2009 February 13

Paul Rowland, Fashion's Transformer

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(NEW YORK) The fashion week parties kicked off last night with a refreshingly un-fashion event: photographer Paul Rowland’s Transformations exhibition opening in Chelsea. Sure, there were leggy models like Natasha Poly and Hanne Gaby Odiele, fabulous shoes, and the ubiquitous presence of a Patrick McMullan photographer, but guests were unfazed, sipping Peronis and taking in the art.

“It’s basically a collection of portraits that I’ve taken over about five or six years,” said Rowland of his work, which included images of models in various states—dressed and undressed, glammed up and grunged-out. “In some sense [models] are much easier to photograph, because they’re so photogenic,” he said, “but on the flip side, they’re so used to doing this all the time, that if you’re trying to get a true photograph, it’s hard.” The fashion week buzz couldn’t help but infiltrate the event; even Rowland himself admitted he’d be attending some of the festivities. “I do go to some shows that are friends of mine, like I go to Marc Jacobs, because I’ve known him a gazillion years, I go to Narciso [Rodriguez], because we’ve been friends forever,” he said. “That kind of thing. But I don’t, like, make the rounds.”

In the end, though, it was the work that got people talking. Rowland graciously greeted all his guests, but was decidedly casual about their reactions. “If you like it, that’s great, if you don’t, that’s fine, too,” he said. “But that’s the thing about art—it’s about the response.”

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