Niall McInerney has been one of the foremost catwalk photographers since the 1980s. Born in 1941, Niall was one of a family of five. Leaving Limerick when he was sixteen, he set his sights on the bright lights of London.
When Niall first arrived in London he began working a variety of different jobs including one as a stage manager for a strip club joint in Soho. It was when he was here that Niall befriended Lewis Morley who had a studio nearby and introduced him to “real photography”. Niall fell into the business of fashion photography almost by accident but he stayed there for over twenty years with his influences coming from some of the photography greats.
“Moment of Truth” photographers such as Cartier Bresson, who made it looks so easy, thinking I could do that!”
Early on, Niall could regularly be found along the sides of the major runways leaning in and out as the models passed. Later a makeshift platform helped him evade any other photographers that may have gotten in his way. With a tenacious attitude, the Irish man was renowned for his ability to get into shows whether or not he’d been invited and he proudly states that there’s not a single show that he didn’t get into.
Throughout his career Niall has captured iconic shots such as Naomi Campbell’s stumble from her gigantic Vivienne Westwood platforms, Yves Saint Laurent’s haute couture and John Galliano’s degree show at Central Saint Martins to name a few. His behind the scenes work, however, provides some of his most captivating images.
One of the first fashion photographers to cotton on to the possibilities of backstage photography, Niall would stay after the shows and while the other photographers were packing their bags he’d head back to capture the models off the runway.
“It was more interesting than the conveyor belt of endless dresses, but that’s what the clients wanted, the dresses that is.”
Using his Irish charm he would put the models at ease and reveal the true backstage experience as it once was.
Niall had his camera poised and ready for two decades, capturing fashion as it enfolded before him. Throughout these years Niall’s photographs have snapped some of the most well known images in the fashion world and provided us with an invaluable record of behind the scenes in fashion.
Bloomsbury has recently released Fashion’s Front Line, with text by Nilgin Yusuf, the book chronicles the highlights of Niall’s eclectic career.