Fashion producer Alexander Gurman is known for attending parades in and around NYC. Having received an NYC Press Pass to film public events from a behind-the-scenes perspective, Alexander has enjoyed many holidays from Halloween to Thanksgiving whilst in the midst of costumes crowds, floats, models, and delighted revelers. Yet there is a darker side to video-graphing parades that one might not initially think of: capturing what might not be meant to be seen.
A native of Ukraine now residing in Brooklyn, Alexander frequently travels the city with several models, cameramen, and myself (as both a writer and a shoe designer), showing off the latest fashions from emerging designers via the runway of the parade routes. The famous Mermaid Parade in Coney Island is one of the most unusual parades, and also one of the most popular, especially when it comes to showing off summer clothes and swimwear, namely bikinis (many of which Alexander’s wife designs). To his surprise, Alexander has found that his footage sometimes uncovers more than trending fashions.
“Twice I have been approached by law firms that wanted to purchased my footage of parades,” he stated via a recent exclusive interview. “Those law firms were serving insurance disability companies and they noticed that many people that collect money from disability often can be seen at the parades dancing and jumping and having a great time. On one side they claim money from insurance companies because they say that they cannot work and on the other side they can be seen in those videos.”
Although his videos are typically available on YouTube–where he boasts over 20,000
subscribers–the law firms typically purchase them to use in court proceedings. Aside from disability claims, some of Alexander’s videos have been used in divorce courts after he accidently filmed an unfaithful spouse partying with a lover; the affair was subsequently uncovered when the faithful spouse saw the video.
“As cameras gets better the quality of facial recognition gets better and artificial intelligence helps to find their targets,” Alexander stated. “It’s not something many people think about, but if you’re doing something untoward in this age of technology, a parade is really not the best place to be.”