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07-07-2010
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I think it really depends on the publication and the photographer.. US Vogue for instance is extremely strict, they have a vision that collaborators fit themselves into, not the other way around, sometimes you can't even tell the difference between a photograph by Sims and a photograph by Demarchelier, whereas in magazines like i-D or Dazed, the stories change dramatically as you flip through its pages and the photographs have more sequence with previous (or personal) work of the photographer, the requirement seems to be more 'impress us in order to work for us'.

What I love is when a photographer is stubborn enough to stick to his formula instead of trying to appeal and conforming into someone else's parameters of work (hoping to slowly inject his own ideas), and that development of such a strong vision eventually brings on the attention of even the most strict publications, that want to show their 'products' through his lens.. it doesn't happen often and when it does, it comes in such a small amounts but I bet it feels like a small sense of victory for him/her.

I can think of Vanderperre's recent one-picture debut for US Vogue.. his style is completely intact but it also resonates well with the magazine's aesthetic.. if anything he went through his older work, which was less somber than it is now, but it's still 100% him.


[vogue.com]

His second and last (?) appearance the following month seems a little more strangled though.

[bwgreyscale]

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07-07-2010
  32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iluvjeisa View Post
The question popped up in another thread where we were discussing why there is such a small number of well known fashion photographers these days.

Quoting MMA: ""...it's easy to take a picture, but it's much more difficult to have a personal vision." - Does the photographer have to have a vision?


What other aspects can you think of?
i think this applies to all photographers doing any and every kind of photography...


i think that fashion photographers have to LOVE fashion...
pure and simple...
they have to love it love it love it...
like a drug...
and they have to want the fashion to be the star of the photograph...
not the model, not the location, etc etc...

they have to care about the clothes and how they move and how they look, etc...
it's always got to be the FASHION FIRST...
it's ALL ABOUT THE CLOTHES>>>


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08-07-2010
  33
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I think people can confuse the idea of having a "personal vision" with having the same style in EVERY photograph, though. Personal visions can change.

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08-07-2010
  34
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According to the given legend, many a great fashion photographer went into it for the fanny rather than the fashion, as if it were somehow less-than-manly to be in it for the art.

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11-07-2010
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I just wanted to say that I don't think that having a love/passion for fashion is a necessity in being a great fashion photographer.

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11-07-2010
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^ I agree, if he/she is a fashion photographer.

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11-07-2010
  37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by softgrey View Post
i think this applies to all photographers doing any and every kind of photography...


i think that fashion photographers have to LOVE fashion...
pure and simple...
they have to love it love it love it...
like a drug...
and they have to want the fashion to be the star of the photograph...
not the model, not the location, etc etc...

they have to care about the clothes and how they move and how they look, etc...
it's always got to be the FASHION FIRST...
it's ALL ABOUT THE CLOTHES>>>

Why do they have to love fashion - to produce beautiful photograph or to intuitively know what separates a specific garment from another and present that aspect?

Or is it more that they can't have a complete disdain for fashion because that leads to that the editors and photographer can't communicate well...?

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11-07-2010
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For me, I prefer photographers that have a FRESH point of view. Who likes something unexpected, different. Who can give me new ideas. I wish more photojournalists will agree to work with me as they photograph from the "gut", their instincts are lightning quick and usually spot on. They are more interested in character than beauty and that results in powerful images. I prefer to catch the model when he or she isn't "ready", with a spontaneous expression or movement/gesture. When they start "posing", unless they are VERY good models who can project a strong persona, it's going to get very tedious as I know I'd hate most of the pictures. A lot of models are vapid, and it shows, believe it or not. That's when the models will have to close their eyes/do some big actions as that is more likely to get us ONE good shot. I hate working with photographers who are too caught up with their own "style" and the shoots start to look repetitious, the same aura/light, same "mood", capturing the same expression, etc.. I have a very low threshold of tolerance for boredom!

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11-07-2010
  39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zazie View Post
For me, I prefer photographers that have a FRESH point of view. Who likes something unexpected, different. Who can give me new ideas. I wish more photojournalists will agree to work with me as they photograph from the "gut", their instincts are lightning quick and usually spot on. They are more interested in character than beauty and that results in powerful images. I prefer to catch the model when he or she isn't "ready", with a spontaneous expression or movement/gesture. When they start "posing", unless they are VERY good models who can project a strong persona, it's going to get very tedious as I know I'd hate most of the pictures. A lot of models are vapid, and it shows, believe it or not. That's when the models will have to close their eyes/do some big actions as that is more likely to get us ONE good shot. I hate working with photographers who are too caught up with their own "style" and the shoots start to look repetitious, the same aura/light, same "mood", capturing the same expression, etc.. I have a very low threshold of tolerance for boredom!
I can see what you are saying with the last bit....but it all comes down to if your ideas resonate with the style of the photographer. The very best ones are quite recognizable, yet never repetitive.

One mystery to me is why I find fashion photography so fantastic. I really think some of the best art of the last century came from Vogue and Bazaar. I was never too much of a fashion person...so I don't really understand why the imagery would be so striking to me compared to all other art forms. Is it the fashions itself or is it something about the dynamics of the situation? Or is it the beauty of the people - the minds of the creators, the bodies and, I would argue, feelings of the models?

Obviously, considering my cluelessness about what makes me like fashion photography at all, I can't explain what makes a good fashion photographer. It just looks right or it does not, and for every case I could give a detailed opinion as to why, but I do have a hard time coming up with a general rule.

I like what MulletProof said about capturing a soul. Or capturing the ideal person who should be waring that particular dress.

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12-07-2010
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I just merged this with an old thread on the same topic.

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14-07-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kanna View Post
^ I agree, if he/she is a fashion photographer.
I don't get what you mean. Could you explalin?

This post is going to sound a little all over the place..I was organizing my thoughts earlier then my internet froze, but I just needed to get this out of my system when it was on my mind. Like iluvjeisa, I can't really put my fascination with fashion photography into words, but I think that one thing that doesn't make a fashion photographer great is a signature style. I think that on the one hand, a signature style can be an advantage as much as it can be a hindrance.

About the idea of loving fashion to be a great fashion photographer, I think it's irrelevant simply because there are many photographers who have created some of the most iconic fashion images without fashion photography being their main forte: Richard Avedon (portraiture) , Herb Ritts (celebrity portraiture), Helmut Newton (nude woman studies) , etc. Their best fashion photographs had little to do with the fashion and was influenced so much by something greater-it's an unexplainable intuition. They may not have a passion fashion, but boy did they have a passion for what they were doing and what they were seeing. There's something so hypnotic about looking at Richard Avedon's portraits of Jean Shrimpton, Domiva, China Machado and Meisel's latter work for Italian Vogue (1999-2008), I'm not comparing the two..but it's like these guys were just soooo in love with the glamour, the WOMEN. How they could just make her look the best she's ever looked..and redefine the ideal. You could see it in the photographs..It just does something to me...and I cannot explain it...

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Last edited by Mchunu; 14-07-2010 at 08:04 PM.
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17-07-2010
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Mchunu, you have a point here. I think maybe because fashion photographers are indutsry-oriented and as commercial photographers, they always intend to sell the clothes they're photographing, they sometime lose the artistic eye and touch to make the photo unique and stand on its on, as a piece of photography art, not commercial and selling-oriented ad hoc.

on the other side, the portraiture / artistic photographers give themselves more freedom to play with the craft and create an honest, powerful image. and this is why when stumbled across a fashion shoot, they might create a surprising magnum opus that will last for decades.

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17-07-2010
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^beautifully said, RoRA.

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18-07-2010
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i just think that a lot of these guys have been doing it for so long that they are no longer passionate about what they are doing...

they are bored...
...

wouldn't you be?!....
it's like bruce springstein having to sing 'born in the USA' every single time he gets on stage...
it gets old!...

...

fashion needs a new perspective...
but not just a new one...
a BRILLIANT new one~!


the brilliant part is the hard part...
:p

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29-07-2010
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I'm not really sure if I think that a new "BRILLIANT" perspective would make a fashion photographer great. The problem I think that the fashion world's (& i mean its audience) is facing is that they think it's still so much greatness and originality to be seen. I'm not saying that originality no longer exists, but I do think that originality and greatness are two things many of the executives are no longer very interested in. If you look at the most successful photographers of this generation, you will see that many of them are not entirely original and reference earlier "art" photographers.

This may seem pretty obvious (and maybe that's why it hasn't already been mentioned), but I think that flexibility and versatility can take a fashion photographer very, very far-the ability to work with themes and in totally different conditions, and perform with expertise is highly commendable. Perhaps that's reason behind my fascination with Meisel, but when you see any artist with an oeuvre that envelops such dramatic range while still having a signature look (whether it's a finishing touch or particular mood)-that, for me, is true greatness. As RoRa mentioned, portrait photographers give themselves that freedom to play with the image, to experiment and try something daring, even faulty, just to see what will come of it. Great fashion photographers are artists and artists must go above and beyond to set their limit. I've said this before and I'll say it again- for me, I think of Meisel as a portrait photographer, before I think of him as a fashion photographer. The fact that he has the ability to make his models give him the picture (whether it's through channeling him or a certain something within themselves) and capture an it factor that is so fabulous it makes you take that second look, makes you wonder if that is indeed [i]really[i] her- that for me, is great.

(Illustrating my point)













all pictures from picasaweb, modelina, flickr and models.com

They don't look like typical models, yet we know they are not celebrities. It's a Meisel-Girl and she is a celebrity in her own right.

I don't want this to turn into me rambling on how great I think Meisel (or any other photographer) is, but could that be one of the most crucial parts of what makes a fashion photographer great? The ability to capture an essence in her beauty, that is her own, that only he can obtain? A gift so special that he could make even you that beautiful?

Though fashion photography is a sub-genre used commercially, it still is photography and it does take talent. Originality is not just seen through style, but also through execution and precision. There is nothing wrong with referencing past artists. When you bring your own insight, one that is honest and true, that's greatness. And when passion translates clearly with beauty and style, it's something even greater. But of course, nothing is ever so simple. Of course they become bored-it would be frightening if someone could do such a thing for decades and not tire at some point. Maybe the new perspective that soft-grey speaks of, is a new fashion, a new model, a new muse, a new inspiration. Fashion reflects the times-and the photographer can only be as great as the time he is living in. Which is why many of these photographers go to other sources for inspiration, with no limitations: the internet, politics, cinema, other artists etc. When asked what makes a great fashion photographer, the answer wouldn't be "the fashion", but the times-it's everything.

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Last edited by Mchunu; 29-07-2010 at 07:55 PM.
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