Are You On The List?

by Staff SOURCE Nowness
Photo Credit: Barbara Anastacio

Photographer Barbara Anastacio toasts the bouncers of Fashion Week through her sharp journalistic backstage photos.

Come storms in Europe or blizzards in the US, solitary security guards form a barrier against stealthy attendees and devotees in Paris, London, New York and Milan. Barbara Anastacio sees their stillness as a performative act, and documented the black-clad figures in between assignments for T Magazine at shows including Céline, Saint Laurent Paris and Diane von Furstenberg’s 40th anniversary. “Although acting as monuments to discipline and order, the bouncers also hold the promise of imminent mayhem,” says the Lisbon-born photographer and filmmaker, who has captured dozens of fresh faces for Vogue’s Model Wall film series. “They are models on their own catwalk. Plus they always have the best fitted suits.”

Why bouncers?
Barbara Anastacio: I once asked a war reporter friend to cover me for a show and he said he had a hard time. As a photographer, if you’re shooting backstage, 90% of your work is about negotiating space rather than actually taking a picture. It's like rush hour in the subway except that everyone is going to the same place. So bouncers play a huge role in this "war zone" of photographers, models, make up and hair people, stylists negotiating space in a very short amount of time. I became interested in documenting their usually unacknowledged presence in this "territorial choreography.”

What were they like, city to city?
BA: If I were to generalize completely, I would say Paris has the most handsome; New York the biggest; Milan the toughest—and London the most polite.

How willing are they to be photographed?
BA: As a backstage photographer, the idea is to be as invisible to them as possible. If they see you it usually means you’re in the way. Don’t mess with the bouncers.