Though this issue’s title appears in quotation marks, the intention is not to be ironic, or to suggest skepticism. Rather, the quotes allude to image quotation and reference, which are part and parcel of any creative act but are essential to the world of fashion.
Untitled (nude and ants) (1988) is the first thing one sees upon walking into my studio. It’s sitting on a table sculpture I made with Kelley Walker. David Wojnarowicz was an early influence for me. Growing up in Tennessee before the Internet, discovering art, music, and writing was a slow process.
This is the image I share with students when I discuss the work of Mierle Laderman Ukeles—a defining artist in the history of performance, feminism, and socially engaged art who has been the official artist in residence with New York City’s Department of Sanitation for more than three decades.
For decades, the photography lover cherished looking at an 8-by-10-inch contact print. Rich with information, the contact print was the be-all and end-all. However, in the final years of the twentieth century, the possibility of grand scale and moving things around in a picture digitally became real options.
“Oops,” in analog days, was a word seldom uttered during the distribution of photographic images. Today, it only takes one errant tap of a touch screen for an image intended for a single pair of eyes to go wildly astray or viral, with no turning back.
In the coming months, families will start moving into the first houses in the new Palestinian city Rawabi, north of Ramallah, which is planned to be the home of forty thousand people. Endurance, my new 16mm film, is based on the measurement of space in one of Rawabi’s model apartments, and was made without using a camera.
Whenever I’m asked to make a list, I have the desire to formulate some sort of manifesto. I like rules and guidelines, as in Lars von Trier’s filmmaking movement “Dogme 95” (the film must be in color, the shooting must be done on location, and so on).
In 1975, George Eastman House curator William Jenkins stood in the back room at New York’s Sonnabend Gallery with Ealan Wingate, then director of the gallery, and video artist and photographer William Wegman, who was accompanied by his dog named Man Ray.
Guest editors Inez & Vinoodh have collaborated for more than twenty-five years, creating an uncommon range of distinctive fashion imagery, fueled by a curiosity about the flexibility and possibilities of photography. Here, writer Donatien Grau reflects on how their powerful creative union underscores their restless output.
Fashion photography can be a nostalgic business, but Emmanuelle Alt’s appetite for the unexpected and glamorous keeps her in the vanguard of taste. A forty-seven-year-old stylist who learned her trade at French Elle, Alt is celebrated for reinvigorating the industry’s tired ’70s fashion clichés with surprising, sporty modernity since joining its most prestigious magazine, Vogue Paris, as fashion director in 2000.
Fashion photography has been an incubator for innovation and cultural reflection, especially in the '60s, '70s, and '90s, decades of remarkable activity. What forces shaped the field in the cautious post-9/11 decade? In the 1990s, I interviewed many of the photographers, stylists, and art directors who shaped that decade’s most creative fashion narratives.
The documentary tradition has influenced the work of many fashion photographers, but the interaction between the two fields is far from simple. Documentary photography has long been mined by fashion photography as an antidote to glamorous, fantasy-driven imagery.
Brief, non-narrative films make up a burgeoning area of fashion image making today. How do these films reference the conventions of their sister form, still photography? From Bob Richardson, Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin, and Deborah Turbeville to Steven Meisel, Glen Luchford, and others, fashion photographers in the past few decades have often emulated the aesthetics of cinema.
The Dutch photographer and filmmaker Ed van der Elsken (1925-90) photographed people. He was drawn from the beginning to characterful individuals, and he roamed the streets of his native Amsterdam and, later, Paris, Hong Kong, and Tokyo, seeking them out; over the course of his forty-year career he made dozens of photobooks and films in which his personal and professional lives were inextricably intertwined.
The images in these pages comprise a tiny selection of the extraordinary visual culture produced by Shiseido, the Japanese purveyor of beauty products. Founded as a pharmacy in Tokyo’s fashionable Ginza district in 1872 by Arinobu Fukuhara, and now the fourth largest cosmetics company in the world, Shiseido has always had a strong relationship with photography.
We would have never thought that Balthus used Polaroids as studies for his paintings, and were blown away by the show of them last year at Gagosian Gallery. These photographs show his way of working on composition and on the body language of the girls he painted.
Every fashion designer is consistently delving into the past, basing a collection on a string of memories, like shoulder pads worn by clubbers in the ’80s or the platform shoes David Bowie put on when he performed as Ziggy Stardust. Our photography stems from a similar nostalgia.
The year 1980 saw the birth in London of The Face and i-D, two independently published and quintessentially British magazines. i-D was the invention of former British Vogue art director Terry Jones, and The Face was created by former NME (New Musical Express) editor Nick Logan.
Though Margaret Durow came of age surrounded by digital sensors, the twentyfour-year-old Wisconsinite prefers the aesthetic of 35mm celluloid. Inez & Vinoodh discovered her work on Instagram and praise her lighting and the feeling of "solitude but not loneliness.”
Daniel Arnold worked as a writer before switching to photography, but the mark of a storyteller is felt in his photographs, made on New York’s streets and subways. Following in the tradition of street photographers of decades past who organized chaotic urban life into harmonious frames, Arnold creates images that are comedic, surreal, and sometimes a little scary.
Along with Funny Face (Stanley Donen, 1957) and Eyes of Laura Mars (Irvin Kershner, 1978), Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow-Up (1966) is an essential fashion-photography film. Based on a Julio Cortázar short story, the film features actor David Hemmings as Thomas, a swaggering fashion photographer working in mod-era London, a character loosely modeled after several photographers including David Bailey.