Oxford School of Photography

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Category Archives: Fashion Photography

Leibovitz. Leibovitz. Leibovitz.

The documentary film about her life begins with celebrities simply saying her last name one after another. Leibovitz. Leibovitz. Leibovitz. Not only is her last name as unique as the photographs she creates, Annie Leibovitz has become synonymous with the profession that has made her nearly as famous as the people she photographs. Her images have appeared at museums and galleries all over the world, including the National Portrait Gallery in London and the Centre National de la Photographie in Paris. She has been given the Barnard College Medal of Distinction and the Infinity Award in Applied Photography from the International Center of Photography and was also designated a Living Legend by the Library of Congress. In short, Annie Leibovitz is an icon of modern photography…..READ MORE AT FADED + BLURRED

 

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annie-leibovitz-angelina-jolieThere is more to see and read at Faded + Blurred here

 

In Touch With Fragility: Richard Avedon

Richard Avedon is an all time favourite because of the variety and vision, a real master of photography and in the Spotlight here from Faded + Blurred.

“All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth.”
– Richard Avedon
Though he is known mostly for his minimalistic portraits; intense and often brooding subjects surrounded by white, it was the world of fashion that provided the backdrop that helped make Richard Avedon one of the most celebrated, controversial and sought after photographers of all time. Fashion photography simply didn’t exist before Richard Avedon, not modern fashion photography at any rate. Before Avedon, fashion photography was static and flat, models were stiffly dressed and rigidly posed. Avedon took fashion out of the studio and into the streets. He injected movement, life and a vitality where none had existed before. If a particular scene he wanted did not exist, Avedon created it, building sets, bringing in models, or, as was often the case, enlisting the help of onlookers or passers by. Avedon was both an ardent observer and a passionate creator, fascinated with what he called “the human quality”. It was this fascination that led him to constantly explore and reinvent what it meant to be a photographer and an artist. For nearly 60 years, from Paris fashion to celebrity portraits to a five year project chronicling the working class people and drifters of the American West, Richard Avedon not only defined generations of photography, but also inspired countless photographers to look to his work to bring life to their own. Irving Penn once said of Avedon “I stand in awe of Avedon. For scope and magnitude, he is the greatest of fashion photographers. He’s a seismograph.”

Born in 1923 in Manhattan, Richard Avedon was just 21 years old when his photographs first appeared in Harper’s Bazaar. He had dropped out of high school and joined the Merchant Marine, where he served as a photographer.”I must have taken pictures of maybe 100,000 baffled faces,” Avedon once said, “before it ever occurred to me that I was becoming a photographer.” Upon returning, he was hired as a photographer for a department store. His work was seen by Alexy Brodovitch, the art director for Harper’s Bazaar, who saw something unique in Avedon’s work. “His first photographs for us were technically very bad”, Brodovitch remembers. “But they were not snapshots. It had always been the shock-surprise element in his work that makes it something special.” Brodovitch would go on to play an enormous role in Avedon’s life and career, serving alternately as mentor, father figure and friend. Avedon soon became chief photographer for the magazine and, by 1946, owned his own studio and was also shooting for Vogue and Life. ….READ MORE

 

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The Instrument Is Not The Camera: Eve Arnold

If you do a Google image search for Eve Arnold, the majority of the photographs that come up are of Marilyn Monroe. It’s not surprising, considering  she spent ten years documenting the starlet; whether on movie sets, at special celebrity events, or just her everyday life. The photographs of Monroe, however, are just a small portion of her work. There is an incredible diversity to her photography which rivaled any photographer of her day. Her subjects range from migrant laborers to the Queen of England; from prostitutes in Cuba to First Lady Jackie Kennedy. It didn’t matter who the subject was, she treated them all with the same amount of respect and interest, all while capturing thousands of photographs from around the world.

Born in Philadelphia to Russian immigrant parents in 1912, Arnold took up photography when a boyfriend gave her a Rolleicord (the cheaper version of the Rolleiflex) at the age of 34. She had been working at a photo-finishing lab for several years, so she knew the technical side of photography, but she quickly became enamored with the artistic side. She soon ended her studies in medicine, and began seriously pursuing photography as a career, beginning with a six-week course at New York’s New School for Social Research (where Richard Avedon was a classmate). As soon as it was over, she took off and began taking pictures. Her first project was photographing fashion in Harlem. She spent months in places most photographers would never have gone, especially as a white female. She spent the next year and a half in bars, restaurants, church halls; wherever these models were showing their homemade gowns….Being rejected by most publications in the US because of the subject matter, her husband sent some of her prints to Britain’s Picture Post, who published the story in 1951. She had applied to become a photographer for the Magnum Photography Agency and the publication of these images were a big part of her acceptance. She so impressed the agency’s founders, including Robert Capa and Henri Cartier-Bresson, that she became the first woman photographer accepted into the organization, working for them as a free-lance photographer until 1957 when she became a full member…..READ MORE

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Photographer Spotlight – Jill Greenberg

Here at OSP Towers we have been great fans of Jill Greenberg for some time and have featured her work before but this in depth article with great pictures on Faded+Blurred caught our attention and we just had to share.

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Social and political commentary has long been reserved for artists and musicians, rather than fine art photographers. Aside from photojournalists, perhaps, whose whose very work exists as commentary, of sorts, fine art photographers, by and large, shoot solely for art’s sake, not necessarily to make a statement on society. Photographer Jill Greenberg, however, seems to be an exception to this and is known in many circles for the controversy surrounding her photography as much as her photography itself. Indeed, she seems to be almost comfortable when heated discourse accompanies her work. She calls herself “Manipulator”, a nickname taken from an 80′s German culture magazine of the same name. It’s a fitting moniker, since she has been manipulating her images using Photoshop since1990. Then there are the messages, the meanings, the underlying ideologies behind her photographs. She has strong opinions and chooses to use her art as a means of political expression as well as a creative endeavor…..I saw Jill Greenberg’s work for the first time a few years ago, shortly after her “End Times” series came out. This series became the first of several controversies of which both she and her work were the center. I remember looking at some of the photos and wondering how she got those kids to cry with such intensity. I couldn’t imagine that it would have been done on purpose, that anyone would purposely make kids cry like that for a photograph. I was wrong. She got the idea from a previous shoot she did involving children. One of the kids became hysterically upset. She said it reminded her of the helplessness and anger she felt with the Bush administration. She decided she wanted to do something with those feelings, with that intensity. Like any artist, she wanted to be able to express her outrage through her work.  READ MORE HERE

 

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A Fiend Inside: Lee Miller

Another wonderful post on Faded + Blurred

A New York fashion model, a partner and muse to Man Ray, a fashion photographer, one of the first (and one of very few) photojournalists during the second world war, and a gourmet cook. To call Lee Miller a free spirit is an understatement. Her life was a composite of one adventure after another. “Being a great photojournalist,” she said, “is a matter of getting out on a damn limb and sawing it off behind you.” This seemed to be her philosophy of life as well, not just photography. Never one to sit still for long, she was always looking for the next thing and that next thing was never simple, but it was definitely always exciting.

“I looked like an angel, but I was a fiend inside.” – Lee Miller
Miller was born in Poughkeepsie, NY in 1907. She suffered the horrific trauma of being raped at age seven by a family friend, which left her with gonorrhea and years of treatment which was painful and invasive. This experience, as well as being photographed nude by her father from the age of eight all the way through her teens, had a tremendous effect on her and dramatically shaped who she was to become. Thankfully, she was able to escape her dysfunctional family life and move to New York City when she was just 20. It was there that she had a chance encounter which was to change her life.

While attempting to cross a street in midtown Manhattan, she was abruptly pulled out of the way of an oncoming truck by publisher Condé Nast. Nast was struck by her classic beauty and immediately took her on as a model for Vogue and, before she realized it, she was on the cover. This began a 30 year relationship with the magazine, although modeling for Miller did not last long. In 1929 she posed for the first photographic ad for Kotex. This caused such a controversy that the modeling calls quickly stopped coming. It was actually fairly good timing, however, because, typical of Miller, she was becoming bored with having to stand still all day while the camera was pointed at her. She decided she wanted to try her hand at being the one taking the pictures instead, so she packed her bags and moved to Paris…..READ MORE

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Unconsciously Graceful: Lillian Bassman

I love Faded + Blurred so much, I think I could spend days just reading their spotlight articles. I had never heard of Lillian Bassman so thank F+B for this

“I am completely tied up with softness, fragility, and the problems of a feminine world.” – Lillian Bassman
When you think of iconic fashion photographers, chances are you think of names like Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, or, perhaps Cecil Beaton. However, a name that should not only be on your list, but somewhere very near the top, is Lillian Bassman, who, for more than 60 years defined not only fashion, but the role of a fashion photographer. Ms. Bassman, although shooting women, was living and working in a man’s world but she did not let that to hold her back. Instead, she spent her career pushing the boundaries and breaking the standards of traditional fashion photography and, in the process, created a brilliant style that was uniquely her own. Lillian Violet Bassman was born to very bohemian parents in 1917. She and her sister were given freedom to do what they wanted as long as they ironed their uniforms and took a bath every Saturday. Other than that, they were completely independent. At the young age of six, she met nine year old Paul Himmel, the son of her mother’s boss. They quickly became close friends, which eventually turned into a romantic involvement, and, at 15, her parents allowed her to move in with him. Within a short time, they were married and ended up spending the next 73 years together, until Paul died in 2009. READ MORE

 

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A World Sublime: Tim Walker

More from the archives of Faded & Blurred

Magical. Captivating. Eccentric. These are just a few of the words that have been used to describe the imaginative work of Tim Walker. Like Gregroy Crewdson, Walker’s photographs are not just made, they are meticulously crafted. From the kernel of an idea in his mind to the building of the sets, he is there every step of the way taking care to make sure every detail is exactly where he wants it. His photographs are filled with beauty and a sense of whimsy. They seem to have the ability to entrance anyone who looks at them……READ MORE HERE

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The Addiction of Photography: Rankin

Rankin is one of my favourite photographers because he tackles everything from high fashion to style magazines to charity work, all with exceptional skill, vision, wit and understanding. I have featured him before on these pages but this Spotlight on Faded + Blurred has so much more.

“There’s a time when people say your work is revolutionary, but you have to keep being revolutionary. I can’t keep shooting pop stars all my life. You have to keep changing, keep pushing yourself, looking for the new, the unusual.” – Rankin
Allowing ourselves to be inspired by the work of others is important to any artist. I am always looking to other photographers for inspiration and to help me explore different styles and techniques. There are those that I look at and think, “I could do what they do”, and then there are those whose work seems to be flawless and I think I should just take my toys and go home. Or, as Jeffery would say,”He makes me want to go work at Starbucks.” Rankin is one of those photographers.

When I first looked at Rankin’s work, I noticed several things. Of course his lighting is perfect, and his use of color is amazing, and his black and whites are stunning. But beyond the technical details , Rankin is an expert at capturing the character of the people he shoots. If I had to pick one thing that I love about his work it would be the eyes. They seem to jump out at you in almost every shot.

My favorite of the campaigns he has done for charities is the one he did for Oxfam. In 2008 he visited the Democratic Republic of Congo to highlight the forgotten conflict in the country. He took a series of portraits of people who had fled the conflict and were living in refugee camps. The expressions on some of their faces are priceless. “I went with the idea of making them human beings,” he says, “It was a liberation to do photographs that were purely about the subject. An artist of any description becomes very self-obsessed. You just do.”….READ MORE

 

CITIZEN 08

 

Influence Book / WKTPR / Published By Penguin

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Rimmel Advertising

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Heidilicious Book / Personal / Syndication / RETROSPECTIVERead more here