Secondary Research Reading: ‘Soft Focus: techniques of Fashion Photography’

In preparation for my FMP I want to dedicate a portion of my research this term to developing my imaging skills, experience and understanding, which will culminate in the production of a ‘Promotional Imaging Lookbook’ documenting this learning. A key part of this is looking into the history of the craft, to understand how it has evolved to the highly versatile yet commercially led style which dominates the industry today.This will also expose me to a variety of influences which can serve as inspiration as i begin to experiment and cultivate my own style in preparation for my FMP brand concept.

Malcom Barnard (2010) fashion anthology, ‘Fashion: Critical Concepts in Media and Cultural Studies’, has been integral to developing my knowledge of core fashion theory concepts to allow me to fully engage with my masters research. It was in this book that i came across a chapter by Jennifer Craik, coined ‘Soft Focus: Techniques of Fashion Photography’, which provided a concise yet detailed history of the discipline since it’s evolution in the earliest twentieth century.  It’s relevance to my personal development meant I took far more notes than can be documented on this blog; therefore I have attached images of my notes which can be found in my research files.  However there were additionally some key learnings I will take forward in everything I do in this field.

Key Learnings/ quotations

  • Fashion Photography is about the construction of fantasies; the photographs stand for desire itself (Evans and Thornton, 1989).
  • ‘Fashion Photographers have been celebrated as capturing the spirit of an era’ (Craik, 2004).
  • Fashion Photography over history is essentially an index of changing ideas about fashion and gender, and is the main source of information about clothing / bodies over history.
  • ‘Fashion Photography provokes viewers into confirming their own identity through structures of desire’ (Craik, 2004: 68)
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