Temp Stories: Michaela Metesová – Capturing the backstage energy at a fashion show
With Arts Temps' spin out as an external business rapidly approaching, we've been talking to the people the new business is all for - the UAL students and alumni seeking work opportunities. For many of them Arts Temps is the first step in their careers and an opportunity for them to find where they fit into the industry.
MA Fashion Photography graduate Michaela Metesová worked as a backstage photographer for the London College of Fashion MA Fashion Show in 2020. She was hired to capture the frenetic energy behind the scenes as models get ready and the students add the final touches to their collections. We caught up with Michaela to discuss her experiences and how this opened the door for other opportunities.
How did you get involved doing the backstage photography for the fashion show?
I’d only just started my Fashion Photography course and I was working with one of the designers from the Fashion MA course. I suggested that I do the backstage photography for them and I contacted the team in charge of the show who they told me to sign up for Arts Temps so they could employ me to work on it.
Since then I’ve started to apply for loads more jobs through Arts Temps, it’s been really helpful especially during the pandemic. I even got a job on the UAL COVID testing site!
What was it like taking photos backstage at the London College of Fashion show?
It was really amazing. Doing a fashion photography course means you have to come up with your own vision and ideas, but this opportunity was really cool because I was documenting behind the scenes. It was really magical. This was the first fashion show for a lot of these students, so it was so special sharing that experience with them.
I also met a lot of interesting people, all the graduating designers and the models. I actually keep in touch with some models I met at the show and I did a project with one of them — so it was great to have further opportunities created from this one.
What was the most valuable thing you gained from working backstage?
The ability to network and just being in a creative environment surrounded by so many talented people. On a photography course we’re obviously all photographers, but backstage I was the only photographer there. Observing designers, makeup artists, and models and seeing how all the roles work and interact with each other was really valuable. I learned so much about how the whole industry comes together.
Did you enjoy this type of photography and do you think it is something you’d like to continue in your career?
I really loved it! it was so hectic — pretty much the most hectic backstage ever but it made it quite special. I’ve done few backstages before, but it was always only one designer showing. With the MA show there were so many students and models. It was crazy. But in a good way, you know? You could feel the energy in the room, it was amazing.
After I did this show I realised that I really enjoyed it so I decided to see if I could do another one. I actually found DAKS, a London based clothing brand, that was doing a fashion show and proposed to them that I’d document the backstage for them. It was great to build on this experience and it has helped me find my niche.
Unfortunately, because of the pandemic it hasn’t been possible to do one this year so I feel really lucky to have had these experiences. Hopefully we’ll be able to have live fashions shows again soon.
Hopefully so! Are you planning on working on more fashion shows in the future?
We don’t know how fashion shows will go in the future but I hope I get to work on them again soon. I missed fashion week so much this year that I started experimenting with my old pictures. I started to learn how to make gifs and created some from my images. We don’t know how much the digital landscape will influence the future of fashion shows, but I think that digital experience cannot replicate the energy that is felt at real shows.