Forums > General Industry > Fashion Photography Definition

Model

IDiivil

Posts: 4122

Los Angeles, California, US

What is the definition of "fashion photography" ..?

Is fashion photography defined by the lighting/style it is shot?

Is it defined by the clothes?

Can an image be defined as fashion photography if it is a nude shot?
- I know a couple of examples where I would argue yes. Lara Stone's nude shot, to me, is fashion... but others may disagree.

May 15 13 02:53 am Link

Photographer

B R U N E S C I

Posts: 25319

Bath, England, United Kingdom

I've said it many times before but fashion is about aspiration.

Fashion photography is about creating aspiration (desire) in the target audience (usually women) to be the llama, or to be like the llama. Once you create that desire then you have the audience hooked and they will be looking for clues in the the images as to how they can be more like that llama. Clearly, the most obvious route is via the clothes she's wearing, or the jewellery or even the perfume the ad tells us she is using. A llama can be completely nude and if the image is shot in the right way, with the right aesthetic and the right feel it will still be a fashion image.

So fashion photography is NOT about clothes. They often feature in fashion photography, sure, but as soon as the clothes themselves become the focus then the images shift from aspirational to illustrational and become in effect catalog images rather than true fashion images.

Because most fashion photography (of women) is aimed at women, the mood of the images tends to be in stark contrast to glamour photography which is primarily aimed at men. The old adage, "Glamour = 'fuck me'; Fashion = 'fuck you'" is very true! I often tell my llamas to give me a "fuck you" look - I don't want them trying to seduce me; I want them to be showing me something that will encourage women to emulate them, to be strong, independent and sexy in a non-submissive kind of way.


Just my $0.02

Ciao
Stefano

www.stefanobrunesci.com

May 15 13 05:46 am Link

Photographer

Mortonovich

Posts: 5542

San Diego, California, US

A couple good threads:
\"Explain Fashion of Die\"
http://www.modelmayhem.com/po.php?thread_id=70666

\"Fashion Photography and what I don\'t get about it.\"
http://www.modelmayhem.com/po.php?threa … 528&page=1


Fashion is about culture; social relevance. Life, death. Love, hate. Hurt, joy. Relationships created and relationships lost. Etc.

But to be sure, style is critical.

May 15 13 06:43 am Link

Photographer

Photographe

Posts: 2350

Bristol, England, United Kingdom

Fashion photography has evolved to be it's own thing separate from fashion.

"Fashion" is published by "style" magazines such as GQ, also "fashion" magazines publish "style" or "beauty", or simply a concept involving models that has an aesthetic.

Some fashion photography claims not have an aesthetic, but in reality it is simply applying a treatment rather than a concept as such.

It's about what makes people feel good and look good ultimately, it's not necessarily about clothes, more of a style. I think photography has become far more dominant than fashion, which is struggling a little, with the change of seasons and economic downturn. "fashion photography" is a concept of its own, with its own following.

May 15 13 10:00 am Link

Photographer

Dave McDermott

Posts: 451

Coill Dubh, Kildare, Ireland

That Italian Guy wrote:
The old adage, "Glamour = 'fuck me'; Fashion = 'fuck you'" is very true!

I've heard a lot of people try do distinguish between the two, but this is the single best explanation I've ever heard. I've seen fashion shots where the model is almost naked, and couldn't understand how it could be fashion. However, you've explained it in a way I can understand.

May 15 13 10:13 am Link

Photographer

WIP

Posts: 15543

Cheltenham, England, United Kingdom

Public Image.

May 15 13 01:52 pm Link

Photographer

WIP

Posts: 15543

Cheltenham, England, United Kingdom

That Italian Guy wrote:
I want them to be showing me something that will encourage women to emulate them, to be strong, independent and sexy in a non-submissive kind of way.


Just my $0.02

Ciao
Stefano

www.stefanobrunesci.com

I've the same thoughts and I do it by playing models songs by the Spice Girls who were all about 'girl power'.

May 15 13 03:13 pm Link

Photographer

JAMES ROSS PHOTOGRAPHIX

Posts: 7361

Scottsdale, Arizona, US

That Italian Guy wrote:
I've said it many times before but fashion is about aspiration.

Fashion photography is about creating aspiration (desire) in the target audience (usually women) to be the model, or to be like the model. Once you create that desire then you have the audience hooked and they will be looking for clues in the the images as to how they can be more like that model. Clearly, the most obvious route is via the clothes she's wearing, or the jewellery or even the perfume the ad tells us she is using. A model can be completely nude and if the image is shot in the right way, with the right aesthetic and the right feel it will still be a fashion image.

So fashion photography is NOT about clothes. They often feature in fashion photography, sure, but as soon as the clothes themselves become the focus then the images shift from aspirational to illustrational and become in effect catalog images rather than true fashion images.

Because most fashion photography (of women) is aimed at women, the mood of the images tends to be in stark contrast to glamour photography which is primarily aimed at men. The old adage, "Glamour = 'fuck me'; Fashion = 'fuck you'" is very true! I often tell my models to give me a "fuck you" look - I don't want them trying to seduce me; I want them to be showing me something that will encourage women to emulate them, to be strong, independent and sexy in a non-submissive kind of way.


Just my $0.02

Ciao
Stefano

www.stefanobrunesci.com

AWESOME POST!!  GREAT INFORMATION!

May 15 13 03:22 pm Link

Photographer

AIMStudios

Posts: 25

Richmond, Virginia, US

That Italian Guy wrote:
A model can be completely nude and if the image is shot in the right way, with the right aesthetic and the right feel it will still be a fashion image.

I would agree if the image is presented in context. Out of context, it's simply a picture of a nude woman - no matter how well-done.

May 15 13 03:29 pm Link

Photographer

Marin Photography NYC

Posts: 7248

New York, New York, US

c_h_r_i_s wrote:

I've the same thoughts and I do it by playing models songs by the Spice Girls who were all about 'girl power'.

Spice Girls???? big_smile too funny!

May 15 13 03:32 pm Link

Photographer

WIP

Posts: 15543

Cheltenham, England, United Kingdom

We have the internet model site definition of fashion and we have the real world definition which is whatever the fashion editors-journalists, designers, art directors and buyers tell us it is.

May 15 13 03:49 pm Link

Photographer

Mike Collins

Posts: 1922

Orlando, Florida, US

I think some on here are giving a definition of "editorial" fashion photography and not fashion photography as a whole.  Fashion photography can be shot many different ways.  Commercial fashion photography is more about selling the clothes.  Editorial fashion photography is more about selling a lifestyle.  But editorial is a sub-catogory of commercial fashion photography.

But I will agree that many here on MM claim to shoot "fashion" when in fact they are really shooting glamour or model photography for their portfolios.  Even with editorial, the intent is still to sell the clothes.  If your shooting models with no intention of selling what they are wearing, your shooting glamour or model photography (if that is a genre).  At least that is my opinion.

May 16 13 04:56 am Link

Model

IDiivil

Posts: 4122

Los Angeles, California, US

Thanks for the views, everyone. This helps me get a feel of what was originally a very broad definition of the genre smile I think I understand a little bit better.

May 16 13 04:08 pm Link

Photographer

J M

Posts: 372

Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Dave McDermott wrote:

I've heard a lot of people try do distinguish between the two, but this is the single best explanation I've ever heard. I've seen fashion shots where the model is almost naked, and couldn't understand how it could be fashion. However, you've explained it in a way I can understand.

Helmut Newton? Terry Richardson?
I hate this belief, glamour can be fashion, fashion can be glamour, one doesn't necessarily disqualify the other, but being one doesn't mean it is the other, there are tons more photographers that can be named, and they get chosen for this.

And really this question isn't precise enough, fashion has so many sub genres and culture too it is just like music that it can't be answered with one simple answer. Yes the creating aspirations is correct, but lookbooks are fashion too and simple ones hardly create a story.

May 19 13 12:45 am Link

Photographer

Richard Tallent

Posts: 7092

Beaumont, Texas, US

IDiivil wrote:
What is the definition of "fashion photography" ..?

Real definition: Photography intended to sell or promote particular brands of clothing, accessories, beauty, perfumes, and other products related to the fashion world.

You don't have to be wearing clothing to promote a brand, particularly if you're promoting a brand of something other than clothes (or promoting them more as a "lifestyle" than as a product), so nudity of one form or another in the genre is not usual.

Model Mayhem definition: Photography where the model is not nude, with the possible exception of a handbra instead of a top, and no one gives a shit what brand of clothing is being worn as long as the model looks pretty.

May 19 13 08:58 am Link

Photographer

WIP

Posts: 15543

Cheltenham, England, United Kingdom

Model Mayhem definition; I'd like to add to that 'nude fashion' whatever that is.

May 19 13 10:20 am Link

Photographer

Kent Art Photography

Posts: 2916

Ashford, England, United Kingdom

I learned a long time ago that definitions which were commonly used and understood in the industry, at least when I worked in the industry, mean absolutely nothing in the MM universe, and everyone and anyone puts forward their own ideas as fact without those 'facts' having any basis in truth.

May 19 13 10:26 am Link