You know when your young, and your parents always challenged you to try new things. And sometimes you liked what the new experience was, and sometimes you didn’t! This week I tried something new. I signed up for a one day attendance to the Western Canada Fashion Week, held in Edmonton once every six months. The event is held at the Westbury Theatre in Old Strathcona area.
Entering the complex I was met by several show individuals who graciously guided me to the venue I’d signed up for. Inside the venue was a centre runway, bounded by chairs either side, and a gallery of elevated chairs facing the tip end of the runway. I was told this was the photographers pit. The fashion models would be turning right in front of us. As we would all have different elevations, everyone in the pit would have a clear shot at the models.
Just like back in school, I found there’s a pecking order to the seat plan in the pit. The seat plan is developed by a pit boss. There are real professional paid photographers in the pit who have “their” seats and other photographers (known to the pit boss) who jockey for the remaining seats. If there are no-shows (like what happened this night) fashion photography novices (like me) were invited in to the pit.
Once in the pit area, the pit boss came up, grabbed everyone’s attention, and read the riot act. Basically, when the show was not on, you were free to move about. While the show was on, you stayed still and concentrated on photographing the models as they walked the runway. Sounded exciting. Like at little kid, I sat there waiting for someone to screw up and get ejected from the show. Didn’t happen! Darn!
So the show started and out came the models. Right away, it was evident the the models were all novices from Edmonton (or nearby) given their age and the amount of coaching the person responsible for the show was giving the girls. I realize that the event is the showcasing of the manufacturer’s clothing line, but, one would surmise that the models should at least give some modicum of happiness about the costume they’re wearing and attempt to engage the customer in the audience. As well, the models should have engaged the photographers in the same fashion. I didn’t see that any emphasis was placed on sales. All in all, would I do this again? I’d have to say no. It was an experience to be sure, as I related to in the opening statements. But one I don’t think I’d repeat.
I did photograph until I ran out of memory in my camera. That almost coincided with the end of the show. The most significant challenge here was the lighting. It was poor. The theatre was not developed with photographers in mind. I learned early on the paid photographers had installed their own proper strobes to enable them to acquire proper portrait shots of the models. Largely, the group I was with used speed lights (Camera Flashes) gelled to remove the tungsten light colour from the resulting pictures. If you arrived without a gelled flash, the pit boss ensured you were given one to cover your flash, or you were banned from using your flash. He stated ,doing so would disrupt the paid photographers shots.
I hope you enjoy the shots I did save from the trash bin. Likely I’m to critical about what I observed, but that comes with age and having observed really great shows of this type in the past.
PS: There was a swim suit segment of the show. I didn’t care for any of it. I have deleted those photo’s.