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Thursday, 25 March 2010

The Politics Of 'The Pit.'





When it comes to shooting a show, the best vantage point is that area at the end of the runway demarcated for professional photographers that I refer to as the 'The Pit.'


I have been to numerous shows over the years and until recently during the last fashion week did I discover the politics of the pit. Now for those of you that do not know what I am banging on about, please, allow me to explain.


You see, there is only enough space at the end of the runway to accomodate a certain number of photographers. This area has been a source of more conflict between photographers than Palestinians and Israelis for Jerusalem.


The BFC says it's on 'first come first serve basis' but that does not apply here because show times normally over lap each other and certain photographers are stuck in one show when they are supposed to be in another. So they usually send their assistants ahead to the next show to grab the best area for them before they arrive.


Those that arrive before the show starts get the best spot. It goes as far as cellotaping a small square of about (30cmx30cm) and writing the name of the person or publication which is a synonym for 'do not tresspass.'


Some people disregard this saying they got there first which has led to many a tussle. I once saw a woman stamp her unipod onto a guy's foot to get him out of her marked area! 


Those who are wiser wait just minutes before show time when the lights go down and then they swoop in like an eagle aiming at it's prey right at the front of the pack lying down taking as much abuse as possible. I did this once at a John Rocha show (upon taking advice from a photographer) and boy did I get it!


When the show starts, the first face that appears from backstage onto the runway endures the most intriguing sound of hundreds of cameras clicking and flashing away till about 15 seconds later when the model turns and it begins all over again for the next one. It sounds and looks as though James Levine (of the New York Metropolitan Opera) is invisibly conducting this symphony.


For that one hour before show time, the pit looks like a map of the world with each country well demarcated with some neighbours hostile to others wanting to annex them for more acreage. It all provides a source of entertainment for the security team (who wisely stay out of it) and for outsiders like me. 


For those fifteen to twenty minutes, this piece of real estate is more valuable than that on Fifth Avenue between Central Park and 42nd Street.

4 comments:

Fashionistable said...

Oh I love this report very funny and scary all at the same time. Fear has always kept me from trying this and it will probably stay that way. I am happier out of the scrum. Having grown up in a troubled Ireland I like to stay out of conflict. Great insight. Thank you xx.

Natalie@CANNEDFASHION said...

Really interesting post! I've always wondered exactly what the etiquette is.

The Photodiarist said...

I love this post. Your writing is just excellent. I really had no idea about these politics, although I am not surprised.

BTW, did not hear about the $32M sale of the Trump apt. Will have to look that up!

danniekate said...

this is so interesting! i always wondered how people got the best photos and it sounds really childish, in a good way, like staking out your space on the beach with a towel.
i love how your blog covers a different side of fashion, like the nuts and bolts of it all. fascinating :)

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