Insights into the history of fashion photography, Part 1:

The field of fashion photography has become an integral part in the complex world of photography. Its beginnings can be traced back to the beginning of the 20th century. People started putting clothes in the limelight by ripping them out of their industrial context and presenting them in a dream world of seduction and beauty.

 Adolphe de Meyer is a pioneer in this field. In 1910 he took the first fashion photos for Vogue in Paris. He made new creations reflecting an independent way in fashion photography. Meyer began shooting the models in their natural environment and in natural poses. The time had come to stage women as well as their clothing with more finesse instead of shooting lifeless dressmaker’s dummies.


Another significant representative of this field is George Hoyningen-Huene. This photographer was inspired by the Greek Antiquity. He attempted to reveal ideal femininity by studying antique sculptures and adjusting his photos to them. To him harmony in his photos was extremely important and he strongly focused on human expression.


The American Man Ray and the German Erwin Blumenfeld also had a strong impact on fashion photography. For them the manufacturing process and the work in the darkroom were more important – is this the birth of “retouching” and photo editing in fashion photography?


Martin Munkacsi added new aspects to fashion photography. His photos were characterized by cover stories and snapshots. For the first time in the history of this particular field in photography the body was freed from its rigidity and made more active.


However, the development of fashion photography doesn’t stop in the 1930s with Martin Munkcasi of course – the second part of this short journey through the changes in this field is coming soon.


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