The Power of Photography in Fashion
If fashion is recognized today as one of the devices most involved in the proper functioning of market societies, in fact, without the accelerated pace of purchases it would be impossible to keep the GDP condemned to constant growth under control, it is above all due to the work of amplifying its effects. made with the complicity of the press and the media.
And while it is true that the ability of the media to change, manipulate, excite people’s expectations raises more than one ethical doubt to the many critics of post modernity, we cannot deny that without them, probably the lifestyle changes that are decisive for the constant growth of the markets, could hardly have come about.
Impact of mass media
The impact of the mass media on people became important when printing techniques, before the invention of television and the Internet, allowed for the publication of images in large quantities. And the images in turn took on an embarrassing authority when magazines were able to use them with the same ease with which words were printed.
In fact, for the generation of photographers shaped by the aesthetic gospel of Cartier-Bresson (Le moment decisif), there would be a heterogeneous set of “facts”, we could consider them fractals of history, which would reach the collective consciousness only because there are photographs that tell them .
From this authoritative point of view, therefore, the great power of testimony of photography and the responsibilities of the photographer would descend. As a witness in the field, its ethical value would correspond to this collection of fragments of the present, returned thanks to the eloquence of shots imbued with truth, to eternity or to history.
Even today, the power of testimony of images is considered the essence of cultured journalism.
Fashion photography was born in an intellectual context far from the discourse on committed photography. Both Edward Steichen and Mr. Condè Nast observe photographic images from a completely different angle. The first accomplishes the synthesis between the aestheticization of the couture object and the communication of its pertinent features, adding extreme attention to visual effects and a subjective interpretation that will highlight the manipulative power of photography in relation to the process of imaginary use of the fashion object.
The second, perfectly aware of the manipulative instance configured by Edward Steichen’s visual discoveries, will transform fashion photography and Vogue into the fundamental tool for dominating the rhythms and axiology of fashion changes, from outside the primary production system (in others words, the experience of Vogue teaches that the command of operations from a certain point onwards was no longer found in the fashion houses, among the creatives and much less in the sophisticated couture audience; the center of the propagation of fashions passed into the hands of those who controlled the comunication).