Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Tatjana Patitz, Christy Turlington and Cindy Crawford by Peter Lindbergh for British Vogue January 1990
The enormous investment of time and money into fashion photography and its social value can be compared to studio painting in prior centuries - a documentation, art work and commercial product. By the 1980s, fashion photography was firmly defined by categories of fashion, accessories and beauty. But the same photographers who were shooting editorials were now crafting editorial-like ad campaigns. Mass market fashion photography became an economic stronghold for the continued dream of capitalism. The emerging power of the photographer and the supermodel, resulted in higher salaries and greater influence. Since the 1990s, the photographic style of luxury glamour has transformed into a more everyday naturalism, concurrent with reality media and making fashion photography more significant to both art and history.
The 1980s were marked by high glamour typified in Herb Ritts, who continued through the 1990's.
Patrick Demarchelier is a French photographer who has worked in New York since the 1970’s. He rose to prominance with Harper's Bazaar in the late 1980's and early 90's. He has created historic campaigns for Louis Vuitton to Ralph Lauren. He is known for mixing black and white and color.
Demarchelier, Harper's Bazaar, October 1992
Demarchelier's shoot below for Harper's Bazaar broke down the formality of the fashion shoot by showing the set.
Demarchelier, Harper's Bazaar, March 1993
Demarchelier, Harper's Bazaar, March 1993
Celebrity and fashion photographer Mario Testino is best known for his Vogue covers and editorials. Since the 1990's, he has had a clean, consistent, corporate style evident in the Gucci and Kors campaigns below, over 10 years apart. He is also well known for his books which include his more candid work.
Testino, Gucci, 1996 & Michael Kors, 2006
Mario Testino, Stephanie Seymour, V Magazine, 2007
Testino, "Hollywood Land," Vogue, March 2008
Both Steven Meisel and Steven Klein work in editorials and campaigns. Both work with celebrities and have shot Madonna. Both create narrative stories. One key difference is Meisel shoots for Italian Vogue (literally every cover of Italian Vogue for over 20 years), while Klein frequently shoots for W. Meisel is also known for close relationships with models and the unique style of the strong/fragile women he presents.
Meisel, "4 Days in LA," Versace Campaign, 2001
See more of "4 Days in LA"
Meisel, "Makeover Madness," Italian Vogue, July 2005
Meisel, "State of Emergency," September 2006
Steven Klein is known best for his celebrity work. He works closely with his subject and re-contexturalizes the celebrity, in a manner that represents some essential aspect of his or her personality. He is also well known for his Dolce & Gabbana campaigns.
Klein, "Domestic Bliss," W, July 2005
Klein, "Blame it on Rio," W, 2009
Klein, Loewe, F 2009
There is a current resurgence of the style of 1970's photographer Guy Bourdin, evident in Klein above and photographers Mario Sorrenti and Mert & Marcus, both below.
Sorrenti, Cesare Paciotti, F 2009
Mert & Marcus,Vannessa Paradis, Miu Miu, S 2010
The Rise of the Realist Aesthetic
In Elliott Smeldley's, “Escaping to Reality: Fashion photography in the 1990’s,” he explains that documentary art photography of the 1980s influenced fashion photography. He traces the history from a general reaction against the perfect photo or fashion ideal as early as the 1950s. David Bailey, Terence Donovan and Brian Duffy were the “Terrible Three” showing a more natural aesthetic in the 1960s. Bob Richardson gave a dark realism, just prior to Helmut Newton and Guy Bourdin. The emergence of punk was documented by Terry Jones who then started i-D magazine in the 1980s, featuring ordinary people in their everyday clothing.
Corrine Day documented Kate Moss as part of an emerging natural style in London. The Face magazine was an important part of the scene as well as Juergen Teller, David Sims and Nigel Safran.
Corinne Day, "15," The Face, 1990
Nan Goldin represented the art documentation of the period in New York. She was also creating campaigns for Helmut Lang and Matsuda.
Nan Goldin, Matsuda's "Naked in New York" campaign, 1996.
Nick Knight is an important London photographer of the 1980s and 90s. He began by documenting the skinhead scene. His photograph for V magazine in 1997 brought him considerable attention from the fashion world. He has since founded SHOWStudio.
Knight, Skinheads, 1982
Knight, V magazine, 1997
Knight, UK Vogue, 2008
Juergen Teller is recognized for his natural approach. He began in newspaper photography. He emphasizes an intimate relationship with his subjects. His art book project called "Go-Sees" was a series of portraits of models who visited his studio. He is best known however for his Marc Jacobs ads that featured celebrities at home or in hotel beds. He is recognized by a consistent sepia, pastel color palette.
Teller, "Go-Sees," 1999
Teller, YSL, S 2005
Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, known as Inez & Vinoodh started working in art photography and gradually in fashion. The Vivienne Westwood work below is one of their "art" photographs while their unique "Before & After" photos for V magazine were considered fashion work. They effectively cross genres.
Inez& Vinoodh, Vivienne Westwood Fur, 1994
Inez & Vinoodh, Chloe, F 2004 & S 2005
Inez & Vinoodh, "Before & After," 2007
Like his father Bob, Terry Richardson emphasizes the realism of his models. He engages them in activity and close ups. He is known for bright lighting and high contract.
Richardson, French Vogue, 2008