Stylist Erika Ippolito
Hair Erika Salvaggio
Makeup Jay Arik
Model Vika @ Models1
London-Based Fashion, Beauty and Advertising Photographer Hugh O'Malley
Stylist Erika Ippolito
Fashion Editorial for Face On Magazine
Model: Jessie @ Premier Model Management
I was commissioned to shoot this editorial for Labb Magazine but then they went and folded didn’t they? What can you do? Enjoy!leave a comment
I shot this test recently with Liliana Winarska. During the shoot, my neighbours shouted at me for using a communal space. What a drag. Shots are nice though.leave a comment
Fashion Photography is dead, long live Fashion Photography.
[This article appeared in Labb Magazine volume II, August '10]
I got a call from a production team recently asking me if I wanted to go on TV to discuss retouching. It was when that Twiggy campaign came out and everyone was banging on about how ‘ohmigod, she doesn’t look like that in real life’. I knew the topic was a real hot potato and being the evil photographer I am that fritters away my days with nubile young lovelies, eating the drugs and generally having a rather swish lifestyle living in the glamorous fashion world, (daaahlinks!!!) I knew that I was the designated whipping boy du jour and politely declined this golden opportunity to get my fingers well and truly burned and make a fool of myself on national television (again). If they’d seen me in the frozen foods aisle in Iceland (perhaps it’s all one big frozen food aisle in Iceland) trying to figure out which fish pie is cheaper per 100gm yet simultaneously least likely to give me cancer, they might not have been so quick to put yours truly on ye olde speed dial. It’s not all glamour chez moi a Hackney, innit?
Later, in a bout of Esprit d’escalier I wished I’d gone on and ranted about ‘you can’t handle the truth’ or about how tv presenters lie when they wear make up and what the hell is reality anyway since cubism and post-modernism and Lacanian fragmented mirroring and … Anyway, I digress, my point is that I saw the big gaping hole they were digging for me.
Earlier this year I met twiggy at the Burberry show and she seems like a perfectly lovely woman but young is not a word you might casually use to describe her so if someone lightened a few ‘laughter lines’ would you blame them? Hey, I didn’t hear any complaints from the ol’ Twigster. Did you?
Have these people just discovered retouching? Are these the people who still haven’t gotten over the myriad betrayals of Santa, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter bunny, weapons of mass destruction and ‘I won’t come in your mouth, I promise’ and want revenge? The Pixies have a line in (song?) ‘La vida total es una porceria, porceria’ which roughly translates as ‘all life is a shitty con job’. Now I find that sentiment a little pessimistic but nonetheless I can empathise. The media in genera can play hard and fast with the truth when it suits their ends but then again, let’s face it, fashion photography was never about reality and we know we’re not in Kansas any more, thanks very much, you bolshie French complainers who want a Parental Advice: Explicit Retouching label on every advertisement. Let them eat cake.
Ok some careless dickhead made that Ralph Lauren model’s hips narrower than her head. Go crucify Tony Blair, instead please. He still hasn’t got his comeuppance for having that sexed up dossier guy assassinated. Go get him and leave Karl Lagerfeld alone! The man has enough pain in his life already!
Nevertheless, I appreciate how some of that stuff could understandably mess with a teen girl’s dietary habits but I blame the parents for not educating their runts about. Me, I get enough reality on my doorstep. perhaps when I am wealthy enough to knock together two town houses in chelsea and call it my studio like that famous singer from the 80′s who shall remain nameless. Ok you twisted my arm, it’s Bryan Adams.
Digital technology has moved fashion photography back solidly into the realm where it belongs, into the world of fantasy, the world of illusion, the world of, dare I say it: the world of Art, and simultaneously unchained us from the ties of long delays between capture and realisation and allowed us the instant gratification that we all want and need.
Take an image by Javier Vallhonrat and I think you are as rewarded by the lushness of the vision, as impressed by the perfection of the execution, and seduced by the rhetoric of the psychological dramas unfolding in a painting as you would be by the pre-Raphaelite’s work. Go spend an afternoon in the Tate and track down their work and you won’t think that our ancestors were all square dullards tightly bound and primly tucked. The rich sensuality and lucid yet dream – like quality of the work was a revelation to me.
Fashion photography too can be a vision of perfection, an ideal world we know we will never live in. Ok I may never have a whole suite of Louis Vuitton luggage, or loll about with writhing hot models in some curiously run down yet simultaneously chic location, or spend a boozy weekend with Abramovich and Dasha on a Yohji Yamamoto themed yacht replete with anti paparazzi death rays and multiple helipads (just in case, ok?). I accept your unattainability and raise you some. The genre has been variously proclaimed as dead, dying or on its knees for years now with many proclaiming that they had exhausted the limitations of the genre and moved on to moving image or to other artistic pastures.
The massive growth of the internets and all those lolcats saw quite a number of publications taking early retirement as advertising budgets plummeted and not only that, those tiny fiddly lil’ banner ads don’t need much in the way of photography. For a while, work became thinner on the ground for photographers but as Warren Buffet said: ‘it’s only when the tide goes out, that you find out who’s swimming naked.’
A long time ago Mr Magritte told us: ‘Ceci n’est pas un pipe.’ More recently, David Lynch had his protagonists warn us in Mulholland Drive – ‘No ay Banda’ and De La Soul told us that ‘this is a recording.’ I think the point is that it’s not reality, it’s an ideal vision, Not a philosophy, more a divertissement. not the road but an often beautifully illustrated map.
Copyright Hugh O’Malley 2010leave a comment
This story was published in the Phoenix Magazine which was distributed during fashion week.
Editor: Hannah Kane
‘A’ Dress by Anna Piercyleave a comment
I was very excited to receive a visit from George Eko, the editor of Labb Magazine. George was in town to help out with distribution of the latest edition of Labb which is available in magazine stores throughout London. The magazine looks gorgeous, is printed immaculately, colour rendition is perfect and the content is lush. I also wrote an article: ‘Fashion Photography is dead, long live Fashion Photography, Viva la Revolucion’ which was published in the magazine. George is a pleasure to work with and is keen to support emerging talent in the industry. I hope to work more with him on upcoming issues!
I have 2x editorials in this issue.
This menswear editorial was styled by London Stylist Samuel Joseph Smith: pieces by soon to be graduates of the RCA, including RCA graduate and international menswear designer Courtney McWilliams who has since gone on to design for Givenchy and also some items by Rick Owens.
Makeup: Alex Gillott
You’ll have to check it out for yourself!!!leave a comment
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