McQueen & Moss: a lesson learnt/Part 1

Back in 2004, film was still king, and Alexander McQueen and Kate Moss were the royalty of the fashion world.

Sitting outside my sunny office in Tunbridge Wells, I answered a call from the Times Magazine picture desk: Did I want to want to cover a rather special 'party' event in London. It would mean a visit to the PR to get a special pass for myself and an Assistant the following day.

Now, I don't really shoot parties, however, the American Express 'Black' party would be the exception. I was told I was going to be the only photographer on the inside, apart from Richard Young, and that it would be held at Earls Court. ALL of Earls Court-and all completely dressed in black velvet. 

I was given a somewhat restrictive list of conditions that I had to sign as I collected the passes for myself and my Assistant (Jess): 1 camera/1 lens/1 light, no bags and no stands or tripods, we CANNOT enter the Fashion Show itself and we must wear only black. My shot list was to be a two shot of McQueen and Moss infront of a Sam Taylor-Wood photo of Moss, followed by shots in the party of specific celebrity guests and then leave before the fashion show.

The day came, and I felt terrible. In-fact so terrible, that I rang to try and pull out of the whole shoot. 'No, I 'had to attend' was the response as I paced the office wondering how I could stave off that dreaded feeling of acute nausea:you can never be ill as a photographer.

My first mistake therefore, was going-I sweated the whole way there trying to pull myself together. My second was that I had also packed a daft set of photographic choices- a sturdy, but completely unreliable Pentax 6x7, and one underpowered Bowens head with a battery and a softbox. These are the days of film and I was going to be working in giant black rooms with only tiny amounts of available light, oh, and my editor would be popping in to see how things went.

Oh, and how they went...

See Part 2

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