the post i should be writing right now goes something like “sorry, i’ll be taking exams and writing essays for the next 2 weeks so i probably won’t have a lot of time to be blogging until the school year ends” BUT INSTEAD OF BEING THE RESPONSIBLE AND STUDIOUS INDIVIDUAL THAT I AM (um) i want to talk about this editorial
poster child shot by glen luchford for V #65
and this editorial
this is pop shot by viviane sassen for pop #21
and maybe these photographs by pamela reed and matthew rader, just to put it out there, even though i don’t really feel like going into the whole print vs internet thing and arguing whether this is novelty or art (or both?) and whether this is just being done because it can be done or whether this is something that pertains specifically to the evolution of fashion editorial.
so. to begin with, the V editorial opens with this: “in an exclusive collaboration, new york art group the boys collective explores the surface of the fashion image by cutting, collaging, and setting fire to it”. for me this editorial doesn’t achieve what it sets out to do because not only is there a huge lack of focus in terms of styling (and concept, which is less of an issue), but the clothes are in direct conflict with the graphic design, despite it’s attempt to react to them. and i guess the point is that it isn’t graphic design–it’s hand done collage, which is probably some sort of ironic commentary on mechanized reproduction and the overwhelming sameness of the fashion industry or something that i would get into if it wasn’t 5am. anyways, i can’t find any information on the boys collective, so i can’t say anything about their general work, but i think that while there is obviously supposed to be an element of kitsch here, but it’s just not working. and i think that’s exactly why fashion photography hasn’t made any serious attempts to try and experiment with other media–because for the most part it has just yielded pretty amateur looking cut and paste jobs in photoshop that work in direct opposition to “the norm” instead of working with it.
(just to clarify, i’m not trying to discuss a perceived disconnect between fashion and other art or design, but specifically the evolution of fashion editorial from advertisement to unique and collaborative mode of expression/creativity. takashi murakami for louis vuitton and james jean for prada are quick references regarding creative partnerships and different media, but the point is in regarding the intrinsically hierarchical system of fashion, where designers have a singular and personal relationship with the collections they present, and stylists/photographers/etc are always in indirect collaboration with them because of this.)
fashion is in itself is such a multimedia experience, and so fluid, so the fact that most editorials end up being a model standing around (or sitting around, or leaping around, or rolling around) wearing nice clothes is getting so tiring. (and don’t even get me started on labels that require editorials to feature entire runway looks–it’s so backwards thinking. no one is picking up magazines to see an outfit copied verbatim into a different context. we live in a remix culture, embrace it.) i’m not saying that if you open russh or l’officiel or your magazine of choice that it all looks the same or isn’t aesthetically pleasing or isn’t the work of talented photographers who have a process and have a style (i’m not even saying that models default on being beautiful because obviously the fashion industry isn’t dictating the standard of beauty and models like hannah holman, to name only one, prove that there is an intelligence in the work they do) – but at what point does it all start blending together?
maybe this is just the fact that i’m a photographer going into new media design, but i just feel like photography is so static right now. the equipment is accessible, and the over saturation of photography on the internet and the speed at which images move from person to person (with blogging and microblogging) proves that you don’t need formal training to capture pictures that wouldn’t look out of place in a fashion magazine.
what i’m getting at is that i feel medium, context, and process are all important and most editorials aren’t creating a dialog between themselves and collections presented biannually (and you know, alber elbaz has mentioned how much work it is to spend all year designing clothing that are ultimately very temporary – but most fashion photographs barely stick around for two months). magazines don’t exist for the sole purpose of selling clothing or a specific lifestyle anymore, so why do they continue to cater plastic ideals that yeah, still look pretty, but ultimately have no depth? i don’t have an answer, but i agree with pop that there needs to start some sort of “ch-ch-ch-change”. in the end i just think if magazines embrace temporary culture instead of yielding to it, their content will become a lot more permanent. editorials, i feel, should not only be contributing to the ways in which i look at fashion, but changing and challenging it, and introducing new/altered landscapes and realities that go beyond that which is simply aesthetically pleasing on the surface.
(photos from noir facade and reedandrader)