I know I paint a picture of doom and hopelessness on the streets of New York. There is obviously another side to the American dream here, failed or otherwise. NY Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week is a sprawling, glittering circus of opulence and swagger and where I mostly earn my living. It is a corporate sponsored glam-fest where the movers and shakers in the world of fashion vie for pole position to grace the major retail outlets across the globe. PR companies, Designers, Hair and Make-up artists and some of the worlds most sought after models spend a few weeks of each year maximizing their potential and reaping the rewards. What they squander on refreshments would keep more than a few homeless families warm and fed for a year, and there is my dilemma. The two ends of this amazingly complicated human spectrum fascinates me, we are all the same at the beginning of our existence, but by the time our journey is coming to its end the differences made by the choices we have made, the society we have found ourselves in and the people who have influenced our lives are incalculable.
MBFW is over the top, crass, egocentric and some would consider it a massive waste of time, money and media coverage. It is also a necessary extravagance. Far removed from what is happening to others who spend their lives struggling to live from one day to the next. The lost and invisible are left behind while the lucky and gifted will soar into financial realms that are way beyond the average persons dreams. For ‘us’, in the middle of that swinging pendulum it helps to give some clarity our own perception of where we are in the great scheme of things as we focus on the important issues that, no matter how irrelevant to others, make our lives manageable and hopefully content. I am fortunate to play a small part in both worlds, photography is massively important to me, it drives me with a passion and the process continues to thrill me with every click of my (rather battered) Canon 5D.
As part of the ‘Homeless in America’ series, the Al Jazeera America network has filmed a short documentary on the wide ranging contrasts of my street/homeless photography and my work in the fashion industry, due to air very soon. If anyone has an interest in why, how and where I shoot the images I capture I would be happy to let you know when the broadcast dates are confirmed.
In keeping with the ‘Lust and Rum’ theme, here are some of my most recent images from ‘another world’. Planet fashion!