Written by Maya Jagger. All opinions and thoughts are Maya’s.
When I woke up on Thursday morning I did not envision that for 3 and a half hours would in college be on my feet, running after models taking photographs of a Hair and Media Makeup Show! During college time a tutor informed me of this exciting event that needed a photographer, which was to take place a 6 o’clock. After my lessons were over I popped my head through the doors of the Image Academy, but not before booking out a camera from upstairs. No one really looked up when I entered the studio, as students were so engrossed in their work, but I was warmly welcomed by their tutors. I couldn’t help but notice I was not the only photographer present, but the tutors said “the more photographers, the better”, as each photographer brings their own distinct angle and viewpoint to the event.
Initially I found the students challenging to photograph, as not only I did not want to intrude and put them off their work, but I had also never photographed anything quite like this. However, when the clock struck 5pm, I noticed that as I asked students how their work was going and made gentle conversation with them, I felt more included and they seemed to become more open to being photographed and less nervous. This was the point where my photographs became more personal and reflective of the atmosphere.
When moving around each pairing of stylist and model, I was completely blown away by the pure hard work and dedication being demonstrated by the very well trained students there. I felt very privileged as a photographer to get a very exclusive look into what went on behind the scenes and having the opportunity of seeing the models before they hit the catwalk and the eyes of the public.
I took a half hour break before re-entering the Image Academy to see how much progress the students had made in preparing the models while I was away. Although the artists were just adding the finishing touches, tension was high and the clock was ticking. I left the Image Academy for the last time, entering the show briefly as a spectator, sat patiently waiting for the show to begin in the Bistro on the Park, where show was to be held.
Before the opening was called, a member of staff read out a list of thanks, while catering students elegantly emerged from the Bistro, carrying small trays of delicious canapés, prepared by the students. Harrogate College certainly know how to host their guests with style, I thought to myself, as I nibbled away at my cocktail stick. I was momentarily broken from my thoughts when I heard my name announced over the mic in thanks for the work I was doing. It felt somewhat surreal to hear my name. It almost felt for a moment like I was another person. Adding to this, I am quite positive that I saw the college Principal, Debra Forsythe-Conroy, give me a wink from the judging panel at which she was sat with another two judges for the event. This for me marked the beginning of for what was to be a most magical evening.
At 6pm on the dot the first model, a member of staff, trod the catwalk emanating quiet confidence as part the first theme of the night, which was the theme of Occasion. This was met by cheers of encouragement from Phil, who played the role of sound technician slash DJ for the event. By this point the catering students had disappeared back into the kitchen and the stylists nerves had moved from anxiety to excitement, as I watched them Snapchat the event, taking group selfies and filming the models, as they walked the catwalk, some models clad in bare feet, like the young girl who looked as if she had walked straight out of the Swinging Sixties. She was followed by several prom queens and a stunning natural beauty.
Once all the models from the theme of Occasion had each had twice had their turn of the catwalk, so as the audience really got to see the ladies in their stride, the next theme, of Fantasy, began. This I think was my favourite theme of the two. The audience were wowed by models which included an ice cold ice queen, a rebellious looking punk with attitude and a tall, alienlike girl. Once we saw all the models, the judges left the hall to make their decision, then followed an intermission.
During the intermission, Performing Art students took to the catwalk, some of which had already done so as models, singing and dancing their hearts away. They gave a short, but charming, performance that was an excerpt from their adaption of Grease, whilst tutor, Robin Burch, watched on with pride as they succeeded in winning the attention of our guests.
As the winners were announced, of whom I felt nothing but respect, as I had seem all the time they had put into their outcomes from the beginning, I had to slip away to catch my train back to Leeds; but I had enjoyed every minute. This is something I will definitely attend next year and I highly recommend you look out for the next show too!