Fashion photography of yesteryear
January 11, 2004 6:42 PM   Subscribe

The Decline of Fashion Photography; An argument in pictures. Inspired by Karen Lehrman's photo-essay about the poor state of contemporary fashion photography, I went looking for vintage goodness. Louise Dahl-Wolfe and Irving Penn are two of the photographers she mentions, but it would be a shame to miss (to name a few) Frances Pellegrini's, Erwin Blumenfeld's, and Herman Landshoff's contributions to the genre.
posted by tcaleb (14 comments total)
Double post, except for the other excellent links.
posted by raysmj at 7:01 PM on January 11, 2004

Shit! I swear I searched up and down for double posts. I suck.
posted by tcaleb at 7:06 PM on January 11, 2004

I thought this was particularly telling:
If photographers and editors really cared about the role of women in society, they would use models above the age of 20, who look like they could complete a sentence.

Demand smarter models!
posted by ColdChef at 8:46 PM on January 11, 2004

I'm glad you posted it, as I didn't see it thirty-two months ago when it was last posted. Thanks for adding the links.
posted by rudyfink at 8:58 PM on January 11, 2004

I'll leave it up, I had no idea it was a three year old link.
posted by mathowie at 9:09 PM on January 11, 2004

Back when I had a subscription to Glamour (which is to say, back before they had a horoscope section and back when the do/don't page was not viscious), they once did an article about "Woe is us, we have to use anorexic models because the fashion houses only send us teeny tiny sizes!"

My guy reaction was Yeah? If any 2 fashion magazines got together and plainly stated that "if the fashion houses want their wares seen they will damn well send us normal-woman sizes" I bet the Armanis of the world would buckle most quickly.

I am thinking it must have been the late 80s, maybe as late as '91 when I last saw a fashion spread even show stuff I would be caught dead wearing.
posted by ilsa at 9:14 PM on January 11, 2004

Don't worry; as the boomers age, we'll see advertising swing to the baggy-eyed, slightly-plump, comfortable ol' image. You can already spot it happening.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:52 PM on January 11, 2004

About a year ago, I was cutting up a bunch of magazines for collages. I remember one was a wedding magazine-- one of those thick ones full of pictures and ads showing bridal gowns and bridesmaid's dresses. What was funny is that NOT ONE of the brides or bridesmaids in the pictures was smiling. Most of them even looked depressed or pissed off.
posted by ukamikanasi at 11:27 PM on January 11, 2004

Maybe this is more appropriate for MetaTalk, but it's fascinating how these old links show up again. Blogdex has the rundown of how it propagated this time around.
posted by gwint at 7:46 AM on January 12, 2004

Fashion mags these days are terrible. I bought a couple the other day looking for inspiration for a new haircut. Dull, horrible, and generic. The of the really cool points from the first link is that back in the day, not only did you want to look like those women, you wanted to be them. They were so sophisticated, graceful, and intelligent (appearing).

gwint: I must have been under a rock the last few years; I had never even heard of blogdex. Very cool.
posted by tcaleb at 8:36 AM on January 12, 2004

Great post even if it's a double. For good fashion stuff check out "W" mag and Bazaar. Fader mag is also fun but a bit more edgy than fashionable.
posted by photoslob at 9:04 AM on January 12, 2004

I admit I am a sucker for Bazaar. Sometimes Vanity Fair too depending on my mood. But then there are good articles in both of those. You could argue that the quality of the writing has wanned along with the photography (No more Fitzgerald), but then that would be a whole new FPP.

I am glad some people liked this thread. After the double post callout, I was certain the thread would be gone by morning. I was pretty suprised to still see it here this morning. Then again, it had been three years.
posted by tcaleb at 9:33 AM on January 12, 2004

Thanks for the link, tcaleb. I wasn't around three years ago and never would have seen it otherwise. And I love looking at fashion photography.

Women's magazines are not worth reading on the whole. I used to like Mirabella, but it went under. Bonnie Fuller has moved from magazine to magazine and dumbed down everything she has touched (even Cosmo. I wouldn't have thought it possible). I've stopped buying and reading and am waiting for them to clue in. Surely they will eventually.
posted by orange swan at 12:40 PM on January 12, 2004

I'm wondering if the photography reflects the fashion or the fashion of the photography influences the clothing, either way fashion of late has certainly gone into a terrible shame spiral. I blame society, and Clinton.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:52 PM on January 12, 2004

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