In March I was privileged enough to be selected to photograph officially at the L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival over two very big nights. I was chosen out of a pool of freelance photographers based on my portfolio. I was very, very surprised when I received the email retelling the great news the week before the event. To be honest, I took a wild stab in the dark and applied, not really thinking or dreaming that I would get accepted. Nevertheless, when I read my email, I let out a tiny scream of joy…that may have woken up my boyfriend’s neighbours as it was quite late.
Leading up to the first event, Alex Perry’s show on the Friday night, my mind was racing. I was feeling a cocktail of emotions. Everything from extremely excited through to anxiously nervous. There wasn’t a day where it didn’t cross my mind. I was daydreaming of the idea of not only attending my first fashion show but photographing at one too…and at the age of seventeen?! Rumours people had told me echoed through my mind. I was worried that the media pit was going to be a sea of mostly smelly old men fighting to get the best shot (thankfully it was much more organised than that). I was nervous at the aspect of everyone fending for themselves most. Although I was prepared to go all the way for my photographs, I couldn’t help but wonder if people were going to take advantage of my age and push me around.
Thankfully, none of my worries were true. As soon as I picked up my media pass and walked through the heavy black curtains, I had felt more at home than I ever had experienced before. I befriended a photographer from Fashion Journal while waiting in line getting in who graciously asked if I wanted to sit next to her in the front row in their reserved seating. Naturally, I couldn’t say no. I was introduced to everyone who arrived thereafter. The media pit was more like a big family where everyone knew each other rather than a sea of strangers working. I met famous fashion photographers such as Monty Coles and Lucas Dawson as well as photographers from newspapers like the Herald Sun and The Age. The experience was extremely humbling. I had offers for help coming from each direction and the photographer from the Herald Sun kindly gave me some tips about what to expect.
Once the runway started filling with guests, my nerves kicked in and butterflies filled my stomach. I was star spotting subconsciously and getting rather jitterish every time I saw a blogger I admired. As soon as the lights fell, the music screamed in my ear, deafening me. I couldn’t let it phase me though, the first models were walking out, dressed in the most embellished and beautiful dresses I have ever seen in my life. I was truly awe-inspired from the experience. When the model reached three quarters of the way up the runway, everyone’s fingers were on the shutter button, taking continuous photos, making sure not to miss a thing. The sound was like heaven to my ears.
All weekend, I was editing my photos in anticipation for the next show I was shooting at on the Sunday night. I couldn’t wait to see my new friends again and meet more people. I felt like the luckiest seventeen year old in the world in that moment.