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New York Fashion Week: Through a Photographer's Eyes

The pit at Anna Sui yesterday
The pit at Anna Sui yesterday

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Maybe the only people whose Fashion Week experience still feels shrouded in mystery are the photographers, those hardy souls who wear practical shoes and lug around bulky equipment and don't spend all their time inside the shows Twittering frantically. We got one of these strange creatures to tell us what Fashion Week looks like from his point of view.

At Bryant Park shows, all of the credentialed photographers stand at the end of the runway on a section of risers called "the pit." (No credentials, no riser access.) Much like in the seats, there's a strict hierarchy that determines who goes where. Actually, there are two hierarchies—the one that organizes the video cameras, and the one that organizes the still photographers. On the video side, the biggest power players are whatever company was hired by the house. Next comes Getty Images, and then the local news channels. The still section adheres more to the rules of the front row: The biggest publications, like Vogue and Fashion Week Daily, get the plumb spots. After the print organizations come the blogs, then the newbies who are trying to fend for themselves.

It all sounds rather dog-eat-dog, but our source assures us that it's actually a civil place to be—probably more civil than in the seats, come to think of it. This year in particular, photographers are looking out for each other, arranging themselves so that everyone has a decent shot. The security guards also tend to be pleasant, as long as they're dealing with photographers who know how they're supposed to behave. The only problems seem to occur when clueless new kids show up and get in everyone's way. (Bloggers! They're so annoying.)

In addition to operating in some sort of parallel utopian Fashion Week where people are nice, some photographers also get the kind of access that we civilians can only dream about. Our informant only had an M credential, which gives him riser access, but he was working with a guy who had the mythical H credential. Get an H on your badge, and you can go anywhere you want, any time. We can only imagine how many free Pop burgers you could score with such a thing.
· Inside The Bryant Park Tents: Muscle Milk and McCafe [Racked]