This exhibit was previously in my current home town London, having not gone because of the extortion price, I waited and visited on my return to my home town of Macclesfield. The exhibit was free in Manchester which was delightful and reassured me why I count Manchester as one of my favorite places.
Not being a big fashion follower and a novice of photographers of fashion, I thought it would be interesting to see and experience something I wouldn't usually go to. Would I like the photographs?
On entering the exhibit you are welcomed by high ceilings and a bombardment of large portraits carefully positioned on the walls. Set in reverse chronological order. The first room is for recent portraits and shoots. The colours are bold and bright, clothing being statement pieces, more like fine art photographs in a way, which I think is why I was strangely attracted to them. To me I always found fashion or portrait photography concentrates more on the beautiful nature of the subject, if you have a 'pretty' 'unique' or 'famous' subject you can get a good portrait no matter what, its less about technique or having a key eye. Some of the photographs fitted this sentence, e.g a portrait of Kate Middleton and Alex Turner ect... I knew there was obviously going to be a majority quantity of famous faces since it is a magazine on consumerism. I was shocked at the photographs however, I did enjoy them. The settings, compositions, contrast of the back and white pieces. They were pieces of beauty whether they contained a famous face or not, the photographs were stunning. On continuing forward you are revealed to two long tables containing original older photographs from the 90s and a selection of original editions of Vogue. It was interesting to see a contrast of the style of photographs between the decades. You can clearly see the time period they featured and the subjects that were shot. For me it was easier to appreciate the photographs as they are, rather than judge them on their subjects. Not one for celebrity culture or consumerism, I could understand why the photograph worked and what I liked about it, rather than just 'oh my god, I love this person'. I also found myself knowing a lot of the photographers, a lot of which are inspirations to me such as Irving Penn and Lee Miller.
Further into the exhibit you reach the earliest editions and photographs of Vogue. This section of the exhibit was my favorite, not just because I adore the 50s and 60s, but because they oozed glamour and naive sexuality. The photographs didn't need bold colours or strange settings, they were catering to the modern woman of the time, a woman who dreamed of being a movie star in black and white films, idolizing Marilyn Monroe. Unlike today's society where its all about the next famous face, the newest phones and mascara, quick fashion didn't exist back then. Possessions were made to be life long, fashion and films made timeless, icons who never died. The points and objects that were being 'sold' in the photographs were in plain sight, straight to the point.
Overall, I loved the exhibit. I found elements I connected with in each time period. The photographs were stunningly beautiful, poignant and representational of their decades. The curation of the exhibit was also well planned out and executed precisely, leading you around each bit effortlessly. Not having to worry about being in peoples way or crossing paths with a different direction. Not only did I lean a lot about myself, e.g actually being rather in key with fashion and the photographs, but also how I may develop my photography and maybe experiment with Fashion/ Portrait shoots, done well they are a art form which I have a new found respect for.