Fashion Week in Paris.

It was a cold October in 1994.  My wife, my parents and I were in Paris on a vacation.  When I read the paper one morning I discovered that our time in the city corresponded with the Fall Fashion shows being held, that year, at the Carousel de Louvre.  I put my Contax film camera in a bag and headed over to see what there was to see.  Security was tight and only photographers with passes were allowed inside the six large halls where non-stop shows were going on.

I didn't have any credentials for the shows and I was about to head back upstairs and wander around the city when I heard a familiar voice calling my name.  It was an assistant art director from a large American magazine I had worked for from time to time.  She asked which show I was covering.  I told here my being there was totally coincidental and I wasn't shooting for anyone.  She reached into her large bag and pulled out a press pass and a second "all stages" pass and handed them to me.  "If you get anything fun you can send it to me when we all get home." She said.  And then she disappeared into the crowd and was swallowed up in the line heading for the Lagerfeld venue.

I took my one camera and two lenses ( a 50mm 1.4 and a 135mm 2.8, both Zeiss) peeled ten rolls of tri-X out of their boxes and headed in to see what was what.  I spent the afternoon shooting for fun.  I hung out backstage at a few shows.  I drank some Champagne with  people celebrating the success of their individual efforts and I had fun.  Thank goodness I thought to wear black.

All the photographers were patient, kind and professional.  There's no real story here.  Just a random memory triggered by a photo in a folder.

No one cared that my camera was a manual focus one.  Nearly everyone else's was too.  Amazing that so many great photographs were taken before the advent of so much automation and lightning fast feedback.  More challenging? Less challenging?  Maybe just different.

Sometimes photography is just plain, clean fun......


Jallu said...

Thanks for sharing your memory! That must have been an exciting experience.

Ed O'Mahony said...

Hi Kirk,
As a photographer who is certainly not having the best of financial years, I really enjoy your ramblings, however on or off topic they may seem. Otherwise having the best year of my life,taking pictures, enjoying my 3 kids even more than ever(if thats possible) out on the bike more.
You certainly manage to lift me from time to time ,as well as provoking me to think and rethink more on my work. For all of this I am truly grateful.
Happy holidays,

Dave Jenkins said...

I began my semi-pro career in 1969 with a Nikon F and two Tamron lenses -- a 35 and a 135. When I went full-time in 1978, I had a pair of Nikkormats with three lenses and a Mamiya 220 TLR with three lenses. I went through quite a few cameras, lenses, and whole systems before making the big jump to digital.

My take on all of this? I think digital is better in almost every way, but film was more fun. I really miss mechanical cameras and keep a Leica M3 and a Rollei for sentimental reasons even though I haven't shot a roll of film since June 28, 2003.

Justin S. said...

Hi Kirk,

Fun little read. This just goes to show that it's who you know. One great reason to keep communication between old friends, associates, etc.


David Ingram said...

Cool story! Nice photo. Thanks for sharing.