Suzy Menkes on Digital’s Fatal Effect on Fashion Photography

by Kristen Heinzinger

Is fashion photography over? In investigating why contemporary fashion photography doesn’t quite do it for her (or many others) anymore, Suzy Menkes noted most gallerists shared the sentiment in an article on Vogue.com today. “I still feel intuitively that fashion images, as we have known them, are in decline – whether from a lack of originality, the lure of post-production or even the competition – ridiculous as this sounds – between the glossy professional style and the dynamic smartphone camera grabs,” she wrote.

Menkes visited Gagosian Gallery (which holds Avedon’s Marella Agnelli and Dovima with Elephants, plus Peter Lindbergh’s 90s masterpieces); Ayse Arnal at Louise Alexander Gallery in Porto Cervo in Italy; and Michael Hoppen.

Here, a few of her more magical musings. See the full article (and images of the greats), here.

On selfies…
“The price of quality, in the age of the smartphone selfie, is ever upward. Unless I misread the price tag, a 1990 Patrick Demarchelier photograph of Christy Turlington was offered by Camera Work in Berlin for €95,600.”

On overly calculated  photos…
“Has the fascination with vintage clothing and with current fashion that regurgitates the Fifties, Sixties, Seventies, Eighties – and now those deliberately ugly Nineties – rubbed off on photography itself? All the gallerists I spoke to said the same thing: that post-production, digital enhancement and a general feeling of muddied waters in the age of the computer has divided photography into a strategic ‘before’ and ‘after.’ ”

On fashion photography as artifact…
“Those photographers who shaped their art in a pre-digital age are – just like fashion designers themselves – taking to shows in museums.” (Ed note: in reference to Sarah Moon at Hamburg’s House of Photography and Vogue 100: A Century of Style at London’s National Portrait Gallery)

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1 comment

Brad Burchards November 15, 2015 - 7:34 AM

There is a proper place and time for digital photography. But it does have its own perks or convenience to say the least.

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