NEW YORK FASHION WEEK FALL 2010 FEBRUARY BRYANT PARK BEHIND THE CELEBRITY SCENES
Today is the first day of Fashion Week Fall 2010 in Bryant Park in New York City. It’s also the first time in 10 seasons that I will not be attending it. It was a hard decision, but one in the making for a few season. Most of the shots below are from last September, Spring 2010 Season. I never had a chance to write it up as Philly keeps me so busy. But there’s a few tips I want to share with you:
One of the best reasons I love going to NYFW to shoot celebs is not the celebs, although that is a lot of fun, but I enjoy reconnecting with friends I have made over the past 5 years. Most of the friends are folks I met while living there between 2005 & 2007, people I would see night after night after I would leave my day job, sorta like what I do in Philly too. I continued to work in NYC on a regular basis until last year when I needed to cut back and refocus on things that were much more important to me which is being in Philadelphia. But this is the story of what it’s like to attend fashion week in NYC as a celebrity photographer and how much a celebrity
gets paid to sit in the front row (according to Fashionista.com)
For the first few days NYFW sneaks itself into Bryant Park, only a few thousand souls notices, but as the first few days wind up and word gets around it can becomea downright mad house of activity. Most of the action happens when celebrity arrives at the staging area behind the Tents, located on the 40th Street side of the park, halfway up the block between 6th & 5th Ave. It’s here the celebrity is dropped off to sometimes fend for themselves, depending on who they are, to make it to the stage door about midway down the block. Here Jane Krakowski poses for the photographers. There’s not such a rush for her as she is an star, but not what you would consider A List. She’s over 40 and she’s not the lead, but she’s a fan favorite because she is so agreeable signing and posing for fans.
Rose McGowan arrives at Herve Leger Max Azaria. Rose was probably paid $10,000 to appear at the show and grace the front row. The motivation of the designer is to get next season’s fashions into the glossies based and to do that is to get a popular celeb wearing a design. Not sure why he would want Rose McGowan, not overly popular that I know of, and not as hot as Marilyn Manson’s squeeze before, Dita von Teese.
Surprisingly Rose must not realize her role as she was reluctant to remove her coat in the frigid temps, after pleas from the paparazzi. The fashion shots are what the readers want to see.
finally she did what was best for all of us. My shots weren’t picked up as she was too much in the shadows with the contrasting sunlight in the background.
Amanda Bynes is a good example of a shot run for fashion. Here she is at the launch of Alexander McQueen’s clothing to be sold at Target last year the February Fashion shows. This event was held in a freezing cold warehouse along the East River. (Update: It sucks that London-born fashion icon Alexander McQueen committed suicide yesterday.)
Rihanna #1 receiving up to $100ks to sit front row at various fashion shows.
A far cry from when she burst onto the scene back in 2006 when I photographed her the first time at a Pharrell/Snoop Dog party in the Bowery. (These two women in the foreground are “Fans” who sell their wares on Ebay. They are very dedicated and carry a Filo Folder around with celeb photos to be signed.
The backstage door corridor. Fans & photographers line the gate to try and get a glimpse or shot of the celebrities as they enter the tents. Although each of these shots have celebs in them, there is a lot of downtime that goes on while shooting at the tents. Each show is 20 mins long, and spaced an hr to 2 hrs apart. There are three tents, Promenade, The Tent and The Salon. (I can’t imagine what it’s going to look like today after their 20 inches of snow in New York City.)
Some celebrities pose here, while others like Miss Ross think they’ve escaped our lens until
they enter the stage door and run into the handful that have been given access to that particular show. To the left is the W Hotel VIP Lounge where the celebrities drink and eat for free while waiting for their show. Often a celebrity will come in in their street clothes and they will change backstage into the clothes of the designer who is paying them to sit in their front row.
The Doors to the Tents are not as easy to get through as you think. Most folks have to be invited or working the show. I have seen the velvet rope drop a bit in the past couple years to allow “paying people” in either by trading in their credit card “points” (I’ve done that a couple times to bring my friend Katie in as she and her husband Simon put me up whenever I want to go to NYC to shoot.) ; there are also hotel packages, which are listed on Newyorkology, which is an awesome site run. Plus many of the shows need Intern’s and the ads are place in the trades and on Craigslist weeks before the run.
Inside the tents you will find the guests going to the show, photographers waiting for celebrities, also photographers just shooting fashion. Many overseas photographers come in and shoot regular people in street clothes, but those passes are hard to come by and most have to work for a major site and/or pay serious dollars to get entry. Some of the photographers get credentialed just to shoot the guests that attend the shows. A lot of these shots are for major fashion blogs, or the oversea market. (Friends shouldn’t let friends dress this poorly)Here the fashion photographers in place. Fashion photographers almost always work for a client or two, magazines, newspapers, maybe the designer themselves. They have to get the shot, everything is about jockeying for space. You can’t be a pussy and hang out in this crowd or you won’t get the shot you need. On the other hand, some are very helpful, most will work with you if you give them the respect they request, and I’ve never had a problem getting a shot. BUT i don’t spend a lot of time on the platform as I shoot celebrities and my place is Front row shooting, which again is reserved for people who get approved, to shoot here. Or for those brave enough to crash the front row and get past the clipboard toting PR girls like those found on that new Bravo TV show “Kell on Earth”. Did you know that before each show the runway is painted white or a white “tape” is stretched across the cat walk so it’s fresh for the next show.Front Row is hugely important and needs to be populated with A Listers to get the press, pr, placements needed to get the design house the publicity they crave. Here at Y-3 the front row consists of Kanye West (this year more than ever he would be appreciated at the Tents for the publicity it would garner.), Peaches Gedolf, Kim Kardashian and Reggie Bush. C-List Kim Kardashian ($35,000-$50,000)
Phillies player Chase Utley’s wife Jen Utley and her friend attending the Spring NYFW 2010 last September wandering around the main tent.
Front Row at DVF with hubby Barry Diller, BFF Ellen Barkin and Interview Editor Ingrid Sischy
While all this is going on inside, the fans, autograzzi, paparazzi, photographers are waiting outside for the next SUV to drop off a celebrity or bold named person to see the following shows. Most of these folks have no idea who might roll in, but for credentialed photographers we get a list every nite that tells us who to expect. But that’s the easy part, the hard part is getting a decent shot because it’s so damn packed with people who don’t understand that we are there to work, and in essence to promote the show that celebrity is going to, that is why we get a list, why we spend our time, money and energy to get results.
Backstreet Boy, JC Chasez usually shows up every season. Not really sure why as he is not the face that would make the glossies unless it was a really slow week. The glossies really look for the women, young girls and A-Lister guys to grace their pages.
The downside of fashion week is the mayhem and craziness that goes on when photographers/videographers and fans from around the world pour into Bryant Park trying to get the picture of the celeb they desire.
Terri Hatcher looks down right scared, but when the crowds were controlled, she did stop and pose for a few shots, which was really decent of her. But again, she’s paid to attend these shows, and it’s part of her job. What I don’t understand is why NYFW has never secured the park or made it safer for the celebrity to walk from their car to the various backstage doors, and why instead they have to encounter these mob scenes. (Front Row Price: est $50,000 & look at the commotion it creates.)
Jenna Jameson didn’t have a problem securing a few men in blue for her entry.
The majority of the people that want the attention of the celebrity are fans that want to pose with them, sometimes that want autographs, sometimes both. This can be a problem as the celebrity can get fatigued before they reach the “press area” near the stage door and then they don’t feel like posing for us. Here is famous Model Alek Wek posing for a few of the fans.
Kim Kardashian shows us her best asset
Over time celebrity photographers re-positioned themselves to wait at the curb for the arriving celebrity. For the most part the regulars do try and police themselves as to allow everyone to get the shot (Holding the Line), but sometimes this doesn’t work out as some people can be pigs, ruining the shot for everyone. As a result, in certain situations, this being one of them, they become so aggressive that they can lose humanity, fights often break out. The desired “money shot”, is rarely gotten here as those shots tend to take place away from the tents, at the hotels, at the parties, by luck, by exclusivity.
Sometimes a restaurant, place of business will tip me off or my agency, and a few others to get the publicity they desire. (here’s Halle Barry and baby dady Gabriel Aubry leaving the Upper East Side Calvin Klein store. This tip came thru my agency. 4 other photographers were also tipped off. We all made an agreement not to tip others off, but not everyone followed that rule. Also some photographers troll the street and when they see a bevy of paps waiting outside a store, it’s a magnet for them as well.) Check out Ms Berry looking right in my lens. She knows her celebrity role. Get preferential treatment, give a good picture for publicity.)
Other scenes I get great shots at can be found at the parties held in the evening. Every night there’s a party for something, whether it’s an Afterparty for a show, or the launching of a new drink, perfume, etc
The only problem is night time shots really don’t get placed very often in hard copy magazines as readers like to see the whole picture, background and such. Check your People or Us Magazines, and if the do they’d better be something pretty spectacular or an A LISTER.
Like this one I took of Mariah Carrey & Nick Carter leaving a rehearsal at Radio City Music Hall last year at the MTV Awards. I was trolling and saw a lot of photographers and fans waiting by the stage door.Other shots that do well even when shot at nite are one’s where there is a step and repeat, like at this event where Pete Wentz of the now defunt Fall Out Boys, was spinning at Tenjune.
Now of course it would have been better has Ashlee Simpson walked the carpet with him, because let me tell you a secret, guys without girls, unless they’re Robert Paterson or Taylor Lauter rarely sell, although there are a few people to that exception. This doesn’t mean they don’t get placed on blogs, which is a great thing too, especially a well read blog. It doesn’t matter what the subject is with a step and repeat the work advertisement gets out to the masses.
I snapped J-Lo arriving at a hotel for an event. A List – Jennifer Lopez (Front Row Price: circa 2005: $80,000; circa 2010: $30,000) I have to thank the autograzzi & fans in NYC for always being generous when tipping me off. I had been at work, and someone text me to say J-Lo would be arriving at the Sheraton Hotel for something at 9:30PM. I finished up, and then got myself over there and got this shot. It was the first of many times I would see J-Lo.
Martha Stewart arriving at the Bette Midler Halloween Party. I just threw this in here. Look sour puss if you don’t want your photo taken say no. I was in the lobby of the Waldorf hotel. It was back when I was a fan so I wasn’t lugging around a big camera.
MTV After Party at 1Oak and The Avenue last September during Fashion Week. Most of these people are fans, paparazzi not to be confused with most of the celebrity photographers that work the tent, or red carpet events. These are a lot of young photographers, who just got into the game in the last 2 or 3 years, autograph seekers and the crowd was out of control.This scene was out of control, frenzied and downright dangerous. As A-Listers made their way into the two clubs… Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Rihanna, Jay Z, Beyonce, Madonna. After a bit my friends and I realized this situation was going to get dangerous and we moved on, nothing could possibly be worth this. Although I did get one shot that placed.
A List: Lindsay Lohan (Front Row Price: circa 2006: $60,000; circa 2010; UNINVITED)
These shots are rarely salable, but getting caught up in the mob situation is easy
And I am guilty of that too as I got carried away trying to get a shot of Lady Gaga and Perez Hilton right after they left The Avenue.
Hanging out with my peeps outside Bungalow 8 (I love my NYC in the biz friends; it’s a great bond we share.) Sometimes we work in some of the most glamorous locations. And in reality sometimes we work in some of the most dangerous locations, as we carry around $5000++ worth of equipment, but the rush of excitement, the anticipation of that shot, seeing the news as it happens that you will read the next day or next week, keeps me motivated.
Then it was back to Katie’s & Simon’s by 5AM to process the day’s photo
I ran across a production filming “Cash Cab” segments in Times Square (Is that show still on?)
The next day I saw the Naked Cowboy chatting with the Answer Man
Then outside the Plaza Hotel I saw Aretha Franklin. It’s these magical moments that solidify the reasons why I love shooting celebrities, especially in NYC. It’s capturing the pictures, witnessing the celeb news first hand.
Fashionista.com’s article on:
How Much Does A Celebrity Get Paid To Sit In The Front ROW