How much are Vogue photographers paid
Fashion photography reflects reality and creates it. Five variations on the zeitgeist
OF NADINE BARTH
FRONT. Hamburg, Long Row. Wet asphalt. The black of the night shines through the windows. Joachim Baldauf drinks his beer. The bar is almost empty. Baldauf has his studio in the back of the courtyard. In front of it a small garden, wooden planks, ivy. A cell of creativity. Here arises Front. The booklet for free design. Baldauf is proud of it. He gave the impetus. Called friends, well-known art directors, hired photographers, researched artists, gave everyone all the freedom they wanted. 250 pages of wild imagery, photo series, snippets of text.
The first issue appeared in January at a price of 18 euros, the second is currently in print. The interesting thing: no ads. Instead “advertorials”, free editorials, own stories, paid for by advertisers who had no influence on the implementation. People could do anything, he says, of any length. Anarchy. He, Baldauf, only gave the anarchy a sense of cohesion. A loose-leaf collection is just not so easy to bring to market. Then you're the philistine among the anarchists, I say. Soon laughs. Yes, you can say it that way. Did you know that ninety countries are not allowed to show breasts on the cover? In America will Front only sold through bookstores. It's in trendy shops in Europe's capitals.
I flip through the booklet. Get caught up in photos of a naked man. We discuss the angle. How erect is allowed? When is this kind of pornography? The photographer of the pictures is Andreas H. Bitesnich. Long ennobled by the art world, highly traded on the international market. Got at the Lead Awards Front several awards this year. One for the best fashion spread in a magazine. When is fashion art? Is Front Art? Baldauf is embarrassed. That's a big word, he says. I just wanted to inspire.
VINTAGE. An image is an image when it refers to something. At least that is how Plato saw it. Its greek eikon had a strong reference character: as a natural image, mirror or shadow image, on closer inspection it led to the real world or at least to what one believed to be. The artificial images made by craftsmen / artists referred to their imagination during the manufacturing process. Since the invention of photography, images have existed precisely at the intersection of natural and artificial images. They are a mirror of reality and yet refer to a creative achievement of the photographer who determined the motif, section, light, sharpness, etc.
Initially decried as the “work of the devil”, even after its general acceptance, photography still has the smell of pure representation (“mimicry”). And what only depicts cannot be art. Only when artists began to take up photography did the relations shift. Of course, photographic works hang in museums today, collectors spend a fortune on vintage prints, and prints are naturally signed by the photographer.
And: There are editions. This means that at least part of the aura, the loss of which Walter Benjamin complained in the age of reproducibility, is reintroduced through the back door. The fact that there are three or five "originals" instead of one does not matter. The note to own “1/5”, the first of five, perhaps a print that the photographer made himself in the darkroom (sensitive emulsion of the photo paper equals the sensitive soul of the photo artist), that makes the collector happy. Even copy prints, "approved" prints made years later, can fetch dream prices - for example a print made in 1971 of Man Ray's most famous photo, "Le violon d’Ingres", which was sold at Christie's for a hundred thousand dollars.
Fashion photography has two serious problems: as commissioned photography, it does not correspond to the romantic ideal of the free creative spirit, and its reference character has something extremely unsteady: its signature is the zeitgeist. And it is known to be fleeting. The Museum of Modern Art in New York is currently providing an overview of this fleeting art: “Fashioning Fiction in Photography since 1990” (until June 28).
VISION. A conversation with Prof. F. C. Gundlach, photographer, collector and director of the new House of Photography in Hamburg.
taz.mag: Your collection, of which the “A Clear Vision” exhibition gave a first foretaste, consists of around 12,000 exhibits. How many of them do you estimate are fashion photos?
F. C. Gundlach: About fifty percent. For me, fashion photography is also photography of people. For example there is this photo of Margaret Bourke-White that is also a Life- Cover photo was: It shows Wall Street, around five hundred men come from the stock exchange, 98 percent of them have hats on. For me this is a manifestation of fashion. Today the ratio would be exactly the opposite. No other genre of photography is as closely related to time as fashion photography.
Can fashion photography be art?
Naturally. Fashion photography benefits from the greater appreciation that photography in general has become. The old understanding of art that things with an economic background cannot be art no longer exists. Nevertheless, it is more the strong images that will survive that are convincing as images outside of the context in which they were created and then have the right to survive in the market.
What do you like about the new German magazinesSquint, Sleek, German, AttentionorZoo,who rely entirely on fashion photography?
At last! This has been the case in England for a long time. They have a lead of ten years. Magazines like ID or Dazed & Confused have achieved a lot. A staging where fashion is only secondary reflects a very specific attitude towards life, a zeitgeist. What fashion photography offers are offers of identification, and if that is accepted it becomes fashion. It started with the hippies. They wanted to show a lifestyle. A dream, a vision that people wanted to convey in their floral dresses.
You have long for yourselfBrigitteworked.
The success of the Brigitte was because she shaped a new image of women. Unlike after the war, women no longer had to replace men; the brittle uniformity gave way to a new femininity. Much more people were able to participate in fashion because it became affordable. Today the trend is back to the classic presentation. The image of fashion is becoming more important again. The beautiful returns.
VOGUE. The Vogue is the Olympus of fashion photography. In all countries. With different tendencies. The French Vogue: traditional, significant, above the clouds. The Italian Vogue: Avant-garde, since the beginning, an experimental playground for photographers and models. The American Vogue: the law, the accolade, the intrigue stronghold. Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief with well-known extravagances for years, found its way into the novel "The Devil Wears Prada", which the fashion community devoured with mocking pleasure, hardly encrypted. Germany also has its Vogue, like Australia, Russia, Greece, Spain, even Taiwan.
What in Vogue is is trend. In all countries. And who for them Vogue works, he's who. Or will someone. Erwin Blumenfeld took photos as early as the 1940s Vogue-Cover. Helmut Newton, Peter Lindbergh, Bruce Weber, David La Chapelle, Ellen von Unwerth: everything VoguePhotographers. The miniskirt, the afro look, the punk movement, the new elegance, everything was documented, staged, exaggerated into a fashion image that stands for itself, symbolic of the generation from which it grew. The obscene close-ups of Guy Bourdin, the heroin chic of Jürgen Teller, the scandalous photos of Terry Richardson.
The Vogue came and often comes to its limits, after all it is financed to a large extent by advertisements. However, there is a tradition of gently tearing down borders. The freedom of Vogue: It's a freedom of professionalism. A freedom that makes visions possible in the first place. A freedom, managed and supervised nonetheless by the "fashion producers", usually employed editors.
The best-known recently received a fat homage: Grace Coddington, eighteen years fashion editor at the British Vogue, twelve years as creative director at the American company. The 400-page volume is simply called “Grace. 30 Years of Fashion at Vogue ”(Göttingen 2002, Steidl, 128 euros). Whether with Guy, Bruce or Ellen, whether in Egypt, Paris or the Maldives, fashion under the eyes of Grace becomes an excursion into the land of strange fantasies or bizarre moments. The fact that only goods are advertised that hardly anyone can afford is drowned in the flood of beautiful appearances, and that doesn't matter. It's about opening the gate to your own world of thought. Dream with allure. Before it's in fashion, it's in Vogue.
VIAUX. Basses hum on the street, again Lange Reihe, Hamburg. People close together. Models, photographers, advertisers, writers. In between, art patrons looking for the trend. Viaux is the first German gallery exclusively for fashion photography, as well as an overall concept of shop and party room that breaks with all the rules of gallery tradition. No bright light that makes faces look pale, no white wine slurp, no “From 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and then goodbye”, but the vernissages as carefully styled events where drinks and food match the photos in terms of color and content.
Here we come full circle. “Searching for Fashion in Vorn” was the ironic name of the last Viaux exhibition, in which black-framed light boxes in front of a black wall showed the best (and no fashion) from the booklet for free design, with Jack Daniel's Black Label, caviar and liquorice snails being served . After this epitome of credibility (after all, Bitesnich also hung there) Viaux reached for the stars: The Vogue had to come. With photos by Indlekofer + Knoepfel.
The Swiss photographer couple seduces in a subtle way with style quotes from Romy Schneider to Hitchcock's Marnie. Stefan Indlekofer and Claudia Knoepfel work with two cameras - male gaze, female gaze, a game with perspectives. It was the two of them who received the Lead Award for the best fashion series. In Front. With pictures that don't necessarily correspond to classic fashion photography. A couple in the heat of the day, on the Elbe beach, with children's toys, everything in a pale, eerie light, it's hot and exhausting, just "dog days", and in the end the girl is dead with her face in the sand (until 13. May; www.viaux.com).
Everything is fashion, says gallery owner Natalie Viaux, referring to Beuys’s concept of art. Everything is created in the eye of the beholder. Expression, attitude, life. Germany's first gallery for fashion photography relies on cooperation with magazines from the outset. Interestingly, a “fashion series” corresponds to the art market's preference for series. I want to show the series in large format while they can be bought at the kiosk, says Natalie Viaux, ex-MTV editor and freelance director. I want to banish the zeitgeist. Give pictures a chance before they disappear from our minds. Insignia of permanence. Fashion is what surrounds us, what we feel like we are. Fashion photography, if it's good, can depict that. And then it is also art.
NADINE BARTH, 39, is the magazine's deputy editor-in-chiefAmica
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