Apollonia, Paris sans Compromis, Avenue Magazine, Paris 1986
“Fashion is shallow and superficial. No need to pay attention to.”, is something you still hear some photo critics say. “Not important.”
It is very likely, however, that the first human beings already felt the urge to express and distinguish themselves through accessories and decoration. One or two bones sticking through their noses, an animal skin with or without its tail, a hat with just one or a whole bunch of feathers. For all later cultures the significance of fashion, to distinguish yourself from others, is commonly found. Throughout history and all over the world the value and meaning of this ever changing social-cultural phenomenon, intertwined with the human condition, and part of someone’s identity, is known. The reason why fashion photography is more than making pictures of dresses.
Despite the change that is going on – with recent expositions of Bailey, Beaton, and Horst in London, and Blumenfeld and Newton in Berlin and Paris – fashion photography has long been, and sometimes still is, a stepchild and seen as less important than social, documentary or ‘art’ photography, while at the same time some of the world’s most influential and highly valued photographers considered it their favourite way of self expression. Some of them even made their best and most famous work in this field. Think of Avedon, Bailey, Beaton, Blumenfeld, Bourdin, Elgort, Horst, Klein, Lindbergh, Meisel, Newton, Penn, Sacha, Sherman, Shore, Sieff, Sorrenti, Steichen, Stern, Teller, Testino, Toscani, Van de Wijngaard, Van Lamsweerde-Matadin, Von Unwerth or Weber. One by one masters of their profession. Craftsmen, besides being proficient in fashion, often comfortable with a variety of disciplines. From portrait and landscape to architecture and documentary.