German photographer Anna Bauer spent five years – the equivalent to ten Fashion Week seasons – shooting the insights of Fashion Weeks worldwide. And, furthermore, she did it old-style, using a large format camera that required care and patience in order to take just one single picture in the most frenetic possible atmosphere. The result is "Backstage", hundreds of portraits in Polaroid format, not only of fashion's big personalities but also of all those who make it possible for every fashion show to happen. The exhibition can now be seen in Barcelona at the Loewe gallery and will go on until the 16th of March. On the occasion of its recent inauguration we got the chance to talk with the photographer to know all "Backstage"'s secrets.
I was commissioned to photograph portraits backstage at London Fashion Week and I happened to be working a lot with a large format camera at that time. So a friend suggested I should use the camera, the editor loved it so we did that.
It was about four or five years old, they are still being made. People really liked the camera. Some said it reminded them of their childhood.
With lots of commitment and patience! They look calm because they have to concentrate on the process of making the photograph with me. And I think it shows, their mind is with the camera.
It's actually a large format camera in which I used a polaroid back. You can also shoot negative film with the camera. And yes, I think the camera helped but not the fact that it was polaroid's film. What helped is the process that is needed for this camera, and that the polaroid's film has its own quality and softness.
Insight into humans, patience, kindness.
Karl was great! I first took his picture at the Lagerfeld show and it was the only disaster that really happened during the whole project. There were about thirty other photographers around me taking advantage of him posing for me, so I had to yell at them to stop taking pictures and then my flash didn't work. Karl was so patient and said "just take another one", and another one... Until his PR people came and said "we need to start the show!!". I think the whole thing only lasted four minutes, but it felt endless, I must have burned about 200 calories in those four minutes. Later that week I went to the Chanel show and took the portrait in which he is in the show. Again, he was so nice, he said to a TV team, "I will take my picture now with this girl." Which sounded like I was 13 and doing a school project. Gisele's picture was at a Givenchy show and an absolute pleasure. She is such an amazing person, best energy, super professional and a delight.
How much people work, and not only for three days, they work a TON for four weeks in a row. And it's very physical work. People constantly have to move around, there is nothing steady about fashion week.
We chose her because Kate is Kate! She was very, very nice.
I'm not sure what it offers me exactly. It welcomed me for my project, which I really enjoyed. In what fashion in itself is different to other worlds is glamour I think. I have photographed a lot of other fields, and most of them lack glamour. And then there is this constant search for reinvention and beauty. So it is a field of very committed and ambitious people, there's a high concentration of great talent! And as a photographer – actually any profession – it's very nice to work with talented people.