Photographers' Blog

Into a fashion model’s world

Paris, France

By Philippe Wojazer

Now I know where United Nations negotiators should be trained: in the fashion world!

If you want to cover a “not usual” story in the world of fashion, you have to learn what negotiation means. If you want to take pictures backstage at a fashion show, you have to be ready to send 120 emails and call the recipients to explain what you meant in your messages and hear “I am afraid this will not be possible”. But, once those people are convinced – they might change their mind the very next minute – but if they don’t, you enter the fashion and model’s world and realize, it was worth it. I didn’t know if I would be able to photograph this story untill the last minute. Once I finally got the accreditation for the Valentino show, the model had to be rushed to the dental emergency and was not guaranteed to work that day. But suddenly the clouds opened and I started seeing the sunlight of the fashion world.

GALLERY: A DAY WITH A MODEL

My goal was to show the part of the fashion week we usually don’t see – a model’s life backstage.

I first met French top model Marine Deleeuw at the Elite agency flat where the agency gathers the models during fashion week. The young French woman, Marine Deleeuw, opened the door with a large smile, happy to welcome us (Elite press attachee and myself) into her world. I started taking pictures as soon as I entered amid beautiful early morning light. One thing I learned during the Haute Couture shows was that the models have to be at the show a minimum of 3 hours before (for the renowned houses sometimes 6 hours) so there was no time to spare.

The Valentino show was at 7:00pm and her call time was 3 pm. So at 8 we left the apartment to start the race. First to the agency to check all her train, plane, hotel, contracts for New York Fashion Week. Then, her eyes twinkled, an hour of shopping but just before, her agent told her that she had an unexpected casting for Lebanese designer Zuhair Murad so there went the shopping. We rushed to the Murad casting location. It was a welcome surprise for me, I wanted to take pictures of a casting and usually designers do not let you but when we arrived, I realized that the booker (person who hires models) was an old friend I had lost sight of for years. So I received the authorization to take pictures during the casting.

Photographing the Olympic best

Reuters photographers and editors discuss their strategy for covering Olympics track and field events from every angle, such as the highly anticipated men’s 100m final. Videography by Lucy Nicholson. Production by Jillian Kitchener.

Off the runway at NY Fashion Week

Reuters photographer Brendan McDermid shares his experience covering New York Fashion Week, with the logistics of shooting backstage, the shows and everything in between.

Destination: Afghanistan

It all started out with a phone call from Reuters News Pictures Washington Editor In Charge Jim Bourg on Thursday night informing me there was a secret Presidential trip leaving on Saturday to an undisclosed destination which Reuters would like me to travel with the president on. I was told that this was very secretive and that I was not to mention it to anyone and that no details were available yet. I had been with President Obama on his secret trip to Baghdad last year, so it was pretty easy to figure out that the destination this time might be Afghanistan, a trip which had been highly anticipated since Obama became president 15 months ago. I was to expect to be contacted directly by the White House for a meeting to discuss the details. But I was to “open” the White House as the first Reuters photographer arriving there on Friday morning at 7am, my scheduled shift, and to go about my day as planned acting as if everything was normal. Nothing could be further from the truth.

That afternoon I was called in to meet with Press Secretary Robert Gibbs in his office at 4pm, along with some of the other members of the 14 person media travel pool who would be going on the secret trip aboard Air Force One.

We were given a schedule of events and were sworn to secrecy. I headed home to pack and test out the BGAN satellite phone I had been provided by Reuters for the trip.

Behind the scenes: Winter Olympics

The 2010 Olympics in Vancouver presented some rarely seen challenges for Reuters photographers on assignment at the winter games.

Rain! Rain! And more rain!

blinch600
Photographer Mark Blinch waits to shoot Olympic action. REUTERS/Andre Forget/QMI agency

Cypress Mountain, the home of snowboarding and freestyle skiing was quite possibly the worst Olympic venue of all time. Photographers were confronted with rain, fog and constantly shifting photo positions. As the snow melted positions became useless and had to be changed. Communications failed in the wet and the organizers moved snow from the finish area to other parts of the course to keep the events moving. Despite the trying conditions some wonderful pictures were made. Highlights included Alexandre Bilodeau, winning Canada’s first ever gold medal on home soil and the dazzling Shaun White in the halfpipe.

White House moments: A time lapse view

What does a typical day at the White House look like?

I set out to capture a sense of everyday life at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, armed with basic knowledge from a course in video editing at the Kalish workshop. Starting with a couple of early experiments of the Marine Guards at the West Wing and a daily press briefing, I was hooked on time-lapse sequences that came to life when they were played at high speed.

I began taking along extra cameras, tripods, clamps and pocket wizard radio remote triggers. This involved slightly more work as I had to start thinking of the best place for a time lapse sequence that may not make a good still image itself, but rather as part of a larger project.

From the East Room, where most official functions are held, to the Rose Garden, the South Lawn and the West Wing, I set the cameras up to fire one picture every 5 to 10 seconds before, during and after the events. Thousands of pictures were shot over the course of those weeks, and I slowly began to put together a narrative that follows what we typically photograph on any given day at the White House.

Fashion Week, New York

Models, tall models, skinny models, Russian models, French models…sounds exotic? Yeah, not so much. Covering fashion week in New York sounds like a pretty glamorous assignment but it could hardly be further from it.

Shooting fashion week has more in common with running a marathon than it does running a sprint. There are 8 days, some 75 shows in the tents, dozens more off site, plus preparation photos. We shoot the models backstage and the designers getting ready, we shoot the front row celebrities arriving and we shoot the show from the pit.

The pit could also be called the pit of despair. Imagine taking 200 photographers with all their requisite gear, cameras, laptops, ladders, monopods, boxes and cases, putting them in a space that realistically 50 photographers could work comfortably in. Throw in 14 hour days, little regard for hygiene and an open bar in the evening and you have a recipe for a sociological experiment gone awry.

Live from Launch Pad 39A


KSC Photo Blog from Scott Audette on Vimeo.

Reuters photographer Scott Audette documents the Reuters crew braving alligators and snakes and long hot days as they prepare for the launch of the Space Shuttle Endeavour.

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