New Jersey-based photographer Dan Bassini recently published his 4th issue of No Invite, a zine featuring the crème de la crème of New York's latest Fashion Week. All shot with a point-and-shoot, film, a little boldness, some luck, and definitely no invite. While all of New York is trying to get their names on guest lists, Dan doesn't waste his time on networking but simply hunts down his models himself. You don't need to be part of the industry, know all the names, carry the latest and most expensive digital camera along with your backstage pass in order to get your shot.
Growing up in or around New York City, the New York City Fashion Week is inevitably a part of your culture that you can hardly ignore. You're automatically exposed to High Fashion on a daily basis. Dan Bassini remembers following the Fashion Week on a local TV network as a child. Seeing the creativity and specific voice of each designer ingrained something in him that he didn't register until moving to Jersey City as a young adult. All of a sudden, it was real, he could go out and experience this world himself.
Two years ago, he stumbled upon a fashion party at the Milk Studios in New York City, which was filled with people dressed in these outrageous outfits looking to be seen – a heaven for a street photographer with love for fashion. He was able to dip his toe into taking portraits of strangers without the anxiety of them saying no to a photo. Dan didn't know anyone in the fashion world at the time, therefore there wasn't really an official way for him to step into this world. So he decided to take the unofficial way. He started sneaking into events, shooting on the street, using other people's RSVP's – literally whatever worked. Two seasons later, the first issue of No Invite was born.
One of my favorite moments came while I was taking a photo of Slick Woods. She had just finished walking for the Helmut Lang show and was getting mobbed by photographers outside. She and her crew hustled down the street to wait for a cab and I walked over out of the madness to ask politely if I could take her photo. She told me I can but just one, and I told her that’s all I need. I take the shot and she notices what I'm shooting and says "Oh you got that 35mm, that's how I know you ain't a bitch!" and all I could say in response was "Thank you!"
And while Dan is sneaking photos of all the big names, his main focus remains the photo itself. Quite frankly, Dan explains, he isn't the best with keeping up with who is who and sometimes his friends see his photos and say oh, you got a photo of so-and-so! and his response is Oh, did I?. However, Dan sees his ignorance as an advantage rather than a handicap. It helps him to keep things unbiased and focused on how good the photo really is. This season, for example, he shot Justin and Hailey Bieber, Gina Gershon or Caitlyn Jenner, which were a huge help in promoting on Instagram but weren't good enough to make it into the book.