Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Strike a Pose!



Did you know that fashion photography all started because of a dare?

Millions of fashionistas all over the world probably don't know this fact. Many of them probably don't care. Truth is, they should.

I always find it amazing that people who long to be in the fashion industry (fashion writers, models, fashion designers, etc.) have absolutely no desire to research the industry they are in love with. They don't know the history. They don't know the foundation.

This past weekend, Kerrie and I were fortunate enough to learn about the history of fashion photography. Our city's art museum recently held an exhibit featuring the most well-known works of Edward Steichen, the father of fashion photography.



Besides being a photographer, Steichen (born in 1879) was also a painter and art gallery and museum curator.

As an early teenager, the American photographer vowed to dedicate his life to art.

By the time he reached his 20s, his photos were already being featured in journals and galleries.

In 1911, his world (and ours), changed forever. Steichen was dared by a friend, Lucien Vogel, the publisher of Jardin des Modes and La Gazette du Bon Ton, to promote fashion as a fine art by the use of photography. The young artist took photos of gowns designed by couturier Paul Poiret. The photos were then published in the April 1911 issue of the magazine Art et DĂ©coration. It is considered the first ever modern fashion photography shoot.


(first fashion photo)

It was also the start of a beautiful career. Steichen became the photographer for Vogue and Vanity Fair from 1923–1938, and concurrently worked for many advertising agencies including J. Walter Thompson.

During these years Steichen was regarded as the best known and highest paid photographer in the world.

He took iconic portraits of famous actors, actresses, painters, athletes, playwrights, poets, dancers, journalists, singers, writers, and politicians. His high fashion photos displayed an elegance and glamour never seen before.

His work was so popular, that many famous people longed to be "steichenized." It was a symbol of success.


This Vogue photograph displays two gowns by Madeleine Vionnet. Marion Morehouse, in black, was one of Steichen's favorite models.


Elaborate staging was all part of the game.


I could easily imagine this scene from 1926 in a Vogue editorial today.


Actress Joan Crawford in a dress by Schiaparelli, 1932.


Gary Cooper shows off men's fashion of the time.


Evening shoes by Vida Moore, 1927.


His iconic photo of Greta Garbo.

So, I encourage you all to learn more about Edward Steichen.

In fact, I dare you!

52 comments:

Melanie's Randomness said...

A dare? Really? I didn't know that. I think your absolutely right about people who love fashion & want careers in it but have no clue about the foundation. One time on Project Runway a girl copied a McQueen dress silhouette & she was like Oh I had no idea! How could you not? You need to know info! These photographs are beautiful. The early 1900's were soo glamourous & I think Edward captured the essence of it. I love these photos, especially the 2 ladies on the stairs & Gary Cooper. That's awesome you guys got to see the exhibit! I totally would have gone too!

Cocò (daddysneatness) said...

wow darling, i love the vintage feeling of these pictures. And I really like the first lace pic. Genious!!! Kisses

Sadako said...

That's so awesome! Wish I could go to that exhibit.

Laura Tenshi said...

I never knew how it all started. These pictures were gorgeous and you are right, I can totally imagine that picture from Vogue issue 1926 used today.
What a great post, thank you for sharing.

Fashion, Art and other fancies said...

I adore Steichen's artwork by the way. This is a very educational post on the history of fashion photography. I adore photography, but I am more drawn to art/paintings. Excellent post, darling!:-)

Vintage Vixen said...

Such a stylish and educational post and yes, I want to learn more about Steichen.
I adored Norman Parkinson's work, both his fashion shots and the way he always made his subjects look graceful and elegant.
Thanks for sharing.
Vix
xxx

JUST ME said...

I wish Glam would come back...and not just for gay guys!

libys11 said...

very informative and well-written post.. thanks for this! :D

Animated Confessions

OneCraftyFox said...

Love this!! Thanks for sharing such a fabulous piece of history with us ;)

Robin said...

Did you see that Emmy Ray wrote back in my comments section? Sweet!

Mina said...

Wow, that is very interesting. I really didn't know that. :)

Josie said...

It's all so stunning -- he was so talented... I'm superjealous that you got to see this exhibit in person!
xo Josie
http://winksmilestyle.blogspot.com

camerafilmroll said...

Thank you for the information dear!!!

Kristin said...

You've certainly inspired me to learn more! Beautifully written piece lady!

Ashley said...

Wow, I knew none of this. How stupid do I feel right now? Thank you so much for this post and for spreading this knowledge!! :)

-Ashley
http://breakfastatsaks.blogspot.com

Bug said...

Very interesting - who would have thought, a dare!! I'm really interested in learning new things, but never thought to explore this, thanks :)

inbugsdrawers.blogspot.com

Leia said...

This was so interesting! Thanks so much for sharing! I completely agree that those who want to make fashion their career spend very little time actually researching it and learning about it. Just "loving clothes" is not really enough! I love clothes but that doesn't make me anywhere near qualified to start a career in fashion!

Sherin said...

I love reading about the history of fashion-y things. It's so important to know.

This was so intersting to read! I can't believe it was a dare.

beckyxoxo said...

Wow thank you for sharing this Jen ! I had no idea about this story before . Thanks to you now I know ! Haha . It's always fun to read about the history of fashion industry ;)

Couture Carrie said...

Amazing post, darling!
Love all these vintage pics!

xoxox,
CC

Haddock said...

Those are some real good photographs. Garry Cooper looks great.
Thanks for sharing the info. It was enlightening for me.

Miiicha said...

Oh great post!

CDG said...

Finally somebody who has done their research. I love Edward Steichen's work and realized that I should learn all about the beginnings of fashion photography since I love it so much. Amazing post!

Fashion Cappuccino said...

That's really interesting to know!! I think it's essential to know the history behind the fashion industry and I'm always very curious to learn something about it. Gary Cooper looks so smashing in that photo by the way! xoxoxoxoxo

OceanDreams said...

I really didn't know that much about him until this post...thank you! I love the vintage photos and they are simply lovely!

Leah said...

Thanks for this brief history... very interesting. xoxo

Taj Acosta said...

That first picture of gloria swanson is one of my favorites. I saw it in an exhibition last year in Los Angeles. Great post. xoxo

Style, She Wrote said...

Those Vida Moore evening shoes are amazing!!

Front Row Mode said...

LOVING THE OLD PICTURES

Tc

Check out our blog hope you follow it

www.frontrowmode.blogspot.com

Closet Fashionista said...

Oh wow that is so interesting! Learn something new every day :)
http://aclosetfashionista.blogspot.com/

Sydnie said...

Congratulations, Jennifer! All the hard work you put in entering my giveaway paid off ... you won! You should be recieving an email from CSN soon regarding how to claim your prize. Thanks!

Sydnie
www.takemeouttotherunway.blogspot.com

Eli said...

this is amazing! thanks for more of the background! It is amazing how old photography stands just as tall as photography of today...the technique was just something else

Keith said...

Great photos. Thanks for sharing this with us. I know very little about the history of fashion photography so I quite enjoyed this post. Thanks for entering my giveaway. Good luck.

Iji said...

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It will be much appreciated. I need some more followers.
MY page is utterly REVAMPED.

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x

My Republic of Fashion said...

great, informative post. Brilliant pictures too!:)SarahD

Audrey Allure said...

That's interesting, had no idea it started from just a dare! Even though I'm not focusing into photography, I'm definitely going to check out more info about him! Sounds intriguing :)

rouli said...

amazin post here!!!!!!11

love all the vintage pics!

keep visitin!

kiss

www.thebeautifulandthehard.blogspot.com

Cafe Fashionista said...

I think this needs to be published in a magazine - like now! This is so well-researched and interesting, Jennifer - love it!! :)

Arushi Khosla (FabBlab) said...

Fascinating. I'm bookmarking.

Rachel said...

Great post, Jennifer! Definitely interesting!

Tights Lover said...

Wow. That is fascinating. I loved reading this...being the history nerd that I am!

You do raise an interesting point too. The fashion industry probably stands out in terms of the lack of appreciation for how everyone got there. Kinda sad.

Great post!

Amy said...

Wow, who would have guessed it all began on a dare? Very interesting post!

xoxo
Amy

p.s. thank you sweetie for my birthday wishes! you are the best!

Clare said...

This is a great post, so right about people not knowing the past behind fashion.

tweet tweet tweet

x

Jane See said...

This is a great post! Very informative, I love fashion photography but have never heard of Steichen. Thanks for introducing me to him :)

http://themadjungle.blogspot.com

Sophia said...

This is a really interesting post. I simply had to read it to my brother because he is into fashion and the industry. Beautiful pictures.

xo, Sophia

Heather Taylor said...

I love Steichen's work! I actually have a big book of his photos at home, it is a constant source of inspiration to me. When I first saw the photo at the beginning of this post, I thought to myself, "I wonder if this is a Steichen post." and it was! Nicely done :)

A Glamorous Way of Thinking said...

This article is so great. x
Edward Steichen captures so well this glamour time.

http://aglamorouswayofthinking.blogspot.com/

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