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How Art and Photography Influence the Future of Fashion CLAUDIA MILANA


Robert Mapplethorpe | Philip Prioleau 1982


his text is a culmination of my research of fashion imagery since the mid 20th century, it explores how it has evolved since the 1940s and how art history and fashion photography has influenced this evolution and is now represented in 21st century art and fashion. Throughout my research, underlying themes became apparent and will serve as topics that guide this conversation and work—it is an attempt to bring fashion imagery and its effects on society into focus, discovering how new forms of image-making were influenced from the past and where we can and will continue to grow. The first area of study is the evolution of fashion photography and its influence throughout history. In the encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Photography, Lynne Warren writes “fashion photography occupies a unique position in the medium; it is the one type of photography that captures, at one point of another, almost everyone’s attention. Fashion photographers … most easily cross the line between fine art and commercial work.” (Warren, 487). I will explore fashion photographers that were catalysts in the practice, photographers such as Baron Adolph de Meyer were amongst the first to be defined (Warren, 485). I will understand how photographs emerged in society and how they reflected the zeitgeist and produced a new visual language in which fashion and photography was based on. Understanding how art movements evolved throughout the late 20th century and early 21st century will reflect in the evolution of fashion photography. Art historian Ulrich F. Keller defines the concept of ‘Art Photography’, stating “Today, artists make little ideological distinction between the camera and other visual told … museums purchase and exhibit camera images along with paintings … photography has become acceptable in its totality, with the full range of applications from journalism to advertising, science and industry.” (Keller, pg. 249). This practice has always been a way in which we identify ourselves and how society perceives women in the eye of fashion. Photography has evolved over time into a practice that is widely accepted as art, the way in which photographers are artists in their own craft and manipulate imagery using tools and social ideals. The second area of study will be art history and how art movements have influenced fashion photography. How a variety of art movements from the middle of the 20th century through to the 21st century have significantly influenced the visual language produced in fashion photography and our perception of the art. Iconic fashion photographers such as Richard Avedon, Guy Bourdin, Irving Penn, Helmut Newton amongst others created iconic fashion photographs by challenging the notions of traditional photography and fashion (highsnobiety, 2020). Exploring the work of famous artists during the same time periods such as Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso and Jean Michel Basquiat revolutionized the arts from the 1940s to the end of the 21st century. Each artist practices in a specific style that displays the notions of society and this research will explore how each artist engages with imagery and art. I will display how art imagery has evolved throughout the 20th and 21st centuries and how this influences fashion. The last area of study will be the intersection of both—art and fashion—how fashion imagery is perceived in society and how we specifically perceive ourselves. Researcher José van Dijck begins to explore this topic in her research stating, “Photography functions as a tool for identity formation and as a means for communication.” (van Dijck, 58). It is important to note that this statement also applies to art. Fashion imagery is important in society as identity defining, I will specifically focus on this area of study when addressing the 21st century as there has been an evolution of digital photography culminating in how users engage with technologies that allow for manipulating and transforming photography to reflect the ideal. ‘New age’ photographers are changing the visual language and understanding how this affects specific groups of people is displayed through this imagery.



Jackson Pollock | Free Form 1946

02. 09. Part One: 1940s to 1950s


13. Art 27. Photography 36. Fashion 47. Part Two: 1960s to 1970s 51. Art 65. Photography 79. Fashion 88. Part Three: 1980s to 1990s 93. Art 108. Photography 119. Fashion 130. Part Four: 2000s to present 135. Art, Photography & Fashion 156. Bibliography 160. 4


Jean-Michel Basquiat | Untitled 1982



Steven Meisel | Linda Evangelista, Italian Vogue 1990


PART ONE 1940s to 1950s



Willem De Kooning | Door to The River 1960

“In another fifty years we will know more about the forties; it takes the perspective of one century to know another. Yet in a century the violence of the forties will still not have lost its pain and ugliness, and it will still seem wonderful that out of the human spirit so much art could be made. In a world where the artist was far more often the victim rather than the honored benefactor of the people.” —Guy Davenport


Robert Motherwell | Elergy 1949



his exploration of art and fashion will start in the 1940s as much of the imagery in the decades to come was established by the ideals and notions of artists and society in the 1940s and prior. In many ways these decades were a response to pre-war society and a reaction to violence and political uprising that WWII brought forth. The post-war works that artists produced were direct responses to what they had seen or experienced during the war. When exploring art history and how art has impacted or been impacted by society, author Hans Belting describes “We are not as much producing culture but reproducing the culture of other times. And therefore, the desire is growing for culture that is entertaining rather than instructing and that offers a spectacle in which we take part.” (Belting, 10). Art throughout history was a reaction to the zeitgeist of the time. Artists responded to cultural and societal events and changes. In many cases their work was a response to social unrest, “Artists reach to this desire for entertainment and are performing art history as “remake” with a mixture of nostalgia and freedom that rejects the historical authority of art … art engages in either rituals of remembrance or (depending on the given audience) resistance” (Belting, 10). A variety of art forms emerged following these concepts, artists designed as a response to what was going on socially; post World War II, consumerism and capitalism became prevalent in culture. The development of new technologies influenced print and advertising—making these medium forms more accessible for artists and designers. Modernism and abstract art that was non-figurative became more popular and began to dominate the industry during the late 1940s and 50s (Maria R, 2016). With New York being the epicenter of modern art, Abstract Expressionism emerged as an exceptionally influential art movement in American history. Emerging in the 1950s, Abstract Expressionism was a new form of art that was a response to the culture that began evolving during this time. Abstract expressionism draws influencers from a variety of art forms that evolved in previous decades. Surrealism, which drew upon imagery that was drawn from abstract, fantastical and mythical forms. Other early forms of art such as cubism and early modernism influenced the work of abstract expressionists. These artists that expressed themselves through the intense colour, shape, and emotional exploration of art. Abstract expressionism is divided into two forms: action painting and colour field painting. Action painting focuses on the act of painting, the very brush strokes and form of painting, popularized by artists like Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning. Pollock, one of the most famous action painters during this time would splash and splatter paint all of his canvases in a variety of hues, his pieces would often convey a variety of meanings. Authors Mieke Bal and Norman Bryson study semiotics in art history, specifically focusing on three ways of identifying semiotics in art; the context, senders, and the receivers. “In attempting to describe the contextual determinants that made a particular work of art the way it is, the art historian proposes a certain number of factors that constitute its context” (Bal & Bryson, pg. 177). The authors continue to explore how these factors can often be augmented to alter the intended meaning, this is commonly the case with all artists particularly in abstract expressionism action painting of Pollock and De Kooning. The sender, the individual producing the art or the content to be viewer—artist or art historian—focuses on the reception of the receivers, how the audience is going to receive the work.


“We are not as much producing culture but reproducing the culture of other times.” —Hans Belting

Left: Jackson Pollock | Red Composition Middle: Jackson Pollock | White Light Right: Jackson Pollock | Number 31 Bottom: Jackson Pollock | Number 1A

1946 1954 1950 1948

A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part One | ART

JACKSON POLLOCK, Drip Series For instance, when personally analysing Jackson Pollock’s pieces—particularly his Drip series—I reflect on what I know as a researcher, as a student, and as a viewer. I reflect on what the intended meaning of the piece may have been in the time that it was made. Pollocks technique and process when creating these pieces is note-worthy on how he wants the viewer to engage with the piece itself. Personally, I look at the piece and see the strokes and shapes among the canvas, I analyze the colours and understand how these colours interact with each other and almost produce a form of angst among across the canvas. The way that Pollock moves across the entire canvas while engaging with hierarchies of art and design is also fascinating. The possibilities within his pieces are endless, they are complex and occupy an important space in history and in the analysis of abstract expressionist artists.


“You don’t have to paint a figure to express human feelings. The game is not what things look like. The game is organizing as accurately and with as deep discrimination as one can, states of feeling … become questions of light, colour, weight, solidity, airiness, lyricism, whatever.” —Robert Motherwell Jackson Pollocks art immerses the viewer in an intimate visual experience that clearly engages the viewer to the painting and to the artist. His works put the viewer in an environment of reflection in which Pollock represents self-expression and how the art becomes an illusion of imagination, “While it is true that conventions of illusionism had facilitated the spectator’s imaginative access to the fictional world of the work of art, they also served to make conspicuous a distinction between the actual or empirical viewer and the beholder anticipated or projected by the painting” (Schreyach, pg. 183). Pollock, and artists similar, produce in such a way that the viewer is immersed in the subject matter, immersed them in the environment of the artist and the piece itself. The viewer reflects on their life and their environment to interpret the meaning with the piece. Pollock did this is many ways throughout his career as an artist, he blured the line between the art as a literal piece of art and the art as a way in which the viewer interprets the piece. Notably, Pollock’s piece substantially grew in size at the end of the 1940s, he began producing larger bodies of work that resembled murals—a new genre of art for Pollock. In research study done by Michael Schreyach, the author studies specifically Pollocks piece titled Mural from 1943 that was the first of his pieces created specifically for a “architectural setting”; in this case, Peggy Guggenheim’s home (Schreyach, 186). Schreyach talks about how this piece literally and figuratively resembles a mural while disconnecting itself from this fact and relying on the experience that the viewer has with the piece while exploring it. Willem de Kooning is another abstract expressionist painter who practiced action painting. De Kooning’s painting style encompassed a form in which the artist would approach the canvas clear of formal idea or notion of art. He would begin painting and allow the colours, forms, gestures take over the canvas and create a piece in which the painting and the process itself begins “expressing the doubts and struggles of the postwar world.” (Curley, pg. 63). Many of de Kooning’s pieces surround the subject of highways, cars and driving. Many of his pieces are titled in such way that they connect the viewer to this underlying message. The abrupt, harsh, colourful pieces with titles such as Montauk Highway, Suburb in Havana, and Detour all connect the viewer to this message—which may be unrecognizable in the image without the title. Author John Curley explains this as “the highway paintings represent a space between the urban and the suburban.” (Curley, pg. 61). These highway pieces suggest a variety of semiotics, those explicitly implied by the title and the nature of his work and those indirectly interpreted by the viewer; “de Kooning not only enlisted the highway to address the domestication of subjectivity in painterly and spatial terms, but also to address the semiotic implications of the franchised landscape” (Curley, pg.73). Much like Pollock and other abstract expressionist’s pieces during this time period, de Kooning was influenced by the art forms in the decades prior and each artist employed ideas of semiotics. Each artist encourages the viewer to interpret the piece in a different way


A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part One | ART

Willem De Kooning | Women in Landscape III 1983


that is specific to the way they are receiving the piece. The meaning intended by the artist is altered by the reception of the viewer and their personal circumstances and environment. Colour field painting is the second category in Abstract Expressionism. Developing in the 1950s, artists Mark Rothko and Robert Motherwell are among the most famous colour field painters. Colour Field Painting as defined by scholar Zena O’Connor, “Artists who work can be categorized as Colour Field chose to focus predominantly on the use of colour in their works almost to the exclusion of other visual elements. Colour Field paintings … are mostly works on canvas, and some artist applied colour in a form, hard-edge manner, while others chose to apply colour in a more organic, free-form manner.” (O’Connor, 2015). The Colour Field painters share many characteristics as the Action painters. Their subject matter, and way they choice to express themselves and their subject matter through their art by use of colour and graphic elements are relative to each other. The hierarchical balance amongst colours, shapes and proportions and their leap away from figurative representation make the work of these artists memorable. After 1948, Mark Rothko’s piece became the strictly geometric anti-figurative pieces that we know today. His pieces became solely strong coloured compositions that essentially drew in the eye of the viewers and moved them around the page and around the subject matter. These unrecognizable elements take form in structural shapes that are layered on top one another. Rothko used these geometric elements to further remove the viewer from the subject matter, creating something more abstract in which no elements occupy that space. Author Anna Chave explains how Rothko used a variety of metaphors to describe the subject matter of his art. One metaphor encompasses a theatre; “I think of my pictures as dramas; the shapes in the pictures are the performers. They have been created from the need for a group of actors who are able to move dramatically without embarrassment and execute gestures without shame.” Rothko states in 1947 (Chave, 105). This metaphor suggests that the viewer immerse themselves in a theatrical exploration with the artist and the shapes and colour display a backdrop for the perceived subject matter. The way in which Rothko layers the shapes and colours throughout his work is remarkable, as the artist builds upon the existing shapes and colours to create eye-catching layers that entice the viewer and draw them into the space. The layered colours and compositional elements are all specifically placed, although in many cases because of the lack of differentiation between the colours in many of the elements it seems as though the introduction of these shapes was not intended (Chave, 107).


A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part One | ART

MARK ROTHKO In Mark Rothko’s piece titled Violet, Black, Orange, Yellow on White and Red from 1949. When researching this piece and when it was produced in relation to his other popular works, this one fell within the beginning of his exploration with these geometric shapes and colours. The intensity of the emotions that are expressed through this piece—and all of his pieces—is memorable. The elements of surrealist art form in the way of removing traditional and explicit references to intended elements. The way in which the colours and how they are layered and placed visually immerses the viewer in his art. Author Jennifer Blessing describes it as “For him the canvases enacted a violent battle of opposites—vertical versus horizontal, hot colour versus cold—invoking the existential conflicts of modernity.” (Blessing, 2020).

“We favour the simple expression of the complex thought. We are for the large shape because it had the impact of the unequivocal. We wish to reassert the picture place. We are for flat forms because they destroy illusion and reveal truth.” —Mark Rothko

Left: Mark Rothko | Untitled No. 73 1952 Right: Mark Rothko | Violet, Black, Orange, Yellow on White and Red 1949


A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part One | ART

Robert Motherwell is another key artist in the exploration of colour field painting amongst Abstract Expressionist artists. Motherwell painted extraordinary compositions that covered the canvas in geometric shapes, lines and blocks of colour which made him one of the most renowned artists in history. Motherwell had his own take on the Abstract Expressionist movement, he regarded the movement for what it was—an important American movement founded in the roots of New York culture and art—although he re-interprets this notion by noting the strong influences he had from past artists and art movements; Motherwell states “You see, I was only seventeen when I saw the Matisse, and they were literally the first twentieth-century pictures I ever saw. And I fell for them at first glance, and to this day Matisse moves me more than any other twentieth-century painter.” (Rogers, pg. 57). The development of colour, shapes, and graphic elements throughout Motherwell’s pieces allow the viewer to interpret the meaning of the piece themselves. This movement in modern art focuses on how the artist interprets emotions through shapes, this form of art does not focus on the historical traditions and concepts in art. The viewers response to the liveliness of the pieces and subsequent engagement with the motions seen through his exploration with colour and shapes are what make Motherwell’s pieces so fascinating. Motherwell grew up in San Francisco and was an academic, he began his career as an artist after he completed his degree. Although

Motherwell was not an esteemed artist yet, as a child he remembers so vividly the first time he saw a Matisse and how it made him feel, how he resonated with the abstract lines and how they exuded meaning across the canvas. In an Interview with the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD), Motherwell says “Just looking at Matisse’s would get you nowhere … Though looking is essential, looking and copying what you like gets you nowhere. What you have to have in your hands is the process and intent.” (AGO, 2011). Motherwell’s public career began in 1944 with his first exhibition on display at Peggy Guggenheim’s gallery, his career continued well into the late 20th century. He began painting one of his most famous series, Elegy to the Spanish Republic, in 1948 creating hundreds of pieces within this collection. This series represented the aggressiveness of the Spanish Civil War. The open forms are interpreted by the viewer in many different ways, something commonly recognized with abstract expressionist art. The subject matter is raw and expresses Motherwell’s progression in art and how he used the medium to express himself and this story throughout history; “These 150-plus pictures originated as a lament for the loss of democracy in Spain under General France and expanded into a sustained rumination on the tragic aspects of human existence.”. Motherwell’s bold use of graphic shapes and minimal colours further develop the idea that these pieces are meant to represent “the contrast between life and death” (Christies, 2021).

Robert Motherwell | Afternoon in Barcelona 1982



Robert Motherwell | N. R. F Collage No. 2 1960

“An original is a creation motivated by desire. Any reproduction of an original motivated be necessity. It is marvelous that we are the only species that creates gratuitous forms. To create is divine, to reproduce is human.” —Man Ray 21

A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part One | PHOTOGRAPHY

Man Ray | The Kiss 1922


Top: Man Ray | Unconcerned Photograph 1959 Bottom: Man Ray | Sleeping Women 1929


A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part One | PHOTOGRAPHY

Top: Man Ray | Minotaru 1933 Bottom: Man Ray | Anatomies 1929


A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part One | PHOTOGRAPHY

Left: Horst P Horst | Mainbocher Corset 1939 Right: Horst P Horst | Lisa Fonssagrives with Harp 1939



A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part One | PHOTOGRAPHY


s explored in the first chapter, there was a resurgence in fashion and art after the second world war. Haute couture fashion re-emerged and fashion journalism and fashion photography became an instrumental process, “new modernist perspectives (were brought) to what has been hailed as the golden age of American magazine design” (Best, 134.) New York became the new hub for fashion photography in the world. The development of new visual ideas, technologies and fashion identified a transition in the visual world as new perspectives and attitudes on fashion imagery emerged. Prior to the 1940’s there were many surrealist artists that were iconic fashion photographers; Man Ray, Horst P Horst, and Erwin Blumenfeld were among the first to be featured in fashion magazines. Author Lynda May Xepoleas studies how these artists photographed fashion images for mainstream magazines while differentiating themselves through their photography style and conventions of fashion, “Fashion magazines translated surrealist creation into new forms and ideas surrounding the fantastic and dreamlike.” (Xepoleas, pg. 3). Surrealist fashion photography was an innovative and important progression in fashion publications in the 1930s which influenced how art and photography intersected on the page of publications for the future.

Baron Adolphe de Meyer revolutionized fashion photography in the early 20th century. As de Meyer began establishing himself as a photographer, he invented various ways in which to capture these images to create varying effects, focusing on light and tonal gradation, using reflectors and mirrors allowing him to emphasise and convey an emotion through photographs. He used a Pinkerton-Smith lens, that created a luminous glow within the images that surrounded his subjects (Brown, pg. 258). He was first published in Vogue in 1913. The main goal for Vogue was “to create an elite ‘class’ magazine for American tastemakers, funded by advertising dollars from the nation’s most exclusive retailers.” (Brown, pg. 258). Fashion photography was classified in two ways, by society portraits and through fashion essays. These portraits reflected the bourgeoisie and attempted to grasp a developing culture (Brown, pg. 259). A fashion essay is described as a series of photographs that follow a story or a specific theme in fashion, author Elspeth H. Brown states “de Meyer introduced all the visual techniques of the art movement in photography to his work at Vogue.” (Brown, pg. 260). Vogue was created with the intention to sell and market products as it was published on the backs of high-end retailers, this is still the case today as mainstream magazines receive advertising dollars to help fund their publications. The fashion photographs

produced by influential fashion photographers for specific publications will conspicuously have the ideals and focus of the particular publication behind them. There are a variety of different elements which differentiate between these artists, this also differentiates photographers from individuals who are not artists and their photos. Art historian Ulrich F. Keller describes the concept of ‘Art Photography’, “The art photography movement was elitist and prestige-oriented. Those who developed beliefs in fine craftsmanship, an earnest search for beauty, and artistic genius in photography wished to do so for their own personal notoriety and gain.” (Edwards, pg. 7). These photographers would capitalize on publishing their art in various settings, exhibitions, auctions, and for art dealer purchases. This concept of art photography connects traditional art and the popularized form of photography, this concept of the photographer as an artist who practices this art form more identifiable. Edwards expresses this as, “The effort which helped to break down the barriers between fine art and photography also served to reveal the similarities between the two. This movement decreed that photography could be expressive and showed that artists do leave evidence of their presence in a photograph.” (Edwards, pg. 8). There may be other forms of photography that can be defined


Horst P Horst| Still Life 1937

Horst P Horst | Study in Ivory 1982




Richard Avedon | Dovima with Elephants 1955

A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part One | PHOTOGRAPHY

by the way in which an artist executes their work, or how they chose to take a photograph, however for the purpose of this research and understanding how photography and the art of photography is compared to traditional art forms, the concept ‘Art Photography’ defined by Keller is significant. The art of Fashion Photography post WWII began with photographer Louise Dahl-Wolfe, a facilitator in the industry. Dahl Wolfe’s work notes the fine line between fashion and art. Understanding how society considers photography art is understanding how the presence of the artist is seen in their photographs—much like how artists can be seen throughout their work through technique and style. Many of Dahl-Wolfe’s photographs were seen as visual pieces that “create a sense of desire for an artificial world” as opposed to documenting the real world (Edwards, pg. 11). When researching the ‘presence’ of the artist through their work, it is often less evident in fashion photography and more evident in fine art. Artists often create with specific visuals and ideals in mind that differentiate them as an artist, as if to put a signature on their work. Louis Dahl-Wolfe is an important example of fashion photographers that express themselves through the work their produce. Photography is a different form of art and what classified an artist—the photographer—differs from artists who practice fine art, sculpture, paintings, etc. Researcher Jennifer Sommerville Edwards describes the relationship that this artist has with photography, “The camera was viewed as a self-operating machine capable of producing an image without the presence of a creative hand. This view tied photography directly to the exterior reality and dismiss the internal world of the artist … those who were not artists could, with practice, (also) operate a camera and make images.” (Edwards, pg. 6). With the new art of photography, photographers—who will also be referred to as artists—could capture hundreds of thousands of photos while a fine artist may only produce one piece. Whether they were commissioned to do so by a publication or an individual, photographs accurately capture a specific moment in time over and over again. The art of fashion photography emerged in the publication world and transformed from studio set photos into images captured by iconic artists that offered insight into the industry. Beginning in the mid 1930’s, publication Harper’s Bazaar at the helm of editor-in-chief Carmel Snow, redefined fashion photography in publication. With the assistance of art director Alexey Brodovitch, Bazaar published

some of the most world-renowned photographers. Publishing photographs so iconic, that the scope of work that these artists produced was ground-breaking. Harper’s Bazaar contributor Stephen Mooallem writes, “Snow was struck by the immediacy of Brodovitch’s work; Images, text, shapes and ideas all collided and commingled, with dramatic cuts and crops, but everything always felt elegantly composed, with each element working in concert with every other.” (Mooallem, 2017). Joining Snow’s team was fashion editor Diana Vreeland, who herself changed the fashion landscape. Mooallem continues, “Vreeland’s approach to fashion was borderline mystical. She seemed to view clothes as coded clues that, when combined in just the right was, opened up a magical doorway to a fantastical realm, and she had a rare gift for making even sportwear look like couture.” (Mooallem, 2017). Alexey Brodovitch is an important fashion player to explore, as his trajectory in the fashion world helped to define art direction, publication layout and design in which modern fashion publications are based on. Art critic Andy Grundberg explains Brodovitch’s work in this decade, “He gradually refined hi page layouts to the point of utter simplicity. By the 1950’s, white space was the hallmark of the Brodovitch style. Models in Parisian gowns and Americans sports clothes ‘floated’ on the page, surrounded by white background, while headlines and type took on an ethereal presence.” (Grundberg, 1987). The way that Brodovitch used typographic elements within the fashion photography landscape was iconic, the images and text elements complement each other on the page. The photographs and text are strategically placed and the take the readers eye on a journey through all of the elements on the page. He created dynamic compositions where the type and fashion images are both forward elements on the page. Brodovitch produced typography and graphic design as their own elements of art, and particularly an important element of modern publication design. American Vogue was another leading fashion publication that emerged in popularity during these decades. Run by editor-in-chief Jessica Daves and art director Alexander Liberman—prior to Daves, Edna Woolman Chase ran the publication and Diana Vreeland eventually would be considered the “voice of fashion” (Morris, 1989). Liberman, much like Brodovitch, reimagined the look and feel of the magazine, making fashion photography an important asset to the overall composition of the design, “removing frames, enlarging them and filling whole pages and double spreads. He used multiple sizes and angles—tilting, overlapping and scaling photographs to create dynamic collage-like layouts.” (Krause-Wahl, pg. 69).

Richard Avedon is one of the most famous fashion photographers in history. Avedon is a famed photographer who arose in popularity in the photography industry during the 1940s and 1950s, beginning with being featured in publication like Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue. Part of a photographer’s job is to create an illusion, a depiction of the ideal society and more importantly the ideal woman. Photographers like Richard Avedon and his successors did just that in creating art that epitomized fashion and design. Avedon took a new approach to the traditional fashion photograph and made the model, a seemingly beautiful woman, a story; “Avedon was widely conceded to have reached a previously unattained level in fashion photography … (that) can be attributed to his imagination and resourcefulness in handling a camera, but some of it undoubtedly stems from the fact that his primary interest is not in fashion but in women.” Winthrop Sargeant wrote for The New Yorker in 1958 (Sargeant, 1958). Avedon’s photographic style creates breath-taking compositions that display the elegance and beauty of women, while still keeping fashion at the forefront. He combines a variety of photographic techniques that show his advancement with the technically aspect of the camera—featuring mystical settings and capturing compositions that combine realism with the aspirational. An early Avedon muse, Dorothy Virginia Margaret Juba, who we know today as Dovima, was published to the masses and brought to the foreground of the fashion industry when Avedon shot her among a herd of elephants. This photograph, published in the September 1955 issue of Harper’s Bazaar, titled Dovima with Elephants impacted the future of fashion photography (Sargeant, 1958). In the photograph, Dovima is placed elegantly among the elephants. She gracefully arches her back as the gown she is wearing seamlessly follows the silhouette of her body. Her gaze pushes the viewer to the side of the image, as she effortlessly stands among these brilliant animals. This image typified fashion photography and Avedon’s career. Avedon uses techniques that make Dovima look as if she is among the elephants and the superior element in the composition. In the late 1930’s and into the 1940s, innovative fashion photographer Erwin Blumenfeld emerged among the fashion imagery scene. Blumenfeld, like many other iconic photographers, worked with Harper’s Bazaar’s Carmel Snow to publish striking photographs that combined his skill and technique with fashion. Blumenfeld experimented with


RICHARD AVEDON A new relationship in fashion photography emerged between the photographer and their muse. The muse placed the model at the forefront of the photograph, the viewer recognized the woman for her demure and iconic look. Fashion Photographers and designers all have a notable muse that defined the basis of their artist work. Later on, we will see this with fashion designers and the runway— how the muse becomes synonymous with The Supermodel. Richard Avedon defined the scope of fashion photography creating iconic images that become synonymous with an era in fashion and fashion photography. His goal as a photographer was to create an illustion, a depiction of the ideal society and more imporantly the ideal women. Top Left: Sam Shaw | Avedon and Dovima on Set Bottom Left: Richard Avedon | Mirelle Agnello Middle: Richard Avedon | Brigitte Bardot Right: Richard Avedon | Jean Shrimpton


1955 1953 1959 1965

A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part One | PHOTOGRAPHY

“Whenever I become absorbed in the beauty of a face, in the excellence of a single feature, I feel I’ve lost what’s really there … been seduced by someone else’s standard of beauty or by the sitter’s own idea of the best in him. That’s not usually the best. So each sitting becomes a contest” —Richard Avedon

different photographic techniques, including light and dark elements which defined his art in the early years of his career. Post Harper’s Bazaar, Blumenfeld’s career continued with American Vogue were his take on beauty standards and the female form came to light in artistic ways (Blanchard, 2013). In 1957 Blumenfeld produced Hands and Face New York, which shows a mirrored image woman’s face held within hands. This piece encompasses the influences various art movements and techniques had on his work. With notes of a Dada and Surrealist approach in this photo, he combines these art form with modern fashion emphasizing the female form and beauty (artnet, 2021). Much of his early work was black-and-white images that accentuated the female

form and feminine ideals, once he started producing for publication his work became for colourful while still representative of his art and style. In London, Cecil Beaton became a distinguished fashion photographer notable for his technique and innovation in fashion photography. After his time as the photographer for the Royal Family in the 30’s, Beaton began producing for Vogue and began hosting several exhibitions with his work. He was sought after by America publications as well for his incredible photographic genius. Much of his work shot in blackand-white, these images exemplify the modern women of this decade (artnet, 2021).


A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part One | PHOTOGRAPHY

Richard Avedon | Lauren Hutton 1968




Louise Dahl-Wolfe | Twins at the Beach, Harpers Bazaar 1949

A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part One | FASHION

FASHION T he impact that fashion had on society evolved exponentially after the second world war. We saw a shift in the way women were portrayed as fashion designers began to produce iconic collections that would change the future of fashion imagery. Fashion became a purveyor of change. It was reflective of the zeitgeist and was commonly emotionally charged by the notions and ideals of society. When discussing fashion throughout history and how it is conveyed through fashion imagery, I will discuss in terms how the ideals were displayed throughout art and photography—not specifically regarding aspects of fashion and clothing specific to each time period. It is important to note that throughout the decades in the late 20th and early 21st century many aspects of fashion—in terms of construction and design—influenced fashion and fashion imagery. To narrow this research, the following text uncovers how elements of fashion and society were produced and perceived in fashion imagery. Author Tim Edwards, in his book Fashion in Focus: Concepts, Practices and Politics writes “The psychological perspective on the development of fashion starts with an acceptance of

this premise that dress is not merely a matter of utility or practically. It is, more importantly, seen as a psychological code or device for displaying individual identity or personality” (Edwards, pg. 20). Fashion in the 1940s was dynamic and was a product of the post-war world. Fashion was evolving across the world throughout these decades, and society was on a long road to feminism. For example, much like Motherwell produced Elegy of the Spanish Republic as a way to bring awareness and reflect upon what was happening during the Spanish Civil War; fashion designers during this time were creating collections in response to social issues. In 1947, renowned couturier Christian Dior launched the “New Look”. Dior’s New Look was a silhouette that was a clear departure from the silhouettes and fashion in the early decades of the 20th century. It had featured a full skirt with a cinched in bodice, dramatically bringing focus to a woman’s waist and her figure. Christian Dior exclaimed while outlining his goals for the New Look, “I wanted my dresses to be ‘constructed’, moulded on the curves of the female body whose contours they would stylise. I accentuated the waist, the volume of the hips, I emphasised the bust. In order to give my designs more hold, I had nearly all the fabrics lined with percale

or taffeta, renewing a tradition that had long been abandoned.” (Dior, 2021). With the birth of the New Look came an evolution in fashion, it brought on a resurgence of haute couture fashion and feminine ideals. Photography and societal ideals of women and fashion were revolutionized and became ever evolving in the many decades to come. Much like artists use their canvas to explore social issues and ideals, fashion designers and fashion photographers—as we will continue to explore—did just that.

on fashion defined femininity for the decades to come. After the war, women were encouraged to return back to the home to perform tasks that they were accustomed to in the past; to be a woman of the home, take care of their family and fall beneath men. The fashion photography of these decades produced images of women to emphasize this ideal. The glamorous photographs by these artists exaggerated this culture. The New Look constrained women into this particular image and social ideal.

It is important to understand what was going on in society in this time period to identify what type of women were being photographed by these famed photographers and why. The fashion post-war took on a new realm of design. Fashion photographers adapted this fashion into ways that were innovative and visual enthralling. Researcher Jess Berry exemplifies this, “Fashion photographers, including Cecil Beaton and Richard Avedon in the late 1940s, contributed to the prevailing mythology of the New Look, whose studio-based images of style aimed to inspire luxurious and aristocratic fantasies of feminine glamour.” (Berry, pg. 1). As the New Look emerged in society, societal expectations of women and their fashion changed. This look and the new take

Avedon is one of the artists that focuses mainly on the women herself, making fashion second in the photograph, letting the woman control the clothes and her sexuality. Jess Berry discusses how Fashion historian Ann Hollander understand the construction of the feminine ideal in fashion photographs. She studies Avedon’s work and states, “Richard Avedon’s photographs recognized women’s desire to assert agency regarding how they were perceived, whereby they acknowledge how hard it is for woman to become self-aware and self-possessed … a photographer can hold his canny mirror to show that clothes and mirrors are always her allies, but mainly Avedon shows that the quality of the performance depends on her and springs from within.” (Berry, pg. 8).




Louise Dahl-Wolfe | Natlie in Hammamet 1950

Louise Dahl-Wolfe | Nude on Beach 1940


A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part One | FASHION

“The ideal of beauty then was opposite of what it is now. It stood for an extension of the aristocratic view of women as ideals, of women as dreams, of women as almost surreal objects.” —Richard Avedon


Richard Avedon | Carmen, Homage to Munkasi 1957


A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part One | FASHION





Irving Penn | The Twelve Most Photographed Models 1947



Irving Penn | New York Still Life 1967

PART TWO 1960s to 1970s


“The Pop artists—whose techniques and esthetics settled quickly—hit the zeitgeist dead on … This issue was the un-history of a very contemporary world: a process of leaning impulsively into the present.” —Steven Henry Madoff


Andy Warhol | Marilyn Monroe 1967



he 1960s and 1970s were culturally significant for many things. There was a shift in society and culture surrounding popular art forms. New artists emerged on the backs of Abstract Expressionists and a new art movement surfaced with new artists in the limelight. Among these were artists which would change the future of art and influence artists into the new millennium. In society, new cultural movements arose surrounding fashion and society. This decade saw an emergence of pop culture and a new visual language. Pop Art and Op Art, Minimalism, Conceptual Art and Performance Art in the 1960s and Contemporary or Postmodernism Art in the 1970s. Artists like Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Robert Rauschenberg were among the artists that defined the Pop art movements. Frank Stella, Carl Andre, and Donald Judd were among the artists who presented themselves as Minimalists. Yoko Ono’s Performance art was a defining part of this time period and paved the way for many artists with a variety of backgrounds and



mediums to present their work. In the 1970s with the emergence of different forms of Contemporary art, artists like Judy Chicago were monumental is bridging these art movement with what was happening socially with the feminism movement. This discussion will begin with the Pop Art movement in the 1960s. After the Abstract Expressionist art of the 1940s and 1950s, a new art form emerged that combined a variety of techniques and subject matters. Author Steven Henry Madoff recounts, “Yet unlike that earlier work, which was met with initial outrage, the new art had the clever strategy to impose on its realism nothing more fallen or impolite than what culture already was … Here was a realism that thrust itself knowingly in the face of a society that liked its garishness larger than life; a society ineluctably drawn to cartoon romance and tabloid scandal, to that particular species of glamour.” (Madoff, pg. xiv). Derived from the word popular, society was beginning to become enthralled with in all forms of pop culture,

cinema, to popular music, fashion, graphics and design. This art was representative of this shift in history, perfectly capturing the zeitgeist of society. Pop art was comprised of distinctive graphic imagery, comic strips, cartoon imagery and much more. All of these unique ways or practicing and producing art are what made this art so unique and these artists so successful in producing imagery that grasped the notions of society. Pop art represents a collective idea, unlike art forms in the past that explicitly title the form of art. Pop art can represent a variety of medium and dynamic ways of producing compositions that are accepted by popular culture and society.

Andy Warhol, one of the most famous Pop artists emerged in the 1960s. At the end of the 1950s, art had grown from the abstract expressionists’ ideals and subject matter and reinvented it. These new images were easily recognizable for their style and visual intention; comic strips, graphic designs, bold colours and shapes categorized their dynamic compositions. Warhol began

A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part Two | ART


Top: Andy Warhol | Flowers 1964 Bottom: Andy Warhol | Liz 1965

Top Left: Roy Lichenstein | M-Maybe 1965 Left: Roy Lichenstein | Drowning Girl 1963 Middle: Roy Lichenstein | Brushstrokes 1964 Right: Andy Warhol | Campbell’s Soup Cans 1962


A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part Two | ART

his career in the 1950s, although it wasn’t until the 1960s when the Pop Art phenomenon blew up making Warhol one the most famous contemporary artists of all time. Warhol’s use of unconventional media and subject matter blurred the lines between high and low art. He mixed medium and subject matter to create juxtapositions that were dynamic and intriguing for his audience. Much like fine artists in the past, Warhol’s pieces still translated deeper meanings and philosophical notions. He created many pieces which created an aesthetic that demonstrated his connection with art and the materials. Warhol’s art is significant because in plain sight, the subject is recognizable and well-known, the materials are simplistic, and the art is contemporary. Warhol himself, an enigma to the outside world; author Paul Bering explores the idea of Warhol’s image, “With regard to the public, Warhol does not want to exist outside of his image. For all intents and purposes, the image is Andy Warhol. This emphasis upon a stylized exterior and the lack of concern for anything other than the obvious is a major theme in Warhol’s art, as well as in his deportment.” (Bering, pg. 359). All of his work has a simple, yet complex subject matter. The images appear as one thing but could have been intended to mean something else. All of his images “(are the products of ) a semi-aware mind that duplications without the awareness of the original identity” (Bering, pg. 359). He displays the image in such a way that removes all other possibilities, strips back image and uses the medium to solely display the intended. Bering explores three ways in which Warhol approaches his designs, the first being mere reproduction of an image or idea. This style is popular for Warhol pieces, the author describes this as “reproduction of the image without any understanding of its original identity, is the act of a machine” (Bering, pg. 359). He grasps the idea of producing as a machine when he began using screen printing to produce his pieces, making it easier to reproduce several of the same print over and over again. These pieces became mass-produced and commercialized across the globe. This is most prevalent with the production of Warhol’s pieces regarding food, which he notable enjoyed producing—as it would display a hypothetical form of food which could satisfy the audience (Bering, pg. 360). The food theme in Warhol’s work is his second approach to design, it regards items (food) untouched by human hands—as it is reproduced in art and untouchable. The final approach that Warhol takes to design are his death-image paintings, Bering explains this form of painting as images of incidents and death scenes that are silk-screened onto large canvases in repeats (Bering, pg. 360). These pieces are visually

striking and clearly juxtapose Warhol’s other work in the way the viewer experiences the images and identifies with them. In addition to these approaches on design, Warhol’s take on portraiture was indicative of his career. These pieces are a culmination of his design style in the way he produced these images and may be accredited as some of the most popular of his career; specifically noting his series of portraits of Marilyn Monroe as one of his most famous pieces of all time. Robert Rauschenberg famously combines fine art techniques in painting with modern subjects and forms of expression in the 1960s (Osterwold, pg. 145). Beginning in the 1940s and 1950s, Rauschenberg painted in traditional styles, mimicking abstract expressionist styles and painting landscape and traditional scenes and compositions. Once moving to New York in the 1950s he began creating collages and assemblage pieces that started his development into the Pop Art scene, “Rauschenberg’s intention was to confront the trivial, mechanical reproductions of the media industry with his freely conceived graphic, painterly and plastic elements’ the polarity of the objective and the subjective, the personal in dialogue with the general, the functional and performed in combination with the creative” (Osterwold, pg. 147). Much of Rauschenberg’s collage work features clippings of mass media images and text that explores the relationship that he as an artist had with the time period. Socially, the rise of mass media and consumer culture created a space for these artists to reflect on what was going on in the world. Users would represent themselves and particularly how photographers and magazines represented society in an idealized way. This appearance was surface level and artists like Rauschenberg used their work to explore a deeper meaning of culture and society. Rauschenberg’s mixed-me-

ANDY WARHOL One of Warhol’s most famous works of art are his depictions of the Campbell Soup Cans. First exhibited in 1962 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Campbell’s Soup Cans were Warhol’s depiction on consumer culture and mass media. Several canvases printed with the same image adorned the wall mimicking a grocery store aisle (MoMa, 2021). This play on advertising started an important series with food that Warhol creates for decades to come.

“Then Pop Art took the inside and put it outside, took the outside and put it inside.” —Andy Warhol


A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part Two | ART

dia approach to art was refreshing, in 1965 he produced Self Portrait (for Dwan Poster), a self-portrait that “reveals the complexity and universality of both his subject matter and means of expression, and also the way in which internal and external experience meet in his work.” (Osterwold, pg. 150). The combination of materials in this collage is very indicative of the work produced during this time. Conceptual art is a movement that emerged in the 1960s and 1970s. Conceptual art refers to the practice of understanding the process, concept or idea behind the artwork itself—the significance behind the production. There are many conceptual artists who created important pieces that questioned the notions of society, exploring the process of making and being as opposed to the end product focusing on what the viewer’s experience will look like. In combination with conceptual art, feminist art gained importance as female artists began creating work that questioned traditional societal and cultural norms. Yoko Ono was a famous conceptual and performance artist that staged many performances that were both influential and ground-breaking. During a time when feminist artists were rising and the concepts behind their work was ever so important, Ono produced work that questioned the discourse in society. One of her popular pieces titled Cut Piece first debuted in 1964. Cut Piece was performed by Yoko Ono, as she sits on a stage in front of a crowd, one by one the viewers approach her and use scissors to cut of pieces of her garments, leaving her exposed and vulnerable. This performance is indicative of many underlying ideas and issues in culture and society. At first glance, it questions the feminist dialogue that was happening around the female body. Researcher Jiuen Rhee studies how Ono represented herself as a performance artist and how she produced pieces that questioned the traditional course of society and art. The interaction between artist and viewer is important


in performance art as the viewer is essential to the outcome of the piece and how it is perceived. Ono establishes herself as an avant-garde artist around the world while also avant-garde, Rhee notes “Making use of her idiosyncratic position of dual identity—Japanese artist in the West and New York avant-gardist in Japan—Ono played and ‘exotic body’ in both settings. Cut Piece, in this regard, claims its pivotal position in Ono’s oeuvre expressing the issue of ‘otherness’. It fed into the respective expectations of differently situated audiences, each yearning to see the ‘other’ unveiled.” (Rhee, pg. 98). One of the most popular works of art to emerge during the feminist art movement is Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party produced from 1973 to 1979. In the 1960s, as society was becoming more aware of the need for feminist ideas to be brought to the forefront of society and the need to learn about women in history and their importance in art. Chicago made it her goal to create more awareness around females in art and in women’s history wanting to write “female art history” that focused on the female body and representation in art (Gerhard, pg. 593). This work was a culmination of woman past and present that were influential in women’s history. The Dinner Party was one of the most important bodies of work of this movement. Jane F. Gerhard describes the installation so clearly: Six large woven banners introduce the religious and feminist themes of what comes next. Three large tables (each forty-eight feet long) are arranged in a triangle; thirty-nine places are set for a grand dinner part for women, thirteen along each table, or wing. The first wing seats in chronological order notable women “From Prehistory to Rome”; the second, “From Christianity to the Reformation”, reaching to the mid-twentieth century. Each place setting commemorates a woman of historical significance, and each features an oversized china plate cared and glazed in

Follow this QR code to watch Yoko Ono’s Cut Piece from 1964, this video explores the raw emotionperformed by Ono leaving her vulnerable, and exposed to the viewer. Yoko Ono | Cut Piece 1964



A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part Two | ART

the shape of a vulva or butterfly, designed to represent the women commemorated … The porcelain-tile floor under the tables radiates light, illuminating the names of 999 “women of merit” painted in glossy gold script. These names comprise streams of influence moving across time, connecting outstanding women it an overarching female network and genealogy (Gerhard, pg. 2). This installation was subsequently historically important for the understanding of this movement, it brought the world’s attention to this subject matter and understanding how these females contributed to feminism. It took Judy and her team, all woman, hundreds of hours to produce, making sure that all elements were symbolic and representative of the women and the times. It is important, as a researcher, to explore the feminist art movement and famous artists like Judy Chicago and Yoko Ono to understand how their contributions to art were monumental in women’s representation in art, history, and society. Until this time, the art scene was mainly male focused. With the introduction of female artists and the feminism movements—second-wave feminism— the themes that these artists placed behind their art and design regarded equality, sexism and discrimination.

Left: Judy Chicago | Christina of Sweden 1973 Top: Judy Chicago | Through the Flower 1973 Bottom: Judy Chicago | Lets all Hang Out 1973



Irving Penn | Leggy Nude 1993

A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part Two | PHOTOGRAPHY

Irving Penn | Kristy Hume 1996


A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part Two | PHOTOGRAPHY

“I would often find myself daydreaming of being mysteriously deposited (with my ideal north-light studio) among the disappearing aborigines in remote parts of the earth. These remarkable strangers would come to me and place themselves in front of my camera and I would make records of their physical presence.” —Irving Penn



Irving Penn | Naomi Campbell 1994

this time and into the rest of his career that influenced the future of fashion imagery. David Bailey, Terence Donovan, and Brian Duffy were nicknamed in the photography world as the ‘Terrible Trio’. Journalist Emma Baxter-Wright explains how these photographers were known for breaking existing conventions of photography, creating contemporary photographs that “create(d) a revolution in British photography … fearlessly pushed aside the conservatism of the 1950s, rejecting studio portraiture for innovative and dynamic fashion shots.” (Baxter-wright, 2011). David Bailey is a fundamental figure in contemporary fashion photography, he captured iconic images in his

David Bailey | Jean Shrimpton 1965

began to rise in popularity in the late 1970s however it wasn’t until the 1990s that the rise of the supermodel occurred where a group of models took over the fashion imagery industry. Fundamentally influencing fashion photography in the 1960s were photographers David Bailey, Terence Donovan and Brian Duffy. In the 1970s photographers Helmut Newton and Guy Bourdin were instrumental in shaping fashion photography, as well as Irving Penn— although Penn’s career began much earlier than the 1970s. Penn approached a variety of different styles and techniques throughout


lifetime that transformed fashion imagery and this genre of photography. While working for British Vogue in the early 1960s. Bailey and his other influential peers in London during this time, created a space for collaboration. Between which artists and photographers to take wonderful images that captured the essence of the London society scene. Famous musicians, influential socialites, models and his muses were popular subjects for Bailey photography; “A self-confessed industry ‘outsider’, Bailey is famous for his ability to put his subjects at ease, building up a rapport on set and focusing on the model as the most interesting part of



he 1960s and 1970s saw an introduction to many new and emerging fashion photographers and ideals in fashion that influenced fashion photography and fashion imagery. New artists were influenced by society and the variety of emerging cultures and countercultures where new forms of fashion arose. This imagery was published in a multitude of ways and although fashion publications were still popular platforms for expression, many artists built the foundation of their work through these publications as the industry began to expand with more and more creatives producing trailblazing work and ideas. Supermodels

A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part Two | PHOTOGRAPHY

David Bailey | Catherine Deneuve Contact Sheet 1966


A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part Two | PHOTOGRAPHY


Guy Bourdin | 1972

“The magic of photography is metaphysical. What you see in the photograph isn’t what you saw at the time … the real skill of photography is organized visual lying.” —Terence Donovan

Guy Bourdin | Charles Jourdan 1968

the image.” (Google arts & Culture, 2021). When Bailey began his time with Vogue, it was his first introduction to the fashion world. His style is characterized by striking black and white images with harsh lighting and incredible attention to detail. Later in his career, Bailey developed a distinct use of colour. These fashion images are sharp, extremely saturated and bold. His colour photography took into the new millennium, with wonderful photographs that grasp the true nature and evolution of fashion photography. Terence Donovan a 1960s fashion photographer who changed the nature of fashion imagery. Much like Bailey’s photographs, Donovan captured models, celebrities and socialites in a different light. A large portion of his images were shot in black-and-white, largely portraiture that grasped true emotion and a time in history like no other. These contemporary photographs captured a way of life, the vibrancy and liveliness that was London in the 1960s. The final photographer in this decade defining trio is Brian Duffy. Baxter-wright defines Duffy’s style as “the English avant-garde of young streetwise photographers who helped define the visual style of the Swinging Sixties” (Baxter-wright, 2011). In this decade, Duffy worked hard to capture fascinating images of iconic characters, while grasping the every-changing society and nature of fashion photography. In the 1970s, Guy Bourdin was the pinnacle of fashion photography and imagery. Bourdin was a Parisian born contemporary who had an eye for photography and capturing images that immersed the viewers into the concept and new reality of fashion. Photographs during this time were still focused on consumer culture and advertising, however Bourdin created images that were set apart from those solely created to advertise products, “He played a game with this manufactured desire, interrupting to glossy surface glamour and haute bourgeois eroticism of his images with various literal ‘petit morts’ … yet at the same time as seeming to undercut the consumerist fantasy he never displayed a blatant disregard for fashion, advertising or the magazine format.” (Furniss, 2003). Largely influenced by Man Ray and many Surrealist artists, Bourdin’s subject matter was merely fantastical and often had much symbolism and absurdity throughout his published photographs. Like all famous photographers, Bourdin was published in French Vogue throughout the 1970s. An interesting feature of Bourdin’s contemporary photography for Vogue, is many times the artist would insist on his images being printed on a double page spread; making the impact of his images that much more evident, “His strategic use of fashion, advertising and the magazine renders Guy Bourdin way ahead of his time; there is something distinctly contemporary in using these widely seen yet fleeting and disposable mediums as part of his message.” (Furniss,

Guy Bourdin | Charles Jourdan 1979



Guy Bourdin | Vouge Paris 1970



A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part Two | PHOTOGRAPHY

“Bourdin created pictures filled with what seemed to be clues in a mystery, hinting at meanings rather than articulating them. We are often unsure of what is going on; we know only that we are dealing with a specific moment in which something has happened of is about to happen.” —Nancy Hall-Duncan Guy Bourdin | Charles Jourdan 1968


2003). The subject matter of his images had an erotic and sexual undertone, this was a foundation for his photographs and was complimentary to the counterculture that emerged in these last few decades. Bourdin was truly an image maker that transformed fashion photography, advertising, and all other platforms where his artwork was featured. Boudin’s dynamic approach to fashion imagery helped to set a base line for fashion photography in the end of the 20th century. As many new artists emerged, many, if not all, were influenced by the way in which Bourdin and his contemporaries practiced and produced photographs. Helmut Newton was comparable to Boudin in this decade in the manner in which furthered the practice of fashion photography. His hyper-glamourous fashion shoots also had an erotic undertone that was sexual and scandalous. Newton transformed the way that women were portrayed in photography. This time was revolutionary for Newton and his photographic concepts, his compositions converted the outlook on women and displayed women sexually charged and empowered. As second wave feminism was in full force and women were no longer interested in being portrayed as sexually repressed traditional housewives. Newton was a catalyst in portraying women in a different light, empowering them and their sexuality through the use of fashion and imagery. While Richard Avedon represented women as the center of his delicate images. Newton’s representation of women differed as the women are no longer delicate and reserved, they are powerful and provocative (Mendes, pg. 2). Newton produced images that were not only visually striking, but contextually and conceptually unparalleled. What came with the new territory of his empowering subject matter were the additional ways in which he portrayed women and fashion. In 1975, Newton’s photographs for French Vogue of Yves Saint Laurent’s 1966 collection were controversial. These photographs brought on a new conversation within the fashion industry. Le Smoking is an image of a model on a street in Paris in a masculine ensemble. Trish

Wrigley for AnOther Magazine writes, “Shot for French Vogue in 1975, the story featured an androgynous woman standing in a hazily lit Parisian alleyway, hair slicked back, crisp white cravat, cigarette, entwined with a model dressed only in black stilettoes. With stark monochrome simplicity, Newton created a piece of iconography that to this day has never gone out of fashion.” (Wrigley, 2012). The semiotics in Newton’s fashion photography is relevant when exploring his photographs in terms of how he is communicating. As an artist, he produced work that questioned the ideals in society surrounding women, dress and fashion that were conventional in the past. His photography provokes a new understanding of fashion and allows the viewer to deconstruct the traditional elements of fashion photography. Roland Barthes, a philosopher that wrote about fashion and semiology and placed an importance on signs in imagery and in language stated, “What is remarkable about this image-system constituted with desire as its goal … is that its substance is essentially intelligible: it is not the object but the name that creates desire; it is not the dream but the meaning that sells. If this is so, the countless objects that inhabit and comprise the image-system of our time will increasingly derive from semantics, and, given certain developments, linguistics will become, by. A second birth, the science of every imagined universe.” (Barthes, pg. 159). As Barthes defines the fashion and imagery system as intelligible, it is the way in which the image engages with the viewer that leaves a lasting impact on society. The essence of fashion imagery and what artists have done through producing striking and provoking bodies of work through their careers is defined by Barthes development of the image-system. The way that Newton represents a new form of fashion imagery by publishing women in a new light, or the way in which Duffy, Donovan, and Bailey engage with celebrities and socialites explores how these images increase the desire to dress or act a certain way.

HELMUT NEWTON Researcher Layza Dutra Mendes explores how Helmut Newton shifted the way in which femininity was portrayed through fashion photography “This shift in female representation was a significant revolution in the history of fashion photography … In Newton’s photograph (Saddle II, 1976) … the model is portrayed as powerful and provocative. She is on a saddle, with a horsewhip in her hand, in a dominating attitude, and her face is visible to the viewer, showing that she is the protagonist in the scene, and she does not have to hide her face anymore. From that moment on, she could be seen and use the tools she had to show her dominance and the freedom to choose whatever she wanted.” (Mendes, pg. 2). Left: Helmut Newton | Paloma Picasso 1978 Right: Helmut Newton | Rue Aubriot 1975


A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part Two | PHOTOGRAPHY


“The seventies was a very exciting and wonderful period in fashion photography. We broke a lot of ground. We really whacked it down the throats of the readers at the time.” —Helmut Newton Irving Penn is considered one of the most influential and greatest photographers of the 20th century. Known for his stunning portraiture, unique attention to detail and tenure at Vouge and Harper’s Bazaar, Penn quite literally changed the future of fashion photography and publication. Beginning his career as a graphic designer and art director, Penn would attend workshops with renowned art director of Harper’s Bazaar, Alexey Brodovitch. Here he laid the foundation for his work as a photographer and learned technical aspects of design (Muir, pg. 561). Brodovitch taught Penn the innovative aspects of photography, typography, graphic design and advertising; which would propel Penn into prominence in the contemporary age of art and photography. Often shooting in the confines of the Vogue studio, Penn shot hundreds of portraits of distinguished artists, celebrities, and individuals of the fashion world. Robert Muir writes about Penn’s time taking these photos for Vogue and how important his process was, “He rarely photographed outside the formal confines of the studio during this period … his models faced the lends in carefully arranged poses against the simplest of studio backdrops, where nothing was left to chance. His intention was to eschew artifice and flattery in favor of a timeless clarity” (Muir, pg. 562). While creating impressive portraiture that was most successful in the years 1948-1962, his portraits were elegant and sophisticated. His manipulation of light to growing the bodies and faces of his subjects always had the production and publication space in mind. As he worked closely with the individuals at Vogue and Bazaar, the pieces would be matched with equally striking graphic elements on the page (Hambourg, 188). Penn stated, “(the modern photographer) knows that his communication must be made quickly … that his picture may often be seen hurriedly in a dentist’s waiting


room as in a soft chair after dinner.”, the artist seeks simple settings, with plain background and a clear path of intention (Hambourg, 190). In addition to created stunning portraiture and fashion images, Penn took to taking still life images that were also visually striking. These contemporary compositions made up of household objects, items that he found and placed in visually imaginative ways creating enticing compositions (Hambourg, pg. 18). In the late 1960s and 1970s, Penn began creating Ethnographic Portraits, these photographs would depict cultures and would be a “description or depiction of society’s materiality, ideas, values, and practices.” (Hambourg, pg. 211). It is important to understand Penn’s semiotic approach, as these images arose from person interpretations of culture and society—the context in which these pieces were created an published is much different than how they would be interpreted today. Still shot in his typically setting, these photographs were depiction of different cultures and movements around the world. For instance, one collection of images depicts “One of the seventeen African countries that had achieved independence in 1960 … For him, this place conjured up images of legendary black women warriors popularized in Western media as “Amazons”. The name was mythic, but an all-female royal regiment of perhaps fifteen hundred “Wives of the Leopard” did once exist in that former West African Kingdom.” (Hambourg, 213). Penn later shot these Dahomey Warriors in a series of beautiful photographs that show the women powdered with white clay and tattooed torsos that represent their culture (Hambourg, pg. 213). Penn traveled around Africa capturing a variety of images from several other cultures and communities in these ethnographic photographs. Penn continued to innovate photography, his techniques and subject matter well into the late 20th century.

A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part Two | PHOTOGRAPHY

Irving Penn | Sohpia Loren 1959


FASHION F ashion and society evolved even more in these decades as the exploration of art, culture, photography and fashion grew. The impact of new artists, designers, and new movements in society and culture influenced the future of fashion. As we discussed in the last section, the Feminist Art movement became an important defining characteristic of this decade and will continue to impact the future. These artists and feminism itself became a main focus for fashion, fashion photography and publications during this time. In the 1960s the women’s movement was in full force, women around the globe—and particularly in North America—were joining together to fight for equality, to fight for social and political change. The Women’s Liberation Movement, also referred to as Second Wave Feminism was most apparent in the 1960s and 1970s. This movement was monumental in transforming society and view of a woman’s societal roles vs a man. Challenging the patriarchy and questioning the defining elements in society throughout history was done by key women who were historians, journalists and women in fashion. Author Liz McQuiston explains the cultural shift and examination that was taking place during this time, “Cultural critiques (perhaps better called power critiques) revealed the extent to which prejudice and sexism were at the root of the visual field. Critical Examinations of such topics as representations of women in art and advertising, and language use (defining sexism in language,


reclaiming words, inventing new words) became part of the revolution’s massive redefinition and revaluation process.” (McQuiston, pg. 78). This statement regarding the visual representation of women in the visual field was significant in these decades. As we explored in the last chapter, there were a few artists such as Yoko Ono and Judy Chicago that produced ground-breaking work that questioned the female landscape and celebrated women creators in the past. There were few landmark activists who made a significant difference in the fight for women’s rights. One of these women, Betty Friedan, wrote The Feminine Mystique published in 1963. This body of writing was a critique on feminism, it interpreted the life of middle-class American women and their role in the home, outlining the American housewife and how her role in the house is equivalent to the role of a man. Countercultures and political activists were emerging among all age groups in society, young people were rebelling against authorities and expressing themselves in a variety of new and different ways. New fashion materialized in hippie and punk cultures emerged in this era, promoting rebellious youth surrounded by drugs, sex and music (McQuiston, pg. 79). Fashion was displayed the political unrest within the community surrounding these issues; “The creative and visual influences affecting these early days of the movement were just as diverse and energetic. Underground youth culture, emanating from the West Coast, had developed a visual identity of its own. Rebellion came in the form of an anti-establishment look: long hair, jeans,

A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part Two | FASHION

Arthur Elgort | Lisa Taylor 1976

Arthur Elgort | Patti Hansen 1975


A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part Two | FASHION

t-shirts, no-bra, flowing see-through fabrics and gypsy-like jewelry. All were a reaction the Eisenhower crewcut, business suit and tie.” (McQuiston, pg. 80). In the 1960’s, London became a fashion capital and icon’s such as Twiggy typified youth fashion, with her “Mod Look” dring youth fashion into a frenzy. Fashion imagery, music, advertising, magazines were all geared towards this new youthquake phenomenon (Bleikorn, pg. 10). Designers like Mary Quant, André Courréges, Pierre Cardin, and Emilio Pucci all designed psychedelic looks that were sprawled across fashion publications—the new miniskirts, bold prints, and mod look were seen across the globe (Bleikorn, pg. 31). Fashion in the 1970s referenced a more natural style, silhouette and features than it had in the past. Natural clothing, hair, and accessories was a response to the new cultural shift on feminism during this decade. After political and social issues rose in the 1960s surrounding the way in which women represented themselves, the trend of natural appearances became more apparent throughout the decade. Researcher Linda Welters explains the progression of this decade’s fashion as “planted in the discontent of postwar America, becoming firmly rooted in the counterculture of the late 60s … (becoming more apparent) among the general population in the early 1970s” (Welters, pg. 490). Style in the 1970s transitioned from the peace and love attitude of the 1960s to an intermediate state as it significantly changed in the 1980s. Hemlines fell, and an emphasis on long-line, clean, conservative silhouettes rose in popularity. It was a decade of “anything goes” in terms of fashion and what designers were creating. This fashion and way of life impacted fashion imagery during these decades, as fashion photography saw an emphasis on the importance of the supermodel and the women in the photograph. Society was bringing attention to the male gaze and began bringing to the forefront of fashion production and publication what was happening behind the scenes. Guy Bourdin often depicted scenes that showed violence against women, showing their vulnerability in a male dominated society. Nancy Hall-Duncan explains how Bourdin shows women’s vulnerability through the photograph by using “The thrown shadows, used repeatedly in Bourdin’s oeuvre, represent the woman’s living nightmare of vulnerability, of being threatened by indistinguishable forms of unseen presences.” (Hall-Duncan, 2010).

“One of the functions of popular art has always been to give people some notion of experiences denied them is reality—a taste of romance, glamour adventure, danger. But perhaps as everyday life becomes more smoothly homogenized, people need splashier, more grotesque vicarious thrills.” —Stephen Farber



Arthur Elgort | Lisa Taylor 1976



Helmur Newton | Elsa Peretti 1975

Terence Donovan | Liese Deniz 1959

Terence Donovan | Julie Christie II 1962

Terence Donovan | Claudia Cardinale 1962


A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part Two | FASHION

Terence Donovan | Leslie MacLennan 1960



Arthur Elgort | Iman 1976

A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part Two | FASHION













R O B E RT R A U S C H E N B E R G 88


Damien Hirst | Veil Painting

PART THREE 1980s to 1990s


“With the booming art market (of the 1980s), a celebrity cult developed that eclipsed all of Warhol’s prophecies. Artists rose to the position of media starts whose trademark determined the market value of their works. The aura was transferred from the person to the work of art, bad art scored record prices as long as it came from the big names … Because the market expanded fast than production capacity.” —Marc C. Taylor 91


Jean-Michel Basquiat | Cabeza 1982

A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part Three | ART


s society continues to evolved, the evolution of art and photography progressed. New artists and designers emerged as technologies changed and design becomes more innovative. We will explore the new artists that emerged during the 1980s and 1990s and understand why their work was so culturally significant. Artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, who was influenced tremendously by a variety of art movements and famous artists of the past, Keith Haring and Banksy, whose graffiti style pop art is famously recognizable today, Jeff Koons, Yayoi Kusama and Damien Hirst whose work also incorporated brilliant installations and sculptures that stand the test of time. Graphic artist Barbara Kruger created riveting pieces during this time that conceptualized the feminist movements and combined text and photography in a new and innovative way. We will explore how these artists questioned societal norms and incorporated new ways of producing art while still being heavily influenced by successful artists of the past. In the 1980s, Neo-Expressionism emerged among artists. Neo-expressionism describes the style of painting that became a new form of Expressionist painting style that we had seen in the past. It was a return to large-scale, figurative painting and sculpture developed in the mid-20th century. Researcher Karen Kurcynski explains “Neo-Expressionist painting was emotionally charged but ironic, often rhapsodic or melancholic, coded and explicitly tactile and sensual … Neo-Expressionist painting is Postmodernist in the sense that it reanimates earlier modernist forms—emotionally expressive gesture, crude or childlike figuration, painting and direct carving as privileged sits of investigation.” (Kurcynski, 2011). Capturing old-time ideologies of ways in which artists practiced art and their subject matters. It was a movement that was far from minimalism and conceptual art. The figurative aspects were aggressive, emotive and were influenced by many movements of the past. Surrealists, Dada, Pop Art and Abstract Expressionists were among the vast variety of influences to these artists. Not formally being its own movement, but a culmination of art style from the past; the work of Neo-Expressionist artists is defined in many ways and differ between each artist and the way they practiced. During this time of Neo-Expressionist art, Street Art and Graffiti rose in popularity among young artists in New York City. Pop culture and society became obsessed with this new art form and the artists that surfaced in during this era. The artists of the 1980s created a new stage for modern and contemporary artists to produce. Jean-Michel Basquiat began creating art at a young age, by twenty-one years old he was already a renowned artist showing his pieces around the world. Basquiat came into stardom in the late 1970s early 1980s and his career was short lived as he died at twenty-seven years old in 1988. His creations went on to become some of the most influential pieces in the 20th century and continue to make millions as they move across the art dealer markets around the world. Basquiat, a young African American artist living in New York City was a contemporary painter with a unique style that referenced subjects and techniques of artists in the past; these artists were role models to him and he learned to admire. Beginning as a street artist practicing graffiti on the streets of NYC, Basquiat—under the alias SAMO—was a star. The art and culture movements were expanding, and art, music and society were ever



JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT This piece, Untitled from 1982 is unequivocally a piece by Jean-Michel Basquiat. It culminates the aesthetic of Basquiat as an artist and the unique imagery that he created while alive. Sold in auction with Sotheby’s in 2017, they describe this piece as “the superlative embodiment of the unprecedented new manner that emerged in Basquiat’s paintings as he channeled the explosive charge of his street art into the first, staggeringly intense canvases of his mature corpus … Untitled offers a ferocious portrait of an artist defined by explosive talent and calamitous brilliance.” (Sotheby’s, 2017)

Top: Jean-Michel Basquiat | Untitled 1982 Bottom: Jean-Michel Basquiat | Boy and Dog in a Johnnypump 1982


A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part Three | ART

“Art to me is a humanitarian act and I believe that there is a responsibility that art should somehow be able to effect mankind, to make the world a better place.” —Jeff Koons changing and becoming increasingly influenced by each other. Basquiat frequented the nightclub scene around NYC, partying with the rich and famous and his friend Andy Warhol (Emmerling, pg. 8). An important societal detail to the development of the 1980s was how Andy Warhol bridged the way for developments in art, music, fashion and design, “As a publisher, Warhol pioneered a very special type of yellow press exemplified by his magazine, Interview. In all of these choices, Warhol paved the way for developments from the 1980s to present day—in which the combination of fashion, design, art and glamour has become self-evident.” (Emmerling, pg. 8). Basquiat had such an impact to the art and design scene during his lifetime and thereafter. His subject matter was rather varied, the paintings would sometimes have a clear message but generally open for interpretation. Serena Connolly examines the themes researched in Basquiat’s work, “Analysis of his paintings has focused on a core set o themes, most notable race, in particular the contemporary treatment of experience of African Americans and also black history … while the issue of race predominates in Basquiat’s art.” (Connolly, 2017). Much of his work focuses on themes of discrimination and power in the United States. When understanding the context of Street Art and the artist that made this practice famous, Keith Haring comes to mind. One of the most famous graffiti artists who emerged during the 1980s in New York City. His pieces represent a culmination of ideas in pop culture and traditional art styles. They are so unique and demonstrate the bridge between high and low art during this time period. Born in the 1950s, as Haring worked through his education and earned his degree, he was highly influenced by a variety of artists throughout history. Artists that produced complex pieces with a variety of mediums. Much like Basquiat during this time, Haring was highly influenced by New York socialites and the underground social scene (Shelton, 2003). Haring’s artwork incorporates graphic elements, and sketch like figures that become the most recognizable elements of his compositions. Researcher Pamela Shelton explores how Haring rejected conventional art movements and notions of art and design to create his own unique style, his interpretation of the social scenes and underground movements influenced a new art form in which was categorically his own. Shelton says, “Haring rejected the imposition of what he considered to be artificial movements, set down as official pigeonholes by the art world’s elite. Art, he felt, was created by all individuals and manifested itself through countless creative, individual acts rather than by only those persons self-designated as artists” (Shelton, 2003). Haring created installations and murals across the city, recognizing the importance of accessibility in his art—understanding that the way to get more exposure on his pieces was to put them in easily accessible spaces, making the compositions visible to all. A popular space that Haring displayed his work was the New York Subway system where he created large-scale pieces. Although influenced by a variety of artists in the past—such as Andy Warhol and his Pop Art style—Har-



Ellen Von Unwerth | Jeff Koons in the Studio 1997

A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part Three | ART

ing succeeded to create his own unique combination of shapes, figures, colours, and subject matter that become so iconic during this time. Jeff Koons is an influential conceptual artist that created installations that referenced topics in popular culture and design. Inspired by artists like Marcel Duchamp, who took everyday objects and manipulated them into a composition and design style like no other. Koons, as described by Blanché Ulrich, “took objects and motifs of everyday art and advertising, then alienated or imitated them by changing them in the manufacturing process, using different materials, and/or playing with dimensions in creating oversized objects that stand in sharp contrast to the original object.” (Ulrich, pg. 39). Much like we will discover with other artists of the late 20th century and into the 21st century, Koons communicates with contemporary culture and art by using the idea of consumer culture and commercialization as an underlying theme in his art and installations (Ulrich, pg. 39). Koons started creating producing pieces in the late 1980s, and much like Andy Warhol in his prime, Koons was a celebrity in the pop culture scene. A group of popular British artists formally known at Young British artists—YBA—are a group of young artists who emerged in the 1980s. They were recognized for their shocking subject matter, adoration for a spectacle and dismissal of traditional materials and medium in the 1980s and 1990s (theartstory, 2021).


Damien Hirst, a Young British Artist, was culturally significant for creating iconic images that engaged with themes of the social phenomena. Hirst often used found object and collage to create installations that were “highly accommodated to the market, and to its status as a luxury commodity for the super-wealthy of our violent unequal capitalist society.” (White, pg.14). The work that Hirst produced follows a “production line” approach, where the pieces fit into a formula of content and design (White, pg. 12). They were although repetitive, but function in the form of modern art and are widely popular during this time. Being exhibited among YBA artists in the late 1980s, all of these artists produced pieces that questioned societal norms. Banksy is another important Young British Artist that surfaced in the late 20th century within the Street Art/Graffiti movement. His pieces, much like Koons, have a strong association with the topic of consumer culture. The way that he chose to display his pieces, the subject matter, and medium all constitute to this relationship he has with consumer culture and representation (Ulrich, pg. 11). Later in this decade, we will explore the importance of art and consumer culture during this time period and how high and low art differentiated between artists and was represented through their subject matter. The majority of Banksy’s art was produced in public settings for public spaces and his street art began popping up around the late

Left: Damien Hirst | Beautiful Apocatequil Narcissism 2006 Right: Damien Hirst | Heart Spinning 2012



Barbara Kruger | Your Body is a Battlegound 1989

A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part Three | ART

1990s, after artists like Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst, who had been practicing in this art style the decade prior. Banksy’s art became increasingly more relevant in the 21st century, he continued to create contemporary pieces that display a variety of cultural values. Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama, is admired for her art trajectory in the mid to late 20th century, creating pieces that are culturally significant, as a Japanese woman, into Western culture. Her pieces cover topics such as racial and cultural stereotypes and gender roles (SooJin, pg.1). It is important to recognize artists like Kusama, we discussed Yoko Ono’s work in the 1960s and 1970s as these female Asian artists were catalysts for representation and the development of new art forms. Kusama cultivated a persona, much like past contemporary artists, that mimicked her art. The aesthetics of the pieces she produced were present in all aspects of her life. To build herself as an artist in the beginning of her career, Kusama studied the practices of other iconic artists of the time; in the 1950s and 1960s Action Painting and Pollock were inspirations for her (Kusama, 2013). Although she created her own unique style that could be differentiated from the others. Many pieces referenced sex and gender ideologies; in the 1960s these soft sculptures that were phallic-like took over her installations, “The nets I was painting had continued to proliferate until they had spread beyond the canvas to cover tables, the floor, the chairs, and the walls … I began making penises in order to heal my feelings of disgust towards sex. Reproducing object, again and again, was my way of conquering the fear … I gave the name Psychosomatic Art” (Kusama, 2013). Kusama went on to create many memorable collections, still extremely significant in

the art world today. Her mind manifested throughout her art as she created exhibitions into the next century that show her development of contemporary art. With the development of Street Art in the 1980s and 1990s and second wave feminism that we discovered in the decade before. There was an emergence of artists that created graphics and pieces that displayed new feminist ideals of this century, it was still important for artists to create pieces that questioned societal norms and feminist values. Albeit a shift happened with these graphics and the way the artists produced their work as activists. The graphics became more aggressive, more direct in their approach and messages (McQuiston, pg. 122). Barbara Kruger, a popular graphic artist in the 1980s, was known for creating many of these provoking images. Kruger was a conceptual artist that used collage to formulate artwork that mixed photography and graphic typography. Her signature style consists of black-and-white photographs set behind bold white on red text elements, “Barbara Kruger was also prominent in the art activism of the 1980s. Her sharply honed and highly distinctive montages of text (often photographic) symbolic images posed questions about consumerism, sexuality and societal values, often with an energy and immediacy that called for action.” (McQuiston, pg. 122). Much like all of these other artists—those discussed and many more that were readily producing—Kruger has similar underlying themes and messages throughout her bodies of work. These messages become clear as society focused on consumerism in advertising, while idea of sexualization, gender stereotypes and racial discrimination were still prominent throughout society.



A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part Three | ART

Yayoi Kusama | Pumpkin 1990


A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part Three | PHOTOGRAPHY

Robert Mapplethorpe | Calla Lilly 1986




Bruce Weber | Madonna, New York 1986

A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part Three | PHOTOGRAPHY


ome of the biggest names in fashion photography became relevant in the 1980s and 1990s. Artists like Robert Mapplethorpe, Annie Leibovitz, Steven Meisel, Patrick Demarchelier, Peter Lindbergh, Cindy Sherman, Herb Ritz and Bruce Weber shot to stardom in the late 20th century. Many of them are still creating iconic images and questioning the perception of fashion today. These artists where key players in the fashion industry, creating images that defined a decade. The big fashion publication was still thriving and producing important content that catapulted the industry into the new millennium. We also see the rise of “niche” fashion magazines in the late 20th century. They often combine art, culture, and fashion. This rise in niche magazines becomes relevant in how the public perceives fashion images, understanding the difference between the images produced for various publications and why. As we continue to explore the role of important fashion photographers, the development of new technology and new forms of media become present in these decades as well as how photographers engage with models. The role of The Supermodel also becomes important in understanding the elite figures in the fashion industry. An iconic fashion photographer of the 1980s was Bruce Weber, his eye for fashion and ability to convey culture and fashion through photography emersed Weber in the culture of fashion and could

observe how society reacted to the changes in fashion. Weber and his contemporaries responded to the “culture of their time” by producing images that reflected the zeitgeist of the 1980s and 1990s (Horyn, 1992). Many of Weber’s images are a visual representation of American culture, his all-American signature is seen on countless advertising campaign for quintessential all-American designers. Designers such as Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren are among the designers which Weber predominantly shot for advertising campaigns and publications (Goldman, 2002). Weber shot many series of photographs for underwear campaigns, where men and women would be shot half-nude and also completely nude. Weber was credited with creating provocative images, particularly ones that placed emphasise on male bodies, accentuating their athletic builds and photographs of American youth. In terms of his relationship with fashion and photography “his casual photographs of handsome and athletic American youth, redefined the contemporary perception of masculinity” (Artnet, 2021). His predominantly black-and-white images defined his photographic style, his images had a narrative approach. He worked with a brand or designer to understand the approach they are going to take on fashion and portray this through his editorial style. Weber continued to create iconic images into the next millennium.

Robert Mapplethorpe was an iconic figure in fashion photography in the 1980s. His depictions of sexuality and examinations of society and the artistic world impacted the world of fashion photography. Much like artists in the past, Mapplethorpe was interested in creating a strong visual identity that was prevalent throughout all of his work, “one of the strongest motivations in Mapplethorpe’s life was his desire for fame. As a visual artist, he understood the importance of creating a dynamic public identity and purposefully adjusted his image to suit his needs.” (Martineau, pg. 3). He was drawn to photographing individuals in the gay community, while visiting the underground New York sex scene, Mapplethorpe would look for models that he could photograph for his collections (Martineau, pg. 4). His photographs were often sexual and served themes of dominatrix-like, S/M images with sexual inuendoes. Throughout his career, Mapplethorpe took stunning photographs which would culminate into a cohesive body of work that defined his art style and characteristics of his personality and the society he was living in, “Mapplethorpe described a process of continual refinement rather than a series of ruptures … Within that cohesive vision, Mapplethorpe enjoyed setting up provocative juxtapositions in order to insist on continuities … Mapplethorpe seemed to have a clear understanding of how to hone, configure, and organize his photographic output throughout his working life”, Mapplethorpe had a vision in how he


A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part Three | PHOTOGRAPHY

produced pieces—unlike traditional photographers that would shoot with advertisements and publications in mind (Martineau, pg. 8). Growing into the artist that he became, Mapplethorpe observed the contemporary art scene and followed the lives of popular artists while beginning to create exceptional compositions of his own. Steven Meisel, an icon of 90s glamour, fashion and sophistication, grew up immersed in the culture of fashion. Graduating from Parsons School of Design, Meisel was an illustrator who understood the ever-changing aspect of fashion and the industry—its ability to transform and adapt to surroundings in various cultures and dominating societies was of utmost interest to him (Horyn, 1992). Meisel was influenced by beauty in his surroundings, with fashion influences and photographic techniques from decades past. He was also praised for choosing a variety of models to shoot throughout his career, choosing models that were ethnically diverse and of all ages to capture the essence of fashion through his photography (Hall-Duncan, 2010). Throughout his career, much like other artists, he created many images that were controversial in subject matter and execution.

“When you’re a fashion photographer, you must inspire a dream.” —Patrick Demarchelier

Peter Lindbergh began his career in fashion in the late 1970s early 1980s. German born Lindbergh was coveted for his natural style to fashion photography, his photographs have simplistic features that focused on key elements within the composition. Ingeborg Thaanum Carlsen writes in Exploring the Critical Issues of Beauty, that “Lindbergh developed on one hand, the trend of making models appear more natural, and on the other, a taste for situating his fashion photography in big, empty, desolate landscapes … his taste for photos that express a great deal without much occurring in them.” (Carlsen, pg. 74). Infatuated with the supermodels in the 1980s, Lindbergh juxtaposes these women into his traditional landscape to create interesting arrangements that were simple yet intriguing. Because of his style of creating simplistic compositions, it could be said that he was projecting his own identity into his images and design style (Carlsen, pg 74). When researching the birth of the supermodel, Lindbergh is one of the catalysts in their careers—shooting models Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Tatjana Patitz, and Christy Turlington for the cover of British Vogue in August, 1988 sending their careers into pop culture stardom (Ahmed, 2019). In November of 1998, Lindbergh shot for the cover of American Vogue, shooting Michaela Bercu for the cover of Ana Wintour’s first cover as Editor-in-Chief. Bercu, in a Christian LaCroix jacket was shot by Lindbergh as his representation of beauty in fashion (Ahmed, 2019). Lindbergh continued to create wonderful images into the 21st century. French photographer, Patrick Demarchelier is a renowned fashion photographer that has shot with countless fashion houses and shot fashion’s most elite. Shooting portraits and campaigns for many fashion publications throughout his career, Demarchelier has worked with some of the most influential artists and figure in fashion. Possibly most iconic of his photographs, is a portrait of Princess Diana as he becomes her personal photographer in 1989 (Berrington, 2012). Demarchelier reminisces on his time with the Princess, “She was funny and kind—but fundamentally she was a very simple women who like very simple things.” (Berrington, 2012). Demarchelier continues to take captivating photographs throughout his career while exhibiting his work numerous times around the world. Much like Demarchelier, American photographer Herb Ritts created stunning photographs that defined a generation in fashion. Ritts’ photographs are defined by his technical expertise; his photos display a range of details “Ritts works on the technical support of the camera itself: the black-and-white offering shades of meaning inside the absolute parameters … He sets up a vocabulary of shapes and shades that admit their reliance on a set of overly erotic gestures, including the deadpan


Steven Meisel | Linda Evangelista 1990


Patrick Demarchelier | Cindy Crawford 1989

impersonalization that he brings back from the edge of cliché” (Molesworth, pg. 39). A prominent figure in the 1980s and 1990s, his most recognizable style are glamourous blackand-white photographs that are bold and sensual— that bears comparison to numerous other iconic and influential photographers that produced before him, all creating these simplistic yet impactful fashion images that define a generation of fashion imagery. Annie Leibovitz, an influential figure in the fashion photography industry, has shot some of the most iconic figures and iconic photographs throughout her career as a photographer. Along her career as a photographer, Leibovitz has established and defined a shooting style that characterize her photographs. Leibovitz has shot in many photographic styles, although she is most notable for her portrait photographs of celebrity figures and high-profile individuals. She is influenced by several photographers in the past, admiring work from artists like Richard Avedon and adapting their style of photography to her own, the “highbrow stylishness” of Avedon’s photography intrigues Leibovitz as she draws connections between the high and low art scene (Molesworth, pg. 33). Much like artists in the past, Leibovitz is a celebrity within the industry—being the photographer to the stars, at events, and for key fashion publications. Leibovitz’ use of colour to show dimension and details throughout her portraiture is impressive, Charles Molesworth explains the association that Leibovitz places on colour and contextual elements throughout her photographs: We are induced to consider the role of esthetic value in Leibovitz’ output. The choice between colour and black-and-white, a central choice in portrait photography, plays its part in her work, for example. The colour photographs of celebrities—Demi Moore, Chris Rock, Brad Pitt, the

Trumps—often strike the viewers as swimming in the wake of the subject’s flash and dazzle. With black and white Leibovitz fares better. The studio portrait of Robert De Niro has his body in profile, seated in a chair with his face looking into the camera, stopping just short of a glare, as if to say he had done this innumerable times before and what could be gained—or lost—from one more shot? (Molesworth, pg. 35). She uses key elements that define these characters to portray them in exciting and interesting compositions. This is a defining element in Leibovitz’ photographs. She delves into a variety of other photographic subjects and photojournalism, although her celebrity portraiture is among her most notable during this decade and into the 2000s. Leibovitz does not disappear when it comes to photography, she only becomes more relevant in the 2000s with her celebrity portraiture shooting some of the most risqué and memorable photographs of the early 21st century. We will continue to explore Leibovitz and her work in the 21st century as social photography becomes the new artistic norm. These artists defined a generation of fashion imagery, from the technical elements within their iconic photographs, to the development of their own signature styles. These artists, much like the fine art artists of this decade, take influence from culture and society to sway their work and ideas. By shooting prominent figures—supermodels and celebrities—they are shot into stardom and regarded as celebrities themselves. Most of these photographers continue to create breath-taking imagery into the 21st century. We will discover that technologies and the traditional definition of photographer changes, a new form of photography emerges and rises to prominence in the way imagery is shot, produced, and displayed in public—while traditional ideals transform.

“If I didn’t have my camera to remind me constantly, I am here to do this, I would eventually have slipped away, I think. I would have forgotten my reason to exist.” —Annie Leibovitz


A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part Three | PHOTOGRAPHY

Annie Leibovitz | Pat Benatar 1981

Annie Leibovitz | Paloma Picasso 1982


Heb Ritts | Versace Dress in El Mirage 1990


A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part Three | PHOTOGRAPHY



Robert Mapplethorpe | Ken Moody and Robert Sherman 1984

A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part Three | PHOTOGRAPHY

Robert Mapplethorpe | Dovanna 1984


A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part Three | FASHION


ashion and society continued to develop in these decades and as the importance of fashion designs on society grew, the relevance of feminism, gender roles, racial stereotypes impacted the art and fashion scene. Important developments in technology effected design and production. As discussed earlier with artists during this decade, many had underlying themes of consumerism and globalization. After exploring this concept of consumer culture, consumption and globalization with artists like Jeff Koons, Banksy and Basquiat, it is important to further understand why this topic was important during this time in history in art and fashion. Blanché described this concept further, “Consumerism generally refers to consumption critique or critique of exaggerated consumption … consumerism is a new form of totalitarianism, because it claims to extend the consumer ideology to the entire world. The results are the threat of the destruction of social life forms and the equalization of cultures through the creation of a global consumerist mass culture.” (Blanché, pg. 20). Artists like Basquiat rose in popularity due to their celebrity-like persona; their work has continued to sell for millions of dollars because of their impact on culture and representation in society. Several times through the last few chapters, the idea of high and low art was presented. It is important to understand the differentiation between both ideas and how they are impacted by society, as this influenced the forms of art that were produced and the way that artists were accepted/represented throughout history. At the core of these opposing definitions of art are fine art and popular art (Cohen, pg. 138). High art—fine art—may attract a different audience, the bourgeoise. These artists cater to a specific audience with a specific perspective on art and society. In many cases the artist creates the work for themselves, “the artist is indeed committed to his work and believes in it, and truly does not think of its success in terms of any connection between his work and any


possible audience … When this artist works, he makes choices and decisions. He decides to do it this way and not that,” researcher Ted Cohen continues to explore this idea and states the artist creates the work and makes the decisions for themselves (Cohen, pg. 138). In the concept of low art, it considers popular culture and the acceptance and perception from the mainstream, focusing on ideas of mass media, consumer culture and consumption. The subject matter of this imagery may also be more vulgar and have a sexual discourse (Cohen, pg. 142).

Steven Meisel | Madonna in Versace 1995

ON 120

Steven Meisel | Madonna in Versace 1995

A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part Three | FASHION


As we continue to discuss the role of women in fashion imagery throughout the 20th and 21st century, in the 1980s the role of The Supermodel was an important aspect of popular culture that illuminated the role of supermodels in the fashion industry. Naming some of the most iconic supermodels in history among those photographed by many of the iconic fashion photographers at this time and published in top fashion publications around the world. These women— Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, and Tatjana Patitz—were among the models that helped to define an era in fashion (Google Arts & Culture, 2021). Photographers like Peter Lindbergh, Herb Ritts, and many more captured these women in all their beauty, placing them on the cover of magazines and on the runway for famous designers around the world. A shift happens in the world of fashion publication during this time, as a rise in niche fashion magazines—a new genre of magazines which emerge in the 1990s with small run prints and high-quality images and production. Ane Lynge-Jorlén writes, “Intrinsic to niche fashion magazines is their complex, and rather elitist, mediation of fashion as ironic, artists and intellectual. (Lynge-Jorlén, pg. 7). These niche magazines in the 1990s often linked art and fashion. They typically had a small print run, although still powered by advertising dollars, would showcase content that was experimental and innovative, not tradition to the mainstream magazine whose

main focus may be to sell clothing through editorials. Style magazines emerged while artists/designer relationships began to develop. Both niche and mainstream fashion magazines were publishing famous photographers, clouding distinction between fashion and art, which niche magazines were known to focus their content on (Lynge-Jorlén, pg. 7). There are defining elements within these niche magazines that make them subsequently important in the world of fashion imagery. They combine all aspects of art and innovation as “experimental aesthetic and innovative graphic design are integral to these titles, which often set new trends in photography, styling, and art direction.” (Lynge-Jorlén, pg. 9). AnOther Magazine is an example of a Niche Magazine. Launched in 2001, AnOther Magazine combines high fashion, art and photography—all of these ideals that are characteristic of a niche magazine. Niche magazines eventually became mainstream, when these magazine’s no longer solely produce fashion photography that display art and culture, they were now incorporating more traditional ideals of a magazine in producing content that is for advertising. Magazines like AnOther effectively bridge the gap between both forms of publication as they became mainstream as a consequence of their own growth while maintain their original goals in layout, design and content production. The development of these forms of contemporary fashion publications comes in the early 21st century, as online and digital media take form in the fashion industry.

“I see things like they’ve never been seen before. Art is an accurate statement of the time in which it is made.” —Robert Mapplethorpe

Top Left: Peter Lindbergh | Linda Evangelista 1990 Bottom Left: Peter Lindbergh | Estelle Léfebure, Karen Alexander, Rachel Williams, Linda Evangelista, Tatjana Patitz and Christy Turlington, 1988 Right: Peter Lindbergh | Kate Moss 1990


A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part Three | FASHION

“If photographers are responsible for creating or reflecting an image of women in society, then, I must say, there is only one way for the future, and this is to define women as strong and independent. This should be the responsibility of photographers today: to free women, and finally everyone, from the terror of youth and perfection.” —Peter Lindbergh 123


Herb Ritts | Stephanie Seymour, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, Tatjana Patitz, Naomi Campbell 1989


Peter Lindbergh | Michaela Bercu, Linda Evangelista and Kirsten Owen 1988

A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part Three | FASHION



Patrick Demarchelier | Cindy Crawford 1987

A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part Three | FASHION

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Left: Ellen Von Unwerth | For Him, Paris 2000 Right: Ellen Von Unwerth | Follow Me, Paris 2004

“From the moment I conceive an image to the moment it is completed, every step along the way, I am interacting with it, changing it, pushing my thoughts and beliefs on to it. That’s as it should be. We want our artists to be thoroughly involved with their work and thoroughly in control of their craft, surely. We want them to have something to say.” —Nick Knight

Left: Nick Knigt | Versace 2003 Right: Nick Knight | Azzedine Alaïa 2003


A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part Four


Nick Knight | Liberty Ross 2013


A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part Four

Mario Sorrenti | Bella Hadid for V Magazine 2017


A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part Four



ith the turn of the millennium comes an influx of new fashion, art and design. The ideals in the fashion

industry surrounding imagery and art forms change as new technologies arise and new designers emerge. There are a variety of new forms of photography and imagery that emerge during this time, we will explore how social media and social photography interpret subjectivity in society through these new popular forms of media, photography and influence from popular culture. Fashion photography can mean several different things to different people, it is the way that photographers can express themselves through all of the different elements in their pieces; the way art has many different meanings based on the artists representation. In the book Digital Fashion Photography by Chris Tarantino and Ken Tan, they state, “The fashion photographer strives to bring all three elements (himself, the model and the product) a liveliness and transcends each one individually” (Tarantino, pg. XIV). As photography continues to be a popular art form in history, can the rise of fashion and the publication of these photos have the same impact that they did in the mid 20th century? “While early fashion photographers focused simply on taking pictures that made both the clothing and model look good, they soon evolved to view fashion photography as a great outlet for expressing their artistic viewpoints” (Tarantino, pg. 4). When exploring the trajectory of fashion imagery into the 21st century, this part will first explore famous fashion photographers and image makers. Some of those


beginning their careers in the late 1990s and continuing to produce ground-breaking imagery into the mid 2000s. With the emerging of social media and social photogra-

phy during this time, a new form of fashion imagery has become prevalent in culture and society. Exploring this new form of fashion photography and defining the new role of the photographer and fashion imagery producer will guide this conversation. In Michele Zappavigna’s article titled Social Media Photography: Construing Subjectivity in Instagram Images, Zappavigna explores the relationship between the new role of a photograph when referencing social media and the viewer. The author defines the term ‘social photography’ relating to the idea of using these social media outlets to publish content related to the user’s everyday experiences (Zappavigna, pg. 283). Zappavigna refers to Instagram as “neo-retro”, because it references instant photography from the past—use of polaroid cameras, for example (Zappavigna, pg. 273). These social media services offer a wide range of services that are user friendly and aid in the sharing and interacting experience; concepting it ‘spreadable media’ in the way the content can easily be accessed and shared. The author explores the interpersonal relationship between Instagram’s representation of users in these social photographers; points of view, focalization, and subjectification are how the author classifies these different user relationships while subjectification explains the interplay between the photographer and the viewer in social photographs (Zappavigna, pg. 284). This research and idea become the basis for this part, as fashion imagery and the way in which photographs are captured change evolved. The traditional


Ellen Von Unwerth | Freshly Bloomed 2015

A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part Four

JUERGEN TELLER Naomi Fry on Juergen Teller’s photographic take on fashion and models; “Rachel Brosnahan striking a dramatic post, taken in Irving Penn-like profile, while balancing precariously on the edge of the road. The lighting is grainy, and the subjects unretouched—their skin often shiny or slightly pitted—and yet this is what makes the pictures works. The actors look real, and they are still attractive, More attractive, even. These weren’t the kind of photos that you’d post on Instagram; they were the kind of pictures that a friend might take of you, upload to their story, and then tag you in.” (Fry, 2021)

Juergen Teller | Kate Moss 2010


“I see through my eyes; the camera is just a machine to record it for me.” —Juergen Teller

role of the photographer shifts and the way that photographs, imagery and popular media are consumed changes. There are several photographers that began their career in the late 1990’s and continued to produce ground-breaking images into the 21st century. Photographers such as, Juergen Teller, Terry Richardson, Mert & Marcus, Inez & Vinodh, David Lachapelle, Craig McDean, Steven Klein, Nick Knight, and many more. These photographers adapted to the new world photographic techniques and standards that were seen across the industry throughout traditional publications and now digital publications. Juergen Teller, one of the leading fashion photographers in the world, produced photographs that were distinguished by their obscurity. Emerging in niche publications such as I-D, his images reflected the zeitgeist of counterculture movements and truly displayed a different approach to aesthetic and design (Fry, 2021). He has continually shot large scale advertising campaign for a range of brands in the fashion industry, including luxury fashion house’s credited for collaborating with iconic fashion photographers in the past. This work combines aspects of art and fashion, which differentiates Tellers work within the industry. Naomi Fry, a writer for The New Yorker explains Teller’s impact on fashion and photography, “Teller’s pictures have always had a seductiveness that emerges not in spirit of but because of their playful, slightly off immediacy. The images have a glamour that relies on a certain level of deglamorization … Teller stylizes the human element without abandoning its rawness.” (Fry, 2021). The aesthetic of Teller’s work is what makes him so unique and differentiates him as an artist, unlike the highly glamorized and stylized photographs taken by some of his peers—like David LaChapelle or Nick Knight. David LaChapelle, the famous American photographer, overtook over the fashion imagery scene in the early 2000s and continues to create and produce wonderful images that convey an aesthetic in photography unseen in the past. His photographs are often star-studded and published throughout the pages of popular fashion publications around the globe. His aesthetic and subject matter is quite different than images published in the past, much like Teller, LaChapelle develops a new surrealistic aesthetic to his photographs that is captivating. Influenced by a range of artist throughout his career, LaChapelle said, in an interview with Elftheria Papis for Adweek, he was asked who he was most influenced by, “Andy Warhol … He didn’t stick to one medium or one look … He never limited himself to what people said he should do or could do or, you know, what a serious artist does or anything like that. He did


A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part Four



David LaChapelle | Sister Moon 2019

A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part Four


David LaChapelle | After the Deluge 2007


David LaChapelle | Mary Magdalene Recieves the Holy Spirit 2019

A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part Four

commercial art.” (Papis, 2005). Among being a renowned photographer, LaChapelle is also a director, an auteur. LaChapelle’s imagery is characterized by his surrealist approach to the sets within his photographs, they provide a unique visual experience to the viewer as they convey a dreamlike phenomenon; “LaChapelle’s fantastic, vivid, and bizarre aesthetic are identifiable traits that run across his multi-media vita of music videos, advertisement, fashion, and fine art photography.” (Kuehn, 2010). Highly glamourous and stylized British fashion photographer Nick Knight pushed the boundaries in fashion imagery since the last 19th century. Creating photographs that demonstrated an innovative and creative approach to fashion photography, his work spanned across a multitude of subject matter’s that were both intriguing and controversial. His photographic style can be defined by his role as “commissioning picture editor for i-D in the 1990s, as i-D was a niche publication publishing work that blurred the line between fine art and fashion (Craven, 2008). Much like his peers, Knight was shooting campaigns for all of the top fashion house’s, adapting their fashion and aesthetics to create captivating images that questioned a traditional fashion photography aesthetic. Similarly to LaChapelle, Knight dived into the role as a director, directing a variety of music videos throughout his career including Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” video in 2011. Amongst directing for high profile celebrities, Knight has captured photographs of these individuals for album covers and for publications as well (Hussien, 2019). In the year 2000, Knight launched his website SHOWstudio. com in which he developed a platform that innovatively explores the fashion process. The aim was “based on the belief that showing the entire creative process from conception to completion is beneficial for the artist, the audience and the art itself.” (Hussien, 2019). He continued to adapt with technology and innovation throughout his career, creating some of the most memorable photographs of all time. In a moment noted in fashion history as “the most pivotal moment in fashion-music-film history”, SHOWstudio live-streamed Alexander McQueen’s last fashion show titled Plato’s Atlantis in 2009, where a single tweet by Lady Gaga sent the internet in a frenzy, crashing the server globally (Morrison, 2014). Robert Polet, in an article for Fashionista Magazine, said about the new evolution of fashion and technology, “It’s the biggest game change we are going to experience and embrace, it’s going to touch every aspect of our business.” (Morrison, 2014). We will continue to explore how this digital revolution that took place during this time has and will continue to influence the future of fashion. Ellen von Unwerth is a German photographer born in the 1950s, whose


Inez & Vinodh | Saint Laurent 2017


A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part Four


career took off in the late 1990’s when she became one of the most esteemed fashion photographers in the world (widewalls, 2017). Known for her black and white images where strong females and feminine ideals are at the forefront. She has shot several iconic images of celebrities that have appeared throughout popular publications in her career. Although known for her back and white images, von Unwerth’s work ranged from dark, moody black and white photographs to highly glamourized full colour shots that grasped the ideals of fashion and fashion photography throughout the turn of the century. Her visual style was apparent throughout all of her work, she began her career as a model herself and transformed into the famed photographer we know today, because of this knowledge “she now possesses a valuable insight of just how it feels to be on either of the sides of the camera. This might very well be the key aspects of this photographer’s work as it allows her to know her practice in-depth and get the absolute maximum out of every picture and model.” (widewalls, 2017). Among the artists that emerged in the late 1990s and continued to create beautiful, fashion forward, worldly photographs were artists such as Mert & Marcus—who were influenced by the artistic style of artists like Guy Bourdin and are known for creating “polished, hyper-saturated images and unapologetic use of digital manipulation, creating fantasies in picture form.” (Lang, 2017). Mert Alas and Marcus Piggot became a showstopping duo that met in the late 1990s, their photographic style is unique in which they share the camera on set trying multiple angles and creative expressions (Lang, 2017). Much like Mert & Marcus, Dutch duo Inez & Vinoodh began their career at a similar time and share the camera and creative genius while producing iconic images that represent the current trends in art and fashion. Known for photographing iconic celebrities, Inez & Vinoodh’s glamourized photography style has been published to the masses in all of the popular fashion publications. There are several other iconic fashion photographers like Mario Testino, Mario Sorenti, Karl Lagerfeld, Alasdair McLellan, Craig McDean, and Steven Klein—as well as photographers from the past who continued to take photographs—who all created iconic fashion photographs that defined a decade in fashion imagery.

Mario Testino | Sasha Pivovarova 2007

In part two, we explored the philosopher Roland Barthes and his definition of the imagery system as intelligible, he noted that the way an image creates a lasting impact is determined by the way the viewer engages with the image and the media. This topic is relevant to revist as the way in which we engage with photographs in the 21st century has evolved, as the role of the photographer has changed. Over the last 60 years the photograph has changed from the traditional form of the medium and a more complex, highly stylized and manipulated digital version. Barthes explores how photographs employ a unique space in history as they directly reflect a specific time and space, whether that be the relevance of a fashion photograph by an esteemed photographer or a personal photograph that you had taken to remember a specific time. The moment in time is memorialized by the act of photography and provides a form of nostalgia for the viewer—defined by the era they live in and how they may be receiving and perceiving the photograph and imagery. Writer Cory Rice studies Barthes’ theory and this notion of photographs embodying a particular space and time, “When we look at a photograph, we are confronted with what Barthes labels ‘having-been-there’ quality of its contents. It is a testament to the existence of a specific thing in a specific place at a specific time. I can paint your portrait from anywhere in the world, but I can photograph you only when you are in front of my camera. Similarly, a photograph offers a view of the world that you will never


Left: Alasdair McLellan | Gigi Hadid 2019 Right: Alasdair McLellan | Kendell Jenner 2018


A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part Four

“We are making photographs to understand what our lives mean to us” —Ralph Hattersley have access to except through the photo … A photograph can only show the past—but it represents it in such a way that it appears in the present. This paradox lends every photograph a touch of nostalgia or longing” (Rice, 2016). This concept that Barthes outlines is important when exploring the new forms of photography in the 21st century, photography—now, more than ever—becomes a way for individuals to capture moments in time and self-publish on new and emerging platforms that archive the photographs for many years to come. With the evolution of digital technology and social media, such as popular networking app Instagram, allows users to self-publish photographs and imagery that put them at the forefront of technology and innovation. Images are captured on smartphones, as opposed to traditional cameras, and relate to one’s everyday experiences. This form of spreadable media allows a user’s followers to watch and engage as their identity unfolds, “A user’s stream of images is an unfolding construal of identity in which the particular phenomena photographed are a presentation of personal style.” (Zappavigna, pg. 273). This publishing of photographs allows for a different type of engagement among viewers, the interpersonal connection among the producer and the viewer is influenced by the platform and the way in which the photograph is taken, “These systems focus on the relationship established between the viewer and the represented participants … the social distance centers on how the participants are framed, with a close-up show realising intimacy and mid to long-range shots realising increasing social distance. The attitude system on the other

hand described the relative subjectivity or objectivity of the image; for instance, the degree of involvement that is realized by the way in which perspective impacts the viewing relationship, with a horizontal ‘front on’ angle construing involvement and an oblique angle construing detachment … the system of contact describes whether the image is making an offer or demand.” (Zappavigna, pg. 276). When it comes to photography in the 21st century and more particularly in the last 10 years, digital photography and imagery is commonly linked to the idea of The Influencer—an individual who employs influence by guiding actions and inspiring others through social media (Merriam-Webster, 2021). These figures became and continue to become the new celebrity of this generation, individuals with a cult following blog about their lives by posting photographs on social media platforms for the world to see. Italian native Chiara Ferragni is the definition of fashion entrepreneur and influencer. Beginning her career in the industry with a fashion blog in 2009, Ferragni continued to grow her following on social media and through her blogging career for many years to come, she began to capitalize on collaborations with brands around the world by using social media to create a global business (Sanderson, 2019). There are many influencers and fashion entrepreneurs like Ferragni who have put themselves at the forefront of modern-day fashion imagery, fashion photographs from renowned photographers are no longer at the forefront of the industry. Influencers and self-published fashion entrepreneurs are we—as the viewer—consumes fashion imagery.



A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part Four

Steven Klein | Lady Gaga for V Magazine 2016













A Study of Fashion Imagery: Part Four


Inez & Vinodh | Anna Ewers 2017


Steven Klein | Lady Gaga 2009

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(Pg.145 - 146) Mario Testino (Photographer). (2007) Sasha Pivovarova [Photograph], retrieved from https://www.mariotestino.com

(Pg. 117) Robert Mapplethorpe (Photographer). (1984) Ken Moody and Robert Sherman [Photograph], retrieved from https://magazine.artland.com/a-history-of-fine-art-photography%E2%80%A8/ (Pg. 118) Robert Mapplethorpe (Photographer). (1984) Dovanna [Photograph], retrieved from https://www.anothermag.com/ art-photography/gallery/2974/robert-mapplethorpe-fashion-show/2 (Pg. 120) Steven Meisel (Photographer). (1995) Madonna in Versace [Photograph], retrieved from https://pleasurephotoroom. wordpress.com/tag/steven-meisel/page/5/ (Pg. 121) Peter Lindbergh (Photographer). (1990) Linda Evangelista [Photograph], retrieved from https://www.artsy.net/artwork/ peter-lindbergh-linda-evangelista-paris-france-1990 (Pg. 121) Peter Lindbergh (Photographer). (1988) Estelle Léfebure, Karen Alexander, Rachel Williams, Linda Evangelista, Tatjana Patitz and Christy Turlington [Photograph], retrieved from https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-peter-lindbergh-photo-launched-90s-supermodel-era (Pg. 121) Peter Lindbergh (Photographer). (1990) Kate Moss [Photograph], retrieved from https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-peter-lindbergh-photo-launched-90s-supermodel-era

(Pg.147 - 148) Alasdair McLellan (Photographer). (2019) Gigi Hadid [Photograph], retrieved from https://www.alasdairmclellan. com/photographs/ (Pg.147 - 148) Alasdair McLellan (Photographer). (2018) Kendell Jenner [Photograph], retrieved from https://www.alasdairmclellan. com/photographs/ (Pg.149 - 150) Craig McDean (Photographer). (2019) Ariana Grande for Givenchy [Photograph], retrieved from https://www. prestigeonline.com/id/style/fashion/arivenchy-givenchy-arianagrande/ (Pg.151 - 152) Steven Klein (Photographer). (2016) Lady Gaga for V Magazine [Photograph], retrieved from https://taylorbazinet.com/ spotlight-steven-klein/ (Pg.153 - 154) Inez & Vinodh (Photographer). (2017) Anna Ewers [Photograph], retrieved from https://fashioneditorials.com/ vogue-paris-november-2017-anna-ewers/ (Pg.155) Steven Klein (Photographer). (2009) Lady Gaga [Photograph], retrieved from https://taylorbazinet.com/spotlight-steven-klein/

(Pg. 123 - 124) Herb Ritts (Photographer). (1989) Stephanie Seymour, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, Tatjana Patitz, Naomi Campbell [Photograph], retrieved from https://www.sothebys.com/ en/search?query=herb%20ritts&tab=objects (Pg. 125 - 126) Peter Lindbergh (Photographer). (1988) Michaela Bercu, Linda Evangelista and Kristen Owen [Photograph], retrieved from https://www.lensculture.com/articles/peter-lindbergh-the-importance-of-being-more-than-a-fashion-photographer (Pg. 127 - 128) Patrick Demarchelier (Photographer). (1987) Cindy Crawford [Photograph], retrieved from https://www.vogue. co.uk/gallery/style-file-cindy-crawford?image=5d548178c6ae3400088a75ad (Pg.129) Ellen Von Unwerth (Photographer). (2000) For him, Paris [Photograph], retrieved from https://www.staleywise.com/artists/


Claudia Milana 157

Herb Ritts | Karen Alexander 1989

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A Study of Fashion Imagery: How Art and Photography Influence the Future of Fashion  

This text is a culmination of my research of fashion imagery since the mid 20th century, it explores how it has evolved since the 1940s and...

A Study of Fashion Imagery: How Art and Photography Influence the Future of Fashion  

This text is a culmination of my research of fashion imagery since the mid 20th century, it explores how it has evolved since the 1940s and...


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