Thursday, 29 March 2018

Photography - Fashion Campaigns and Look Books are Not the Same

I get the feeling that in 2018 a lot of fashion (& photography) is still getting short shrift as energies continue to be channelled into look books and IG-anything-goes pictures at the expense of strong and distinctive branding for fashion labels. When I was growing up, looking through the front section of a European or American edition of super fat copies of the VOGUEs of the world was where it was all at. The first chunk of the big magazines were packed solid with expensive and totally fabulous fashion campaigns. Then as now, fashion was an extremely competitive market and if you didn't have pictures to make your target audience - the people you wanted to be your customers swoon with desire - well the advertiser on the next page certainly would. These amazing campaigns (and they actually were amazing back when the word really meant... Amazing!) were not always so much centred on the fashion; as on the life and aspirations of that person the label was trying to seduce. And it was a seduction, no mistake about it. Astounding locations, impossibly beautiful models; clever studio sets and photography. Whatever it took to grab and HOLD your attention. That's what it was all about. And nothing about the art of seduction has changed!
Hero B&W Headshot of Victoria in top hat with black lace veil for a fashion campaign - photographed on location by Kent Johnson, Sydney, Australia.

This series of pictures were made for a client who was doing small ranges with small runs, and all made here in Australia. Which was very bold, expensive; and gave them a lot of control over the designs and manufacturing, and they were winning awards right from the start. Shardi the designer was also quite particular with her photography without having a large budget. So when we did finally shoot together it was exciting but also a little frustrating too. I have to say, that without a doubt; not only where her designs unique, her sense of styling and feel for the woman of her label were quite exceptional! As for myself; I can't help imagining just what we could have done with these images if the budget had been there. We had a united vision and I believe we really did have the shots. These pictures are all completely fresh edits, most of them never published before.

Fashion isn't selling clothes, it's selling a fantasy to sell the clothes, the make-up, the perfume. Maybe you can't have that million dollar life, but when you buy that dress, that outfit; you are transformed and you really do feel like a million dollars. I know I do! I think this is the true story of fashion. Not what the dress looks like in a scientific, perfect look book way. But the way the fashion makes you feel; which can't be told in a look book picture. Same with runway pictures from the fashion circus - these are still trade show events, the inspired idea yes - but not the wearing of the clothes, the real-unreal world of buying and wearing fashion. So my heart aches when I look online and don't see a life I want to live, nothing of a life I desire and aspire to. I just see clothes, not fashion. One rack one page, looking more or less - well almost exactly the same as the rest.. I no longer see any difference, or the glamour of fashion; but I haven't forgotten it and I certainly haven't forgotten how to photograph it. You don't necessarily need a huge budget.. the dream, my fashion dream is still alive.
Fashion campaign photography - A classic warm toned black and white fashion photograph of a model in a striped dress holding a rose - photographed on location by Kent Johnson, Sydney, Australia.

Fashion campaign photography - Victoria in top hat, tulle ankle 'socks' skirt and bustier; classic warm toned black and white fashion photograph - photographed on location by Kent Johnson, Sydney, Australia.
Taking our time to create the mood.

Looking like and angel in a red dress with stiff ruffle butterfly sleeve, black leatherette leg gators - photographed on location by Kent Johnson, Sydney, Australia.A folded blue ballon skirt dress with side points, front epaulettes with four brass buttons on the bodice - photographed in black and white on location by Kent Johnson, Sydney, Australia.
Shardi styling Victoria, fashion catalogue photoshoot on location, Sydney, Australia - photographed on location by Kent Johnson.
Shardi styling Victoria - on location, Sydney, Australia.
Mid shot B&W fashion photograph, leatherette and lace layered dress with short mutton sleeves and top hat - photographed on location by Kent Johnson, Sydney, Australia.
Fashion photography of a Bias detailed bodice with ruffled skirt dress, pull over leatherette sleeves, model reading a book while walking - photographed on location by Kent Johnson, Sydney, Australia.
Mid shot B&W photograph of Victoria wearing a leatherette bodice dress with layered two tone lace skirt and top hat - photographed on location by Kent Johnson, Sydney, Australia.A fashion camapign headshot of Victoria looking back like and angel in a red dress with stiff ruffle butterfly sleeve - fashion photograph on location by Kent Johnson, Sydney, Australia.
Like what you see? Drop me a line to talk about your next fashion photography project - Call Kent on 0433 796 863 or Email kent@artcommunication.com.au
Fashion Campaigns and Look Books are not the same. "When I was growing up, looking through the front section of a European or American edition of super fat copies of the VOGUEs of the world was where it was all at. The first chunk of the big magazines were packed solid with expensive and totally fabulous fashion campaigns. Then as now, fashion was an extremely competitive.."
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Telling Stories in Pictures all over the world..
Kent Johnson, Sydney, Australia.
0433 796 863