Fashion photography is a genre of
photographydevoted to displaying clothingand other fashionitems. Fashion photography is most often conducted for advertisements or fashion magazines such as "Vogue", "Vanity Fair", or "Allure". Over time, fashion photography has developed its own aestheticin which the clothes and fashions are enhanced by exotic locations and story lines.
Photography was developed in the 1830s, but the earliest popular technique, the
daguerreotype, was unsuitable for mass printing. [cite web | url=http://www.aidan.co.uk/article_fashion1.htm|title="History of Fashion Photography" at aidan.co.uk|accessdate=2006-09-09] In 1856, Adolphe Braun published a book containing 288 photographs of Virginia Oldoini, Countess de Castiglione, a Tuscan noblewoman at the court of Napoleon III. The photos depict her in her official court garb, making her the first fashionmodel. [Abigail Solomon-Godeau, "The Legs of the Countess." October 39 (Winter 1986): 65-108. Reprinted in Fetishism as Cultural Discourse, Emily Apter and William Pletz, eds. (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1993):266-306.]
In the first decade of the 20th century, advances in
halftone printingallowed fashion photographs to be featured in magazines. Fashion photography made its first appearance in French magazines such as "La mode practique". In 1909, Condé Nasttook over "Vogue" magazine and also contributed to the beginnings of fashion photography. Special emphasis was placed on staging the shots, a process first developed by Baron Adolf de Meyer, who shot his models in natural environments and poses. "Vogue" was followed by its rival, " Harper's Bazaar", and the two companies were leaders in the field of fashion photography throughout the 1920s and 1930s. House photographers such as Edward Steichen, George Hoyningen-Huene, Horst P. Horstand Cecil Beatontransformed the genre into an outstanding art form. Europe, and especially Germany, was for a short time the leader in fashion photography.
World War IIapproached the focus shifted to the United States, where "Vogue" and "Harper's" continued their old rivalry. House photographers such as Irving Penn, Martin Munkacsi, Richard Avedon, and Louise Dahl-Wolfewould shape the look of fashion photography for the following decades. The artists abandoned their rigid forms for a much freer style. In 1936 Martin Munkacsi made the first photographs of models in sporty poses at the beach. Under the artistic direction of Alexander Brodovich, the "Harper's Bazaar" quickly introduced this new style into its magazine.
Fashion photography today
After the deaths of
Richard Avedon, Helmut Newtonand Herb Ritts, some of today's most famous fashion photographers are Patrick Demarchelier, Steven Meisel, Mario Testino, Ellen von Unwerth, Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, Juergen Teller, and Rankin.
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