Saturday, 16 November 2013

Selling Dreams: One Hundred Years of Fashion Photography

Wendy Whitelaw, Park Avenue. Personal picture taken on American Vogue fashion shoot, July 1981. Arthur Elgort. © Arthur Elgort / Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Courtesy of the State Library of New South Wales.

Selling Dreams: One Hundred Years of Fashion Photography
State Library of New South Wales: August 10 - November 10, 2013

On loan from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, 60 iconic images of glamour document the evolution of fashion photography. Featuring work by photographers such as Helmut Newton and Richard Avedon, the exhibition draws on photographer Irving Penn’s comment describing his work at Vogue as ‘selling dreams, not clothes’.

It is fascinating to see how the focus of photography has shifted over the years. In the 1940s and 50s (possibly my favourite period)the focus was on the clothes and how to show them off to their best advantage but by the time the 80s and 90s rolled around art had infiltrated the landscape of fashion photography and it appeared to be more about the perfect shot and less about the clothes in the shot. 


The exhibition has some beautiful images. Personally I am all about the clothes so I love the photography of the 40s and 50s, the classic lines, elaborate and opulent fabrics are exquisite. 


Model and Mannequin, American Vogue Cover, 1 November 1945. Erwin Blumenfeld. © Estate of Erwin Blumenfeld / Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Courtesy of the State Library of New South Wales.

Mainbocher Corset. Pink satin corset made by Detolle for Mainbocher, American Vogue, 4 March 1939. Horst P Horst. © Horst Estate / Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Courtesy of the State Library of New South Wales.

Skater wears a Digby Morton fur trimmed velvet coat, city gentleman Michael Bentley in the background, London. Daily Express, 1955. John French. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Courtesy of the State Library of New South Wales.

Simone wears fashion by Venet, River Seine, Paris. American Harper’s Bazaar, March 1963. Melvin Sokolsky. © Melvin Sokolsky / Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Courtesy of the State Library of New South Wales.

Twiggy wears Twiggy Dresses Battersea Park, London. Unpublished Fashion Study for British Vogue, Young Idea, July 1967. Ronald Traeger. © Estate of Ronald Traeger / Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Courtesy of the State Library of New South Wales.

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