21st – Well, that was interesting. Pigpen for the press behind ten judges, we’re on comfy chairs stacked in a three tier ensemble adorned with lace and ribbon. I like the attention to detail. I’m behind heads, too far back and with a fixed 35mm lens. I’m fucked. And I know it. We’re told we cannot use flash whilst the girls perform. I’m definitely fucked now. The place is packed and people are screaming and shouting and wolf whistling, it’s all so very loud. I hate loud noises and crowds and think of the best exit I can find without my departure seeming odd. Not really interested in what’s happening on stage – I didn’t go all that way to shoot 1000+ of the same shit the rest of the photographers are shooting, it’s just not what I like. Beg PR Manager to let me go backstage. He wonders off to see what he can do. In that interim, I sweat. My shirt is drenched and I tense up unable to shoot a thing; beads of salty fear trickle down my face and I cannot make it stop. Eventually I get the nod and head backstage. An instant wave of relief hits and I bolt. Back there I linger for a while, scout the rooms then head for the door. I have enough. I leave three hours earlier than planned. Back at the hotel I search through fuzzy channels on a shit tv and land on some old 80s drama with a woman floating around through a milky haze in a silk dress and I wonder if there will be any sex; the hotel has no porn – that’s bullshit – oh, it’s Columbo, that’ll do.
You can see the rest of the shots taken on the day, here.
In all honesty, the whole thing was a little bit tacky – and that’s what I was hoping it would be. The second time that I went backstage, I lingered a little longer and spoke to some of the girls. They were the friendliest group of people and really down to earth.
The hotel was as similarly tacky, too. And I chose it for that very reason. I knew I wasn’t going to get the Stephen Shore experience of a bed or motel, but tacky old English Victorian hotel was exactly what I was looking for. I’ve been to a number of events where I’ve gotten backstage – I’ve missed a few because of calendar clashes. I may do another little series on it all one day – call it, ‘Take Me From Behind’.