LOS ANGELES, CA.-
In 1911, the French publisher Lucien Vogel challenged Edward Steichen to create the first artistic, rather than merely documentary, fashion photographs, a moment that is now considered to be a turning point in the history of fashion photography. As fashion changed over the next century, so did the photography of fashion. Steichen's modernist approach was forthright and visually arresting. In the 1930s, the photographer Martin Munkácsi pioneered a gritty, photojournalistic style. In the 1960s, Richard Avedon encouraged his models to express their personalities by smiling and laughing and Helmut Newton brought an explosion of sexuality into fashion images, turning the tables on traditional gender stereotypes. In the 1970s and 1980s, Bruce Weber and Herb Ritts made male sexuality an important part of fashion photography.
Today, following the integration of digital technology, teams like Inez & Vindoodh and Mert & Marcus are reshaping our notion of what is acceptable-not just aesthetically but technically and conceptually-in a fashion photograph. From glossy pages in Vogue and Harper's Bazaar to framed prints on museum walls, fashion photography encompasses both commercial advertising and fine art.
Icons of Style: A Century of Fashion Photography
(Getty Publications, July 10, 2018) is an informative, lavishly illustrated survey of one hundred years of fashion photography, including more than three hundred photographs by the genre's most famous practitioners, including Richard Avedon, Lillian Bassman, Guy Bourdin, Erwin Blumenfeld, Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Hiro, Inez & Vinoodh, Peter Lindbergh, Man Ray, Helmut Newton, Nick Knight, Gordon Parks, Irving Penn, Herb Ritts, Edward Steichen, and Tim Walker, and lesser-known but influential artists such as Corinne Day, Gleb Derujinsky, Toni Frissell, and Kourken Pakchanian. The photographs are presented alongside a selection of costumes, fashion illustrations, magazine covers, and advertisements.
The last book to present a comprehensive history of fashion photography was Nancy Hall Duncan's History of Fashion Photography, published in 1979. Nearly 40 years later, Icons of Style reevaluates this history and brings the story up-to-date with the most recent developments in the field, including digital photography, photo retouching, street photography, and fashion blogging.
Paul Martineau, associate curator of photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum and the book's author writes: "My hope is that this sweeping introduction to fashion photography will not only educate and delight our visitors, but also inspire new scholarly inquiry," says Martineau. "Long overlooked, the gradual integration of fashion photographs into museum collections will make it easier for these pictures to be evaluated in terms of the larger history of the medium of photography."
Icons of Style is organized into five chronological chapters by experts in photography and fashion history.
From Contrivance to "Naturalism", 1911-1929 - Anne McCauley explores the work of pioneering photographers such as Adolf de Meyer and Edward Steichen who, along with magazine moguls Condé Nast and William Randolph Hearst, established modern fashion photography. She also covers the radical transformation of fashion from the end of the Edwardian era through the Jazz Age.
Style in the Face of Crisis, 1930-1946 - Paul Martineau examines the rise of fantasy and glamour in the work of photographers such as George Hoyningen-Huene, Cecile Beaton, and George Hurrell, as well as the increased emphasis placed on the use of color during the Great Depression. He also covers the shift of attention from Paris and London to the United States during the World War II.
Letting the Skirts Down, 1947-1969 - Susanna Brown covers the post-World War II period by examining the work of photographers such as Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, William Klein, and Hiro-all artists who eschewed the elaborate backdrops of the previous decades each for his own brand of realism. She also covers the tumultuous transition from 1950s femininity to the radical diversity of styles (peasant, mod, gypsy, androgyny, safari, space age, etc.) from New York, Paris, London and Milan that marked the "Youthquake" of the 1960s.
Rebellion to Seduction, 1970-1989 - Michal Raz-Russo explores the unfolding of the sexual revolution in the work of photographers such as Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin, and Herb Ritts, who brought a more direct sexuality to the fore. He also considers the effects of the empowerment of women (including those over forty) through fashion and photography
Ye Fakers: Realism and Fantasy, 1990-2011 - Ivan Shaw discusses the business of contemporary photography and how digital technology has changed the way fashion photographers work and see themselves.
The book is accompanied by the exhibition Icons of Style: A Century of Fashion Photography, 1911-2011 which is on view from June 26 until October 21, 2018 at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Center, Los Angeles. The exhibition is curated by Paul Martineau.
Paul Martineau has curated numerous exhibitions at the J. Paul Getty Museum and is the author or coauthor of Herb Ritts: L.A. Style (Getty Publications, 2012), Robert Mapplethorpe: The Photographs (Getty Publications, 2016), and The Thrill of the Chase: The Wagstaff Collection of Photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum (Getty Publications, 2016).
Elizabeth Anne MacCauley is a David Hunter McAlpin Professor of the History of Photography and Modern Art at Princeton University. Her most recent book is The Steerage and Alfred Stieglitz (University of California, 2002).
Ivan Shaw is the corporate photography director for Condé Nast Art and Archive Department.
Susanna Brown is curator of photographs at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Michal Raz-Russo is assistant curator of photography at the Art Institute of Chicago.