I’ve long been fond of observing people. As an only child, I grew up with an appreciation of independence, yet I think that part of the ability to accept independence derives from having an understanding of others. I believe that immersing yourself in a crowd of complete strangers who you are able to observe somewhat comforts your self-liberty. I frequently love situating myself in my own little bubble, whether it be through strolling around the city or sitting in a coffee shop. Yet despite the literal state of being alone, I find it hard to ever feel truly lonely, or lonely with the negative connotations associated with the word. For me, being alone stimulates being an observer – something which I want to share my thoughts on today.
‘Observer’ is an interesting word – some may argue that we all naturally observe each other, but its definition suggests carefully watching, and perhaps coming to realise something following the consideration of this. So how often do we really observe one another? It’s not something that I do constantly, but in an independent situation, I find it to be a rewarding action to devote some time to. Take my current situation, for example. I’m presently sitting in a café on the top floor of Dover Street Market in London (note: if you haven’t visited, think trendy ambiance, trendy clothing, and even trendier people. Would highly recommend). I’m on a table for two, but I’m not intimidated by the empty space facing me as many people sadly would be. That empty space is giving me a clear view of others, which naturally triggers my observing. The two men who are sat on a table in front of me lead me to imagine us in Oscar Wilde’s pleasurable world through their sharp, well-dressed, dandy appearances. A group of middle-aged women are sat to my left eating lunch and are laughing at the joys of innocent conversation – they’re also all dressed in monochrome clothing, which I find completely gratifying. An attractive young man styling overly structured trousers and a box-shaped black jacket stands at the till and is occasionally looking over in my direction (quite a compliment), and on the other side of me, a trendy young girl with pixie-cut strawberry blonde hair, similarly sat alone (she also meets my eyes, leading me to think that she’s observing me like I’m observing her).
My current viewing platform links rather closely to the main intentions of this post, which is why I thought I’d write it whilst sitting here. The action of observing those around you in a café carries, though on a smaller scale, the same rewarding observance involved with eyeing street-goers at Fashion Week. The reason I say on a smaller scale is because Fashion Week, for me, is a completely amplified viewing platform filled with the most interesting individuals of an industry dipped in multiple shades of charm. Being in the ambiance of Fashion Week means being in the presence of so many different characters who can easily be observed. ‘Easily’, as their choice in outfits offers some extent of an insight into their persona. As I have long been interested in following the developments of fashion houses, I find it wonderful to see certain collections modelled on a diversity of different, every day individuals. Observing the attendants of fashion week allows one to discover how one particular item may be carefully placed in a variety of different settings, and on a variety of different different characters. Given that I’ve long been fond of observing people, and have long been interested in fashion, it came only naturally to me that I should fuse the two interests together through an exploration of photography. I’ve enjoyed taking photographs from a young age, yet it was just less than a year ago that I placed myself in the midst of madness at Fashion Week to produce my perceptions on what I was observing. I believe a camera is the closest thing that can see things the way you do – it’s the one object that your perception has much influence and control over.
London’s fashion identity has long been associated with experimentation, and often frequent challenges to staple fashion. Over the recent course of London Fashion Week, this established characteristic was not so obviously evident – as the city transitioned into a flux of avid designers, editors, stylists, bloggers and celebrities, there was a clear celebration of casual staples infused with bold accessories. This season, I also came to the realisation that it’s often more rewarding to observe those individuals who aren’t quite so bombarded by the mass of photographers, yet project an equal amount of sophistication as those who are. After all, it’s pretty hard for your observation of someone to faithfully mirror your singular perception if you’re taking a photograph in a tight crowd which will produce thirty shots pretty similar to your own. The entire experience is still pretty new for me, but nonetheless something I’m enjoying the more I experiment, and the more I observe. So to conclude this rather lengthy post are the selection of photographs that I shot recently during London Fashion Week. I find it very gratifying to display these photographs for you to see, perhaps allowing you to gain a little insight into the rewarding results of being an observer.
As always, let me know your thoughts in the comments box below! Wishing you all a wonderful week ahead.
For more photography, visit:
~ xxx ~