People of Fashion Week: The Photographer

By Zoe Walker

Photographer Michael Ng.
Photographer Michael Ng.

Each day this week we will be counting down to NZ Fashion Week 2013 with a series of interviews with key people behind the scenes. Today, we talk to NZFW's official photographer Michael Ng.

What are you doing at fashion week this year?
Primarily I photograph every outfit or the silhouettes as each comes down the runway. I try to capture a moment in time which shows off the garment at its best. Sometimes this is a challenge when the models don't understand fully why they need to walk where they have been shown, so the media can capture amazing looking outfits which the buyers will order from the designers and the public get to buy in the stores six months or so later. I also try to have a look backstage before every show to see what the garments look like, the colour palette the designer has selected, what the hair styles and how the make-up has been applied.

How many years have you been involved in the event?
I have been photographing NZ Fashion Week since the beginning and this will be my 10th year as the official photographer.

How many photos do you take during the week? Do you attend every show, and photograph every outfit?
On average I would say between 20 to 30 shots per outfit. A lot depends on the length of the runway, how fast the music is, how fast will the model walks down the runway and if they stop for a moment or two.

Last year I think I shot around 30,000 or 40,000 pictures during the week, so luckily the cost of hard drive storage has come down. I attend every show on the schedule so it can get to be a rather long day. Throughout the week, my team and I usually are the last to leave each night and one of the first on site each morning. Every outfit has to be photographed.

The photographer's pit is known for being a bit cut throat. Describe it for us?
I prefer to call it the media riser rather than the photographer's pit, but it is not as cut throat as it's made to sound. There is a certain protocol on the media riser and as the official photographer I get to mark out my preferred shooting space but I also look after the official TV broadcasters and the main media outlets.

I try to make sure all the other media get a position they are happy with as we are all working the same goal to get good pictures. I'll also advise the production team as to what type of riser work best for each venue but sometimes this is not possible due to space or other restrictions.

Sometime an over-enthusiastic or inexperienced photographer will jump on and off or move around the media riser during a show which ruins the usable footage and upsets other photographers' concentration, so I'll remind them not to do that . . . but in a nice way.


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