The Constructed Moment

This blog discusses the way in which we design, make, select, evaluate and publish fashion and advertisement photographies as a sub-genre. This is a place of reflection. We have no unveiled truths, yet we are seeking answers.

sábado, 31 de mayo de 2014

Two Tales in One

Texto en español, aqui.

“As an addict to white backgrounds as I am, I find it bizarre that a gray background is never described as empty. It is hard to avoid that the graphic elements take control when using a white background. It is very difficult to give emotional content to something so intensely graphic and potentially cartoony that is overpowered by the rigid background; that is why its importance and the challenge it presents.”
— Richard Avedon 

“Sacred cows make out the best burgers”.
 — Rober Kriegel, David Brandt 

Much has been said about fashion editorials: they present trends, their origin goes back to photojournalism used as news photography in magazines such as Vu or Life, which are a means of expression for designers, stylists, make-up artists and photographers. In the same way, we talk about a minimum of pages, never less than 6 and 10 in average, without being obliged to stick to that number.

It is also clear that an editorial is not a collection of pictures about the same garment, and I wanted to bring this to everyone’s attention because in the past few days, as I was checking up sites where they receive editorials to publish, it caught my attention that many of them had notes about this, which got me to think that it is a common mistake they see in the material they receive for their consideration.

The fact that editorials present a trend sounds to me right in a general way, however, in a way, I think an editorial speaks about a series of garments put together by a common theme; trends can be the most recurrent of concepts but it can also be designers, a specific type of attire or silhouette, an everyday situation or any other concept that a fashion editor considers valid and communicable to put together.

Another thing that I consider is clear is that a fashion editorial or a history of fashion, the name you want to give it doesn’t matter, is the number one piece in the union of photography and fashion, or better put, of fashion photography. It is because of the abovementioned that a big part of the history of fashion has been taken into consideration from the photos published as magazine editorials and the photos that have been used as advertising get less attention.

Speaking of the photographic content, an editorial is, without a doubt, the format in which the style of photographers is best shown. They are the most creative and also the most repetitive; we have to say it, sometimes, at least in the photographic sense, you have seen every photographer in the world after seeing one or two of their editorials. We also have to say that not every photographer responds to a defined style when it comes to making their editorials, Patrick Demarchelier is an example of this. In his perfect way of executing and his conservative elements within fashion photography, he doesn’t have a degree of definition that would allow people to identify him in the same way people can identify some of his colleagues.

An editorial doesn’t only answer to the photographer’s aesthetic needs. It mainly responds to the needs of the means that publishes it. This is a line that is harder to perceive since it conveys different elements of photographic style, and styling besides having a limited access to rejected material and the reasons for not being published. A couple of examples of these are the documentary September Issue in the Unseen Vogue book.

An editorial converges not only a vision of fashion and a need for communication, but also a vision of what is photographic. These three elements come together to make an editorial come to life.

What is interesting about what I just mentioned is that if the first two elements are clear, the third can be handled freely; which means that it can work on any photographic concept without being unarticulated and it allows their development. This is why the language of photography has been able to evolve so freely. If we take a look at the photos that fashion photography has given us and keeping into consideration that the need for communication has evolved very little, we can see that apart from fashion itself —garments, make up, hair styles and even poses— the other big evolution is in the photographic sense; in the way of telling a story, its visual resources, its different contexts and its structure.

Just to be clear here, fashion history isn’t obliged to have a narrative per sei as its name suggests. It does tell a story but it’s not a story telling of facts, which is valid to use, but is not found very often. There’s always a conducting thread, well, there are two actually, fashion and photography, which is in most cases, an aesthetic proposal.

Let’s analyze the use of space. I have always found it particular that nobody complains about how repetitive space can become in photos taken in a studio. The same background doesn’t seem to bother anyone and becomes an attractive element instead, which makes relevant the quote by Richard Avedon that I used to start this entry a valid reflection.

However, when a real space becomes repetitive in several photographs, there’s always someone that thinks that the editorial lacks structure. And when you expresses the intention of making an editorial in two spaces that won’t necessary have a common theme, then you’re told that it cannot be done, as if the only option to make use of space within a photographic production and specifically in an editorial, means to go around in the location looking for different angles.
Well, today I want to bring to your attention two editorials (see below [1]). My purpose is to demonstrate that the aforementioned is indeed possible and to make a stronger statement, both are part of the Spanish Vogue Magazine from March 2014. Take a look at how not only the solution of space repeats itself, but also how the other space shares the story. In the White Masai, color is assigned to one of the spaces and black and white is assigned to the other. This isn’t mandatory as we can see in the other editorial in which it simply doesn’t take place. In the same way, the space of the window is repetitive and it’s not bad whatsoever.

And this is a must: since it is Vogue the one publishing it, it is now a legitimate solution.

May this be the moment to remind everybody that fashion photography has art as one of its inspiring sources and current art is about repetition; it repeats its ways relentlessly, or to the point where you can’t take it anymore. It’s your choice.

[1] I publish here the two editorials I mentioned. They are distributed in the same way as in the magazine, which I think is also important.

Photographer: Cuneyt Akeroglu

Stylist: Belén Antolín
Hair: Angelo Seminara
Make-up: Lisa Aldridge
Model: Arizona Muse






Photographer: Miguel Reveriego

Stylist: Belén Antolín
Hair: Tamara MacNaughton
Make-up: Serge Hodonou
Model: Jessica Miller


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