2008/02/10

Appearances: Fashion Photography Since 1945





  • author: Martin Harrison
  • publisher: Jonathan Cape
  • publicaton date: 1991
  • 312 pages, full color
  • isbn: 0224028871
  • synopsis (from amazon.uk): A study of fashion photography since 1945. It places fashion photography in the main stream of popular culture and it links the imagery to the art of photography itself by drawing on such influential figures as Robert Frank and Walker Evans. It also charts the rise of the magazines and the influence of the great art directors and editors of the time. The book and accompanying exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum have been prepared with the full participation of the leading figures in the field, from Richard Avedon and Irving Penn to Bruce Weber. Its conclusion at the start of the Nineties is that there is no longer a distinctive form of fashion photography; there is simply photography.
  • from Library Journal (amazon.com): Photography as a fine art is often shaped by work done in the field of fashion. As well as peddling clothes in the pages of women's magazines, fashion photographers also influence and reflect society's attitudes and obsessions. Thus, the elegant, chic, and sophisticated fashion images of the postwar period gradually evolved into the decadent, soft-porn statements typical of the 1980s and 1990s. Art historian Harrison discusses the sociological issues behind these photographic trends by examining not only the impact made by fashion photographers but also the influence of certain powerful and creative art directors. In addition, he covers the often overlooked area of male fashion, attempting to explain why this subject has received such little serious attention.The author does well in identifying the models used in each fashion shot. (Most of us have forgotten that Anjelica Huston also worked as a model.) Unfortunately, there is little new material in this book--little that was not covered in the same author's Shots of Style (Faber & Faber, 1986), written as an exhibition catalog for the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1985. Although neither book is indexed (which makes anthologies of this size difficult to use), the earlier work lists the photographers alphabetically in the table of contents, while the present work does not, merely offering such vague chapter headings as "Inside" and "White Heat." Chicago readers will be disappointed that Victor Skrebneski's work is not included. Superfluous if your library has Shots of Style .- Margarete Gross, Chicago P.L.

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