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Lecture 11: Fashion A Photography

One form of fashion photography, is commercial or products photography of fashion garments, which acts purely as a tool to aid commerce and sale of garments. The ghost mannequin is often used in this type of photography, this is where the garment appears ‘wore’ yet the whole garment can be seen in the image, this type of photography is also known as fashion still life.

The first permanent photographs were taken and developed by Nicephore Niepce and were produced on a pewter plate

The developments and technological advancements of the process of photography took place separately in both France and Great Britain.

In 1838/1839 a process was developed were a copper plate was used for production of the image and this allowed for long exposures of images

William Henry Fox Talbot was the man who invented the fixing process of photography, this process was known as Calotype and used a silver nitrate, similar to the chemical used in the production of black and white negatives today, this process was developed in the UK

Throughout the history of photography it has also been the celebrity figures of the era who have been photographed.

Virginia Oldoini was known as one of the first fashion photography models as she was often photographed in theatre wear, which was used to convey her personality. 700 photographs of her were taken at her request, within these photographs she directs the content of each one, and use each of the photographs to convey an event and moment of her life - it was a vanity project.

She was also known for pushing social boundaries for what was acceptable to be seen by the public at this time, often she would be photographed with her legs and feet in full view, in the 19th century and women's legs and feet were never on show. This was a ground breaking sexual exploration for the time.

Photography gave birth to the fashion magazine along side the improvement made in halftone printing, photographs could be printing within magazines for the first time, before the printed photograph these magazines consisted on illustrations of garments and models.

Paul Poirets led a change in fashion he was the first designers of garments to free the female form and remove the corset, the body became able to freely move within a garment. (1911) Poirets became famous for his freedom from corsetry, signature shapes such as hobble skirt and harem pants. He was influenced by antique dress and drapery and his clothing was cut along straight flowing lines.

In the 1930’s the first photographs of the modernist era were taken, the reflect the values and principles of the modernist era, they use photographs for there photographic format and quality, they display materials and fabrics truthfully within the image. The truth seen within the image was seen as a celebration of the technical construction of garment itself.

La Mode Pratique was one of the first magazines to use photography and more away from illustrated imagery. Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar shortly followed this movement towards photography in the 1930’s, they soon became the leader of this period.

Heune was known for reflecting the materials qualities within his work, he often photographed his work in relief using a black ground, and the garment and figure be in lit in white.

Cecil Beaton - produced work for both british vogue and vanity fair, she was a part of a group of hedonistic young people known as the ‘bright young things’. Throughout her career she also become as royal photographer and photograph’s queen Elizabeth II in 1968.

Viven Leigh was one of the first to taken the process of capturing an image out of the studio and into an environment or location based photograph.

Lee Miller was one of the first female fashion photographers, she was both a model and photographer, she was first spotted on the street by vogue and then brought into the studio where she worked as a model and was later taught how to photograph by herself. She became active in the surrealist movement. She goes to paris with Man Ray in 1929. In her later career she became a war correspondent.

Louise Dahl Wolfe was a staff fashion photographer as Harper’s Bazaar from 1936 to 1958, then from 1958 to 1960 she was freelance until her retirement, she was best known for her environmental photography, which is where she used the environment to become part of her work, famously seen in ‘Night Bathing’ 1939. Where she juxtaposes the model with a statue and mirrors the pose to draw differences between the two. Her photographs used technical use of focus to focus on the model in distance than on the statue in the foreground. The bodies are contrasted within the image and the eye is drawn to the highlights of the image.

Fashion photography is produced in black and white up until the 1940’s and 50’s when colour photography is invented and commercialized.

Within fashion photography a narrative is often built up around the clothing and uses the other elements within the image to tell a story.

In the 1960’s music, fashion and photography all come together as one, as musicians and celebrities and photographs in the latest fashion trends.

Daniel Bailey reflects scenes of popular culture within his images, He also photographs his subjects against the traditional fashion pose, he often captures a state of movement within his work, where the subject is caught off guard, famously seen his in image of Tina Turner, 1971. ‘From the american west’ was a experiment and exploration by Bailey into art and photography, where by a drifter becomes a model through the medium of photography.

Helmut Newton was best known for his work for Vogue and Harpers bazaar and the way in which he used the nude female form. He photographs the female form and capture both sides of her body at once using a mirror, showing the relationship between the model and the photograph.

Jamel Shabazz in his book ‘Back in the days’ where he photographs people on the street, photographs taken years before they were first published in 2002, due to the popularity of street fashion photography.

During the 1990’s ID and Face magazine were the leaders in the fashion photography magazine space. These magazines not only featured the fashion but also the culture of their target audience.

Corrine Day, British photographer, worked for both Face and Vogue, she was responsible for the kate moss cover of vogue, this also started the waif trend/look. Her photographs also introduce this use of a grunge environment for photographs. She photographed the young kate moss, and explored the grunge, drug culture of the time, she focuses on a raw approach to the model. She also created ‘Tara’ a documentary project which exhibited her close friend Tara’s decent into drugs culture.

With the introduction of Photoshop as a major asset to the production of images, it allowed images to changed and alter post the photographing process. Which meant flaws and imperfections were removed from images.

US Photographer Terry Richardson, worked for a great many fashion publications explored the relationship between fashion, porn and photography.

More recently Fashion blogging has become a big part of fashion culture, this has democratized fashion photography and opened up the process to the masses. Anyone can now write/photograph their opinion or creativity towards fashion.

Street style has also taken off, starting with Street style Copenhagen and spread to most parts of the world with there own variants on this style of street fashion blogging which creates a community around street style.

More personal project has also bee created such as Poppy Disney who photographs what she wears each day and also WIWT (What I wore today) a community of people sharing there unique fashion style with the world on the internet.

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