Strike a Pose, HCM Advertising, Amsterdam 1987
I guess we’re all familiar with the frequently encountered, gaudy way of posing that can be part of a fashion shoot; a kind of photography we know from the past, practiced by photographers such as Edward Steichen, Cecil Beaton, Hoyningen-Huene or Horst P. Horst, who all left an indelible and unparalleled impression with their dramatically lit fashion pictures, usually shot in a studio, and dating from the first half of the twentieth century.
These somewhat fictitious, contrived pictures with enormous expressive strength became a reality in themselves, with meaning and importance for those who are interested in fashion, but – for they reflect their time in an unprecedented way – now look outdated. It is probably the watered down, pale shadow of this genre of posed, unnatural, but to this day still imitated fashion pictures that is responsible for the negative image of shallowness of fashion photography in general that exists for many people.
Maybe it’s a good idea not to listen to Madonna as she sings: “Strike a pose! Vogue, Vogue, Vogue!”, but to look at the photographs of Peter Lindbergh or Arthur Elgort, to see some viable, modern, alternatives.