This Photographer Captures the Raw, Real, Beautiful Chaos That Happens Behind-the-Scenes at MFW

London-born, but Melbourne-based photographer, Charlie Ashfield, always knew she wanted to take photos of people. So, at 15, she lied to British fashion magazines about her age in order to score internships (you needed to be 18), and ended up working among some of the best in the London editorial fashion scene.

Now, as a 28-year-old, colourful suit-wearing creative, residing in Melbourne’s inner-north, she’s living out her dream working for Long Story Short Agency at the 2022 Melbourne Fashion Week, taking photos behind-the-scenes and on the runway.

“I’m working with such a talented team,” she tells POPSUGAR Australia. “I’m working alongside photographers whose work I’ve admired for years, and now I get to work with them; which is pretty cool. It’s a bit of a pinch-me moment.”

“It’s also really cool to work non-competitively with other photographers. It’s such an incredible opportunity, to be able to network and create beautiful work together, as well as witness the fantasy and magic of fashion come to life at an event like this.”

Although Charlie loves the fashion performance and the art of fashion that produces a breathtaking end result, for her, it’s all about the human essence underneath.

“I love capturing the candid moments. You, as a consumer or lover of fashion might just see the final result; a model on the runway looking mind-blowing and inspiring and a little bit scary. It’s magical, but it can feel unattainable.

“I love those “real” moments backstage: a model laughing with a make up artist, a group of models sleeping on bean bags with their heads propped up so they don’t ruin their hair, that moment a model walks backstage and off the catwalk for the first time… those are real human moments and deserve to be seen within the sometimes-unrealistic world of fashion.”

Not only do Charlie’s photos give us an inside-look into the untouchable world of fashion, but they also make it feel more relatable. And, while a lot of the fashion industry is about transforming people into other people — the job of a model is very similar to that of an actor — Charlie’s dream is to reveal elements of realness, to break through the fashion facade.

“It’s very much about the process for me. You don’t start with a finished image; there’s so much beautiful work that goes into creating the final product,” she says.

“And while I love the theatrics of fashion, I think it’s important to show the human aspect, too. The true essence of a person, is what I find to be the most inspiring.”

Running her own freelance photography business in Melbourne, Charlie shoots a combination of fashion editorial and portraiture, working with brands, artists, musicians and agencies to help them tell their stories.

But this year, at Melbourne Fashion Week, she’s been rocking up each day — coffee in hand and colour-coded outfit to boot — to capture the moments within the moments.

Keep scrolling, to see Charlie’s behind-the-scenes live* gallery from Melbourne Fashion Week 2022.

*we will be updating this gallery with Charlie’s images as she takes them throughout the remainder of MFW.