London Fashion Week

Earlier this year I shot my fifth season of London Fashion Week. I’ve been trying to incorporate new and different styles into my fashion photojournalism work, in order to stand out and also to exercise my own creativity. I’ve been shooting at London Fashion Week for about as long as I’ve been photographing professionally. It’s a great environment, fantastic for networking opportunities, building a decent portfolio of industry standard work, and also for experimenting with new techniques in a unique environment.

My approach to LFW has always been an emphasis on story rather than fashion; I love shooting backstage, and I love applying new and unconventional styles to those stories.

Hassleblad XPan

Recently this has involved photographing using film on the Hasselblad XPan, a wide format camera. I’ve written before about how I settled on XP2 as my film of choice, but for fashion week I wanted to change things up a bit. Given the often difficult shooting conditions, with poor or inconsistent light backstage during hair and makeup I decided to try something with a higher ISO in order to compensate.

Delta 3200 may not be rated scientifically at the box ISO, but it still had a good enough reputation to sway me into picking up five rolls – or about a hundred frames with the XPan. I was reassured by the consistency of my images from XP2 and HP5, and I trusted that Delta would provide me with the best high ISO film experience. I also liked the character and mood in the large grain; an aesthetic I thought would really help with the mood of these images.

I shot with the XPan along with my digital cameras, as part of an on-going project documenting backstage fashion shows. I exposed at 3200 in all kinds of lighting situations – as you can see from the images. Spotlights, diffused neon, and natural daylight through windows – the Delta handled these beautifully, with a very classic feeling to them, especially in the highlight bleed.

After scanning my images I am more than happy with the results – there is a good amount of sharp detail, but with all the character I had hoped for. For the narrative in these images I really appreciate this less than modern feel, it makes these candid, voyeuristic moments seem timeless, and more special as a result.

Stories to tell

There really are some fantastic stories to tell while working backstage in an industry that thrives on the reputation and prestige of its members. In the modern climate of positivity and enthusiasm towards all kinds of self-expression I really hope that my images are a good reflection of not only the thought and effort I put into capturing them, but also the hard work put in by all the designers, models, makeup artists, and stylists that go towards making such vibrant and engaging scenes.

As this project progresses I will likely incorporate other films, including my favourite XP2. I think that I am impressed enough by the performance of Delta to have solidified it in my top three favourite films, and absolutely my film of choice for documenting fashion photojournalism.

The images here represent a small fraction of the overall project, which is not yet ready for publication. I am always adopting fresh techniques, most recently long exposures and panning for runways! I look forward to sharing the finished project when it is complete!