09 December 2007

An Inauspicious Trajectory

Regular readers will know that I find most fashion photography more or less loathsome and that I am especially unhappy when one or another fashionista (e.g., Rankin, Steve Meisel) trys to make what they deem a "political" statement. All of that said, you may find this article from The New York Times a few days back interesting as evidence of how museums continue conniving in the efforts of fashion photographers to be taken seriously as something other than hookers for commerial enterprises or propagandists. The folks at ICP should be ashamed. For some of my earlier rants on this general topic simply hit the "Fashion Photography" label below.



Blogger Tom White said...

When I was a student there was some discussion about the whole 'documentary' look used in fashion photography. In a class taught by Suzanne Opton, William Nabers was showing us some fashion spreads with this style and asking for comments. As students of photojournalism we found the whole idea slightly distasteful but it worked. Then we looked at some documentary work done with a nod to the styles of the fashion industry. For me and others it didn't hold up. And this is the worrying thing. While commercialism can eat up and regurgitate any and all things in it's quest for sales, the street is not two-way. A documentary project that tries to mimic the styles of Fashion just looks like a fashion shoot, while a commercial shoot that employs the language of documentary is still a commercial shoot. The more documentary photography tries to look like fashion, the more it assumes the vapid language of that world and the less it says about the people and places in the image.

I have found that it is in part because of this rampant appropriation that many people do not trust photography. They assume that a photographer will manipulate their image the same way an advertiser uses an image to manipulate the public.

And most people buy into it. Shame on those who should know better.

09 December, 2007 12:05  

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