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10 Famous Fashion Photographers You Have To Check Out

Richard Avedon

Frank Horvat Giovanni Gastel Nick Knight Martin Munkacsi
Stephane Sednaoui Dennis Stock David Bailey Cecil Beaton Mario Testino

These 10 famous fashion photographers have all brought something exciting, original and completely brilliant to the world of fashion photography.

Fashion has always been one of the most vibrant genres of photography. It's bold, subtle, fun, disturbing, thoughtful and ridiculous! It has reflected, influenced and challenged all kinds of social attitudes: The nature of fame and celebrity, material pursuits, gender stereotypes, attitudes towards sex and the human body etc. You should find it rewarding to explore the galleries (which have been linked to) of all these people.

 

1. Richard Avedon (1923 - 2004)

Richard Avedon's career spanned a huge chunk of the 20th century and he produced many of the most memorable images of his era.

He revolutionized fashion photography by departing from the convention of presenting models as beautiful, but lifeless and remote manikins. He was not interested in portraying the women in his photos as serene and aloof beings!

Instead, Avedon brought high fashion photography into the real world, literally. He put models in ordinary locations, like city streets. He introduced narrative and emotion to his shots, making them far more compelling than a lot of preceding famous photography in his genre.

One of Richard Avedon's most iconic photos is "Dovima With the Elephants". It's an instantly recognisable shot of the model Dovima posing in front of two elephants, with arms outstretched as though she were bringing them under her control. Her black dress, white skin and elegantly arched back are beautifully contrasted with the size, power and rough skin of the elephants.

Richard Avedon Photo Gallery 

richard avedon

Avedon Fashion: 1944 - 2000 

I definitely recommend this brilliant collection of Richard Avedon's work. It features the photographer's iconic shots taken over the course of 6 decades!

 

2. Frank Horvat (1928 -)

Warszawa
Warszawa
Horvat, Frank
Buy at Allposters.com

Frank Horvat is a really unusual photographer, whose work I'm a big fan of. He was born in Croatia and went on to study art. As a young man he travelled all over the world and experimented with different styles and genres of photography.

He eventually settled in Paris where he worked as a fashion photographer for major magazines. He drew on his experience as a photojournalist for his fashion pictures, removing models from the studio and placing them in ordinary locations.

The resulting images were like heavily stage managed portraits, or even 'fake' candid shots. One famous example is the aesthetically gorgeous "Givenchy Hat at the Longchamp Racetrack". There are 5 men in top hats looking through their binoculars in the background, with a model wearing a striking white hat and holding binoculars in her hand in the foreground.

Frank Horvat Photo Gallery

 

3. Giovanni Gastel (1955 -)

Giovanni Gastel has produced some of the most famous photography of the last few decades. He is one of the most famous fashion photographers working today.

Gastel's passion for taking photos developed really early and he was already working for major Italian fashion magazines by the age of 20! His innovative style has gained a lot of attention over the years. I really love the way he challenges convention by playing with the viewer's perception of form and beauty.

His pictures often blur the boundaries of the human form and make beauty, elegance and fashion a more complex thing. One famous photo, "Madame Germania", features a woman’s face that gradually merges into that of a cheetah! Gastel makes the transition appear natural and seamless, as though the woman and the cheetah share certain sleek and stylish characteristics.

Giovanni Gastel Photo Gallery

 

4. Nick Knight (1958 -)

Nick Knight has a really distinctive style and his photos are a key part of the history of fashion photography. He was born in England and went on to study art. Whilst he was still a student he published his first collection of photos, titled "Skinheads".

Knight's style is fairly conceptual often abstract. Models become part of an exploration shapes and colours. Their bodies and clothes are features of a graphical idea and strict composition.

Knight has worked for lots of big designers and also produced album covers for the likes of David Bowie, Massive Attack and Bjork. His original style has made him one of the most famous fashion photographers in the world.

Nick Knight Photo Gallery

nick knight fashion photography

Nick Knight, by Nick Knight  

Here, Nick Knight has compiled some of his most striking and memorable images in a beautifully produced hardback edition. Definitely one to recommend.

 

 

5. Martin Munkacsi (1896 - 1963)

On the Beach, Germany, 1929
On the Beach, Germany, 1929
Munkacsi, Martin...
Buy This Allposters.com

Martin Munkacsi was a great photographer whose work inspired, among others, Henri Cartier Bresson and Richard Avedon.

He grew up in Hungary and began his career in sports photography. But a move to New York led to a change in direction and he began working for the fashion magazine "Harper’s Bazaar".

Munkacsi is one of my favourite famous fashion photographers because of the lightness and humour that he brought to his pictures. He was a huge inspiration to the young Richard Avedon because he took no interest in the lifeless, formulaic fashion images that tended to prevail at the time.

His photos were full of life - like the great shot of Marianne Winklestein captured in mid air skipping onto a London pavement, with umbrella in hand!

Martin Munkacsi Photo Gallery

 

6. Stephane Sednaoui

Stephane Sednaoui is a highly innovative photographer whose images present a challenge to our visual perception, feelings about the human body and attitudes towards sex. He grew up in Paris, but now works in New York.

Sednaaoui's photos are often very confusing! They don't quite make sense visually. They make us look close and try to find something familiar and comfortable. The human form is neither portrayed as straightforwardly beautiful nor completely grotesque.

His famous image, "Anthroposexomorphic" is a striking example of this. It's an image of a "human body" on all fours, with some kind of transparent, wet clothing. There are various body parts out of position and slightly misshaped.

It's impossible to find a satisfactory visual explanation to it. One minute it seems male, then female. There's something very sexual about it but it's also fairly disgusting. The head is nowhere to be seen. It's realistic at first glance but the outline of the chest is jagged like a ripple of water.

 

7. Dennis Stock (1928 -)

Dennis stock is the only one of the famous fashion photographers on this list to have spent his career exclusively photographing big Hollywood stars. He was born in New York and became interested in photography early, winning a young photographers' contest with LIFE magazine.

He was accepted into Magnum at a young age and sent to Hollywood as their correspondent to the stars! It was the golden age of Hollywood and he produced some of the most famous photography of all time.

He developed a friendship with James Dean, which resulted in many of the best shots of the young actor, including the iconic image of him walking in the rain alone through Times Square, New York.

Dennis Stock Photo Gallery

 

8. David Bailey (1938 -)

David Bailey was one of the most famous fashion photographers working in the 1960's. He began his career assisting other photographers in their studios, but soon broke through with his own vibrant style and was employed by Vogue.

His pictures reflected and helped to define 'swinging London' of the 1960's. His shots are full of life and personality. He took one of the most well known pictures of Mick Jagger, which features a close up of the singer's face framed by the fur hood of a jacket.

David Bailey Photo Gallery

david bailey

David Bailey: Rock and Roll Heroes, by David Bailey  

A lot of Bailey's shots that captured the spirit of the 60's were of rock stars, like Mick Jagger. This book is a really cool selection of those images.

 

9. Cecil Beaton (1904 - 1980)

Duke and Duchess of Windsor
Duke and Duchess of Windsor
Beaton, Cecil
Buy This Allposters.com

Cecil Beaton seemed to be brilliant at most things! After studying at Cambridge he devoted himself to photography and worked for Vogue and Vanity Fair. He went on to become one of the most famous fashion photographers of the 20th century.

But Cecil Beaton was also a successful costume designer, set designer, actor, author, painter, caricaturist and interior designer! Pretty much the ultimate style guru!

He won 2 Oscars for costume design, and one of his most famous pictures features Audrey Hepburn in a costume he had designed for her part in "My Fair Lady". He had a real gift for capturing the beauty of his subjects.

Cecil Beaton Photo Gallery

 

10. Mario Testino (1954 -)

Mario Testino was born in Lima, Peru in the 1950's and moved to London after studying economics at university. During his 20's he worked for major magazines like Vogue and Vanity Fair, gaining a reputation for producing striking pictures of some of the most famous people in the world.

In the 1990's he took a really famous picture of Princess Diana, which dramatically increased the demand for his work. He continues to receive commissions for photographing the British Royal Family, in addition to other well known figures from around the world. 

Mario Testino Photo Gallery

 

There are, of course, so many more famous fashion photographers out there who you should explore. The above 10 are only my personal faves! Who are your favourite fashion photographers? Share in the comments...


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Fashion Photography Tips For Begginers

10 Famous Women Photographers

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