Fashion has always exerted a special
power over society, determining
a system of recognition marks, allowing
social classes, cultural or professional
worlds to communicate, to identify
or to distinguish one another. In
the modern times, photo is as a
memory of these behaviours.
Woman incarnates seduction, love
and sensuality; in every civilization,
in every time, she has been the
subject or the main theme of pictures
makers, and nowadays fashion photographers.
What one is waiting from a fashion
photo is not a little thing, because
one demands it to alter his vision
of his daily routine, even for just
a second, to take him in a dreamed
world, and concretely to encourage
us to buy.
In the beginning, the time-exposure
lasted three minutes. Then women
from high society were freezed like
statue in their beautiful dress.
No warmth, no sensuality radiates
from the picture. In the 20’s,
fashion photo with models comes
along. Diktats of stylists and designers
did not considered “womanly
women”, going from slim-waisted
silhouette to breast-less chests
(Poiret, Chanel), and finally to
an almost abstract creature –
for the liking of photographers.
The more the body of the model went
into decline and deviated from the
natural female curves, the more
it allows them to become a graphic
Because of its excesses, that tendency
became unbearable for the growing
mass of people interested in fashion,
which has provoked some kind of
Since 1965, designers like Courrèges
have stopped “Haute Couture”.
With a new look and a philosophy
inspired by Bauhaus, the role makes
the shape, he designed quite short
dresses so women might drive up.
Fashion pages became a scene of
illusion and magic, full of pictures
often far from reality, sometimes
even shocking: thus we might memorize
clothe more deeply and longer than
with a traditional photo.
Jeanloup Sieff said one day: “fashion
photo does not exist”. Maybe
a bit to be provocative, a bit to
allude its frivolity, but also to
stress the absence of sacred. Sometimes,
beyond fashion and information about
the clothes, the photographer catches
the core of the human being in front
of him, and sometimes a moment of
humanity pops up from that woman.
At this point, fashion photography
reaches some sort of veneration
of the feminine beauty, an ideal
Extract to La Photo et les Modes
» talks at University of Lyon.
Knapp © galerie Baudoin, Paris
Galerie Baudoin Lebon et la Ville
Exhibition from 16 April to 25 May
"Temps de pose 1960-1980"
Preview: Friday 16th May - 7 pm
Exhibited at Colysée, Maison
Folie - Avenue du Colysée
Phone: 03 20 00 60 06
Open Wednesday to Satsamedi
de 15h à 19h and Sunday from
1pm to 7pm.