Fashion Photography: Past and Present

Fashion photography began around the year 1900, when the photographer began to attempt to convert the model and the article of clothing in something artistic that was more than just the image of a women in a dress. Through the use of locations, props, sets, hair styles, make-up and experiments in composition, over time, fashion photography has undoubtedly become a celebrated art form. Fashion photography blends so many different aesthetics into one and the outcome is more than usually successful and interesting to look at, and even though the photographers and models have changed through time, fashion photography remains based on the fact that something can be more beautiful in a photograph than in real life.
I have chosen what I find to be two of the most influential fashion photographers of this century to research into for this essay, Guy Bourdin and Terry Richardson. These photographers represent to me, the past and present of cutting edge fashion photography. Even though their work spans decades apart, there are still links between their styles. The way in which these photographers have translated their work through to the world of fashion advertising is also something that must be considered when trying to understand how their work might be perceived by a mainstream audience.
Terry Richardson has a photography style that is easily identifiable. His work is considered to be somewhat controversial, however, this does not prevent him from being one of the top contemporary fashion photographers of the 21st century, Richardson’s work has a veracity and a fresh urgency about it which some other modern fashion photographers can fail to capture in the same way that he does. He has a distinct, yet easily recognisable style that comes across as being very raw and undefined, his images are very sincere.
Occasionally his work can contain explicit imagery and be quite contentious. Some of his work could easily be formalised as ‘porn photography’ but it seems to balance...