True Life: I Was a Street Style Photographer for NYFW

More specifically, the MR street style photographer

At the end of my internship and the very beginning of fall, Leandra proposed that I take one for the team and get trampled by street style photographers — otherwise known as having the time of my life as a clothing paparazzo during New York Fashion Week.

I’ve never “officially” done this before, so on my first, fast approach to Milk Studios my mind began to race: “Everyone knows that I shouldn’t be here and they probably all think my outfit is ugly and I look like an idiot for trying too hard and/or not trying hard enough and I’m probably bothering all of the models and editors and someone is going to push me over and I’m going to flash everyone whyyy did I wear a dress?!”

But once I paused and started looking around, my only concern was what everyone else was wearing. I had to get out of my busy head to keep my style antennae on high alert.

Spotting the outfits was easy — there were tons. Everyone looked cool and unique and seemed to offer something that would work for a picture. It was editing the pictures post snap-flurry-madness and during the spare minutes of quiet (while the actual shows were happening) that caused an emotional roller coaster. I’d go from the moment of mentally capturing a picture: “Ohohohohohohooooooh. I like her outfit. Release the shutter. CLICK THE BUTTON,” to reviewing the shot and wondering WHY that stupid person in the neon shirt had to walk directly in front of me, mid-click.

Sometimes I’d question my taste in style, because some outfits didn’t look as good in the images between my hands as they did on the bodies mid-rush to a show.

The most satisfying moments, though — the realizations of “Wow, I am actually doing this!” — were when what I saw in real life appeared in the picture exactly as I saw it when the person walked or rushed by; when the beautiful details and the creativity everyone put into presenting themselves (or how ridiculous they looked in 91 degree heat) were perfectly framed amongst the chaos.

And sometimes, there would be an amazing surprise from randomly pointing and shooting the camera without looking through the viewfinder. My art history addled brain would tell you this is a celebration of the inherent chance in photography (blah blah blah), but really it’s closer to desperation for SOMETHING to turn out.

What mattered most when I found a beautiful shot on the screen, though — intentional or accidental or whatever — was the giddy grin and bubbly feeling that kept me running to the next show like a maniac in a dress, even though my feet were numb.

Get more Fashion ?
  • charmystique
  • You captured the unique and colorful NYC so well. Awesome job!

  • Wait, no joke, when I was flipping through the photos I expected to see a “Photos by Tommy Ton” attribution at the end of your article. For some reason when I started reading I thought you were only writing about your experience and accompanying with classic street style shots. Duhh (it’s been one of those days…)! You captured some amazing fashion moments!! And I’m kind of obsessed with #13.

    • Krista Anna Lewis

      You just made my day!

  • jaclyn

    O-M-G!! best streetsyle photos I’ve seen! obsessed!

    check my blog:http://stylevolver.blogspot.com

  • Lol there’s my elbow. HOLY ISH, GIRL. you killed it!

  • wow all that cool fashion on those people! great job Michelle! lucky <3

  • Charlotte Fassler

    The pink sweater on the 95 degree day still makes my body ache

    • I just think about her ‘pits, man!

    • Krista Anna Lewis

      I think just seeing her that day made my body temperature rise a few extra degrees.

  • random–where’s that post about those bright shiny clutches?!?!?!?!? i want to buy one and it’s not under shopping or style! #emergency

    –also krista, these shots are phenoms.

  • Courtney Cartier

    Ah! Jenna! <3 The ultimate. Your pictures are great! That last sequined dress is amazing! 🙂

    -Courtney
    http://www.415bond.blogspot.com

  • True Life: I use True Life to describe everything in my life; it’s a real problem

  • Yeah KRISTA!!! Such a nice essay, Lady. And of course: amazing photo documentation going on up top. That’s not surprising, though, seeing that your talent has been well-established both on here and through the kind words of a certain Olivia A ;).

    • Krista Anna Lewis

      TOO KIND !!! <3

  • This is the third season I shot New York Fashion Week street style. It’s a good time to practice portraits because the participants are generally willing. It’s an odd display of human behavior – photographers flock to fashionistas who expand their peacock tails.

    This is the first time I saw some celebrities – Kimora Lee (ex-Simmons), Lisa Rinna, Padma Lakshmi (who gave me a really dirty look), and the HILTON sisters! Paris clearly lives for the attention whereas Nicky looked over it

    Feel free to check out my photos! http://www.adriannagrezak.com
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/adriannagrezak/

    • It’s kinda horrible, but sometimes when I think of fashion week street-style fanfare I just think of Norma Desmond.
      http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lnrt9nYMVv1qlli1xo1_500.gif

      • Charlotte Fassler

        My fave movie. using this gif from now on.

        • MY FAVE MOVIE, TOO. Well, at least in the Top 3.

          And how fashion-week-peacock-y is that gif? You could use in a million other scenarios, though.

  • You did a nice job! I sometimes shoot street fashion at concerts for my job and it is a wild ride, let me tell ya. You should have seen the people waiting in line for Miley Cyrus.

  • lavieenliz

    such great pics!!

    http://hashtagliz.com

  • Your street style photos were awesome! Great job

    http://www.sassique.com

  • Really amazing photos and clothes… All these styles are just amazing

    Wholesale woman clothes

  • MilkVelvet

    This is one deep, true life experience… very Man Repeller!! http://milkandvelvet.com/

  • Fashionably Sparkly

    Those street style pictures are amazing! I love how you captured more unique and interesting looks 🙂 Great job! ^^

    Fashionably Sparkly

  • Courtney

    Ha! You can just barely see me in the photog pit in the first photo…I too, was thrown into the street style madness this season. Good job!

  • THEFASHIONGUITAR

    Thanks for capturing my pink hair 🙂 Great photos, love the story! Xx Charlotte

  • Andjela Djordjevic

    Great photos and the story as usual! xx A.

    http://fashionrippah.blogspot.com/

  • Amazing shots! Keep up the good work, would love to do the same. What camera/lens are you using? The pictures look so bright and beautiful! 50mm?

    http://www.LydiaWho.com

  • I absolutely love all the shots, the outfits are gorgeous too!

  • Guest

    What camera did you use? All the photos are fantastic!

  • Sand In The City

    Well done! There are a few shots capturing emotional moments – that’s amazing!

  • Felicia

    Fantastic photos 🙂

  • Very well-written article, and I think you captured some really great moments! Love it! X

    http://www.bibigoeschic.com

  • It was totally worth it, your work is amazing! Well done!!!

  • Keepitreel

    really great fluid style ! You captured it well:)