The Decline of Fashion Photography

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djklmnop

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I agree!

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Stan. L-B

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As always, 'fashion will fade - but style will endure'
 

ann

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thank you so much for placing this here for many of us to look at. I really haven't looked at the photography in magazine for years. Haven't missed anything!:rolleyes:
 

TPPhotog

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I think I also have to agree that it's in decline.

There are still some interesting and artistic pictures appearing in some of the Sunday Supplement Magazines that come with newspapers here in the UK, but that is a small percentage. I suspect it has a lot to do with the public as usual who are happy to copy what celebs are wearing as seen in the trashy mags and as seen on television.

As Stan said "style will endure" alas there doesn't seem to be a lot of celebs that know what that means these days :sad:
 

arkoshkobash

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They don't make 'em like they used to

The article reads as a little dated, and vaguely nostalgiac. There is as much good fashion photography to be found today, as there ever was, and surely, as much mediocre work. The author's case for mysogyny in current fashion work, does not persuade. Current, top models, are generally portrayed as the strong, confident women that they are. It is no great insight to compare the best work of the last century with current, mediocre work, and the conclusions reached by such a comparison are fundamentally flawed. To further claim that Irving Penn did not consider himself an artist, is baseless, and specious. It seems as though the author's hindsight is, indeed 20/20, but his vision of the current state of fashion photography is clouded by nastolgia.
 

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TPPhotog

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I agree the article is dated and by no means objective, however the title of the thread is "The Decline of Fashion Photography" and that I think is the main point. Also some of the early fashion photographers also showed their models as strong and confident women.

Btw nice picture but the point of it is?
 

roxer

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Fashion, stopped telling a story so long ago, that they are lost in the world, currently fashion is in such a float, that most of the photographers have no idea of the story they are telling, I have not seen a fashion shot for a long time that tells a story, or portrays a lifestyle, most fashion these days, speaks of overindulgence and excess, this is not decline, but a lost focal point in the message they are telling.......
 
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djklmnop

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I've noticed a few other things as well. Current trends are not as classy as they once were. If you look at all the classic portraits and fashion, you can see that their clothing designs were very photographable! Unique, clean and simple designs. If you look at today's trends, you see girls wearing low-rise jeans and a scrubby shirt. This isn't really going to stand the test of time. In order for them to make anything look unique these days, they employ raved up clothings with crazy colors and crazy cuts to strive for attention.

For me, there is nothing more beautiful than the elegance dating back to even the 40s.

Has anyone here seen Frida? The movie. Ashley Judd played Tina Modotti in that movie and when they met up for the party, she was amazingly beautiful with the outfit that she was wearing. I was overwhelmed when I saw her in the movie, but didn't even realize it was her until I did some research after.

My Favs:

http://www.fcgundlach.de/portfolio.html
http://www.peterfetterman.com/artists/gigli/gigli1_pic01.html
http://www.peterfetterman.com/artists/faurer/faurer01.html

I agree with some aspects where models look weak and fragile in today's fashion. If you look at CK ads, they use models that look like they just got out of rehab.

On the other hand, I've seen some very powerful images as well, such as Julianne Moore on the cover of American Photo. It's both sides of the coin and I think they were referring to the majority trend.

Andy
 

blansky

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I think were kind of talking apples and oranges here. In the past, back maybe to the thirties and forties, the movies studios were controlled by a few men who controlled every part of their "stars" lives. They were essentially indentured servants. The studios, in order to keep the illusion of the "dream factory" alive made sure that their stars went out in public in the finest clothing that was available. The hey day of glamour.

In fashion the clothes you are pining for are essentially haute couture. Avedon and Penn et all photographed these fantasy clothes for the big fashion houses and their ultra rich clients.

Today actresses dress down to show that they really are "artists" and wear grubby clothes most of the time. During award season they can be seen wearing designer gowns but that's about it. Most of them look uncomfortable in them because they don't have the chance to wear them often.

The fact of the matter is haute couture is still around and photographed well by people like Avedon, Scavullo, Screbneski (sp?), and a few others. If you look in the right magazines you can still see great photographs and great work as well as lots of mediocre work just like there was in the past.


Michael
 

roxer

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Ya, but in my 75 years, I don't quite remember so much of the mediocre work comming to the forferont of fashion....
 

Stan. L-B

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A good topic with interesting diverse opinions.
I have posted a picture in the 'standard gallery' that I consider tells the story of past fashion.
 

blansky

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roxer said:
Ya, but in my 75 years, I don't quite remember so much of the mediocre work comming to the forferont of fashion....

I kind of agree but perhaps this is also because of the glut of magazines around compared to the glamour years. Also people today are far more casual in their appearance than back then. Many people go to work dressed in casual clothes, out to dinner etc where back in the 40s and 50s everyone made a point of wearing suits, perhaps partly to look like they were not a laborer but a professional person.

When I was growing up back in the fifties, my father was a mailman. When he was not working he wore a suit and hat. Obviously today that would be strange.

However I still think that there are many photographers today who can and do, great haute couture photography, it's just that it is not the prevalent product being pushed by the fashion houses.

Michael
 

TPPhotog

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As Michael says the glut of magazines combined with the more casual fashions (or may I add casual attitude to fashion) may be at least partially to blame for the demise.

Stan again another nice picture but for me the best fashion shots didn't seem to concentrate on the model as much as they do these days. Although the model was there to add attitude and many times a celeb name, they were relatively insignificant. The pictures use to concentrate on the clothing being pushed and sets that created an atmosphere that projected the look and message why the buyer should want to part with their cash.

OK neck on the line as it's a matter of taste but this is a recent one I like from the Sunday Telegraph Magazine dated 18 January 2004. Sorry for the lousey scan as it's from a magazine.
 

clogz

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Good picture....although I find the boots come out too big. Wrong lens?
 

TPPhotog

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Hello Hans, For me I think it does what it should as it's about the look which includes the boots. They catch the eye first and the legs lead the eye over the outfit. The model is only a small part of the picture with her providing the frame and angles for the outfit to be seen. In the actual magazine picture the lighting also adds to the effect which is lost in this scan.
 

clogz

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mmm...yes Tony...you're right in a way....how about continuing the discussion over a pint at the Lens & Tripod next Saturday?
 

TPPhotog

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clogz said:
mmm...yes Tony...you're right in a way....how about continuing the discussion over a pint at the Lens & Tripod next Saturday?
Hans that's the best suggestions I've heard for a few days, the first round's on me :D
 

blansky

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I was thinking about this over the weekend and it occured to me that perhaps too much credit is given to the photographer over some of these fashion images from the past as well as what we are inundated with today.

Like the movie industry, the marketing of fashion is a collaborative effort and many of the ideas are generated by the art directors long before the photographers are even on board.

In the movies, much too much credit, and blame is directed towards the actor on the success or not, of a movie. It is very often that the producer, director and script have a lot more impact than the performance by any actor.

In the marketing of fashion, as in the movie business, an increasingly large number of the decisions are made by very young people, in their twenties. By the time you're thirty five you're washed up. This is due to the "hipness" quotient that is necessary as everything is directed to a very young buying audience.

I would bet that the art directors for fashion ads today are young people, targeting a young audience, and the sophistication of the past by an older creative team is long gone.

Michael
 
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wdemere

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This thread reminded me of a photo by Ruth Orkin that she took at her local grocery store then sold to a fashion magazine the next day as a picture of a "model from real life" or something like that. The idea was that there were people out there in everyday life that looked just as good as fashion models. The picture was of a woman holding a bag of apples that has a visible tear in it. Evidently the bag broke right after she took the shot.

I doubt that you could go to the grocery store today and find a shot that could make it into a fashion magazine of an ordinary, everyday person (i.e., not a model.) Though maybe Ruth Orkin could...
 

FilmIs4Ever

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blansky said:
When I was growing up back in the fifties, my father was a mailman. When he was not working he wore a suit and hat. Obviously today that would be strange.

Are you saying that I'm strange? ;-) People think that shooting film is strange too.

~Karl
 

TPPhotog

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FilmIs4Ever said:
Are you saying that I'm strange? ;-) People think that shooting film is strange too.

~Karl
Karl your no stranger than anyone else who sees the world through a viewfinder and at least it keeps you off the street :tongue:

blansky said:
I would bet that the art directors for fashion ads today are young people, targeting a young audience, and the sophistication of the past by an older creative team is long gone.
Michael youth and the spirit of rebellion are wasted on the young :D Some good points well made, although again some of the "best" IMHO work(ed) alone with only a model and camera for company.
 

donbga

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blansky said:
The fact of the matter is haute couture is still around and photographed well by people like Avedon, Scavullo, Screbneski (sp?),

Michael

Was photographed by Avedon and Scavullo - both are deceased. Skrebneski is retired.

Don Bryant
 

blansky

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donbga said:
Was photographed by Avedon and Scavullo - both are deceased. Skrebneski is retired.

Don Bryant

You're right, of course. I wrote that on a five year old computer.



Michael
 

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blansky said:
.... people today are far more casual in their appearance than back then. Many people go to work dressed in casual clothes, out to dinner etc where back in the 40s and 50s everyone made a point of wearing suits ....

Michael

you can say that again!

the world is more casual, and back in the "the day" people made it a point to look good.

it seems that these days people make it a point to dress down, not up. i remember seeing photos of some holywood-types ( can't remember their names ) but they looked like they either rolled out of a grave, or they were a hobo doing the freight train hop ..
 
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djklmnop

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jnanian said:
SNIP


you can say that again!

the world is more casual, and back in the "the day" people made it a point to look good.

it seems that these days people make it a point to dress down, not up. i remember seeing photos of some holywood-types ( can't remember their names ) but they looked like they either rolled out of a grave, or they were a hobo doing the freight train hop ..


I'm not exactly sure if this is true in other countries. The other day, my friend who lives in Switzerland criticized to me on american's fashion sense when he paid a visit. He tells me almost every other country he has visited, people always dress up. It is refreshing to know that there are still every-day people who care about their appearance and can maintain a unique fashion sense - even if it isn't entirely americans.
 
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