Fashion Photographer (4)

When Did Fashion Photography Start?

Table of Contents
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    The first documented fashion photographs were taken in the 1850s, at the court of Napoleon III. However, it wasn't until the early 20th century that photography became widely used as an advertising technique, when fashion itself became available to a wider audience. Harper's Bazaar and Vogue were two of the first fashion journals, both established in the late 1800s, and both originally featured hand-drawn illustrations. Check out our extensive list of Wedding Photographers in Melbourne to help capture your special moments.

    Photographs were not used in fashion editorials until 1913, when Vogue editor Condé Nast commissioned German photographer Baron Adolph de Meyer (1868-1946) to take images of models, actresses, and nobles. In the early 20th century, publications rose to prominence as a result of an uptick in their number of collaborations with designers. The widespread availability of ready-to-wear brands and department stores facilitated the spread of fashion trends over the world.

    Rising couturiers of the 1920s and 1930s including Chanel, Balenciaga, Schiaparelli, and Lanvin all benefited from photography to help publicise their designs. There were a plethora of new designers that entered the fashion scene in the years following the end of World War II, and the fashion industry as a whole saw profound transformations. Twiggy, Jean Shrimpton, and other models like them rose to prominence as a result. With these shifts, new photography approaches developed, and some of the most well-known personalities in fashion photography left their mark on history.

    By the middle of the 1950s, fashion photography had adopted a new approach that was more free-flowing, spontaneous, and lively, as opposed to the stiff, posed studio photos and static models of the previous decades.

    William Klein (American, b.1928), Norman Parkinson (British, 1913–1990), Lillian Bassman (American, 1917–2012), and David Bailey (Australian, 1912–1999) were among the most influential members of this new generation (British, b.1938). Both American photographers Richard Avedon (1923-2004) and Irving Penn (1917-2009) are often cited as two of the most important contributors to the development of the minimalist aesthetic that has come to define the field of fashion photography.

    The fashion business and the portrayal of women were affected by societal shifts, especially feminism, in the 1970s. Photographers like the French-born Sarah Moon (1941), the American Deborah Turbeville (1937-2013), and the American Eve Arnold (1913-2012) gave magazines like Vogue and Harper's Bazaar a new point of view.

    The German photographer Helmut Newton (1920-2004) created controversial works that pushed the envelope with their explicit sexuality and blatant sexuality. The Great Depression in the United States, along with the introduction of jeans, ushered in a period of simpler, more relaxed dress for both sexes. The ready-to-wear movement, also known as prêt-a-porter, gained popularity in the '70s and '80s. By the 1980s, fashion had become a multibillion dollar global industry, propelled by a barrage of print and broadcast media promoting a culture of excessive consumption.

    Photographer Patrick Demarchelier captured the enduring allure of supermodels like  Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford, and Naomi Campbell (French, b.1943). Photographers like Herb Ritts (American, 1952-2002) and Bruce Weber (American, b.1946), who are recognised for their work for companies like Armani and Calvin Klein, are credited with introducing new perspectives to the concept of masculinity, which helped men's fashion flourish into its own industry.

    Whether we realise it or not, or whether you like it or not, fashion photography is the guiding force behind everything we see and do in the world, from the internet to print media to advertising campaigns to billboards. It's meant to be attention-grabbing and conveys a vision of the photographer's way of life, outlook, subjects, style, cosmetics, and hair. This page will give you a brief history of how everything got started.

    According to some, fashion journals like La mode pratique (1898), Harper Bazaar (1867), and Vogue (1910) helped give birth to fashion photography as a distinct subgenre of photography in the 19th century (1892). Success in photography and screen printing allowed for the birth of these periodicals. In an effort to differentiate their publications from the pack and attract readers interested in fashion and style, magazine editors began featuring photographs instead of on-trend printing. Many photographers who made their names in the field of fashion photography thanks to their work with these editors. The enormous increase in popularity of fashion photography throughout the 20th century gave the genre a new standing at its end of the century. These days, fashion shows and runway collections are considered major events in the industry.

    New York City was the epicentre of the fashion industry and fashion photography until the late 1930s. World-famous photographers of the time flocked to the County. New York City, the city where fashion magazines were first published, quickly caught up in the fashion photography competition. New York is home to many famous people, including photographers like Edward Steichen, Cecil Beaton, and the Hungarian-born Martin Mukanshi. In a field that had hitherto relied solely on static and conventional positions, Mukanshi was the first to introduce motion.

    Fashion photography, like any other type of photography, has its own guiding philosophy. A fashion photograph is one of a kind because it blends elements of documentary photography with artistic expression.

    Theorist Roland Barthes identifies three overarching tendencies in the field of fashion photography. In the first place, these images are taken straight from the catalogue and reflect clothes as it would appear on a model. The second is linked to idealised presentation; in this case, fashion serves as a metaphor for a past in which life imitates art. The third fad is a style that has reached the extreme of absurdity. The model is shown in an irregular circumstance or an unrealistic contrast, where there is no romance, no explanation, and pure insanity rules. To a greater or lesser extent, Bart agrees with the characteriszation of fashion photography as an exorcism in which the ultimate goal is to create a "outrageous" image.

    Many of the earliest fashion photographers were well-to-do intellectuals who could afford the high cost of cameras and printed photographs. The Countess of Castiglione Virginia, a Tuscan noblewoman at the court of Napoleon III, is featured in 288 images from the earliest collection of fashion photography, which was released in 1856 by Adolphe Braun. Condé Nast, owners of the Journal, acquired Vogue in 1909. He intended for it to become a leading publication in the fashion industry. He enlisted the help of European photographer Baron Adolf de Meyer to get the job done.

    The fact that you're working for a fashion magazine now doesn't change the fact that back then, people saw that as selling out to the financial interests of the industry rather than the principles of high art. Photographer Edward Steichen, encouraged by Lucien Vogel, the Jardin des Modes, and La Gazette du Bon Ton, made the decision in 1911 to utilise the images to elevate fashion to the level of fine art. Next, Steichen photographed gowns for fashion designer Paul Poiret, which appeared in the April 1911 issue of Art et Décor. People have argued that these pictures should be considered the pioneering works of modern dress. Working with Steichen allowed Vogue to debut its first colour cover photograph in 1932. It was at that point that photography became the magazine's only focus. Vogue was eventually followed by Harper's Bazaar. In the 1920s and 1930s, both of these firms dominated the market for fashion photographs. In particular, Vogue catapulted the careers of numerous groundbreaking photographers, including Meyer, Steichen, Cecil Beaton, Horst P. Horst, Toni Frissell, and dozens more. photography into an outstanding form of art.

    The Start Of An Era

    Photographer in a session with a model

    Some may argue that the birth of photography coincided with a society's growing interest in apparel. That's the end product. There were the first photographs of people dressed in the latest styles. But possibly more influenced the development of fashion photography. When did, for instance, the photographs of fashionable people wearing and modelling those things become a subject in and of itself? One can gain insight into the photographers, periodicals, designers, and models who contributed to today's cultural phenomenon by looking back at the evolution of fashion photography.

    Adolphe Braun produced a book in 1856 including the images of Virginia Oldoini at the court of Napoleon Bonaparte in France, marking the beginning of the fashion photography industry. Oldoini, a Tuscan noblewoman, was the first model of her era, being known as Countess di Castiglione for her work in displaying the latest fashions. The 1880s, however, were the heydey of American fashion design. The expansion of the fashion industry encouraged the publication and distribution of fashion magazines as well as the development of retail outlets where consumers could buy ready-to-wear collections from designers all over the world.

    Early Twentieth Century

    Edward Jean Steichen, a famous Luxembourgish photographer, had a significant role in the development of fashion photography. He popularised shooting a single model in different locations. Steichen began working for the magazine "Art and Decoration" as a fashion photographer in 1911. His photographs highlighted the beauty of his models. He also pioneered the use of sidelights on photographic settings, earning him the title of "father of the modern fashion photoshoot."

    In the early 20th century, technological advancements in printing allowed fashion publications like Vogue and Harper's Bazaar to incorporate fashion photography into their print editions. Fashion photographers have so taken the position of fashion illustrators in the role of depicting magazine fashion spreads. Man Ray, a photographer of the time, developed a technique that drew inspiration from Salvador Dali's surrealist beliefs. The surrealist movement emerged in the early 1920s and juxtaposed surrealist dreamscapes with everyday life. Ray would experiment with the models' subconscious by changing the lighting during photo shoots.

    Baron de Meyer, sometimes known as the "Debussy of the Camera," was an early fashion photographer. De Meyer complemented the sensuality of each model with an air of formality, thanks to his use of distinctive soft illumination. In addition, he tried forth variations on the Art Nouveau style by imbuing each figure with fantastical undertones. During this time, men's fashion was just as fashionable as it was for women, although male models were rarely shot.

    The Mid-Twentieth Century

    Photographers in the fashion industry after WWII abandoned their love of clean, traditional compositions in favour of more freewheeling, glamorous images. Photographers started working with fashion designers to help them promote their new ranges. The French fashion designer Christian Dior, for instance, introduced a new silhouette for his models that included tighter clothing at the waist and more flowing skirts and pants below. His "New Look" was wildly successful both domestically and internationally.

    In the 1960s, photographers of women's fashion began to emphasise loose, flowing garments as a representation of a more liberated lifestyle. Clothing was also more vivid and eye-catching due to the use of vibrant colours and striking patterns. Those iconic photographs of the English model Twiggy in her minidresses are impossible to forget. The transition from traditional to modern style influenced the hippy aesthetic. The 1970s saw a shift in the way women's fashion was photographed, with a greater focus on their sensuality.

    Fashion Photography's Evolution

    Fashion photography may seem like it has always been as inventive and diverse as any other art form, but this wasn't always the case. Over the past century, the medium has laboured to prove its worth as a viable means of expression; here, we explore the key developments that helped define the genre.

    Some of the most famous fashion advertising campaigns have become as well-known as the brands they were created to promote. These outstanding representations of a designer's work manage to do so in such a way as to give the designer's brand an entirely new layer of meaning. Great ads go beyond the actual apparel and help tell a tale all their own, thanks to elements like the model picked, the styling of their attire, the set design of the shot, or the photographer.

    However, good photo editorials can evolve through time; just like other artistic mediums, fashion photography goes through "movements" that are shaped by the work of its most prominent artists and the values of the times. We've taken a look back at some of the most pivotal events in the history of photography over the past century to help you better comprehend both of these phenomena and appreciate how we got to where we are now.

    From its inauspicious beginnings at the turn of the twentieth century, what follows is a journey through the glitz, rebellion, art, and commercialism of the previous century to see how a whole industry's art was defined.

    Edward Steichen And The Condé Nast Years, 1910–1934

    Many people consider Edward Steichen to be the person who first started taking photographs of fashion as we know it today. Steichen decided to use photography to elevate the status of the fashion industry to that of high art after a friend allegedly dared him to do so. He accomplished this by photographing various evening gowns designed by the famed French fashion designer Paul Poiret; these images appeared in the April 1911 issue of art et Décoration.

    They are sometimes cited as the earliest examples of modern fashion photography due to the emphasis they placed on the garments' beauty, movement, and intricacies. While the focus of his portraiture was squarely on the subject, he gave the garments a sumptuous and exquisite aspect befitting the era by carefully lighting and staging the studio sets.

    In 1909, the influential publisher Condé Nast bought the American lifestyle magazine Vogue, further expanding the audience for modern fashion photography. By doing so, he established the world's preeminent fashion magazine, providing photographers like Steichen, Cecil Beaton, and Horst P. Horst with exposure to a vastly expanded readership. He then launched Vanity Fair the following year (1913), and the two magazines spent the next few decades competing with Harper's Bazaar for the title of America's preeminent fashion publication.

    Steichen and Vogue's contributions to contemporary photography served as templates for nearly all subsequent fashion advertising. During the 1920s and 1930s, Steichen developed his own visual lexicon by fusing elements of cubism and futurism with traditional Renaissance art. His groundbreaking use of models, lighting, and experimental studio techniques left his contemporaries with little choice but to follow suit for a considerable amount of time. There is no way to overstate Steichen's significance; he revolutionised fashion photography and his ideas are still employed today.

    The Revival Of Harper's Bazaar And The Design Laboratory From 1934 To 1944

    For a long time, Harper's Bazaar was unable to keep up with the other magazines published by Condé Nast because it lacked the innovative spirit of its rivals. In 1934, however, the magazine's luck changed when Russian photographers Alexey Brodovitch was hired to serve as artistic director. Now that he was on board, Harper's Bazaar took a turn that would alter the course of fashion photography for good. He experimented with unconventional page layouts, employed daring new types of typography, and favoured striking visuals. Because of his sophisticated and creative approach, Harper's Bazaar was able to turn its financial situation around and ensure its continued success.

    There was more to Brodovitch's impact than just the magazine, too. Beginning in 1933, he directed the "Design Laboratory" course at the Pennsylvania Museum School of Industrial Art, where he spoke on and demonstrated the complete gamut of contemporary graphic design practices. Irving Penn, Eve Arnold, and Richard Avedon were among the young photographers present. These pupils would go on to have a lasting impact on the field of fashion photography for decades to come, ensuring that Brodovitch's legacy would live on.

    The Great Outdoors And Avedon 1944–1960

    Richard Avedon, who began his professional photography career in 1944 as an ad photographer and was one of Brodovitch's early students at the Design Laboratory, died in 1984. Brodovitch saw potential in Avedon and dispatched him to Paris to photograph the newest collections from top designers in 1946. Avedon's photographs for Harper's Bazaar, which he took while young and full of life, established a new trend in fashion photography.

    Movement was the key of Avedon's aesthetic. He abandoned the stiff, unmoving stances of the Steichen period in favour of more dynamic, engaging shots. In favour of shooting in natural settings or on site, he avoided the studio at all costs. His photographs of women in flowing garments, taken in the midst of exciting street scenes and crowded events, reveal a natural beauty that is accentuated by the movement of the camera.

    This changed the trajectory of fashion photography, and Avedon's signature style was widely emulated throughout the '50s. This new course was characterised by energy and spontaneity. Photographers like Henry Clarke were influenced by his use of the city streets as a subject matter. It was possible to give the images a fresh lease on life by taking them outside, the beauty of the models and the clothes they wore being reflected in the energy of the composition.

    The Divide From 1960 To 1970

    A major shift in fashion photography occurred when Avedon began shooting his models on the spot. David Bailey heavily employed this mode in order to record the effervescent, forward-thinking atmosphere of swinging London during the '60s. Bailey's photographs for British Vogue expanded upon Avedon's concepts while also having a more casual, modern vibe; he also did a better job of connecting the dots between model, location, and lifestyle than anybody before. Contemporary prolific photographers like Mario Testino owe a great deal to this kind of work.

    Some, like Brodovitch alumnus and fellow student Irving Penn, however, remained true to the institution's norms. Jean Patchett, a model, graced his iconic black-and-white Vogue cover from April 1950. This shot, in particular, shows his style to fashion photography, which is characterised by a dramatic yet peaceful contrast of tone and viewpoint. Penn altered the landscape of fashion photography in subtle but significant ways that would be felt for years to come, despite the fact that his approach was beginning to fall out of favour in the 1960s.

    Return To The Studio And The Rise Of Sexual Controversy, 1970-1980

    Many photographers' primary focus in the 1950s and 1960s was on capturing action outside of a traditional studio setting. However, by the beginning of the 1970s, a revival of studio work had already begun. Female nudity, overt sexuality, and surrealism were the defining characteristics of this new style, which took its cues from photographers like Steichen, Beaton, and Penn.

    In typical fashion, Richard Avedon was at the forefront of this movement. After making the switch from Harper's Bazaar to Vogue in 1966, he resumed doing most of his fashion photography in a studio setting. His photographs for Versace in the 1970s and 1980s evoked the glitz and liberation of the preceding two decades in novel and engaging ways. His signature use of movement remained, as did his admiration for youthfulness and self-assured female sensuality. At Boutique Events Group, we have compiled a list of the Best Photographers in Melbourne to help you choose who captures your magical day.

    Parisian photographer Guy Bourdin stood in some contrast to Avedon by using explicit sexual imagery to convey his message. Supporters of Bourdin believe he pioneered a new kind of bizarre mysticism, while detractors say he objectified women for their sexuality and promoted violence and misogyny. When compared to the work of his contemporaries Helmut Newton and Avedon, his advertising photography from the late '70s (which included shootings for luxury footwear labels Charles Jourdan and Roland Pierre) typically showed women as weak and repressed. Undoubtedly intriguing, his photographs have impacted contemporary fashion photographers like Terry Richardson with their use of vivid colour staging surrealism and eroticism.

    The Age Of Rapid Commercialism, 1980-2000


    A new era of fashion photography began in the 1980s. Business opportunism, which had been dormant for the better part of the previous 60 years, emerged abruptly. As the middle classes in Europe and the United States grew, there was a corresponding increase in interest in fashion. They now had more disposable income, and savvy clothing brands like Calvin Klein, Levi's, and Ralph Lauren were ready to accept it.

    This was brilliantly illustrated in a 1981 ad campaign starring a 15-year-old Brooke Shields. In a Calvin Klein ad shot by the ubiquitous Richard Avedon, Shields boldly declares that nothing can come between her and her Calvins. It was a line plagiarised from an advertising copywriter, but it worked. Just like that, Calvin Klein pants became a coveted commodity.

    Irving Penn is one such man who flourished in the studio environment and afterwards saw renewed interest in his work. His collaboration with Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake in the late '80s resulted in a fascinating and innovative series of commercial campaigns. Penn took Miyake's futuristic designs and blew them up with enormous, ornamented silhouettes, using the pattern of the cloth and the contortion of the human figure to exhibit Miyake's inventions in a new light, drawing inspiration from Steichen's minimalist technique and blending in his subtle surreal tones.

    Penn was taking the blueprints laid down by Steichen and going further than anybody else had before in exploring the dynamic between subject, prop, and photographer. He had stayed committed to the studio, even while his peers were shunning it. He had put this time to good use, as evidenced by his sophisticated lighting techniques and the sparseness of his photos. Since then, a new wave of fashion photographers has been encouraged by this method to think beyond the box and test the limits of what is technically possible in the studio while yet maintaining a high level of creative ambition.

    Numerous now-iconic commercials emerged during the '90s. Many consider the 1990s to be the zenith of advertising, praising the likes of Donna Karen and Ralph Lauren for promoting powerful female role models and the American ideal, respectively. Labels have utilised supermodels in their advertising efforts because of the clear association between their stunning looks and high-end goods.

    Calvin Klein was once again at the vanguard of this new movement, and he turned up the heat with a legendary ad campaign from 1992. The modest black-and-white photo by Bruce Weber, featuring Mark Wahlberg and a young Kate Moss, perfectly encapsulated the spirit of this new approach. There was no need for any elaborate text or graphics to accompany the image of them both undressed and wearing the advertised undergarments. That was effective, too. Sales skyrocketed for Calvin Klein, helping to establish the company as a household name around the world.

    Hypersexuality In The 2000s

    Over the years, humanity has proven conclusively that sex is a moneymaker. Although photographers like Helmut Newton and Guy Bourdin had heavily used sexually charged photography in the 1970s, the 2000s ushered in a new era of hypersexuality that was intended as much to shock as it was to sell clothing.

    Tom Ford was one businessman who had no problem posing for ads. In 2007, Terry Richardson shot the memorable campaign for his first fragrance for men, which combined Ford's fondness for sexual images with Richardson's distinctive flashbulb style. There are clear echoes of Bourdin's style here, particularly in the staged studio settings, vivid colour palette, and dark depiction of female sexuality. The campaign garnered a lot of attention for Ford and sparked a number of problems due to the perfume bottle's strategically placed bare midriff.

    In 2003, while Tom Ford was still at Gucci, he launched another advertising campaign with his signature sable. The ad, shot by Mario Testino, was minimalist and stylised, drawing attention to the fact that the model had the Gucci "G" shaved into her pubic hair. Ford's action, which was less about the clothes and more about the preening, was risky, but it ultimately validated the old adage that there is no such thing as bad publicity.

    Marc Jacobs and his longtime creative partner, Juergen Teller, took a new direction in their advertising in the 2000s, despite his prior use of sexual images. Teller's unique photographic approach was a major factor in Jacobs' advertising campaigns, standing in stark contrast to the glitzy, highly stylised images produced by his contemporaries.

    Winona Ryder, a Hollywood actress, was a notable example from that year. Ryder wore a Marc Jacobs dress to her court appearance after she was recently arrested for shoplifting at the Saks Fifth Avenue store in Beverly Hills. Jacobs saw an opening and hired her, and the resulting picture shoot, which has since become legendary, perfectly captures his wacky approach to design.


    It was in the 1850s at the court of Napoleon III when the first photographs of fashionable clothing were made. Two of the earliest periodicals dedicated to fashion were Vogue and Harper's Bazaar, both of which appeared in the 1800s. The 1950s saw a more carefree and vivacious attitude to fashion photography. When the Great Depression hit, it ushered in an era of less restrictive clothing for both sexes. In the 1970s and 1980s, the prêt-a-porter (readily available to the public) fashion trend exploded onto the scene. By the 1980s, the fashion industry around the world was worth billions of dollars.

    Three major trends may be seen in the world of fashion photography, as identified by Roland Barthes, a prominent theorist. The ultimate goal of any photographer is to produce a "outrageous" photograph. There are 288 photographs of the Countess of Castiglione Virginia, a Tuscan noblewoman at Napoleon III's court, taken by Adolphe Braun in 1856. The development of photography corresponded with a cultural emphasis on clothing. As the fashion industry grew, so did the number of journals dedicated to the subject.

    Examining the development of fashion photography can shed light on the photographers, journals, designers, and models who shaped the modern phenomena. The "founder of the modern fashion photoshoot" is commonly credited to Edward Jean Steichen. Baron de Meyer was a pioneering fashion photographer and has been called the "Debussy of the Camera." In photographs of women's clothing from the 1960s, a new emphasis was placed on free-flowing silhouettes. The evolution of fashion photography over the past century is remarkable.

    The article delves into the major shifts that came to characterise the genre. We take a look back at some of the most significant moments in photography's history, from its infancy to Edward Steichen's photographs of Paul Poiret. Between the years of 1934 and 1944, Alexey Brodovitch presided over the creative direction of Harper's Bazaar. The Pennsylvania Museum of Industrial Art served as the venue for the class. His work in the 1940s for Harper's Bazaar revolutionised the field of fashion photography.

    In the 1960s, photographers made a radical change to the fashion photography industry by shooting models in real settings. The 1980s marked the beginning of a new era in fashion photography. The hallmarks of this new trend included female nudity, blatant sexuality, and surrealism. In contrast to Avedon, Parisian photographer Guy Bourdin used blatantly sexual imagery to get his point through. By following Steichen's lead, Irving Penn pushed the boundaries of what was possible in terms of the relationship between model, setting, and photographer.

    Penn blew up the futuristic designs of Issey Miyake with oversized, embellished silhouettes. An period of hypersexuality designed to shock as much as to sell items emerged in the 2000s. In their latest campaign, Marc Jacobs and his creative collaborator Juergen Teller tried something different. Winona Ryder, who was recently arrested for shoplifting, donned a dress by designer Marc Jacobs to her court hearing.

    Content Summary

    1. It was in the 1850s at the court of Napoleon III when the first photographs of fashionable clothing were made.
    2. The widespread adoption of photography as an advertising medium did not occur until the early 20th century, when fashion itself was introduced to a wider public.
    3. Two of the earliest fashion magazines, Harper's Bazaar and Vogue, were both launched in the late 1800s, and both formerly included pictures produced by hand.
    4. In 1913, Vogue editor Condé Nast hired German photographer Baron Adolph de Meyer (1868-1946) to shoot pictures of models, actresses, and aristocrats for use in editorials.
    5. To promote their designs, up-and-coming couturiers of the 1920s and 1930s including Chanel, Balenciaga, Schiaparelli, and Lanvin used photography.
    6. As a result of these modifications, novel photographic techniques emerged, and many of the most prominent figures in the history of fashion photography made their stamp on the field.
    7. The minimalist aesthetic that has come to define fashion photography is generally said to have been heavily influenced by the work of two American photographers: Richard Avedon (1923-2004) and Irving Penn (1917-2009).
    8. Every aspect of our lives, from the internet to print media to advertising campaigns and billboards, is informed by fashion photography, whether we like it or not.
    9. Some argue that popular fashion magazines like Vogue (1910), Harper's Bazaar (1867), and La Mode Pratique (1898) were instrumental in establishing fashion photography as a genre in the early 20th century (1892).
    10. With the advent of successful screen printing and photography, these journals could be created.
    11. There are numerous photographers who become household names in the fashion industry because of their collaborations with these editors.
    12. Due to its meteoric rise in popularity throughout the century, fashion photography entered a new echelon by the century's end.
    13. Up until the 1930s, New York City was the hub of the fashion business and fashion photography.
    14. Famous photographers from all over the world came to the County to shoot there.
    15. New York City, the birthplace of fashion magazines, caught up rapidly to the competition in the field of fashion photography.
    16. Numerous well-known persons call New York City home, including photographers such as Cecil Beaton, Edward Steichen, and Martin Mukanshi (born in Hungary).
    17. Every sub-genre of photography has its own tenets, and fashion photography is no exception.
    18. Three major trends may be seen in the world of fashion photography, as identified by Roland Barthes, a prominent theorist.
    19. During the early days of fashion photography, many of the pioneers were well-to-do intellectuals who could afford the expensive equipment needed to create their work.
    20. Photographer Edward Steichen took the decision in 1911 to use the photos to raise fashion to the level of fine art after being inspired to do so by Lucien Vogel, La Gazette du Bon Ton, and Jardin des Modes.
    21. Having collaborated with Steichen, Vogue published its first colour cover photo in 1932.
    22. Both of these companies were the industry leaders in fashion photography in the 1920s and 1930s.
    23. Particularly, Vogue was instrumental in launching the careers of many influential photographers including Toni Frissell, Edward Steichen, Steven Meyer, Horst P. Horst, Cecil Beaton, and dozens more, all of whom contributed significantly to elevating photography to the level of an exceptional art form.
    24. However, perhaps more significant factors also impacted the growth of fashion photography.
    25. Examining the development of fashion photography can shed light on the photographers, journals, designers, and models who shaped the modern phenomena.
    26. The fashion photography profession began with the publication of a book by Adolphe Braun in 1856 that featured photographs of Virginia Oldoini at the French court of Napoleon Bonaparte.
    27. The influential Luxembourgish photographer Edward Jean Steichen played a pivotal contribution in the growth of the fashion photography genre.
    28. In addition, he is widely regarded as the "father of the modern fashion photoshoot" for his innovative use of sidelights in photography.
    29. After World War II, photographers in the fashion business moved away from their preference for neat, conventional compositions in favour of more improvisational, glitzy shots.
    30. Photographers focusing on women's fashion in the 1960s tended to highlight free-flowing, unstructured clothing as a symbol of a newfound sense of personal freedom.
    31. The medium has struggled to show its worth as a legitimate mode of expression throughout the past century; here, we examine the important changes that have helped define the genre.
    32. The most successful fashion advertising campaigns have become nearly as recognisable to consumers as the businesses they were designed to promote.
    33. But superb photo editorials can develop through time; like other artistic mediums, fashion photography moves through "movements" that are influenced by the works of its leading artists and the cultural mores of the day.
    34. To better understand both of these phenomena and to appreciate how we got to where we are now, we have looked back at some of the most important events in the history of photography during the previous century.
    35. What follows is a voyage through the glamour, rebellion, art, and commercialism of the preceding century to witness how an entire industry's art was defined, beginning with its unpromising beginnings at the turn of the twentieth century.
    36. A Look Back at Edward Steichen's Condé Nast Years, 1910-1934
    37. Quite a few individuals point to Edward Steichen as the guy who initiated the practise of photographing clothing as we know it today.
    38. With the purchase of Vogue by the powerful Condé Nast publishing house in 1909, the audience for contemporary fashion photography was considerably expanded.
    39. He used this to create the world's most popular fashion magazine, giving well-known photographers like Steichen, Cecil Beaton, and Horst P. Horst access to a new audience.
    40. The following year, in 1913, he published Vanity Fair, and for the next few decades, the two magazines battled it out with Harper's Bazaar to see who could be considered America's premier fashion publication.
    41. Almost all subsequent fashion advertisements may trace their roots back to the innovations in fashion photography that Steichen and Vogue introduced to the world.
    42. During the 1920s and 1930s, Steichen formed his own visual lexicon by blending aspects of cubism and futurism with old Renaissance painting.
    43. Steichen's influence cannot be overstated; his concepts are still used today and he single-handedly revolutionised the field of fashion photography.
    44. Harper's Bazaar and the Design Laboratory Are Back To the Years 1934-1944 Since it lacked the pioneering zeal of other Condé Nast magazines, Harper's Bazaar lagged behind the competition for a long period.
    45. However, the magazine's fortunes improved once the Russian photographer Alexey Brodovitch was hired as artistic director in 1934.
    46. One of Brodovitch's first students at the Design Laboratory, Richard Avedon began his professional photographic career as an ad photographer in 1944 and passed away in 1984.
    47. Brodovitch saw Avedon's talent and sent him to Paris in 1946 to photograph the latest runway shows.
    48. The young and vibrant Avedon set a new standard in fashion photography with his photos for Harper's Bazaar.
    49. Avedon's aesthetic relied heavily on motion.
    50. Because of this, fashion photography would never be the same, and Avedon's distinctive approach would be widely imitated throughout the '50s.
    51. Difference Between 1960 and 1970
    52. When Avedon began photographing his models in situ, it marked a watershed moment in the history of fashion photography.
    53. The Rise of Sexual Controversy and Actors' Return to the Studio in the '70s and '80s
    54. In the 1950s and 1960s, many photographers' major interest was in capturing action outside of the studio.
    55. However, a renaissance in studio production had already begun by the early 1970s.
    56. Taking cues from photographers like Steichen, Beaton, and Penn, this new style emphasised female nudity, blatant sexuality, and surrealism.
    57. Like always, Richard Avedon was a pioneer in this field.
    58. In the 1970s and 1980s, he did some of his most memorable work for Versace, creating striking images that harkened back to the decade's glamour and liberation in fresh and compelling ways.
    59. In contrast to Avedon, Parisian photographer Guy Bourdin used blatantly sexual imagery to get his point through.
    60. His use of vibrant colour to stage surrealism and sexuality in his images is undeniably intriguing, and it has influenced modern fashion photographers like Terry Richardson.
    61. Fast-Paced Consumerism, 1980–2000
    62. The 1980s marked the beginning of a new era in fashion photography.
    63. A marketing campaign from 1981 featuring a young Brooke Shields (then 15) beautifully demonstrated this point.
    64. Artists like Irving Penn, who thrived in the confines of the studio, found a subsequent resurgence of interest in his work.
    65. In the late '80s, he worked with Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake on a series of unique and original advertising campaigns.
    66. Since then, this approach has inspired a new generation of fashion photographers to push the boundaries of what is technically possible in the studio without compromising their artistic vision.
    67. During the '90s, many commercials that are now considered classics first aired.
    68. Many people think that the advertising industry reached its pinnacle in the 1990s, praising Donna Karen and Ralph Lauren for their promotion of strong women and the American ideal, respectively.
    69. Again at the forefront of this new movement was Calvin Klein, who cranked up the intensity with a now-iconic advertising campaign in 1992.
    70. Although photographers such as Helmut Newton and Guy Bourdin made extensive use of sexually charged photography in the 1970s, the 2000s ushered in a new era of hypersexuality that was intended as much to shock as it was to sell clothing.
    71. One businessman who had no qualms about appearing in advertisements was Tom Ford.
    72. Combining Ford's penchant for sexual imagery with Richardson's signature flashbulb style, the 2007 campaign for his first fragrance for men photographed by Terry Richardson is unforgettable.
    73. While working for Gucci, Tom Ford unveiled yet another sable-themed ad campaign in 2003.
    74. Mario Testino shot the minimally staged ad, which featured a model with the Gucci "G" shaved into her pubic hair.
    75. Despite his earlier use of sexual images, Marc Jacobs and his longtime creative partner, Juergen Teller, went in a new path with their advertising in the 2000s.
    76. An example from that year is Winona Ryder, a famous Hollywood actress.

    FAQs About Fashion Photography

    Since the medium's beginning, fashion photography has been utilised for communicating stories efficiently. However, photography has evolved into a complex and multifaceted art form throughout its long and illustrious history.

    Therefore, it is the responsibility of photographers to initiate a conversation by depicting the artistic visions of the designers, capturing the spirit of the times, or stirring up controversy.

    Since many years ago, photography has been an essential component of the fashion business, and its many contributions to this sector cannot be overstated.

    Photography has a lot to offer fashion and can not only assist portray it in its most natural moments, but it can also provide a way to spread and expand. This is just one of the many benefits that photography can provide to the fashion industry.

    Then, in the 1980s, consumerism, which can also be defined as the promotion of increasing customer purchases, drove a change in the approaches that fashion photographers employed to photograph their subjects. First, photographers needed to spend less time on shoots due to the widespread promotion of ready-to-wear garments in print.

    The 20th-century photographer was well-known for bringing diversity to the world of fashion photography since he championed the use of models of colour. His name was Helmut Newton. Additionally, Avedon questioned the conventional methods used in the industry by instructing the models he worked with to convey various feelings.

    The accessibility of fashion has never been as high as it is right now, and throughout the years, photography has evolved into a very significant contributor to this phenomenon.

    However, those who employ fashion photography will only have positive things to gain from it so long as the photographs captured accurately depict the world in which they were taken.

    Scroll to Top