January 10, 2004

The decline of fashion photography. An argument in pictures, by Karen Lehrman.

(via Warren Ellis's badsignal mailout)

  • I never read these magazines, but I have a recent art book I purchased (a few years ago) featuring some fashion photographers and I was very impressed. Sometimes it can be hard to discern it from the art photographers. When looking back it's easy to remember the best and forget the sheer volume of bland crap. Of course I remember an interview Ali G did of some fashion designer who was so full of shit it was amazing.
  • Interesting, yes. (thanks dng) Plumped up the file of self-referential arts/axes-to-grind. Certainly. Also, Ali G is hilarious.
  • I was glad to see my rather pedestrian gripe with fashion photography on slide 23: they usually don't show us the damn clothes.
  • I don't really have much interest in fasion photography, although I do occasionally buy Dazed and Confused, which is probably the worst offender for fashion photography pretensiousness (or whatever the word is). So why did I post it? Cos of this beautiful image, mainly, and also because I thought it was an interesting (and particularly relevant) way of discussing the subject. (I'm not sure why I feel the need to justify my posting reasons tonight - I never have done before - Sorry.)
  • DNG - yes, that drawing is lovely, and the girl with Bette Davis eyes in the first image on the web site is striking, but I have to wonder what the reasons for artful fashion photography amount to. When I read Vogue in the '60's, I knew I could never buy the haute couture they were presenting and just looked for interesting articles. I soon got bored with it, photography notwithstanding. Seems to me that there isn't a big enough circulation base for the kind of high fashion they've presented, whether then or now. The images criticized as being not better than catalogues probably have more to do with people who might actually subcribe and buy the clothing. (Though I think paying bunches of money for branded T-shirts and cargo pants or jeans is silly.) The anorexic, druggie, punk themes that they display certainly don't resonate with the women who just have to go out and succeed in the job market. I know this isn't the fault of the artists who take the pictures, but maybe the only way fashion photographers will do well now is if they treat it as art, separately from the mags that are trying to sell someting else.
  • I've never seen a bought
  • damn italics
  • Yes. What Mackerel said. I haven't read a fashion magazine since my teens. I'd never really thought about why that was, until I read her arguments about the way models are portrayed as weak an unsophisticated. Very few of us can afford the clothes, and probably fewer can match up to the unrealistic body types portrayed; if there is nothing else with which to identify or admire, why bother?
  • What Dr. Zira said and Mackerel also, though, and not excluding myself but, I'm XY here. I have this nebulous theory that all of culture (fashion photography too of course) is becoming "2 fast 2 furious". Only shock and "action", at plots expense. Well, shock, action, and tits.
  • MonkeyFilter: Shock, Action and Tits
  • Hmm...I remember stumbling across this site a long time ago, and halfway through realized that I could only tell if the picture was an example of a "good" or "bad" picture by reading the caption. I found about 50% of the pictures the site calls good to be bad, and 50% of the pictures the site calls bad to be good. Perhaps it's less the "decline of fashion photography" and more the "divergence of fashion photography from the site author's tastes".
  • bugbread My sentiments exactly. But this phenomenon is representative of any artistic critique. A good critic should realize that and at least phrase the critique accordingly. It is annoying to read critiques presented as universal revelations.
  • Bugbread - I was gonna say that last night. My favourite photographs on that site were from a photographer she decided to criticise exclusively. I thought they were well-shot, candid and humourous. I was going to say that, but I got drunk instead. Sweet, sweet 6x.
  • Pictures may be worth 1000 words but I think there's a reason we don't argue with them much. Especially, argue about them with them. Anyway, how can you tell if modern photographs have 'transcended time and place'? Is the author saying anything beyond how commercialism and 'the business' is ruining art? Nothing against the posting, mind you. Obviously it has already stimulated some interesting discussion. If you're into photography and society, you might try this instead.
  • Wait a minute BBF, you mean there's a chain of pubs!? I mean, I guess that makes sense and all. It just never ocurred to this usian monkey.
  • BearGuy there are pub chains in USA, at least in Las Vegas there are...pathetic!