Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Rankin: Seven Photographs that changed Fashion Photography.

Yesterday we had a lecture where we were given our new project brief for fashion photography,which I will post about soon, but firstly I just wanted to talk about the documentry we were shown before the brief was explained.

We watched 'Rankin: Seven photographs that changed fashion'. I haven't seen the documentry before but I had come across the images that Rankin recreated, I had seen them in the Sunday Times Magazine a while back now, and when I saw them then I didn't really (although I should have!) known the background of the images so im really pleased that we were shown this documentry.

The 7 photographs which Rankin recreated included; an iconic Cecil Beaton image taken in 1934 'Hat Box'; a 1950's Vogue cover by Erwin Blumenfeld; a 1955 image shot by Richard Avedon of 'Dovima with Elephants';a 1963 image of Jean Shrimpton captured by David Bailey; the iconic image of Helmut Newton's, Rue Aubriot, Vogue 1975; Herb Ritts' 'Fred with tyres' taken in 1984 and finally the brash photographer Guy Bourdin, 1970 'Untitled' fashion photograph.

Cecil Beaton
Hat Box

Rankin chose to use Sophie Ellis Bexter as his model as he believed she had a simliar look to that of Elsa Schiaparelli, the original model way back in 1934. Rankin spoke of the fact that when the original was shot, technology of the time wasn't as it is today, respectively, so when looking at past images the final image will be heavily influenced by this fact. For this particular image, the use of a 10 by 8 camera was utilized, which shows the photographer an upside down image, so it proved that little more difficult than using a digital camera. Also, with using the 10 by 8, Rankin wasn't able to see the final image, something which is so simply apparent today, so he took the photograph with digital also to understand how the image is looking. I think the final image turned out very well, but like Rankin states in the documentry the 10 by 8 image works better when looking at Sophie's expression and the camera alone evokes this nostalgic sense.

Erwin Blumenfeld
Vogue Cover
For this image, Heidi Klum was used as the face for the cover, for her uncanny resemblance to the original face in the image. Watching the shoot looked like it was fun, playful and quite simple. Heidi took on her role as the character really well but added her personality into the image aswell which I loved. The original image is heavily influenced by the surrealists: it portrayed initial links that fashion and art have, but with Rankin's recreational element for this image and Heidi's cheeky character Rankin gave the image a modern twist.

Richard Avedon
Dovima with Elephants
When I saw this image in the Sunday Times magazine, this one struck me the most, I think it was the sheer size of the elephants against the pale, slender Erin O'Conner that grabbed my attention: I liked the literal contrast. Richard Avedon is known as one of the first celeb fashion photograghers: he grew in the golden age of fashion photography which is really evident in this image. This image as Rankin states, 'Introduced drama and specticle' it's seen as something very special even with todays modern ways of thinking. Rankin cast Erin O'Conner as the model which was quite ironic given that Avedon himself said to Erin, at the naive age of 19, that she was the modern version of what the image embodied. Gorgeous image and very cute elphants....it was quite funny to see the shoot too, Erin towered over Rankin, they had a good giggle.

David Bailey
Jean Shrimpton
For this specific image Rankin cast his girlfriend, Tuuli a professional model, as the model for this shoot, don't really understand why as she doesn't look anything like Shrimpton, she is blonde with long locks and has fair skin, maybe Rankin did this to show a modern twist of the image or maybe because his girlfriend is out of work, who knows, anywhoo...the set up for the shoot was very simple which was surprising as the final image that turned out was stunning. Bailey was on the set the whole time too, which was nerving for Rankin, but just looking at the final image, we're unable to see the nerves.

Helmut Newton
Rue Aubriot Vogue
I have come across this image many times, with my love of androgony, so it was quite exciting to see if Rankin could pull off the original. In the documentry too, we were introduced to the original model from the fashion image, which was great as she spoke of the image from its first time around and described how Newton was in his work and as a person. The recreated shot was shot in the same street in Paris, the Rue Aubriot, which gave the recreated image that little extra nostalgic feel. The recreted image is stunning and almost identical: one of my favourite images out of this series.

Herb Ritts
Fred with tyres
It was nice to see a stark contrast from the romantic streets of Paris to the scrap yard in london, but the image recreated really works. Rankin, through post production, recreated the tone of the image really successfully.

Guy Bourdin
Rankin chose the fashion designer/socialite/model Daphne Guinness to recreate the iconic look of this image, which I felt was quite random as his other 'recreational models' have had some similarities, but for Guinness, I'm not too sure. The set choice really resembles the one from the original, I don't really like though, the use of the red hoisery against the pink back drop, I think it would have worked that little more effectively if the legs were bare. Rankin's image also references in a way, a kinda of raunchy, s&m feel to it, with the leather waistbelt (or top, I can't really make it out) and with the sexy black heels and red tights which I'm not that keen on, but then again this is a strong reference to Guy Bourdin's work. To be honest this image is my least favourite out of the selection, just because of personal aesthetic choices, but it still really works as an image.

Rankin was quite brave in looking at recreating these images, as the iconic aspect is so huge that he seemed to have a real job to get this right and really show his respect for the original photographers. I believe he shot the images with great success and with Rankin's touch of mdernity.


Zara_K said...

I thought that documentary was amazing! After watching it, it really has opened up my eyes to just how influential these iconic photographers truly are.

Ashes said...

I know, the images were gorgeous, and when you see some editorials, that look really poilished it's nice to think that sometimes you can just do the shoot in your room if need be, or in a front living room, as I think Rankin did with the image of his girlfriend Tuuli.

Ashes said...

Why does this post, from my whole blog get the most views??? Please someone enlighten me :)