Fashion photography is a type of photography devoted to displaying clothing and other fashion items. Fashion photography is most often conducted for advertisements or fashion magazines such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, or Allure. Over time, fashion photography has developed its own aesthetic in which the clothes and fashions are enhanced by exotic locations and story lines or could be having great models with different vehicles or animals just to be an eye catching effect.
True, Fashion photography is commerce. But it is also art. One problem with today’s fashion photography comes when the photographer forgets to create art. For example, this shot from a February issue of Vogue shot by hotshot photographer, Michael Thompson. These types of fashion photography are as sterile and boring, as prosaic and plodding as a clothing catalog.
Sometimes, fashion photographers tend to forget that they are taking pictures of the clothes, and they focus more on making the photography interesting.
Great fashion photography—like great art in general—doesn’t just “tell about today”; it speaks truths about yesterday and tomorrow. “If you want reality, why don’t you look out of the window?” -Nick Knight
Photographers in the past tended to use models who seemed confident, intelligent, and sophisticated. Lisa Fonssagrives, fashion model and muse of the 30s, 40s, and 50s, epitomized a woman of great strength and dignity. You didn’t just want to wear her clothes; you wanted to be her. (Audrey Hepburn gave off the same vibe.)
Today, 30 years into feminism, we have models who look not just weak and unsophisticated, but also dumb and victimized. Academic feminists haven’t complained because the models are supposedly playing a subversive role and subversion is inherently politically correct. Moreover, many of the young photographers are female. But now we’ve moved into “fashion vérité” (fashion truth) and the models still look crude. Is this how women in fashion see themselves?
Fashion Photography has definitely changed throughout the years, like the rest of the fashion industry. Look through magazines and mark what you like to see. Do you like the thin, mistreated looking models in the photos? Or do you perfer the glowing, sophisticated models who make you want to wear the clothes in the photography?