due to both the available natural light becoming less and less as the sun set, and the dimming of the interior lights as the show draws closer. It gets so dark back there, that a primarily available light photographer like myself has practically no option but to seek out the various small lights designers are using–including things like cell phones–and taking whatever shots they make possible.)
Click the first image to get started..
(BTW, if you’re interested, here are the runway show photos.)
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The thing about my work is nothing is prearranged, pre-thought, premeditated. In no way was I directing the pictures; they’re just fragments of life as it was being lived. There was no staging. When you set up pictures you’re not at any risk. Reality involves chance and risk and diving for pearls.
– Nan Goldin, 2003View all of Michael's photos