Wednesday, 21 March 2012

"The Origins of Fashion Photography"

The art of photography has been used to communicate an idea, style, message or meaning throughout history. For me, photography has always been a great inspiration in any aspect of my own work.

The idea of photography dates back as early as the 4th and 5th centuries BC, where Greek mathematicians Aristotle and Euclid described a 'pinhole camera'. Photography, in the same degree as we see today, was invented in the 19th century with the development of chemical experimentation and the process of 'daguerreotype'. Daguerreotype was developed by Louis Daguerre and Joseph Nicéphore Niépce, with the first ever permanent photography being taken in 1826.

 'View from the Window at Le Gras'

There are many valuable contributors to the historical development of photography. Hercules Florence, a French-Brazilian painter and inventor, whom developed a similar process to which he called 'Photographie' in 1834. William Fox Talbot, and English inventor and 'pioneer of photography' ,who developed a more advanced process of 'fixing' an image, also developing the 'calotype' process that we use in modern photography.

Adolphe Braun is perhaps the most significant name in the creation of 'fashion photography'. In 1856, Braun published a book that included 288 of Virginia Oldoini, Countess di Castiglione, a Tuscan noblewoman, where she is seen in many poses dressed in typical court attire of that time. These photographs are seen as the first ever fashion photographs where the defining subject is the model, clothing and style.

The 20th century brought new advances in the technology used in photography, allowing fashion photography to be published in magazines such as French magazine, 'La Mode Pratique' and Conde Nast Publications which included 'Vogue' and 'Vanity Fair', with Edward Steichen regarded as the most influential photographer in the years 1923 to 1938.

Edward Steichen for Vogue

Throughout the 1920's and 1930's, the magazines Vogue and Haper's Bazaar where the leaders in featuring the new art movement of fashion photography, with photographers of the likes of Cecil Beaton, Louise Dalh Wolfe, David Bailey and Helmut Newton becoming some of the most influential photographers of this time, whom paved the way for the incredibly inspiring artists and photographers in the modern fashion world.  

Cecil Beaton

Louise Dahl Wolfe

David Bailey

Helmut Newton

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