Rosemary Mac Cabe

Hemlines, heels and haute couture – your daily dose

Garance Doré – top fashion photographer of the future?

The past few years have shown a slow, subtle but undeniable shift in how fashion is consumed, and how fashion photography inspires people from ground level up. With the rise in prominence of photographers like The Sartorialist, street style bloggers …

Tue, May 4, 2010, 13:52

   

The past few years have shown a slow, subtle but undeniable shift in how fashion is consumed, and how fashion photography inspires people from ground level up. With the rise in prominence of photographers like The Sartorialist, street style bloggers like Jak and Jil and fashion journalists and bloggers such as Susie Lau. One thing the prevalence of these online fashion sources has done is to take high fashion and to make it accessible – and not simply in the way that shots showcased on these sites demonstrate how clothing can be worn, but by taking high fashion and combining it, in a very basic way, with very real musings on life and style.

elle5.jpg

(This is from Garance Doré‘s shoot for Elle magazine – which, as I already pointed out, was my favourite part of the magazine this month.)

While fashion magazines have maintained a steady line in heavily photoshopped, styled and orchestrated photoshoots – which have their merits, and there is no doubt that Grace Coddington won’t have to worry about her job for a while yet – street style blogging in particular takes a very pared-down approach to fashion shoots and, instead of being presented with carefully constructed scenes, we are given the opportunity to consume our fashion imagery in a real way. Reality, in this new form of fashion photography, is crucial.

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Via The Sartorialist

What does this sea-change mean for traditional fashion photography? There is no doubt that there is room for both in the changing media landscape; while traditional fashion glossies like Vogue won’t be casting Tim Walker out into the cold night for some time to come, Elle‘s decision to include an editorial by Garance Doré, shot in her distinctive muted tones and warm glow, was a step in the right direction – that of an acceptance that fashion is more than Yves Saint Laurent and imported chandeliers, all modelled by Natalia Vodianova, her tiny body contorted into a series of awkward angles.

While those high fashion editorials are undoubtedly impressive, from an artistic point of view, when it comes to the consumption of fashion as a consumer enterprise we often need an accessibility about our imagery: the ability to imagine the clothing in our own lives and wardrobes is as essential to the economics of fashion as the visibility of the garments in the first place.

Glamour magazine has always been good at this; its shoots are a riot of colour, layering and jaunty poses, and feature a mixture of high fashion and high street labels, without the “distractions” of overly complicated set pieces or particularly recognisable faces (there are parallels to be drawn with the movie industry; when does a face become so famous that we lose the ability to see beyond the name and appreciate the role being played, or the fashion being displayed?).

Street style photography is not, therefore, going anywhere; instead, it is being slowly assimilated into fashion photography as we have known it (as with Garance’s shoot for Elle, at the top – while it was styled, modelled and carefully photographed, there is a beautiful raw quality to the shots that renders them simultaneously accessible and attractive) and the pages of our glossy magazines may soon have more in common with reality than they ever have before.

* As an aside, is there anything to be said about the economic climate and the prevalence of street photography? Perhaps a necessary look at our wallets has meant that fashion has had to adapt itself to changing budgets and priorities . . . just a thought.

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