• IRK Magazine

Contemporary Fashion Photography.... Why It is the Off Off Off of PARIS PHOTO


After 4 days of visiting hundreds of galleries and artists exposed at Paris Photo and Fotofever IRK Magazine was happy to discover what young curator Tiphaine Aubry was up to. Sunday November 11, in the Afternoon, Tiphaine Aubry curated an off off of PARIS PHOTO in her family home in the 17th arrondissement. The exhibition united emerging fashion photographers, Djeneba Aduayom, Valentin Fabre, India Lange, and Alessandro Merlo Par Tiphaine Aubry showing their fashion photography as art.


Valentin Fabre, Untitled, The Chantilly Sisters, King Kong Magazine, 2017, 50 x 75 cm,

Baryte ink print, 1/5 + 2 E.A

IRK Magazine, like Tiphaine Aubry, feel that contemporary fashion photography is under appreciated as an art form. Galleries and museums when they choose to show a fashion photographer prefer showing their "artistic" works rather than their fashion photography. In IRK's print issue the "MASTERS COLLECTION" we interviewed former museum director Marta Gili at the Jeu Du Paume (France's official museum dedicated to photography) what she thought of fashion photography:

IRK: Fashion photography can be extremely creative and yet it is very rarely appreciated in a gallery or museum context. So I was curious what your opinion was?

Marta: There are places for fashion photography. The Grand Palais did a big exhibition on Helmut Newton. I am happy there are places for it elsewhere but it does not meet our context or exhibition program. It is the same as if you were to ask me about sports photography or other kinds of commercial images. These Genre are completely out of my interests.


Alessandro Merlo, Untitled, Sheep’n’chic, King Kong Magazine, 2017, 30 x 40 cm,C-print, 1/5 + 2 E.A

This is not the first time we have encountered this response. Most galleries have no interest in fashion photographers as they consider it commercial photography. Art institutions in general only seem to recognize fashion photographers that have been around for decades and are so famous they can not be ignored.

However, there is hope for the future thanks to young curators such as Tiphaine Aubry. Tiphaine Aubry first studied image law and is now at Sorbonne to get her degree in Art commerce. She feels strongly that contemporary fashion photography has a place in the artworld and is taking steps to make the world listen to her.

This is a short excerpt by, Tiphaine Aubry, from her presentation on her exhibition on Contemporary Fashion Photography:

"Let's start from a simple observation: today, contemporary fashion photography is not considered an artistic discipline in its own right and has little or no value as such in the international art market. Contemporary fashion photography is considered, in the collective imagination, as a minor art, a commercial image, futile, advertising, often contrary to feminist dogmas, at best, a pleasant image, transient but forgettable.

Reversing these prejudices and trying to valorise contemporary fashion photography is the object of this exhibition: it is to highlight the creative potential of the genre through the work of the four young photographers presented are Djeneba Aduayom, Valentin Fabre, India Lange and Alessandro Merlo.


Djeneba Aduayom, Capsulated, 2018, 50 x 66 cm, Baryta Ink Print, 1/4 + 2 E.A

Since its birth in the 30s, the genre has continued to evolve from a purely documentary medium to a means of self-expression. The heritage clichés of Richard Avedon, Franck Horvat, Irving Penn, Cecil Beaton, Louise DahlWolf, William Klein, Horst P. Horst, Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin and more recently Patrick Demarchelier, Peter Lindbergh, Bruce Weber, Steven Meisel, Mario Testino or Annie Leibovitz express the relationship of each artist to his time, to society, to woman, to sexuality, to appearance, to being, to art and to creativity, which is the focus of the world of fashion photography .

There is no doubt that these twentieth-century fashion photographers are now fully considered as artists: "retrospective" exhibitions are dedicated to the greatest fashion photographers of the last century and they have acquired real value in the art market. One of the most expensive photographs in history being none other than Richard Avedon's "Dovima with elephants" (1955), sold for $ 1,151,976 in November 2010 at Christie's in Paris.

However, despite this institutionalization, contemporary fashion photography is still shunned by the market: it is rarely presented in galleries, it is rarely treated by museum institutions, and poorly acquired by collectors or institutions. The valorization of 20th century fashion photography would be at the origin of a more global interest for vintage, and, instead of granting the medium its nobility, the popularity of photographers of the last century restricts fashion photography. to his founding fathers and mothers and to a retro era and fashion, through romance or nostalgia.....

A century after the first of its kind, a new generation of fashion photographers, increasingly diverse, expresses themselves by exploring the photographic heritage built by their mentors. Led by Englishman Tim Walker and Slovakian Michal Pudelka, they deliver millimetric, architectural, and scenographic compositions. This new generation assert themselves through fashion images renewed in their aesthetic and thematic vocabulary, borrowed from poetry questioning contemporary issues: Harley Weir, Amanda Charchian, Paolo Roversi, Cathleen Naundorf, Elizaveta Porodina, James Perolls, Coco Capitan , Emmie America, Steph Wilson ... So, they explore the contemporary issues of gender (Alessandro Merlo, Valentin Fabre), the consequences of overconsumption (Lea Colombo, Harley Weir) or multiculturalism (Djeneba Aduayom)."

She then goes on to present the four photographers she selected for the exhibition:

To prove her point Tiphaine Aubry selected four young and talented fashion photographers from around the world. In IRK Magazine's opinion there is no way to refute that Djeneba Aduayom, Valentin Fabre, India Lange and Alessandro Merlo are artists. Tiphaine Aubry's sharp selection of their work, shows their intense reflections on society, fashion and art.


India Lange, Sans titre, 2018, 30 x 45 cm, Impression à encre sur papier baryté, 1/5 + 2 E.A

IRK Magazine plans on following Tiphaine Aubry closely and hopefully more museums, galleries and collectors will soon wake up and realize that contemporary fashion photography has a place in the art scene.


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