This week, Cherrycordia is interested in the evolution of fashion photography, its chronology and its actors!
Fashion and photography are two arts who share a common point: they are based on the image and the Visual. No surprise then that they are so closely linked for two centuries.
Yet, just like its cousin the painting, photography first served to promote people before starting to promote clothes. Like the portraits on canvas, it first of all highlight the protagonist. The outfit, accessories and décor were only there to strengthen its image and convey his power or his wealth even stimulate the illusion up – a bit like Photoshop now wants us to believe that the time has no hold on Hollywood stars. Fashion photography was a long journey to present a panorama of styles as rich as today ‘hui. Let’s take a look at his key over time players!
See also: Marie-Antoinette, revelation (and revolution) Couture
The nineteenth century and the first style enthusiasts
One of the first to score his interest in fashion in photography is Virginia of Castiglione, alias the Countess of Castiglione and incidentally the mistress of Napoleon III. This noble Piedmont is valued for her beauty as a teenager, and nicknamed ” La Perla of Italia”. Is following his arrival at the Court of France at the age of 18 and her scandalous relationship with Napoleon shows private European doors open to her. This is a fabulous opportunity to meet the greats of the time, despite a controversial reputation, rumor lending him a capricious and quite snobbish character. She’s a diva of ancient times in short!
Passionate about fashion and accessories, she likes playing its trimmings and reinvent themselves continually. It is naturally in 1856 she began to work with Pierre-Louis Pierson, photographer of the emperor who held a workshop with the Mayer brothers. She will remain his model and muse forty years, that he will present his portrait in “Lady of hearts” to the 1867 world fair in Paris.
Virginia love staging, play with the light and the illusions, create a dramatic context, to dress up and wear amazing outfits for the photos. His sumptuous dress ‘Lady of heart’, worn in a masked ball and judged indecent with its absence of corset and her heart sewn to the tune of the vagina, is a perfect example of his audacity and his love of the style. There is no stylist for these photos, or brand or concept of ‘product ‘. Is not yet strictly speaking “fashion photography”, but this is the beginning of a bet in front of clothing and At the same time, the germano-francais photographer Charles Reutlinger opens in Paris the first photo studio specializing in portrait of personalities, especially those in the entertainment world. Inspired by the pictorialists trends in painting, it creates varied and searched, between exotic and traditional stagings in a universe full of reverie. He then reworked his pictures with multiple effects. Models become an art form, and the look is carefully studied.
In the work of Reutlinger, there is a desire to touch the collective imagination, to get the public to adopt a style and so create a certain standardization of the taste and the sense of aesthetics. Here we find the concept of trends, and well-crafted as the models are celebrities able to disseminate them and influence the public.
research of glossy style.
The beginning of the twentieth century: experimentation
After these reluctant but promising debut in the previous century, photography continues to develop in terms of fashion and style. Photographers let go, testing, offer, innovate and fashion takes a major turning point in their goal. The three brothers Seeberger including founded a workshop in 1905 and focus first on cityscapes and neighborhoods of Paris. It of in 1909 they embark on fashion and later immortalize the most beautiful French creations of the inter-war. Number of their photos will be published in the journal Mode practice and in the worldly press.
With this trio, fashion out of the studios and is finally immortalized outside. Such a ‘ cool hunters ‘ eye advised, they target the street trends to illustrate a living environment and a real-time environment. If they were born in our time, they probably would have formed a team of street-style outstanding bloggers.
In parallel, the Franco-German photographer Adolf De Meyer follows in the footsteps of Reutlinger and his poetic photography to staged well calculated. His work consists of games of lights and contrasts, blur delicate, smoky atmospheres and studied poses, always with an emphasis on dress code and the rendering of fabrics. His models appear so ghostly and air in an absolute grace.
Finally, we were all waiting, there was Man Ray. Photographer but also the painter and Director, it is a complete and versatile artist. Literally ” man of the ray of light ‘, he incorporated the ideas of Pictorialism with staged developed in his photographs and has diverted the protagonists in a way sometimes – often – wacky. The most striking and famous example is his picture of Kiki de Montparnasse, his eternal muse, wrapped in a turban and transformed into a violin.
Beyond the objectification of his models, Man Ray loved experimenting through the technique with a double exposure, negative printing, solarization… We do we also each selfie on Instagram, except that he had neither software nor phone and could not rely on a single click to play the arty with his photos. He began so many innovations in image processing.
20 years and the advent of modernism
After the mood subdued and overly poetic Pictorialism for decades, many photographers want to return to a simpler style, looking for objectivity. We pass so a photograph based on the imagination to a photograph the image-centric everything short. The fashion is no exception and returns to a more stripped-down approach.
With Edward J. Steichen, the protagonists also face another evolution, model to model. They are more static but a living and dynamic body, personality, and lifestyle.
Between the two world wars develop also other concepts in photography in general, including photojournalism, or reports.
The mid century: the dynamic mode
With Munkácsi and Richard Avedon, the supermodels once so concentrated and frozen can finally move and frolic truffle such wind Snoopy. In studio that outside, the photographers want to bring more flexibility and dynamism in their work while taking risks as well. Because the movement is flattering for the models, but also for clothes that seem to come to life.
Not surprisingly, a sports climate develops at the same time in fashion in the middle of this effervescence photography. Models are gaining autonomy and power, and their role becomes much more central and interesting because they need to communicate the décor and such movement of the actresses. Goes off a time of pop-culture, but we go back fairly quickly in the 1960s with the ‘Swinging London’ movement and a pop ultra mind encased neon and lights.
From the 1970s, the sexual revolution
This is a major turning point for the role of clothing in fashion photography: we no longer seeks to cover the body but to reveal it, sublimate and exalt him without restraint, so that the nudity – partial or total-becomes almost ubiquitous. It is a paradox, if not the only one: the woman becomes a woman object exposed to a sensuality operated under any pretext, and at the same time it gains power.Passive and delicate, it becomes dominant, powerful and manipulate men. She endorses even their roles by donning clothing (tuxedo, tie) or attitudes (cigarettes, alcohol) once considered male.
Masters in the game of these new codes, Guy Bourdin and Helmut Newton are given some to heart joy and photograph the woman in all its glory and all its curves without filter. As a result of this ambiguity of roles and the suggestion of seduction between women and men, these eventually integrate fashion photography. They do not escape the ambient hypersexualization. However, their nakedness is less obvious and play on the sportiness of the body through exposure to the bulging muscles, as can be seen in the work of Bruce Weber and Herb Ritts. The 1990s are much more sober after all this frenzy, and they preach a return to minimalism and the Basic with for example Peter Lindbergh. This is the Decade of elegance and simplicity.
The 21st: the melting pot
One rule of gold for the beginning of the century: freedom! There are no limits, and this golden age of fashion photography allows everyone to develop his own style. Some like David LaChapelle choose to go against the grain of the minimalism of the 1990s by recreating sets completely Eccentrics with flashy colors and tart, glitter and glitz, fantastic narration and pop culture to the extreme…
We’re in full in the kitsch glamour, for my greatest happiness. Others seek realism and provocation, to the limit of pornography for Terry Richardson, the controversial photographer of stars.
Finally, there is a mix of both with evocative photography in a common context, away from the monochrome studios or sophisticated decors. For the photographer Juergen Teller, this may be Kate Moss torn in an old lounge or Vivienne Westwood naked as a jaybird legs apart on a Chair.
Like all arts, fashion photography continually innovates everything regularly drawing from the past, remodeling which was to create the trend of tomorrow. Also unsurprisingly, the limits are constantly being pushed in the technique as in the subjects and provocation never goes out of fashion. The female body has become a key of this phenomenon, we undressed to promote clothes, it breaks the codes of gender, are being censored then it overexposes. What new paradoxes will present us fashion photography in the decades to come? Suspense… But with this brief retrospective, we are prepared to detect any inspiration from the past!
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