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Icons of Style: A Century of Fashion Photography

  • Paul Martineau

    In 1911 the French publisher Lucien Vogel challenged Edward Steichen to create the first artistic, rather than merely documentary, fashion photographs, a moment that is now considered to be a turning point in the history of fashion photography. As fashion changed over the next century, so did the photography of fashion. Steichen’s modernist approach was forthright and visually arresting. In the 1930s the photographer Martin Munkácsi pioneered a gritty, photojournalistic style. In the 1960s Richard Avedon encouraged his models to express their personalities by smiling and laughing, which had often been discouraged previously. Helmut Newton brought an explosion of sexuality into fashion images and turned the tables on traditional gender stereotypes in the 1970s, and in the 1980s Bruce Weber and Herb Ritts made male sexuality an important part of fashion photography. Today, following the integration of digital technology, teams like Inez & Vinoodh and Mert & Marcus are reshaping our notion of what is acceptable—not just aesthetically but also technically and conceptually—in a fashion photograph. 

    This lavishly illustrated survey of one hundred years of fashion photography updates and reevaluates this history in five chronological chapters by experts in photography and fashion history. It includes more than three hundred photographs by the genre’s most famous practitioners as well as important but lesser-known figures, alongside a selection of costumes, fashion illustrations, magazine covers, and advertisements. 

    This volume was published to accompany an exhibition on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center June 26 to October 21, 2018. 

    Paul Martineau has curated numerous exhibitions at the J. Paul Getty Museum and is the author or coauthor of Herb Ritts: L.A. Style (Getty Publications, 2012), Robert Mapplethorpe: The Photographs (Getty Publications, 2016), and The Thrill of the Chase: The Wagstaff Collection of Photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum (Getty Publications, 2016). 

    “Though the images are powerful in their own right, a hefty, 368-page exhibition catalog adds to the scholarship with thoroughly documented and illustrated chapters on the medium’s evolution.”
    Los Angeles Times

    “A historical roadmap through the world of fashion photography. . . . The artfully curated book . . . is more than a beautiful ornament meant to collect dust atop your coffee table.”
    The Daily Beast

    “An enlightening survey of one hundred years of fashion photography.”
    Photo District News

    “This coffee table companion to the upcoming exhibition is a comprehensive survey of developments in 20th-century photographic style and taste through that lens, and it’s gorgeous.”
    The Globe and Mail

    “This stupendous compendium makes an alluring case for fashion photography as art.
    Financial Times

    “This impressive tome is an elegant exploration of where fashion, advertising, history and art come together. A must-have for any fashion or fashion photography aficionado.”
    —Photographer’s Forum

    368 pages 
    9 1/2 x 12 inches
    180 color and 147 duotone illustrations
    ISBN 978-1-60606-558-7

    Getty Publications
    Imprint: J. Paul Getty Museum