The Fashion Years

I did not fall on fashion, it fell on me. There was nothing in my background that ever suggested I’d wind up doing fashion pictures for designer’s campaigns or the pages of magazines such as French Vogue. At heart and in practice, I’m small town, far from the centers of this crazy, wonderful, self-important, stupefying, challenging, enthralling, very weird and embraceable industry. I’ve had an unpredictable and lucky ride, thankful for it all.

What makes a fashion picture a fashion picture? The answer, if there is one, has something to do with clothes, yes? Or not, as in nudes selling fragrances. But if clothes are the determining factor, is not a Salgado photograph of a hillside of men in loincloths toiling in a huge pit a fashion statement? An extreme example, for sure, but the fashion business is built almost entirely on “references” pulled from the cameras of the great photojournalists, whether from the street or in rural outposts. The so-called “modern” styles of today in all likely-hood began with a snapshot by someone like Robert Doisneau in the back alleys of Paris in the 30’s and 40’s.

To understand the future of fashion all you need do is understand photography’s past.

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