Photographing a fashion show

After two terms Nick and I have finished our beginners’ photography course at Morley college in South London. The course ended with a show of the students work – beginners, intermediate and level three. We wandered through the work and found it interesting and competent. You can see one of Nick’s entries below, inspired by the Arnolfini portrait. He also submitted four very beautiful photographs of our lake at different times of day. I submitted my book, and a portrait of Bella.

Anolfini portrait
Nick’s intriguing photograph inspired by the Arnolfini portrait

And then there was a fashion show!

Some of the photography students attended to take photographs, me included.

It was pretty challenging as the room was dark and the models only briefly stepped up in front of me. I used flash and the images are just about acceptable.

I thought I would share them so you can see the work that is being done.

The theme was the Planets. This is a famous piece of music written by Gustav Holst who was associated with the college. Here you can see how the students have created beautiful fabrics – mostly on silk I think. The dark blue fabrics below appeared to be woollen, possibly knit on a knitting machine.

One of my favourite outfits was pink! That little gauzy, cross-over blouse with shiny palazzo pants looked so elegant and swishy.

Some of the clothes were worn by models, and some by the creator. The first dress below appears to be painted on silk in a similar way to some of my work – and made into a caftan or butterfly dress.


These three blue outfits had a lot going for them. The first one had sleeves made with folded organza panels from the elbow to the wrist. It was very effective. The middle outfit include a shawl with music on it, and a felted bag. The lovely third outfit was a fitted grey dress with appliqued feathers, complemented by a bolero jacket with important sleevs in shiny peacock fabric.

I really enjoyed the fashion show despite trying to be a photographer on the night. It reminded me of doing much the same thing about 30 years ago in Moss Side Manchester, and then again when I was on the City and Guilds Fashion course in Battersea. 

In Manchester I had made a blue crepe wool dress that I had copied from an old (1940s) film, painstakingly drafted, fitted, and constructed using a star burst pin-tucked bust darting technique. And when I heard the compare saying – and now we have “a nice dress for the office” I was well and truly annoyed! Later, in London, I had to practice twirling between the bars of Carmina Burana.

Finally the winner! A special prize was awarded to the student who had acieved the best work overall. The three items were really very pretty and showed a high degree of expertise in the pattern-cutting, construction and fabric choice. The coat was really very accomplished.

Normally at this time of year I think hard about what courses I might like to attend. This year it is relatively easy as both Nick and I have decided we want to learn more about photography. So we have signed up for the Intermediate photography course at Morley. This is a one year evening course and I am hoping we go much deeper into the topics we covered in the first year, with lots of projects to stretch our technical learning and creative composition. If I get to photograph the fashion show next year I hope my pictures will come out much better.




6 Responses

  1. Vancouver Barbara

    Nick’s Arnolfini double portrait is very intriguing. You did well with your runway shots – not an easy thing to do.

  2. Jenny

    Great post as always. I’m very pleased you are both doing the intermediate course. I shall enjoy hearing how you get on. A sequel perhaps! Mind you I’d love to have seen your photographic show photos.

  3. Becky Sharp

    Great post. I enjoyed all these photos of the models and am so full of admiration – and I would love to see the blue wool crepe “nice dress for the office” – outrageous 🙂

  4. Kathy Schrank

    Hard to decide which garment speaks to me the most – I love them all. I am coming to London on 9/15 and have a free afternoon 9/19 (Wed). I would still like to purchase your book if possible. Is there anything you would like me to bring to you from the states. Mood is having a fab sale this wknd and there is still time to shop and have it shipped to me and I would bring to you. Let me know if you are interested. My daughter-in-law and I have a textile day Tues 9/18, we read your blog for shopping, do you have any other recommendations? We are staying at the Pelham.

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