New York Fashion Week’s inaugural season at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is upon us. And with all the excitement about this new venue, the brilliant collections, and gorgeous models, mention should also be made of a talented group of individuals who make fashion week accessible to those not lucky enough to experience the glamour and excitement first hand. That sometimes, unheralded group is the fashion photographer.
The Fashion Spot had the unique opportunity to speak with two prominent fashion and celebrity photographers whose work has graced the pages of Glamour, Life and Style, and People Magazine. They also photograph the runways in New York, Paris, London and Milan.
Jennifer Graylock’s career has spanned two decades, and as one of the photographers of choice for such award shows as The Academy Awards, The MTV Awards, The People’s Choice Awards, and The Clinton Global Initiative, Graylock has blazed a path that few fashion/celebrity photographers can follow.
As one of the founders of Fashion Wire Daily, Jennifer Graylock has been on the cutting edge of what is current and relevant in fashion internationally. And her full-service photographic company, Graylock.com, is successfully merging the worlds of fashion, entertainment, and politics.
The Fashion Spot: How did get you started in photography?
Jennifer Graylock: I took a photography class in high school, and continued my studies in college. Later, I came to NYC to seek my fame and fortune as a fashion and celebrity photographer.
tFS: What is the difference in shooting runway in NYC as opposed to London, Paris, and Milan?
JG: In NYC, you have to get in there, get the shot, and quickly go to the next show. In Europe,
you are still moving fast and furious, but the venues are so lush and grand that you feel as though you are having more of a cultural experience.
tFS: How has the Internet changed fashion photography, particularly runway?
JG: Because of the expediency of the Internet, PR firms and clients want the photos the instant the show is finished.
For some of the awards shows that I photograph, like the Oscars, the Emmys and the Teen Choice Awards, I am sending my flashcard to photo editors before the event is over. You have to really be on top of everything.
With the Internet and the proliferation of blogs, things have sped up exponentially, and everyone is competing to get their photos up first or around the same time. Just to get keep with the pace, I have had to hire extra staff, which has increased my production costs.
tFS: How do you balance a personal life with all the RTW (ready-to-wear) shows in NYC, London, Paris, and Milan, as well as red carpet and awards season?
JG: Nowadays, I do only RTW in NY, but I cover all the events leading up to NY Fashion Week and all the celebrity and award season events sandwiched between NY Fashion Week Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter.
I photograph the Clinton Global Initiative and the Important Dinner for Women 5 in October, so I cannot go to London, Paris and Milan, but I do have a team of photographers that I send to the RTW season in those cities. However, I do cover the couture seasons in Europe. So, I do have some down time that gives me a semblance of balance.
tFS: Which designers do you like photographing during NY Fashion Week, and why?
JG: I love Betsey Johnson, Proenza Schuler, L.A.M.B.S, Philip Lim, Mulberry, Anna Sui, Pamela Rolland, and many others. I love the whimsy and the mystery of some these designers. When you look at a lot of these designer’s clothes close up, the detailing and textures are absolutely amazing.
tFS: Which shows do you think are going to be really hot this season?
JG: Marc Jacobs always produces a fantastic collection. You never know what he’s going to do. Gwen Stefani always blows your mind away, as does Betsey Johnson. Mulberry has great quality in their clothes.
tFS: What are some of the biggest trends to look for this season?
JG: I think we will move away from muted colors this season and see a lot more vibrant colors. The 80’s trend will continue, which you see reflected in Madonna’s Material Girl brand.
tFS: What is the most effective pose to strike on the red carpet?
JG: The pose that works best on the red carpet is what I like to call the ‘secret model pose.’ You position your hip toward the camera, and twist your upper body ever so slightly toward the camera which gives you body a kind of V shape. Victoria Beckham and Renee Zellwegger really know how to work this pose.
tFS: What advice would you give someone who wants to become a celebrity/fashion photographer?
JG: This is a very difficult industry to go into and make a good living. Many of the fashion and celebrity magazines are just not spending the money on photography that they used to. You will spend a lot of money on equipment that you may not get a financial return on in your first years in the industry.
I would advise aspiring photographers to learn the craft of photography, and then work as a photographer’s assistant. That way you are working at your craft while learning from a seasoned professional. Also, find your niche and excel at that. You cannot not do this type of photography part-time and expect to get anywhere.
For more information about Jennifer Graylock, go graylock.com.
Larry Busacca is one of Getty Images lead fashion/celebrity photographers for NY Fashion Week and has photographed everyone from Anna Wintour to Michael Jackson and Rihanna to Bill and Hilary Clinton.
His photos have appeared in People Magazine, New York Magazine and the Associated Press.
The Fashion Spot: How did you get into fashion photography?
Larry Busacca: Fashion photography kind of came into my life through the backdoor.
In the late 80’s, I was shooting a lot of musicians and musical acts. At that time, many of the musician’s spouses were involved in the fashion industry and I would photograph their fashion projects. Those fashion projects took on a life of their own, and provided my segue into the fashion industry.
tFS: What would you say is your forte, celebrity red carpet or runway?
LB: My forte is a hybrid of red carpet events, with a focus on the fashion aspect of those events. For instance, I might do a red carpet event that might appear in People Magazine and focus on celebrities’ shoes. At some of these events, the shoot could have multiple outlets and legs. Once I was shooting the closing dates of the Black Eyed Peas’ tour, as well as Fergie’s fragrance for Avon, and some of the clothes that she wore on the tour.
tFS: Who are some of your favorite celebrities to shoot?
LB: I got to work extensively with Michael Jackson for about 15 years, so he was definitely a favorite. I got to follow Anna Wintour around during the Fashion’s Night Out inaugural event, which was a lot of fun. I have also enjoyed photographing the Clintons.
tFS: What was it like shadowing Anna Wintour during Fashion’s Night Out?
LB: You are on your toes all the time, and you have to really be in the moment, because you have to anticipate what is going to happen before it happens. The crowds were massive wherever she went, so you had the physical challenge of not getting in her way, but still getting the shot. It was great because it was such a spontaneous thing, and I was a part of fashion history.
tFS: You have been intricately involved in some of the planning for this year’s Fashion’s Night Out, how did that all come about?
LB: Getty Images is the official house photographer for NY Fashion Week. I have been involved in the pre-event for Fashion Night Out, on September 7. This event was conceptualized and planned by Conde Nast. My role was to provide my visual expertise on camera angles and the visual flow of the event, particularly the runway scenes around the fountain at Lincoln Center. It has been a stimulating experience, and a whole lot of fun.
tFS: Now, you Getty guys run from show to show during NY Fashion Week. Could you give me a break down of what your daily schedule is like?
LB: Our day could start before 9:00 am and continue past midnight. We shoot everything from the shows themselves, to behind-the-scenes production, the event parties, and even the gift bags. We are dropping off flash cards with photo editors, trying to grab a bite to eat, running from event to event, and maybe catching a little sleep. When everyone else has gone to sleep, we are still up, cleaning up images.
tFS: How has NY Fashion Week evolved?
LB: Obviously, it has gotten bigger. But the most significant evolution in the last few years is that NY Fashion Week has become more of a pop culture event. People fly in from Europe and all over America to celebrity gawk. The online coverage and reality shows have helped facilitate this evolution.
For more information about Larry Busacca, go to larrybusacca.com
Photos courtesy of Lippin Group and Brownstein PR.