Simon King is a London based photographer and creative. He has worked on advertising campaigns, fashion shoots, and has covered everything from parties to protests. He started off working with a combination of Sony and Zeiss, but eventually made the change to Leica, finding the Rangefinder method and technology available in the high quality glass and sturdy camera bodies sufficient for all-purpose use. He has since put his M through its paces in situations notorious for their photographic challenges. Travel, low-light, high speed – situations where the cutting edge DSLR’s still struggle. In September, Simon took his Leica M (Typ 240) and Noctilux to London Fashion Week, SS17 as a freelancer. His work and commentary are presented here.

It is so important to me that I am a person first, and a photographer second. My street and documentary work is only possible because I carry a camera and lens at all times, and the interactions and stories that I gather are helped by this, but would have happened whether or not I had taken a photograph as well.

When I shot at fashion week, my dynamic was with the models and designers, and not with the fashion itself. This is reflected in my photographs, which are very personal to the attitudes and personalities of the models, and which display the interaction between the models and the products they are exhibiting, rather than showing the model as a lifeless mannequin or coat hanger for the equally lifeless clothing they wear.

As much hard work goes into each of the projects at fashion week, and however pretty and colorful, or deliberately bland and minimalist the designers may craft, I haven’t yet found anything more intriguing or beautiful to reproduce in a photograph than the aesthetic of the outward, haptic expressions that people use to communicate their stories.

My style of photography tends to isolate an element or elements as separate and distinct from its surroundings. This is because the world is so busy that we often miss or overlook subtleties that the person next to you may not.

The presentation rooms at Fashion Week are filled with photographers each trying to show something in a design that every photographer also wants to show, but perhaps sees slightly differently. By emphasizing the people, the details and the directions taken in presenting, as opposed to photographing scenery or a catalogue, I think that my photographs are a more innocent presentation of fashion as a part of people, and not as object of consumer desire.

So many photographers walk right up to what they see, click their shutter and then walk away without a second thought. By shooting fashion as a series of personal portraits instead of as a standardized collated monotonous collection I was able to produce not only photographs that I am happy to publish, and for agencies to publish, but also stories and connections to the people in those photographs that will stay with me forever. One of the challenges presented to me at fashion week was focusing accurately with a rangefinder and an extremely thin depth of field offered by the 0.95. The M has very much finessed the rangefinder mechanism, and I have not experienced much shift in use. Accuracy and compliance between the coupling of lens and range mechanism is important.

The spotlit models and dark backgrounds did offer some high contrast points which I was able to use to catch focus a lot of the time. Live view helped in some instances, but only when the lighting was so difficult I felt the need to switch to spot metering.

When rangefinder focusing in the dark the usual things like patterns and lines do not help as much as shooting street, landscape or studio. However, being such an unobtrusive setup I found it easy to direct the models so that they were adequately lit before using that contrast to shoot.

To know more about Simon King, please visit his website and follow him on on Instagram.