Fashion photography as art? Meaning those inane airbrushed images of models in clothes which nbody will every wear in real life? I always thought of fashion photographs as a marketing and publicity tool, glossy stylised images to make viewers drool or gape over people and situations light years away from real life concern. To me they were aids to escapist tendencies, entertaining images to pass idle time.
Viewing Norman Parkinson's iconic fashion plates from six decades ago gave me a fresh perspective. Norman Parkinson was the original innovator. He took fashion photography from formal studios out into the fresh air. Exotic locales from Africa and Asia formed the backdrop for many of his iconic images. Dashes of humour, touches of the absurd made his images unique. He managed to balance multiple effects and pull of an aesthetically pleasing whole. Imagine a dainty model in high fashion clothes posing beside a cow, or a snake charmer intently guiding his snake to dance! Spectacular backdrops weren't a must for his shoots. Some images are shot in blank London alleyways or nest to a rustic barn in the English countryside. Only Parkinson could carry off such ideas.
Later fashion photographers have by and large merely carried on with the concepts pioneered by Parkinson.
My detailed article can be read in Sunday Herald