In the world of fashion photography, having the luxury and privilege to work on a private project is rare. Most of my time is occupied by doing what I love, which is creating images for brands and magazines. However, when I see the opportunity to dive into a personal project like my new Backstage Secrets book and fine-art collection, I am like a kid near a beach on vacation, spending every minute I can on it.
Once you complete a personal project and work of pride, there is a stark reality to confront. As an artist, we do not have the resources of a brand or magazine to promote the project. It is a real challenge to find ways to reach a lot of people and tell them how and when to catch an exhibit, where to buy a book, or to just let them know that you have finally completed a private project that you are excited to share. Of course, there is social media but that is nothing in comparison to a brand that can buy magazine advertising and television commercials, reaching their audiences in a variety of very expensive ways. At those moments, I have great “brand envy” and a lot of respect for how hard they have worked to be able to do that. Despite perception, most private projects by photographers and other artists are usually lost in the noise.
Unless you happen to have a group of amazing friends whose generosity and support leaves you humbled, surprised, and amazed by their support and belief. And, who all happen to have a global audience and are willing to take time out of their incredibly busy work schedules to help you celebrate that milestone. Which is exactly what happened this past week. I co-hosted a launch event with one of my “besties” Ed Razek. Were it not for Ed, there would be no Backstage Secrets. As creative leader of Victoria’s Secret, he has given me access that can only be dreamed about. In fact, it was 2016 when we were standing in Paris after one of his extraordinary fashion shows when he said, “You must have shot more behind the scenes of Victoria’s Secrets shows than anyone alive. Why don’t you do a book?” So, I did.
I know I speak for Ed and myself to write that we both felt very privileged for the kinships we have formed as people who I have shot and are featured in the book walked through the door at this past week’s U.S. launch event. Those who were in other cities or countries sent videos, notes, or messages on social media. It’s at moments like that when the word “family” takes on an extended meaning.
During the day and evening of the event, I did many interviews and one of the most common questions I was asked was how I would summarize the book. It made me think beyond the obvious that it was just backstage photography. I realized that this book is about friendship—all the special friendships formed in our highly unusual “family” as we have been on this extraordinary journey together.
With that in mind, I just want to thank some of the many people who came to help tell everyone that I “did a book.” For the many hours, days, weeks, and months of work that the book took to edit, and the near twenty years it took to photograph it, it was all worth it for that one perfect day. Thank you!