Friday, October 13, 2017

It was "different"! Photographers / Models Meet Up - El Paso Fashion Week 2017.

When I was first starting to formulate this post in my head, I was going to use only one word to describe the photographers and models networking event for this years El Paso Fashion Week. However, that one word "different" would not have done justice to this fabulous event. No, no no.

I, like many, wondered how the venue would play to this type of event, given that Dave and Busters is A) open to the public and B) presents a number of challenges for the photographers due to the "all over the place" lighting. But I am happy to report that this event was not just "different" but it was also "fantastic" and I give it an A+ on my report card.

El Paso Top Model 2016 @allechant_ashleey posing for a photographer at the El Paso Fashion Week photographers and models networking event hosted at Dave N Busters.

Models were treated to professional hair and make up by the likes of Willie Hamilton

The only negative thing I have to say about last nights event had nothing to do with the event itself but with the quality control at the Dave n Busters bar. I ordered a beer, as I usually do, and was "miffed" as I watched the bartender take a pint glass and insert it into a sort of glass washing contraption. As he turned it right side up, I noticed that a few ounces of water were left in the bottom of the glass but he proceeded to pour the beer anyway! Being the beer snob that I am, I stopped him right then and there and pointed out his discrepancy. He explained the reason behind washing the pint glasses before pouring the beer... something about that without that step in the beer pouring process there would be more frothy head in my beer. What? As a former bartender, I know that's just plain bull shit. I poured plenty of beers without a frothy head and we never used this dumb thing. OK, whatever the reason for rinsing the glass before pouring the beer, it still doesn't excuse the fact that he just didn't bother to notice that there was a layer of water at the bottom of my glass before he poured it. Who wants their beer mixed with water? Certainly not this beer snob.

It was time to peruse the menu and make a selection for my dinner meal (I realize that this blog post is turning into something of a restaurant review but bare with me, we'll get back to El Paso Fashion Week in a moment). As I grabbed hold of the menu and turned the pages, I noticed a sticky substance on the menu that had expeditiously transferred itself to my fingers. It was as if the person who handled the menu before me, had his fingers lathered in buffalo wings sauce and hadn't bothered to wipe them before handling the menu again. Whatever the reason, the menu was sticky and gross. Who is keeping an eye on these things? Apparently, not the bartenders or management.

And lastly, after enjoying my fish and chips (they were pretty good), I asked for the check, the bartender dropped his pen in my beer as he reached across the bar to present my with the check. Rather than serve me a new, full beer, he merely poured my a beer with the same amount of beer as had the beer that he dropped the pen into. If it was me, given that this was already shaping up as a sub-par customer experience at Dave n Busters, I would have gone a head and poured me a full, new beer and make a customer happy, or at least happy with his beer.

The fish n chips was pretty tasty.

Lots of big TV's with lots of sports.

Hector and Roberto Chavez, organizer of the El Paso Fashion Week.

#LosPhotogs were in the house, as represented by none other than Ace Acosta!

Roberto Chavez makes his mandatory announcements and welcomes everyone to the event. This is the signal for everyone to start shooting!

Emily Vargas loves her hair!

Professional photographer, David Parish, wasn't sure what the lighting situation might require, so he brought everything, EVERYTHING!

David Parish can be found on IG @parishda and on Facebook.con/parishdavida

It's a good sign when some of the top professional photographers are spotted at an event such as this. It means that this is an event to be taken quite seriously. David Parish is clearly one of El Paso's most talented photographers and it was kind of fun to slyly follow him around and snap some shots of him doing his thing. But he wasn't the only "best of the best" at the meet up, a few of El Paso's top models were also on hand, including Miss El Paso Lauren Ashley @laurenashleey and her gorgeous friend Katie Scott @ktscott02 as well as El Paso Top Model 2016 @allechant_ashleey 

The appearance of elite models such as the ones I just mentioned provided a unique opportunity for a few of the amateur photographers that attended. When else might they get a chance to shoot Miss El Paso with their Canon Rebel T6i and kit lens that they got for Christmas last year?

There were, as well, a number of fresh, new modeling faces including a lovely young lady named Mia Molina and another named Ariana Romaner (pics further down the page). Neither of them have a web presence that I know of but I do have their phone numbers and plan to call on them to do some photo shoots. Both are gorgeous and seem eager to get into the modeling game.

Unlike last years meet up event, there was no waiting for space to shoot, there was an endless amount of places from which to shoot, although, there was only one theme (video games etc) it didn't really seem to bother anyone and both models and photographers were fully engaged from the word "go".

David Parish works his magic behind the lens!

As for myself, I usually swim against the tide, and just like last year, I skipped over shooting photos of the models and opted to shoot photos of other photographers shooting photos. Why do what everyone else is doing? I like to be a little different. But not just that, an event like this is an chance for the light to shine not just on the models, but also on the photographers. It's the synergy of those talents that makes sharing the beauty and fashion found in El Paso possible and I decided to make it my business to spread the words... El Paso fashions, modeling and photography  is "fantastic" and "different" and those are meant to be very sincere and flattering compliments. 

Enjoy the rest of the photos!

Armando Vela lines up a shot with the lovely @allechant_ashleey

As you can see by this photo of Ashley Alvidrez, the location provided some unique lighting opportunities. Challenging? Yes, but I think all-in-all, the photographers relished this chance.

Above, Armando Vela shooting Ashley Alvidrez, below.

Models and photographers discuss whatever it is that models and photographers discuss.
I think that's 

Roberto is always having a good time at his events! And why not?

Ace Acosta #LosPhotogs has some fun with Miss El Paso @laurenashhleyyy and @ktscott02

There's David Parish again and his "photo studio a la carte!"

Miss El Paso looks stunning in that red dress. Who you gonna call? (Get it?)

Ace Acosta #LosPhotogs lines up a shot.

Ariana Romaner posing for a photo with Roberto Chavez

Willie Hamilton is not only one of the top make up artists in El Paso but he's also one of the most stylish and even got in on some of the modeling action last night!

David Parish with his signature "crab defense" photography steady cam method. (It's actually a defense used in the sport of boxing but David has made it his own).

Can anyone please help me identify this photographer? She gave me her IG as @mecerdesbue_photo but there's no IG page by that name.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Pink Sunset Fashion Show - El Paso Fashion Week

Pink Sunset Fashion Show hosted at EPTX. Part of El Paso Fashion Week.

I love El Paso Fashion Week, and let me tell you why. The El Paso / Las Cruces area is ripe with talented, creative artists, designers and the like. El Paso Fashion Week is just one of a handful of fun events that give us a chance to enjoy and appreciate the work of some of these talented artists. It also gives the fashion conscience types as good a reason as any, to get decked out in their favorite styles, as a result, some of the best fashions of El Paso Fashion Week can be found not on the runways, but in the crowd. The "Pink Sunset" event proved this right as I spotted a number of beautiful people wearing some eye-catching fashions.

The theme and title for the fashion show was "Pink Sunset"... "The concept was called Pink Sunset to relate to the summer trends that meet the fall trends. The warm colors will be dominating this fall which also correlates to the pink and orange sunset we get in El Paso" said Tony Aleman, event organizer/producer. 

Miriam Renteria pictured along side "Pink Sunset" producer / organizer Tony Aleman

The show was supposed to start at 6:40pm, or as the organizer ambiguously put it "should kick off right around sunset which could be approximately 6:40pm". The DJ didn't show up until 6:50 pm and it took him another 15 minutes to get his gear set-up. If it's me (as a former DJ), I make it a point to arrive AT LEAST an hour early, to get my gear set-up and test out the sound system. If I was in charge of the show, I would not rehire this DJ again. "DJ Anex" should change his name to "DJ 15 Minutes Late"

As I mentioned, sometimes the best fashion show at a fashion show can be found in the audience, but not just that, El Paso Fashion Week is a who's who of El Paso. Business people, friends and family all came out to the show, so let's take a look at some of the styles and people that caught my eye...

This latina beauty definitely stood out in the crowd, turns out she was one of the models in the show!
You can see more of her on Instagram @gisselle_lebarber

It takes a confident woman to pull off a shorts jump suit. This gorgeous woman wore it with style and class! I love it.

El Paso Fashion Week organizer Roberto Chavez. Always a fixture during Fashion Week!

Miriam is a local insurance agent, however, you can't miss the fact that she has model looks and has to have done some modeling in her past. I have been in touch with her about doing some photo shoots with me in the future and I'm very much looking forward to it.

Neida, owner of Neida's Boutique in El Paso, is flanked by Roberto Chavez and Tony Aleman

Marina is a cocktail waitress at EPTX was really gorgeous. She reminds me of the character "Fiona" from the Showtime show "Shameless". That's a compliment because Fiona is a babe.

A young photographer in training.

The light always seems to shine on Roberto Chavez!

An eye catching outfit spotted in the crowd. If you got it, flaunt it, and this girl most definitely has it going on. Where else could you wear a revealing outfit like this? A fashion show is the perfect event.

The apartment building behind the venue was a little bit of an eye sore, not too bad, but the show tried to hide it as best they could with a few balloons. They needed a few more.

With the DJ running late, the crowd grew restless. 

Roberto just said something very funny, or so I assume.

One of the models smiles for my camera, anyone know her name?  She was absolutely stunning. I loved her hair and make up. 

Unknown model pictured with "Pink Sunset" choreographer Miss Romana. 

A handsome young male model about to hit the runway.

Stephanie, assistant to Tony Aleman was extremely busy throughout the night. She deserves a raise!

Here's a good look at the venue. Initially, it appears to be a good space to hold a fashion show, but there were a few issues that I am sure the organizers were also very well aware of...

Here is a view of the back stage area. In the foreground is a small pool of stagnant water which can only be described as a "cesspool". In the background you've got a couple of garbage bins.


From my chat with, Tony Aleman, the event organizer, this was the first time this event was held at this particular location and it was selected to "help out" a good "friend of ours that is a one of the co-owners of the bar". 

The character Carlito, played by Al Pacino in "Carlito's Way" is quoted "A favor gonna kill you faster than a bullet." The take away from that is that although we may want to do favors for our friends, it might not always be in our best interest and certainly there are other venues with swimming pools that might not bring with them some of the negatives that EPTX Lounge has not the least of which was the awful smell of sewage and garbage coming from the alley behind the pool, seemingly right on top of the back stage tent where the models changed and got styled. One model I spoke to described the smell as "horrid". Granted, the smell was not as strong around the pool itself, but if I were a model or parent of a model, I might have been tempted to have pulled the plug and hightailed it out of there. 

Onto the lighting. IF I were a fashion show organizer, I am not, but if I was, I would think that it would be rather important for the viewers in the audience to be able to SEE the fashions and designs. To be fair, they were going for a orange/pink hue to the lighting to simulate the orange and pinks of a late summer El Paso sunset, however, I think a couple of decent spotlights to highlight the fashions would be nice. It was extremely difficult to make out any details and true colors of the clothes due to the dimly lit runway. The main catwalk over the pool did have a white spotlight but it had some sort of grid over the front of it which made square patterns on the faces and clothing of the models. I'm not sure if this was done on purpose but I have trouble seeing how anyone thought this was a good idea.

Here we get a good look at the "grid" being cast by the main spotlight on the catwalk. Is this the look they wanted? Is this the look you would want at your fashion show? It just doesn't look very flattering nor does it add any special look or effect that trumps the negatives.

Here we see some nice designs from "Elegance" who specializes in wedding gowns and quince.

It was refreshing to see a plus-sized model in the mix. She was gorgeous!

Little miss attitude. :)

I think these designs are from "Ninus".

Note the lighting here, makes it very difficult to see the actual colors of the fabrics.

One of my favorite designers of the evening was @shopunpop which is the creation of a talented woman named Valeria. She's only been in business for a scant three weeks but she's passionate about her designs and I love what she does with her denim jackets. I'll be following up with her to possibly do a feature video about her business. 

The gorgeous Valeria. Owner of @shopunpop

There's nothing special about the above photo except that it features one of my favorite local models, Keyrah Dayana. I was happy to see her and her two gorgeous sisters, Barbie and Betzaira. Fashion shows are a great place for photographers to be reunited with some of their favorite models and make plans for future photo shoots!

I love the sweater with the flipped up color on this handsome young man.

Here is sister number two, Betzaira and here Instagram is here


Photographer Angela, was the only photographer willing to brave to cold waters  to get in the pool to perhaps get a unique perspective. Tony made the offer to me as well but I said no thanks. First of all, I don't want to take my cameras anywhere near the water and secondly, I need to work on my bikini body before I go showing it off in public. New diet starts now.

The use of a flash helped to diminish the "grid" lines but then you're dealing with recycle times on the flash and I wasn't able to fire off as many shots with the flash as I wanted to. It was difficult to keep up with the speed at which the models were crossing the catwalk. This isn't a complaint.

Barbie (above) and Betzaira (below) 

Here is another good look at the grid lines being cast from the spotlight. What do you think?

Above and below... a couple more designs from Valeria's @shopunpop

As you can see by these photos, the ladies in the audience approved of the topless male models.
Ladies night out gets crazy!

Keyrah Dayana

Above, the gorgeous @gisselle_lebarber

Barbie Avila

I love jump suits because it takes a special designer to make them work. This one is from Neida's Boutique and is simply stunning.

Here's the only decent photo I was able to snap of Davida. Sorry Davida, I'll make it up to you.

Above we see a snap shop of a children's outfit available at major retailer Dillard's. The reason I include the word "major" to describe this retailer, is that you would think, that whoever is responsible for supplying the outfits for the fashion show, would be smart enough to remove the tags because that's just cheap and tacky. Truly a big fashion show faux pas. I want a name. Haha. Who is responsible for this mistake?

The audience always loves the young models!

More samples of the bad lighting.

Barbie Avila, rocking the sunglasses! 

The staff at EPTX are scantily clad. They wear booty shorts and tank tops of small tank tops with bra showing.

About the venue selection:

EPTX Lounge is a bar and is not a family friendly place per se. It's a straight bar / night club. I'm not sure if Tony Aleman thought about this piece of the puzzle but these are my observations...

There were at least 40 very young children in the audience, either family members of, or participants in the fashion show. The show was held at a bar, is this an appropriate place for kids? As you can see by the above photo showing the butt cheeks of one of the waitresses, they show quite a bit of skin. I am no prude, I actually like the venue and appreciate the sexy waitresses as much as anyone, but I do not think it's the right venue to host a fashion show in which large numbers of very young kids are going to be hosted. And this is why I brought up the quote "A favor gonna kill you faster than a bullet", because the organizers admitted that this venue was selected to help out a friend and his new business but perhaps a venue should have been selected with the needs and demographics of the show placed of higher importance than helping a friend?

As I left the bar, there was a verbal altercation going on between a bouncer and an angry bar patron. The bouncer kept his cool, but the patron was shouting loud obscenities WHILE families and young children from the fashion show were leaving! 

Overall, the show was great, especially considering that it was produced on a very small budget, but a small budget is no excuse for a lack of attention to details, not just big details, but small ones as well.

I love El Paso, and I appreciate the efforts of everyone involved in shows like this, but let us inspire each other to do better so that we can show off our beloved El Paso to the world in the best light possible.