LFW AW18 INSIGHT
With one season of London Fashion Week complete for 2018, Photographer Kerry Curl takes us backstage at LFW and shares her highlights of AW18 and what it's like documenting the event.
My photography practice right now is a combination of fashion, portraiture and documentary. LFW, especially backstage allows me to combine all of those. I very much see my work there as fashion documentary.
Not all of the shows are in the same venue, but this recent season all my backstage work was in one place so although I was still heading over to other locations during the week to shoot presentations, being in one place for the most part to document the behind the scenes, gave my schedule a welcome (kind of) stability. That said I don’t know where I would be without my Dr.Martens or cowboy boots. When packing kit, comfy footwear and clothes you can run in are a must!
There's so much that's out of my control when working at LFW and similar events. You learn to work with the light and go with the flow. The light can change from room to room and from one end of a corridor to another, never mind venue to venue. I like that though, I enjoy the challenge of adapting, of standing back and watching and making a choice on how to shoot.
The general desire to work backstage definitely seems to have increased. There's more photographers now than even just a couple of seasons ago, which can sometimes make it feel like the photography pit has headed backstage in a way. It can be a really challenging environment and I can completely understand why some people find it's just not for them. Many of us photographers try to work in a way which allows us all to hopefully each get the shot we want, but that's certainly not a method everyone works by and it can get intense...
Taking a documentary approach allows me to stand back and *attempt* to avoid the scrum. I almost try to be invisible. There's usually lots of photographers who want/need to get portraits and beauty shots who'll need to grab a model's attention, my style is often much more observational. I'm interested in the fashion of course, but also how it moves as the models dash between sets, the models themselves, the hair and makeup teams, the dressers etc. My two favorite moments are the wait to go on and the moment the show is over. The atmosphere at both those moments can be electric and that's what pulls me back season after season.
The goal is to eventually exhibit a curated selection of my LFW work in some way – possibly in a physical exhibition, I also always love a beautiful fashion coffee table book so that's a possibility one day too.
The more I do backstage at LFW, the less frames I shoot. There's a lot to see but sometimes you have to stand back, actually watch and look for the moments by taking it all in. I feel like I'm perhaps becoming more known for my colour work but I'm also enjoying working with black and white and exploring the type of imagery I can create from my time backstage. I'm always so happy to be able to document a show from a behind the scenes perspective, it feels like a privilege to be there and so the images I make really matter to me.
Images from Fashion Scout AW18