By Suzanne Plunkett
Looking back at images from more than a decade ago, you could be forgiven for thinking that the job of covering catwalk season was once far less demanding, but just as fashions change, so do the demands on photographers.
When I made my Fashion Week debut at a DKNY show in New York in the spring of 1999, all I had to worry about was getting a well-exposed, in-focus photo of every outfit on the catwalk. Since we were still shooting in film, this came with its own stresses. Every time I finished a roll, there was a desperate scramble to rewind and change before the next model paraded by.
To ensure I didn’t miss anything, I adopted my own Fashion Week fashion: A particular leather jacket that had two pockets at chest level; the left side for unexposed films and the right side for exposed.
Because I then had to dash back and forth to the darkroom to develop the films between shows, there was no time to focus on the hullabaloo surrounding the shows. The circus sideshow of celebrities, influential fashion figures and trend watchers was largely ignored by the cameras.
Since the advent of digital, the stresses of juggling rolls of film have long gone (as has my leather jacket) but that hasn’t made the job any easier. While shooting the creations on the catwalk is still important, the appetite for different kinds of pictures has grown. Now in addition to shooting straight-up-and-down images of outfits during the show, Reuters photographers are also on the look-out for interesting details or wide angles.