Revel x Ello Premier: No Invite Vol. 2 by Dan Bassini + Artist Q&A
“No Invite Vol.2" was shot during New York Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2018 and is presented in 60 full color pages.
@danbassini is pleased to announce the release of his second book, “No Invite Vol.2,” presented in 60 full color pages. Shot during New York Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2018, this is the second book in a series focused on capturing the spirit of Fashion Week by whatever means necessary. Bassini shot “No Invite” entirely on film with a 35MM point-and-shoot camera to take advantage its portability and discretion. This also allowed him to take a natural approach to his work, one that didn’t involve being lumped into the crowd of photojournalists.
This is an exclusive interview and was featured in the Revel iOS app for men's fashion (See Revel: https://appsto.re/us/fcUP7.i)
HOW DID YOU GET INTO PHOTOGRAPHY? PAINT THE PICTURE FOR ME.
My dad was an amateur photographer when he was in college so I grew up with him having his Canon AE-1 around while on vacations and trips. Watching him while I was young of course made me want to imitate him, so I started taking dumb photos on disposable and 110 film cameras of friends and other things I saw around. Photography was something thats always been in my life in one way or another.
WHERE DID THE JOURNEY INTO PHOTOGRAPHY START FOR YOU?
I started thinking about photography a little more seriously around senior year of high school. Music has always been a large part of my life, and at this point I’ve spent over half my life going to punk and hardcore shows. When I bought my first DSLR, it was only natural for me to bring it along with me. It was a place I was able to really develop some key skills like adapting to low light situations, lighting, and anticipating the moment.
WHEN DID YOU DECIDE TO TAKE THE LEAP INTO PHOTOGRAPHY? HOW DID THAT FEEL?
I was attending college for radio broadcasting, and I really was feeling like I was in a rut. The more I was learning about the radio industry, the more it was sinking in that it wasn’t the right career path for me. My music photography was really progressing and I was loving what I was doing. I finally asked myself “why can’t photography be my career?” I started looking into photography schools with accelerated programs and found out about Hallmark Institute of Photography in Western Massachusetts. It was a small commercial photography school with my graduating class being just 150 students. The feeling of being surrounded by photography 24/7 really helped me hone the things I love and don’t care for in the photography realm. It’s also where I started shooting film as a way to take a break from shooting class assignments.
WHERE HAS YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY TAKEN YOU?
Photography can arguably be the reason I’ve been anywhere in the last 10 years. While I was a music photographer, I was fortunate enough to see the country while on tour with a number of bands. Its the reason I moved to Massachusetts for school. Its the reason I moved to Jersey City. A lot of the work I’ve been pursuing hinges directly on me putting myself within interesting situations and meeting interesting people. My photos have evolved the past few years into more of a vérité or snapshot style, focusing on capturing rather than creating a moment.
SHOOTING IN PLACES LIKE NYC, IS IT HARD TO CAPTURE THE MOMENTS YOU'RE LOOKING FOR IN PUBLIC PLACES?
I honestly don’t think I could be doing the work I’ve been doing outside of the NYC area. In NYC, there is always something interesting going on. There is always a party. There are always interesting people in the streets. I’ve always had a magnetic pull to the city. Everyone is so desensitized to cameras and so busy going from place to place, most people don’t even flinch. The hard part is when I want a certain photo and have to ask a stranger if I can take it. That's a skill that took some courage to learn, and even still, requires some finesse. It's so easy to miss perfect setups and moments that happen in the city, you've got to stay vigilant to find those moments.
YOU'RE CURRENTLY RELEASING YOUR "NO INVITE VOL. 2" BOOK TODAY & IT LOOKS AWESOME. TELL US ABOUT THE GENESIS OF THIS PROJECT.
From a young age, I’d always been interested in fashion. When I moved to Jersey City two years ago, I finally saw my chance to see what New York Fashion Week was all about. A week after I moved, it was Fall/Winter 2016 fashion week, and I aimlessly walked around downtown NYC in the cold just expecting to stumble upon fashion chaos. Obviously, I didn’t find much and I went home defeated. I almost forgot about NYFW until that following September, I came across a fashion week party at Milk Gallery after I was leaving the Whitney Museum. Everyone had a great look and it was an excellent chance to get comfortable asking strangers if I could take their photo. I loved the results but felt like it wasn’t a complete series. I was a bit more prepared when February came back around, but I didn’t have any connections to the fashion industry. I didn’t know anyone to contact, I didn’t even really know where to start. I just did my research on where things were happening and tried to be there. I did the only thing I knew how when I have no other option. I found whatever was free and snuck into the rest. Those photos became the first No Invite.
GOING INCOGNITO TO CAPTURE VARIOUS MOMENTS, MOODS, INTERACTIONS IN "NO INVITE VOL. 2", WHAT HAS BEEN UNIQUE ABOUT THIS EXPERIENCE? ANY EXAMPLES THAT COME TO MIND?
Honestly, this part of the project is what keeps it exciting for me. I probably could have done some homework and reached out to publicists and gotten into some more runway shows with proper credentials. Where is the fun in that? Instead I tried to get in to as much as I could while avoiding going through the proper channels. I snuck into SoHo House for a listening party, used someone else’s RSVP to get into the Calvin Luo show, ran into a friend I haven’t seen in years who gave me their worker’s pass to get into Skylight. I’m not interested in an actual trespassing, I’m not climbing any fire escapes and crawling through bathroom windows. I’m not arguing with any bouncers. I’m not interested in invading anyones privacy or being a paparazzi. A camera and a confident look can get you in a lot of places, that's what I’m interested in exploring. Once I’m inside, I try to blend in. I make conversation, I don’t get wasted or make a scene. I try to stay low key and just enjoy the moment, while staying under the radar.
THE PHOTOGRAPHY AND EXPERIENCE OF NO INVITE LOOKS AMAZING. DID YOU START THIS PROJECT WITH ANY SPECIFIC GOAL IN MIND?
When I knew I wanted to make Vol. 2, I set out with a much more laser focus on where I wanted the project to go. Taking what I learned from my failings and successes regarding making the first book, I was more mindful on where to go and when to be there. I made friends with the other photographers who let me know of some shows happening off-site which led me to get some of my favorite photos in the new book. Vol. 2 is a natural progression of the series and feels a lot more cohesive. Vol. 1 is 40 pages collected across a full year’s fashion cycle. Vol. 2 is 60 pages collected from just this past season alone.
We want to extend a special thank you to @danbassini for his time. For more information on Dan Bassini, see his Ello artist page at: https://ello.co/danbassini
The Revel x Ello Artist Series is a joint collaboration between both camps to explore the union of fashion x art.