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Dave Yoder May 28, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Italy.
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Fashion Week, Milan Italy 2009

Dave Yoder (b.1964, United States) spent his youth in the USA and Tanzania. His interest in photojournalism began at university while studying journalism. Dave’s work has been published in National Geographic Magazine, Smithsonian, National Geographic Traveler, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Time, and Newsweek among others. His photo essay on bounty hunters was exhibited at Visa Pour l’Image in Perpignan, France. He is in the process of completing a four-year project for National Geographic Magazine on the high-tech search for a lost Leonardo da Vinci painting, which is currently featured on a television program on the National Geographic Channel. Other projects include a children’s circus in Peru, Indiana and travel stories for National Geographic Traveler. Dave is based in Milan.

About the Photograph:

“Raquel Zimmerman is in this photo, at a Pucci show, shortly before she is sent out onto the catwalk. Like most of the models, she was very friendly, intelligent, and worked very hard. Fashion weeks are grueling, and there is no room for a prima donna. I shot backstage on and off for four years, and had gone into it with the usual stereotype expectations. They were soon dashed. Each show is a miracle, each of them involving scores of people working their asses off. I never saw any drugs or temper tantrums, and soon developed a respect for what I eventually called the hourly miracle that is fashion week.”

“My first show was Gianfranco Ferre. I walked into backstage, and while lost in thought trying to figure out what I was supposed to do, the models surrounding the periphery of the room, at their changing stations, had pretty much all undressed to a virtual state of nudity. I woke up with a start, smack in the middle of the room, with two cameras hanging from my shoulders, nowhere to hide. I froze in terror, thinking any moment I’d be spotted and a cacophony of shrieks, or worse, would follow. It never happened. I soon learned that there is a self-enforced code of conduct among the backstage photographers, and they are the first enforcers when a newcomer points a lens in the wrong direction. I don’t shoot backstage at the fashion shows in Milan anymore. I can’t say I miss it, but every now and then, maybe I do. I’d been hired by Alessandra Ilari in the Milan office of Fairchild, after cluelessly going in to see her on the advice of a friend and showing her a story on bounty hunters. To my astonishment, she agreed with my fumbling rational for being there at all, never having shot fashion, and said she’d been thinking about sending a photojournalist backstage.”

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