Documenting a Fashion Set

Anais Mali on set with photographer Tom Craig for Anthropologie

Last year, I had the opportunity to explore the intersection of documentary and fashion while working for Anthropologie. I've spent years traveling and exploring communities, getting strangers to open up to me in person, and on-camera. I've met charming, beautiful, kind, mean, despicable and intriguing people in those years and overcame many challenges.
Laura Julie takes a moment to warm up between shots on a wet and cold Scottish day on set with photographer Tom Craig for Anthropologie .
While this opportunity presented very similar challenges to documentary photography - out of my element, conspicuous attire, different language, long hours and uncontrollable weather - documenting a fashion shoot introduced me to a whole new set of challenges I had to learn to navigate. Every second of it has been a blast. I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to work with such a talented, exciting and interesting crew.

One of the slow moments between a squall with the lovely Anais Mali on-set with photographer Tom Craig for Anthropologie.

I’m used to long days while on assignment. Slow, unrelenting days that drain your body and mind. Sudden peaks of euphoria keep you going as a moment unfolds, but often those moments are surrounded by long period of just keeping vigilant. When you’re documenting a person, cause or situation you are waiting for the right moment, knowing that there may only be one or two that will make your story. Knowing that all you need is one second to encapsulate what you are trying to say. And so you wait, watch and engage, with the camera always ready. It is very draining and exhilarating- I love it.

Shooting on a fashion set, with flurries of activities is very different. There is a lot of down time, with great moments of action where everything happens all at once. You can usually see those moments coming like a great big squall moving quickly on the horizon. In between are long moments of quiet, where time seems to catch up to you.

Valentine Bouquet decompressing between shots on-set with photographer Tom Craig for Anthropologie .  I’d like to think I caught her chasing one of her fleeting moments…
The beauty of a moment is in it’s fleeting nature. It can be a muse for hours and days in your memory. Something that lingers like a scent or something you can’t always describe without losing it. You hold onto it like an old lover that ran out the door, a part of you continuing to chase it even as you move forward.

Photography is truly magical when you capture one of these fleeting moments; a split-second action, a momentary glance, or a passing shimmer of light. The photograph serves as a museum of moments.

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