If you’re looking for fashion photography which borders on the uncanny, take a look at Jenny Boot’s (https://www.riseart.com/artist/65133/bootjenny) magnificent creations. Boot began her career as a painter but switched to the medium of photography upon realising that it allowed her to better express her feelings. The use of light and dark in her fashion photography is truly striking and leads to intense and fascinating images.
For a dynamic take on the genre, explore the work of Cody Choi (https://www.riseart.com/artist/40380/cody-choi), whose career as a dancer led him to his work as a photographer where he regularly depicts ballet dancers performing explosive moves. The result is stunning photographs which capture not only the overall movement of the dancers’ bodies, but also the minute movements in their clothing and hair.
The earliest known examples of fashion photography dates back to the 1850s in the Court of Napoleon III. The use of the medium of photography as an advertising tool became popular in the early 20th century when fashion itself became more accessible. The first two fashion magazines – Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue – were initially illustrated by hand. This continued up until 1913, when Baron Adoph de Meyer was hired to shoot portraits of models, actresses and aristocrats for Vogue – from which point onwards, photographs began to be used in fashion editorials. Nowadays, fashion photography serves not only as a functional tool in advertising, but also as an art form for aesthetic pleasure.
With the assistance of the photographic medium, well-known designers such as Chanel and Balenciaga were able to become known for their distinctive styles. Photographers from the world over, such as Cecile Beaton and Edward Steichen, flocked to Paris which was quickly becoming the epicentre of the fashion world.
Post-WWII, the fashion world underwent dramatic changes and numerous new designers emerged in the 50s and 60s. Models also took on new significance with the likes of Twiggy becoming household names. New approaches to fashion photography thus followed and some of the most well-known names in the industry made their mark on history. Contrived studio shots gave way to an aesthetic that was more fluid, spontaneous and energetic. The two most influential photographers to emerge at this time were Richard Avedon and Irving Penn, who adopted a minimalist aesthetic which had a profound impact upon the genre.
A decade later, social changes of the 70s such as feminism heavily influenced the industry and representations of women and female photographers lent the likes of Vogue a brand-new perspective. From the 70s, the concept of ready-to-wear clothing took hold and by the 80s the industry was booming on an international scale, due to rampant consumerism and huge numbers of ad campaigns. Men’s fashion grew into its own industry too, with photographers such as Bruce Weber, who were known for their work with brands such as Calvin Klein, being credited with bringing new perspectives to the concept of masculinity.
Today, the distinction between commercial work and art have become increasingly blurred. The work of many contemporary artists is characterised by a sense of Surrealism, for instance that of Roxanne Lowit and Juergen Teller whose use of digital manipulation offers the viewer escapism from the everyday reality, through the shining world of high fashion and beautiful people.