The Glamourous Side of being a
People have written me recently wanting to know what my take on the “glamourous” side of the business is. Do I love the parties, do I get invited to events often, how do I handle the social aspect of the fashion industry?? I live in Los Angeles, home to the never ending Red Carpet entrances, celebrity fueled events and paparazzi photographers. You sort of HAVE to be a part of it because choosing NOT be a part of it is somewhat of a strong statement. So I have had to learn how to “survive” the party side of being in the fashion industry. Don’t get me wrong: fashion photography is a serious business just like any other and you have to keep the upmost of professionalism at all times, even when you’re not shooting. But when you are invited out to a ton of events where there is a lot of free alcohol and potential clients lingering around you, you need to learn the balance of suiting up, showing up and making a quiet exit. I know there are photographers out there that party all the time. They hang out with their young models, they go to every event they’re invited to. They make it a priority to get on the guest list of every event thrown by the “elite”. They have a reputation of being “crazy” and “out there”. In my opinion, there’s a fine line between taking advantage of the “perks” and using social events in your favor for networking.
So here’s an example of one event that I went to and how I handle them now. I was invited to a magazine’s Holiday Issue launch party last Saturday night in Beverly HIlls. Paris Hilton is on the cover so she was hosting the event. There was free Grey Goose flowing from 3 bars on the rooftop of the Luxe Hotel on the famous Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. I heard there were other celebrities attending beside Paris, but I didn’t see them. Sounds pretty swanky, eh? I don’t know, maybe it’s because I’m older now and I’ve been to so many of these events that I might come across cynical. But I have to giggle when I think about words like “swanky”. And have you noticed I’m using a lot of quotation marks? It’s because the hype is more exclusive than the reality. It’s rather a pain to get to the events sometimes. While some events are actually really fun, for the most part I go to an event because I need to show up for the person that invited me. When I was younger it meant so much more to me to be seen with the right crowd and to be invited to the right party. There IS that perk to being in the fashion industry, if that’s your thing. You will get invited to all kinds of great openings: private trunk shows, fashion shows, industry shin digs and premiers. I have learned to gauge it and figure out which ones I want to go to and which ones I can pass on.
I had to go on Saturday night because it was thrown by Genlux Magazine, a fashion magazine that I work for consistently. And also they’re good people and I want to help support them in any way I can. Stephen Kamifuji is one of those dream editors that gives me so much freedom on my shoots thus allowing for great portfolio expansion. And his wife Cecilia, publisher of Gelux, is genuinely just a beautiful person, inside and out. In other words I didn’t go to this party because Paris Hilton was going to be there or because it had free Grey Goose vodka or because it was held on the rooftop of a chic Beverly Hills hotel. I went there to support the people I work for and honestly adore. And I also got to see old friends and industry people that I work with and that’s always really nice!
A word about alcohol! I’m not against drinking. I drink and I enjoy drinking. But if I want to get drunk and loopy and act like a freak, I reserve that for my close friends (people that love me and forgive me the next day) in an environment FAR away from any industry folks (usually my house!). I advise the same. You don’t have to listen to me. But I’ve learned the hard way and have had colleagues learn the hard way. Don’t get too sloppy, don’t divulge too much personal information and don’t put your foot in your mouth. You can lose clients that way. THEY can run around naked and dance on the tables. YOU, sadly, cannot! Just my two cents!
I’ll end with this: honestly, as a young and up and coming photographer the party scene that the fashion industry provides was a whole lot more important than it is now. My goals are just different now. I don’t go to as many events as I used to. But some events are fantastic and it IS a perk to be able to rub shoulders with some incredibly talented people! It IS a perk to be invited to a lovely event. And the gift bags? Definitely a perk!