Fashion photography: from art to commerce and back again?

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Now when marketers need to rely even more on people’s opinions and engagement (after Facebooks news today). Isn’t it time for the art in fashion photography to come back again? Because what engage people more than just art?

Have you ever looked at the fashion images made from masters like Avedon, Penn and Roversi and thought that this is so good and timeless? But what makes them achieve this touch or feeling? Is it the analogue feeling form the negative or is it how they approach their work as art than a commercial tool that goes through the whole production of the image?

Today we streamline, polish and tweak images, texts and films to infinity to maximize the sales value. Can it be the case that the commercial side is destroying the art in fashion photography?

In this article photo editor of Vogue Italia, Alessia Glaviano is arguing to make photos iconic again. One part did really stuck to my mind:

” …The other day I posted on my Instagram a photo by Doisneau and I was asking myself if there was nowadays the possibility for an image to become iconic. I was naturally referring to how fast things go in photography today, to the number of images that are produced, to the fact that they are often disposable and in general to how ephemeral photography has become since it’s stopped being a tangible object.

And among the comments underneath, a girl wrote, “Perhaps it depends on the number of likes it gets”. I couldn’t believe that someone could actually write something like that and seriously mean it. This is exactly one of the reasons why I started Photo Vogue: online photography needs some kind of curatorship. Having a million likes does not mean you are good, there could just be a million of dick-heads who have liked your photo without having any kind of image culture. Culture has always been something for a few, and now we get shocked by seeing which are the most ‘liked’ things, but it has always been this way.”

If we take a look at where we consume fashion today: social media. We read blogs, stream videos, watch pictures from fashion shows and so on using our smartphone. The foundation of social media is just to be social. Sharing, commenting and talking to others about our mutual interests are nothing new.

The news that Facebook released today (12/1 -18) is that brands will be seen even less in people’s feeds. They want to focus more on family and friends and connect people with each other trough engagement. Comments and sharing will now have a bigger impact. So does the old school ad have a place in social channels now when marketers need to rely even more on peoples opinions and engagement isn’t it time for the art in fashion photography to come back again?

What more engages people than art?




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