Fashion Photography

Fashion Photography

The History of Fashion Photography

Fashion photography dates back to the very early days of photography.  In fact early fashion photography was captured by Adolphe Braun in the year 1856.  He published a book which contained 288 photographs of Virginia Oldoini, the Countess Di Castiglione.  As these pictures caught her in her official attire this made her the first model of fashion.

It is due to advances in halftone printing that has meant that fashion photography features so heavily in magazines.  It was in the early part of the 20th century that fashion photography made its first appearance in French magazines including La mode practique.  It was also in the year 1909 that Conde Nast contributed to the beginning of fashion photography.

The beginning of fashion photography in the 20th century

A few years later in 1911, photographer Edwards Steichen was given a dare by Lucien Vogel who at the time was publisher of Jardin des Modes to promote fashion as a type of fine art.  Edward Steichen therefore decided to take photographs of gowns that were designed by Paul Poiret.  These photos were featured in the April edition and can now be considered as being the first every photo shoot of modern fashion.  This is a big turning point for fashion photography as we know it today.

Steichen not only showed viewers of the photos the physical quality of the clothes instead of just portraying them as an image like any other.

Fashion photography as we know it best

Vogue which still to this day is a very popular magazine for highlighting fashion photography at its best and Harper’s Bazaar were the leaders in fashion photography.  Throughout the 1920’s and the 1930’s their house photographers which included George Hoyningen-Huene, Cecil Beaton, Horst P Horst and previously mentioned Edward Steichen turned this into an art form that was admired.

It was the years leading to the World War II the focus transferred to the United States where fashion magazines Vogue and Harper’s continued to be in competition with each other.  The first beach poses were made in 1936 by Martin Munkacsi under the direction of Alexey Brodovitch.  Due to its success this came a regular feature in Harper’s and its house photographers Irving Penn, Louise Dahl Wolfe and Richard Avedon were to soon shape fashion photography over the next few decades.

Post World War II imaginative photos of the modern woman emerged.  A new form of fashion photography was produced that was best suited for newsprint.  This involved using natural light and a low contract of photo.

Contemporary Fashion Photography

Some of the most famous fashion photographers of today include but not limited to Annue Leibovitz, Steven Meisel, Mario Testino and Peter Lindbergh.

Still life fashion

Still life fashion is photography without the use of models and is very popular in the UK and other parts of the world.  This is an important aspect of marketing for retailers especially online fashion retailers.  An invisible mannequin is usually used to capture the image from above.