Essay by Magda Zmyslona

I decided to look into the history of 1970’s. In 1970’s, there were so many different monumental events and art movements. One of the historical and important moments is when Elvis Presley, who was a well-known rock n roll artist died in his bathroom in 16 August 1977. Another one was when NASA send their first spacecraft to the orbit. First test tube baby was born. Artists The Beatles break up. People also invented microprocessors which allowed them to develop computers and all of the electric things. There were also lots of photographers such as Guy Bourdin, David Bailey and Richard Avedon who inspire more recent photographers and who also change the perspective of the fashion photography and  how interesting and different each of their work is.  

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Guy Bourdin work impacted commercial and fine photography because of his radical changes in style and commercial imaginary. Guy Bourdin was inspired by Man Ray who help him find his one style and become an artist and an inventor. Bourdin changed the meaning of the fashion photography by making it be flawless, exotic and surrealist. He was the first fashion photographer who made the photos show all of the emotion and narrative created by the photographer. He used really intensive colour saturation which made the photographs look really realistic. During that time Guy Bourdin  developed his skills and made his work  stand out from the other photographers because, of  the way he capture the atmosphere and made it link to humour, erotism and feminity which was really rare to see at that period of  time.  He influenced lots of people such as  Edward Weston, Luis Buñuel, Balthus, Magritte and Man Ray who firstly helped Bourdin. You can recognise Bourdin’s work  by its perfection and extremely high finish. His work contains lots of sexy dressed women who present themselves in very erotic and sexy way by wear red clothing and posing really bravely and openly.  Red colour symbolise sexuality, sensibility and strength which links to the feminism which women were  fighting for at that period of time. ‘He change shoots into crime scenes’. His photos are open-ended what allows the viewer makes his own story. He was also well known for the mix and commerce technique. When he create advertising to sell his shoe campaign for Roland Jourdan, he make it look super realistic.  His work contains lots of lines which make it be even more interesting and standing out from another artists because it’s more detailed than others work.


I also really like his work and I think it shows women power. You can see it  from the way he presented women in his work. I really like how he highlighted all of the women beauty and show fashion photography from different and more interesting perspective. In this way he changed the way of people looking on women and also on fashion photography. He opened people eyes and also made them realize that fashion photography means more than just simple pictures of model’s wearing clothes.  His work shows women in very good position the same as they were in 70’s decade when they won strike of the sex equality. He used lots of strong and vibrant colours which highlight all of the details of the model’s body. I really like his work because it stand ut from the fashion photographers from that period of time. You can see that Guy Bourdin wasn’t scared to stand out from the other people and change the history of the fashion photography.

I really like the middle picture which shows middle age women dressed up into the red body. This outfit make the model stand out because of the colour which symbolise love and strength and also because of it shape and cut which show all of the values of the model body and make her look sexy. I like the contrast between red costume and green wall. This make the model stand out and be the focal point of the image. I really like the reflection of the model’s fce in the mirror. I think this make the image stand out and look more interesting. Model’s wearing really dark make up which make the viewer look onto her face straight after he look on the body costume because of it red colour. I also like model’s position because it’s show that she’s confident and enjoy what she’s doing. This link to the feminism because women need to be confident and enjoy stuff they do.

Another fashion photographer who also change  the meaning of fashion photography in 70’s was David Barley.  In most of his shoots he used black or white background which he closely cropped with sharp lighting. His talent was taking a picture of a model and make her/him standout from anything else that was on that image. He was also well know because of his portrait pictures of famous people such as Queen Elizabeth, Johnny Depp, Mick Jagger etc. His portrait work look really natural and realistic it also shows models personality which is not easy to do.  You can also see how his fashion develop and link to the 70’s decade by the photos where you can see some parts of the women body. This make it link to the feminism which was really popular and women fight really strong for in 70′ decade. Those pictures are really erotic  and make the viewer think and appreciate women beauty by making both sex be treated equally.  He use different points of views to make his work look interesting.

I like his work because he had a talent to make the model stand out and look really as the focal point of the image. I like how he knew how to highlight women’s beauty and make them feel as they are worth something. Use of high contrast made mode’s detail pop up and make her look even more realistic and beautiful. He knew how to make the model look sexy and stylish and the same time. I like how his images are really simple because of his interest in the minimalism which was really popular at that period of time. I like how he’s trying to stand out from other photographers by making his work be different. I really like picture which he created by taking picture of him and the model in the reflection in the mirror which was placed in the sealing. This shows that he was really creative and liked to try different thinks also this make the fashion photography look different. I really like contrast in the bottom picture because you can see all of the details really clearly. I like model go really messy hair which make her look interesting. This also distract  the viewer from the showing up boob and make the viewer look straight away on models face. I really like this effect. I like how model is wearing dark colour clothing so we can see high contrast between her cloths and skin colour. I also really like the ombre background which is darker at the bottom of the picture and lighter at the top. This make the image stand out. I really like those shadows on models face which gives more details and make it look more realistic and also highlight model’s beauty.

Next photographer is Richard Avedon who also change the way of people think about fashion photography now. He was a photographer who also focused on the minimalism but hardly worked on the emotions of the people. He took close up portrait pictures that diffuse compassionate feelings of the viewer. He also took documentary photos where you can see eg. how people looked after the Second World War. He established the impactful figure of the models by highlighting by working with Dovima. He made a really famous piece of art with her which present her dressed up in a long beautiful dress and standing between two real elephants.  People say that this image got really famous because Avedon and Dovima been well known  at that time but in my opinion this picture is really well know because how it turned up and of the work they had to put it to make it be like that. It is really hard to take a picture next to hug animals who might kill you at any time. You can see that his fashion perspective was different than other photographer by just looking at his work. He photographs model’s in very interesting and outstanding way. They poses don’t really look natural and that’s what make his work stand out from others. His work bought humanistic equality to the genre by making the models look as if they were frozen in time.

I really like his work because it stand out from all of the fashion photographers. In my opinion model’s look quite weird because of the way they pose but on another side this is really original and made Richard stand out and make him change the meaning of the fashion photography. He use black or white background which make his work look simple and links to the minimalism art which was really popular at that period of time. I really like this little shadows at the bottom of the model which tell me that the lighting was on the opposite side of the shadow. I really like this picture of the model dressed up in the dress jumping softly up. The model on this picture looks really girly and innocently. I like how he placed her in the middle of the frame to balance the picture on both sides. I also really like those reflections/ details on her dress. This make it look more interesting and make the model be the focal point of the photo. I like how the model is facing her head right hand side because you can see lots of details of her profile which gives the pictures really nice outlines.


Lots of people thing that fashion photography is has to be only a picture of a model wearing some beautiful cloths while it is not. During that research I understood how much fashion photography has change. All of the above fashion photographers present fashion in different ways which make it look really interesting and creative. Their way of thinking influenced lots of photographers those days who are trying to recreate they work. Sadly people’s point of view change and all of the computers got editing programs which allow photographers to edit their work to look however they wanted.

I think it would look really creative and interesting if those day fashion photographers try to combine those 3 photographers perspective ways of fashion photography in 70’s decade.  On another hand my favourite photographer’s work from those three is Guy Bourdin because I really like those bright colours which definitely stand out  from those black and white photos. Strong bright colours also highlight all allow the viewer to see mode details. This is good on one side because you can see how the things really looked like and what colour were popular at that time. On the other hand this is not good because you can see lots of details which means you can see mistakes of the photos, because people at that time didn’t really had possibility to edit or change anything in the pictures without taking a new one which probably wouldn’t be the same. This shows that photography at that time was much harder to do and it was much harder to stand out from other people because at that time there weren’t that much technology which could help you develop or improve your work. I really like the ways Guy Bourdin presents his model to make her stand out and look really sexy at the same time. I think this photographer was really creative and had lots of different ideas for the fashion photography as we can see in his work.  I really like how those three fashion photographers and how they highlighted their work to make it be different.