With fashion month kicking off last week, the fascination surrounding the various shows and parties is hard to ignore. While many of us won’t get to experience the thrill of sitting front row, Thurstan Redding’s photographs taken backstage at various shows and photoshoots are a fantastic alternative.
“I think a great backstage image really needs to capture something emotional,” Thurstan explains. “The entire frenzy [of a show] is over in the space of an hour, which means I witness people going through extreme highs and lows in a very short period of time.” Thurstan’s images echo this sentiment, but don’t play up to dramatised stereotypes, instead focusing on the quiet beauty of backstage. Pensive moments are captured with models staring thoughtfully into the lens as the hands of make-up artists and assistants bustle around them.
There’s an elegance and richness to Thurstan’s photographs, making them feel like they could be part of an unofficial lookbook. “Backstage photography is often photographed with bright colours and flash – but I don’t find these ‘glamorous’ interpretations of it as interesting,” Thurstan says. “They hide how long and the process often is. Models are often tired and bored, which I find is when the most interesting pictures happen.”
The 23-year-old photographer has shot backstage in London for Alexander McQueen, J.W. Anderson and Paul Smith, and for publications like Wonderland and The New York Times T Magazine. Having studied politics at Cambridge university up until two years ago, Thurstan’s not taken the typical route into fashion reportage, but the impressive list of clients he’s already built up is testament to his skill and passion for the job.
“I really love backstage photography as it’s the closest thing to being a fly on the wall – you often have to make yourself discreet,” Thurstan says. “Also it’s a way to see the clothes the way the designer meant them to be, [which] is always very interesting and beautiful.”
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