Modeling Photography

How Do You Describe Fashion Photography?

An example of a fashion image would be one taken specifically to display an item of apparel or accessory, with the goal being to either record or sell the item. Even though photography has been around since 1839, it is not "fashion photography" to take pictures of the latest trends in clothing.

The goal of a fashion photograph is to portray fashion or a trendy way of life; this is both its defining characteristic and the unifying factor in the wide variety of techniques and subject matter.

The Calvin Klein ad from the late 20th century, which merely showed Calvin's portrait, redefined the role of the fashion photograph in advertising. The value of fashion photography has been questioned and it has been labelled fleeting, commercial, and frivolous.

For some, the fact that most fashion photography is created for commercial purposes suggests that the photographs aren't made with much care or consideration for the art form. As a matter of fact, it has resulted in a number of the most innovative, interesting, and illuminating documents, which in turn have shed light on the norms, beliefs, hopes, and preferences of the time. It expresses women's sense of identity, including their hopes and aspirations, sense of self, morals, sexuality, and hobbies.

When used as a marketing tool, a fashion shot relies on the viewer's ability to suspend disbelief. A fashion photograph, no matter how staged, must convince viewers that they, too, can achieve the same results by donning the featured garments, utilising the featured product, and accessorising in the featured manner.

A image of the latest fashions may portray an idealised version of a certain culture's norms in terms of dress, behaviour, or sexuality. Even so, the success of an image ultimately depends on the viewer's acceptance of the subject.

A fashion photographer holds the key to the success of a model's portfolio. The goal of fashion photography is to showcase items of clothing and accessories in the best possible light.

The aesthetic of fashion photography has evolved over time, thanks to the attractiveness of garments, models, and accessories, which are accentuated by the use of far-flung settings, imaginative plots, and highly stylised photography.

Styles

Fashion Stylist

There are three distinct approaches to this genre: editorial, catalogue, and high fashion. Street fashion photography is a fourth trend that is gaining popularity. High fashion and editorial have a similar aesthetic, making it difficult to tell them apart from one another. In contrast, catalogue and street designs are immediately recognisable as distinct from one another.

Photography for Editorial Use

This is the standard photography approach for fashion magazines. Typically, there is a narrative arc throughout the shoot, with the models changing outfits from morning to midday to evening.

Each of these images illustrates a specific concept, and the models must play out the parts they are assigned and show genuine emotion to do the theme justice. The entire scene is shot to make a strong point.

Photography for the Runway

Many well-known fashion companies and labels use this photographic technique to promote their wares. The images usually depict supermodels and well-known actors and actresses.

A lot of times the clothing and accessories shown are styled in an unrealistic way. It's acceptable for the positions to be hammered home. The model's outfit, hairstyle, makeup, accessories, lighting, and background all come together to form a cohesive whole.

Images for a Catalogue

Businesses that rely on printed materials to promote their wares to customers employ this format. Because the model was instructed to strike a position against a predetermined backdrop, the garments in the picture stand out sharply.

This type of photography makes minimal effort when it comes to styling, and the resulting images highlight the garments' intricate intricacies. These pictures are usually taken in studios or other controlled environments.

Photographs of Street Style Fashion

The focus of this fashion is on the common man or woman on the street. It's all about capturing the spirit of what the average person wears and how they interpret and express themselves through clothing as a form of self-expression. Style photographers would take pictures of models going about their regular lives, showcasing how fashions are manifested as in real life.

An Overview of Fashion Photography’s Early Years

Styles of the 19th Century

In the middle of the nineteenth century, a few commercial photographers established a precedent for fashion photography with their portraits of affluent and stylish ladies. After beginning to work with photographer Pierre Louis Pierson in 1856, the Countess of Castiglione Virginia Oldoni, mistress of Emperor Napoleon III and even a superstar of the court, effectively became the first fashion model. They worked together for four decades, producing 800 pictures total (including one of her wearing a Queen of Hearts costume).

So, fashion photography was destined to coexist with celebrity portraiture from the start, and that trend has persisted to the present day. The first known non-celebrity fashion model, Marie Vernet, was engaged by French designer Charles Frederick Worth in 1853 to showcase his collection.

Lady Duff Gordon held a number of fashion shows for her Lucille label in the late 1890s, and she used a cast of tall, slender women as models. In addition, Jeanne Paquin was the initial designer to use models in promotional campaigns, and she and Paul Poiret were responsible for the first fashion parades to feature studio models in the United States and Europe in the early 1900s.

It was common for the lines to be blurred between fashion photography, portrait photography, and theatre photography in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Since the use of paid models was at first so scandalous, it was all the rage for high-profile members of society like Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney to try their hand at it at the turn of the century. The end result was fashion photography that looked eerily like social portraiture.

People often assume that Americans came first in this subject, probably because Edward Steichen asserted that he was the pioneer of fashion photography. This has masked the work of early 20th-century Parisian fashion photographers such Talbot, Maison Reutlinger, Henri Manuel, Felix, and Boissonnas et Taponnier, who began their careers in 1881.

Edward Steichen

The images taken by Edward Steichen during his 1911 fashion shoot were included in high-end fashion magazines and shown alongside the works of designers like Paul Iribe & Georges Lepper. Paris, the epicentre of fashion in the early twentieth century, was also a place where designers were beginning to see the artistic possibilities of fashion photography. In 1910, after starting out as postcard photographers, Louis, Jules, and Henry Seeberger began releasing their images of affluent and stylish women to the public via prestigious French periodicals.

About the same time, Lucien Vogel, who had just started two new fashion magazines, La Gazette du Bon Ton and Les Jardin des Mode, tasked the fine art photographer Edward Steichen with bringing his originality to fashion photography. Steichen stepped up to the challenge and shot thirteen photographs of Paul Poiret's couture designs for Art et Decoration in 1911.

The intervention of Steichen has come to be recognised as the first modern photography shot. As opposed to just depicting the object, the photographs of the clothing were taken in such a way that they also conveyed a feeling of their physical trait and formal appearance.

When Fashion Magazines Really Took Off

Composition Tips

Fashion periodicals have been around for much longer than the twentieth century. Jean Donneau de Visé, who established Le Mercure Galante in 1672, may have launched what might become the first periodic publication devoted to fashion illustration. From 1770 to 1818, the British periodical The Lady's Magazine featured fashion pictures.

The French periodicals Le Costume Francais and Journal des Dames et des Mondes of the 19th century also featured fashion pictures, albeit with the aid of hand-colored engravings. The pioneering American fashion magazine, Harper's Bazaar, debuted in 1867, and Vogue wasn't founded until 1892.

Their inception coincided with developments in printing technology that enabled it to replicate photographs, and by 1890, it was possible for text and images to coexist on the same page. This shift not only increased the readership of fashion magazines but also completely revamped the structure of the most influential women's publications. Yet, by the early twentieth century, Vogue had emerged as the dominant fashion journal, with Harper's Bazaar placed as its leading opponent, thanks to the advent of proper modern photography.

Fashion Magazines Like Condé Nast and Vogue

The growth of the current fashion magazine can be attributed largely to the vision of its leaders. After acquiring Vogue and Vanity Fair in 1905, Condé Nast refocused the publications' attention on womenswear and photography. Inspiring changes he made to the industry included the two-page spreads and, subsequently, colour photography. Nast also hired the very first Vogue head photographer, the famous photographer Baron Adolph de Meyer.

De Meyer established the magazine's visual style by depicting attractive women in settings that placed an emphasis on mood and ambience. When Vogue and Vanity Fair hired Steichen in 1923 to be their official photographer, he established the visual tone for the next 15 years. By using the precision of Straight Photography, he immortalised the ideal of a modern woman's style.

Carmel Snow and Harper's Bazaar

Throughout the 1930s, Harper's Bazaar established itself as a major style authority. Fashion director Carmel Snow left Vogue for Harper's around 1932. Snow, a huge personality who supposedly ate and slept very little and got by on a regular three-martini lunch, took on the challenge of reimagining the magazine.

She commissioned Hungarian photographer Martin Munkacsi to capture the Palm Beach issue's bikini spread in 1933. Once Munkacsi captured a jogging Lucile Brokaw on Long Island's Piping Rock beach, the magazine's focus shifted to action shots of women and the world.

Upon becoming the magazine's editor-in-chief in 1934, Snow quickly assembled a talented staff that propelled it to international prominence. Diana Vreeland, who was already well-known as a model and socialite, was promoted to the position of fashion director, while Alexey Brodovitch was named the magazine's art director. Brodovitch, a Russian immigrant who worked as a theatrical designer and graphic designer for Sergei Diaghilev's Ballet Russes, was known for his dynamic, avant-garde creations that mirrored the aesthetic of the time.

Louise Dahl-Wolfe took over as chief photographer, and her vibrant colour covers featuring active models in natural surroundings captured the spirit of the modern woman. Both Dahl-Wolfe and her sharp-eyed, Russian-born art director yearned for the day when fashion photography would no longer be dominated by staid black-and-white social pictures. They prefered representations that reflected their ideal of a modern, independent woman, one who was active in the world and could be seen working, travelling, dancing, and drinking champagne.

Until Louise Dahl-Wolfe resigned in 1958 and Vreeland went to Vogue in 1962, where she remained editor-in-chief until 1971, the partnership would revolutionise fashion photography over the following two decades.

The Growth After the War

After adopting a "make do and mend" mentality after World War II, French designers actively sought to restore the fashion sector by reintroducing feminine and glamorous styles. In 1947, Christian Dior presented a new summertime collection funded by Marcel Broussac, a garment and textile maker, with the intention of reintroducing beauty, feminine apparel, soft rounded curves, and big flowing skirts.

Harper's editor-in-chief Carmel Snow used the phrase "the New Look" to describe the radical makeover of the magazine's female readers; the ten years that followed culminated in the musical comedy Funny Face (1957). Audrey Hepburn played a sophisticated, intellectual woman who visits the jazz clubs of Montmartre in search of philosophical dialogue with Existentialism's progenitor, Jean-Paul Sartre, in this film adaptation.

Instead of meeting Sartre, she falls in love with Fred Astaire's fashion photographer character. In the shade of Paris's most recognisable sites, he pictures Hepburn in a sequence of fashion photos that gradually restore her femininity.

The actor Richard Avedon served as inspiration for the role of Astaire. He was a consultant on the film, took photos for the film, and shot Hepburn for the movie's iconic poster. On the other hand, Kay Thompson's fashion editor was based on Diana Vreeland. The New Look of the film was heavily influenced by Givenchy's designs as well.

Dior (and not Givenchy) emerged as the dominant fashion house, and their efforts helped restore Paris to its former status as the fashion capital of the world. Dior's signature style inspired many subsequent designers, including as Miuccia Prada, Vivienne Westwood, Thom Browne, and Alexander McQueen. However, at the moment, the corseted style and the New Look's emphasis on male ideals of femininity were condemned by some women.

Leading female fashion photographers, such as Lillian Bassman, emerged in the decades following World War II. Art director for Harper's and influential figure in the careers of photographers Richard Avedon, Robert Frank, and Paul Himmel, Bassman began his career as Alexey Brodovitch's assistant.

In 1947, she shifted her focus to fashion photography, where she would experiment in the darkroom with bleach and heat up techniques, in addition to printing through unconventional materials to create images that would become known for their evocative mood, impressionistic tone, and nuanced portrayal of intimate gestures.

Bassman's unique perspective frequently ran counter to the monetary motivations of the fashion industry. By the 1970s, Bassman had transitioned out of the fashion industry and into the realm of fine art photography; however, her work has been preserved through numerous monographs and retrospectives, the most recent of which was held in Hamburg, Germany in 2009.

Photography in the World of Fashion After WW2

Because fashion was seen as a frivolous and unnecessary form of luxury, fashion magazines emphasised women's role in the war, rationalised fashion as morale building, published war reports instead of culture columns, and featured the tailored, simple, and of necessity barefoot.

Studio photography, which required elaborate sets, props, and lighting, nearly died out. Many photographers, including Lee Miller in Paris and Cecil Beaton in London, adopted a more documentary style. It is safe to say that Louise Dahl-1940s Wolfe's American fashion photography was among the most influential of the era.

The end of World War II saw New York City emerge as the new centre of fashion photography, surpassing Paris in importance. After World War II, the United States saw its first major export success in the fields of fashion design and ready-to-wear. Thus, the stage was set for the debut of Richard Avedon and Irving Penn, two young American superstars who would rule fashion photography for decades.

Richard Avedon's 1950s fashion style, with its pleasant ease, was ideal for a war-weary nation. Avedon used this decade to present his models as smart and alluring free spirits rather than stiff, unnatural mannequins.

Like actresses, they each gave life to an image and a sartorial statement that conveyed their innermost feelings. Avedon's characteristic technique of shooting models running and jumping against a simple white background, illuminated by the harsh, raking light of the strobe, was developed in the 1960s, when he had moved away from shooting in outdoor settings and using lovely natural light.

Irving Penn is the other major fashion pioneer whose career began in the 1940s. For formal complexity, built beauty, silhouette elegance, and the abstract interplay of line and volume, Penn's work is unparalleled. In contrast to Avedon's images, which capture a fleeting, in-the-moment moment, Penn sought to emphasise such values as monumentality, formal clarity, and calm honesty in his own work. His work with his wife, the model Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn, is arguably his most impressive.

Each of Avedon and Penn's careers spans five decades, demonstrating amazing diversity and continuity. Avedon's risk-taking and inventiveness are unparalleled in fashion photography, as are his creative inspiration and its kaleidoscope of techniques and ideas. Dorian Leigh, Dovima, and Suzy Parker to Verushka, Twiggy, Jean Shrimpton, Brooke Shields, and Nastassja Kinski—he always chooses the model that best encapsulates the "style" of the time.

A Look at 1960S Fashion Photography

In the 1960s, fashion photography gave way to subjects with a greater focus on society and the exotic. This was due, in no small part, to the fact that designers started displaying influences as varied as the women's rights movement, the space race, and pop art. There was a rejection of traditional norms in both social mores and clothing: outlandish, unwearable garments were created, models portrayed a new variety of appearance and race, and fashion was refocused on a defiant market controlled by the younger generations.

The 1960s were also a golden moment for some fashion photographers like Bert Stern and David Bailey, who were able to charge exorbitant rates and work in opulent studios. On the other end of the spectrum, Penn and Avedon's legacy has kept bringing young, serious photographers from all over the world to New York.

Hiro, aka Yasuhiro Wakabayashi, established a colossal, clear, and memorable style, whereas Bob Richardson's art toyed with social problems like lesbianism. William Klein, Art Kane, and Diane Arbus were a few of the other photographers active in the 1960s fashion industry. Her photographs of youngsters modelling clothing for The New York Times Magazine were shocking and out of character.

Conclusion

The purpose of fashion photography is to display garments and accessories in the most attractive manner possible. A picture is successful if the target audience likes what they see. No matter how carefully styled, a fashion photo must make the spectator believe that she or he can duplicate the look. Another prevalent trend is street fashion photography. The editorial, catalogue, and high fashion approaches are the three main types of works in this category.

It might be confusing to distinguish between high fashion and editorial due to their shared visual appeal. In contrast, there is no mistaking the difference between a design from a catalogue and one seen on the street. In 1853, French fashion designer Charles Frederick Worth hired Marie Vernet, who was not a famous person at the time. Since employing hired models was first so controversial, even prominent figures like Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney wanted to give it a try. The history of fashion magazines predates the twentieth century.

It's possible that Jean Donneau de Visé started the first fashion illustration magazine. Harper's Bazaar, the first American fashion journal, first appeared in 1867, whereas Vogue didn't appear until 1892. Back in 1923, John Steichen became the official photographer for both Vogue and Vanity Fair. Making use of the accuracy of Straight Photography, he captured the prototypical modern woman's sense of style for all time. The swimsuit spread from the Palm Beach issue in 1933 was photographed by Martin Munkacsi.

Content Summary

  • The value of fashion photography has been questioned and it has been labelled fleeting, commercial, and frivolous.
  • A fashion photographer holds the key to the success of a model's portfolio.
  • The goal of fashion photography is to showcase items of clothing and accessories in the best possible light.
  • There are three distinct approaches to this genre: editorial, catalogue, and high fashion.
  • Street fashion photography is a fourth trend that is gaining popularity.
  • This is the standard photography approach for fashion magazines.
  • The focus of this fashion is on the common man or woman on the street.
  • In the middle of the nineteenth century, a few commercial photographers established a precedent for fashion photography with their portraits of affluent and stylish ladies.
  • After beginning to work with photographer Pierre Louis Pierson in 1856, the Countess of Castiglione Virginia Oldoni, mistress of Emperor Napoleon III and even a superstar of the court, effectively became the first fashion model.
  • It was common for the lines to be blurred between fashion photography, portrait photography, and theatre photography in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
  • This has masked the work of early 20th-century Parisian fashion photographers such Talbot, Maison Reutlinger, Henri Manuel, Felix, and Boissonnas et Taponnier, who began their careers in 1881.Edward SteichenThe images taken by Edward Steichen during his 1911 fashion shoot were included in high-end fashion magazines and shown alongside the works of designers like Paul Iribe & Georges Lepper.
  • Paris, the epicentre of fashion in the early twentieth century, was also a place where designers were beginning to see the artistic possibilities of fashion photography.
  • Steichen stepped up to the challenge and shot thirteen photographs of Paul Poiret's couture designs for Art et Decoration in 1911.The intervention of Steichen has come to be recognised as the first modern photography shot.
  • Throughout the 1930s, Harper's Bazaar established itself as a major style authority.
  • Fashion director Carmel Snow left Vogue for Harper's around 1932.
  • Until Louise Dahl-Wolfe resigned in 1958 and Vreeland went to Vogue in 1962, where she remained editor-in-chief until 1971, the partnership would revolutionise fashion photography over the following two decades.
  • After adopting a "make do and mend" mentality after World War II, French designers actively sought to restore the fashion sector by reintroducing feminine and glamorous styles.
  • Harper's editor-in-chief Carmel Snow used the phrase "the New Look" to describe the radical makeover of the magazine's female readers; the ten years that followed culminated in the musical comedy Funny Face (1957).
  • Dior (and not Givenchy) emerged as the dominant fashion house, and their efforts helped restore Paris to its former status as the fashion capital of the world.
  • Leading female fashion photographers, such as Lillian Bassman, emerged in the decades following World War II.
  • The end of World War II saw New York City emerge as the new centre of fashion photography, surpassing Paris in importance.
  • Thus, the stage was set for the debut of Richard Avedon and Irving Penn, two young American superstars who would rule fashion photography for decades.
  • Richard Avedon's 1950s fashion style, with its pleasant ease, was ideal for a war-weary nation.
  • Irving Penn is the other major fashion pioneer whose career began in the 1940s.
  • Each of Avedon and Penn's careers spans five decades, demonstrating amazing diversity and continuity.
  • Avedon's risk-taking and inventiveness are unparalleled in fashion photography, as are his creative inspiration and its kaleidoscope of techniques and ideas.
  • In the 1960s, fashion photography gave way to subjects with a greater focus on society and the exotic.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, Penn and Avedon's legacy has kept bringing young, serious photographers from all over the world to New York.
  • William Klein, Art Kane, and Diane Arbus were a few of the other photographers active in the 1960s fashion industry.

FAQs About Fashion Photography

To summarise the various subgenres of fashion photography:

  1. Commercial Photography for a Catalog.
  2. To put it mildly, it's a high fashion level.
  3. Style for the streets.
  4. Clothing as seen in editorials.

A fashion photographer is someone who uses their knowledge of photography and camera equipment to take photographs of models posing in a specific brand of clothing or accessorising in a specific way. The model is given instructions in order to get the desired results for their clientele.

Seasonally Appropriate Planning

The fashion industry follows the seasons in most of the world. It's always different depending on the weather. It's important for designers to keep ahead of the curve, so they schedule their photoshoots for the upcoming season well in advance of when the clothes will actually be sold, in this case, winter. Timeliness is an issue for photographers because it affects where they can take pictures. This is another another scenario when having a preview of the styles available would come in handy.

Also called "urban" or "candid" photography, "street" photography combines elements of fashion and documentary photography. There is a strong focus on everyday fashions, as worn by actual people in the real world. Photographers that do "street fashion" do it in public settings, capturing individuals as they interact with one another and the public environment.

Although Baron Adolphe De Meyer is generally acknowledged as the first fashion photographer, Edward Steichen is widely recognised as a groundbreaking figure in the development of contemporary fashion photography and a major figure in the development of photography in the 20th century.

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