At such events, I am working with a dual purpose. Purpose one – to please the client. Requirements can include images of celebrities in every combination, full length fashion ‘looks’ and a thorough look at this year’s crop of jeunesse dorée. One is to project glamour, excitement and beauty. But a party is never so simple. To the right and left of the star’s wondrously toothy smile, the projection of seamless glamor starts to fall apart.
My second purpose is to look at the gestalt of the party, and to avidly capture any detail that catches my eye as odd, interesting, humorous, beautiful or tragic. I have always instinctually photographed the object of my desire with an unapologetically zoomed in crop. Perhaps this highlights a slightly surreal or isolated quality which I do feel when I am in these situations. I often automatically crop out eyes. They tell too much. I am not interested in the identity of individuals or in celebrities or in lampooning anyone. I see the guests as framed within a larger cultural phenomenon, in which I am also complicit as its documentarian. The on-camera flash declares my presence. I am part of the problem.
– Jessica Craig-Martin