The outburst of Françoise Huguier
Valentino Fashion show in the old temple of photography or how to turn photographers into disiplined chimpanzes.
Fully accredited to take pictures backstage and on the podium, I thought two entry badges would be the open sesame, unhappily no. Now Backstage only allows you to take pictures of hairdressers , make up artists and eventually a few models, a new badge is used First Vision which means only taking pictures of models all dressed up ready to walk on the podium.
Having quite a bit of experience in fashion shows I arrived fully accredited at the rue Berryer an hour and a half before the beginning of the show. First road block I am told I am too late, I cannot go in. I fight and insist, finally I get the authorization to get in but need to be accompanied. I am introduced to a gentleman from security, a charming muscle man who will guide me. We take the elevator and he confides that his cousin is a Bamileke Chief « traditional chief from west Cameroon » I feel totally reassured. On the second floor two young men from security with black ties tell me again I am too late. The PR Person is called and I am given 10 minutes to take pictures in the room where the models are made up and have their hair dressed, but surprise, each time I take a picture they check the screen of my digital camera to see what I am doing. I succeed in losing my two black ties political commissaries, and sneak in the room where all the dresses are hanging to get the feeling of the show. The two goons and the PR person come back screaming and lead me out of the room. I ask why? They answer you photographers only think of taking pictures of naked models, and they show me back to the landing. There I wait a half hour before being ordered to go down to the ground floor, the only place where I am allowed to work.
At the foot of the stairs two more black ties and another PR Person scream at me and order me to go behind a black rope, the place for First Vision photographers. The space behind the rope is about 30 square feet and about 20 photographers will congregate there After an hour , always under insults, I had pushed a toe beyond the rope, the PR Person comes back reduces the space and places two black ties in front of us on the other side of the rope. Hairdressers and makeup artists arrive for the last touch up, then the models in single file ready to bounce on the podium. In spite of all the obstacles in front of me I finally make out two dresses in toile de Jouy (old fashion french printed calico) that remind me of the bedroom walls in my grandmother's castle.
The fashion show starts, the PR Person screams you can start taking pictures, then it is a photographic giant slalom.
How can I take pictures when in front of me I have the two goons, the hairdressers, the make up artists and the models most of them presenting their backs and behinds to us. An Italian photographer sticking to my ass during the whole show and screaming in my right ear you bitch, fuck off mother fucker, and in my left ear our political commissaries screaming step back we have had enough, you photographers are all thugs.
A bit knocked out coming out of the rue Berryer I ask myself why is the ambiance so degraded ? That the respect of fashion houses and designers for our trade has disappeared. Should we deduce, that for them, we are chimps that can be roped off and given peanuts to keep quiet.
I write this opinion piece as a manifesto against the contempt for the work and talent of photographers who have a real point of view and who love fashion.