The Importance of Fashion Photography

Preview released a journal entry on The Importance of Fashion Photography.

Photography plays a major role in global fashion culture and its industry and is commanding an increasing share of public consciousness. My memory of fashion is almost certainly through fashion photography and its publishing, rather than fashion itself.

The article discusses how willing we are to take fashion into a serious visual and cultural discourse – beyond its aesthetics and beauty.

Over the last few decades fashion images have engaged with new technology and proved politically and aesthetically provocative, economically useful, and ideologically powerful.

Our everyday lives are oversaturated with fashion images, magazines and blogs. The amount of fashion editorial production and publishing seems to now almost equal that of daily newspapers.

The journal states, ‘Fashion image is less a result of individual minds than a product of a variety of variables surrounding its production, publishing and consumerism.’

Although they discussed the relevance of fashion photography, I feel that in some cases the imagery and often juxtaposition of two seemingly contrasting genres helps to raise ethical questions. I therefore feel that sometimes this photography can aid the universal understanding of what is going on in the world at a given time: looking at the good, the bad and the ugly of current issues in society.

Fashion can be a conduit for ideas, there’s always a message beyond, some kind of cultural comment. I’m sometimes not directly aware of it, if I get a connection with it or a strong feeling/emotion towards it, then I know that something is being communicated.

An example of this is Camilla Nickerson’s body of work as a fashion editor and stylist. The journal explains that in 1996, Camilla captured the mood of the 90s in her book, Fashion: Photography of the Nineties. Its editorial strategy was to juxtapose fashion images with counterparts from the world of art and therefore display the influence of darker and more subversive ideas on styles of fashion photography in those years. I feel that it blurs the lines of fashion photography and fine art and therefore deals with its ongoing issues of irrelevance and importance, triviality and value.

From this article, I learnt that understanding fashion photography as a serious medium of expression means not only including a constant view and reflection on the world but to also certainly exclude our self-made boundaries within contemporary culture. Besides the massive amount of printed and online media on fashion photography circulating throughout our world, I don’t know about you, but I feel that critical accounts of fashion photography are a lot harder to find.

What do you think is the current importance of fashion photography?


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