How Pushing Through My Comfort Zone At London Fashion Week Led Me to Shooting Fashion Photography

Admitting to oneself one’s true desire can be tinged with fear. For me, fashion photography was such a desire that I could no longer ignore. 

A little over a year ago, I was compelled to shoot at London Fashion Week. The urge grew irrefutably stronger throughout the day, and despite having no fashion photography or street stye experience, I headed to Soho.

The winter sun unusually gleaming that February afternoon, I entered Brewer Street knowing I needed to engage with my subject. A departure from the silence of street photography, I was comforted knowing the fashionable like to be photographed. Still, the need to ask, “may I take your photo?” was daunting. After several hours a rhythm developed as I shot models, stylists, bloggers and blaggers. I felt uplifted. 

Ramario Chevoy was the second person I shot that afternoon.

Back then, my life had arrived at an unimaginable juncture. I questioned my existence daily. The choices I made, the brevity and the supposed preciousness of life were all contradicted by my mode of living; funded by a career I did not implicitly chose; a consequence of a failed medical degree undertaken with hubris.

Eventually, I could not lie to myself that I was happy. My depression relapsed. I was unable to care for myself. My family less so. Every aspect of my life had to go on hold. All except photography. Photography provided a lifeline.

A change was necessary, but really I was snapping my shutter in the dark. I would go on day long shoots. Wandering the streets of London without food or water. Sharpening my eye for street photography sustained me. I would leave my wife by herself to look after our new born daughter, while I searched for a voice to express.

Shooting buildings quickly became banal. Alone with my camera over the cold winter months, what emerged was the compulsion to shoot people and candid portraiture. I learned to be a ghost and silently I drifted through crowds looking for human interactions to photograph. To capture and collect with only my thoughts as a guide.

I would be shocked and jolted by a subject clocking my intensions. Occasional shouts and challenges would come my way, and eventually, I developed a tougher exterior to these criticism. Really though, I was met with positivity, and at worst, indifference. I learnt to exist as a street photographer, a part of my life worth cultivating illuminated and with each photo a greater path cleared.

Attending LFW suddenly became an irrefutably logical progression. I came home and immediately edited my pictures and began posting on my Instagram feed. I tagged Ramario into the picture and he responded positively.

I suggested meeting up for a shoot the next day, and to my surprise, he agreed. Completely complementary, Ramario encouraged me to make more of my secret dream. 

Months later, as I began to recover my life, I started to reimagine what my future would look like. I readopted long ago abandoned ideas; I began writing again. The voice I use today, years before was dismissed in favour of a medical pipe dream. I wrote with abandon and enrolled onto a journalism masters. 

Since that day, I have photographed Ramario at LFW whenever we have been present together. And with a growing portfolio, the fantasy of shooting fashion photography is slowly becoming a reality. 

Ramario Chevoy is a dancer and an agency represented model at VauHaus.

Mehmet Hassan