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What It’s Like to Be a Fashion Week Photographer

These past two days have been what I like to call “the calm before the storm.” I’m relaxing, I’m sleeping a lot, I’m taking on a smaller workload because I know what’s coming. In what’s now a few short hours, I will be running around backstage at a multitude of shows taking pictures of backstage beauty in process, listening to makeup artists and hairstylists tell me their inspiration for this season’s beauty looks. Models will file in with either fresh complexions or already-perfectly assembled faces from shows in which they’ve just walked. Their hair will be teased or straightened, their eyes lined and shadowed, their skin moisturized and their nails manicured, and I will be there to photograph it all.


The question I often ask myself is why? Why do I do this twice a year? There’s something beautiful to me about how this extraordinary, twice-a-year happening in New York is just another day at work for so many people. Everyone is up at the crack of dawn to get started on each show. And in a 30 minutes, the last six months or more of a designer’s life will be over as their collection completes its tour of the runway. Then another six months passes and we all do it all over again. I think each of us—be we photographers or makeup artists or nail techs or hairstylists or PR folks—we do it because we love the rush. Yes, it’s our job, too, but there is something so satisfying, so adrenaline-pumping about being a part of the electricity that runs backstage, that energy that runs through everyone when the models simply must get finished in time for the show, all the clothes must be steamed, all the guests must be seated. Photographers take their spots on the risers to photograph all the models coming down the runway and in a burst of flashbulbs and music from above, the show begins.

So this week, what you can expect to see from me is a lot of backstage beauty looks—what will be in and out for next season—and a ton of visuals of models in all stages of being prepped for the show. Hair, makeup, nails, you name it. In addition to that, there may also be an occasional recap from designers’ runways and presentations for a peek at the styles to look forward to later this year. Come along with me and get backstage, onstage, and in the thick of it. I’m sure you’ll feel the rush, too.

Want to stay in the know on all things fashion week? Be sure to follow along with our coverage of the Fall 2016 shows here!

Elyssa Goodman likes words and pictures a lot. She is a Style Consultant at Her Campus, was previously the publication's first Style Editor, and has been with the magazine since its inception in 2009. Elyssa graduated with honors from Carnegie Mellon University, where she studied Professional Writing, Creative Writing, and Photography. As an undergraduate, she founded and was the editor-in-chief of The Cut, Carnegie Mellon's Music Magazine. Originally from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Elyssa now lives and works in New York City as Miss Manhattan, a freelance writer, photographer, stylist and social media consultant. Her work has appeared in Vice, Marie Claire, New York Magazine, Glamour, The New Yorker, Artforum, Bust, Bullett, Time Out New York, Nerve.com, and many other publications across the globe. Elyssa is also the photographer of the book "Awkwafina's NYC," written by Nora "Awkwafina" Lum. She loves New York punk circa 1973, old-school photobooths, macaroni and cheese, and Marilyn Monroe. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @MissManhattanNY.
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