A look at the work of this three photographers that permeated fashion photography with a sinister and decadence erotism

A look at the work of this three photographers that permeated fashion photography with a sinister and decadence erotism

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  • Chloe Sevigny por Juergen Teller Miu Miu Ad Campaign 1996hellip
  • Woodstock Festival Poster Agosto 1969 woodstockfestival hippieculture 1969 contemporaryculture
  • Diego Rivera Girasoles 1943
  • Jackson Pollock in his Long Island studio Foto por Hanshellip
  • Guy Bourdin The Bather Circa 195053 guybourdin fashionphotography photography fashionhistory
  • Mas de esta historia en wwwkatarimagcom Link en la Bio

Fashion photography is fascinating. t’s a discipline that is absolutely contemporary, and it sharply reflects the social codes of an era. Fashion photography is designed to pull the spectator in and ignite a desire in front of the object being viewed. What is seen (or perceived) isn’t so much the product, but rather the allure that surrounds it. And this allure, this seduction that generates the attraction changes according to the era. The most successful images are those that are attuned to the pulse of the time.

And there was one particular time when that pulse was sexuality and eroticism. Today, we all understand that sex sells, but it was in the 70s that this really exploded. Germany’s Helmut Newton and Chris von Wangenheim, and France’s Guy Bourdin were the pioneers.

However, the sexuality they appealed to was charged with intrigue, darkness, and decadence. These photographers mixed the potent glamour of 70s fashion, with it’s excessive makeup and shine, with elements of underground sadomasochism and fetishism. In turn, the macabre also became part of the chic world, with images that seemed as if they were taken from a crime scene in a Hitchcock film. Additionally, the photographs of these three greats were totally voyeuristic; looking at them, the viewer feels as if they are viewing something intimate, hidden or completely twisted.

The three were criticized for being misogynists, above all by the feminist movements. Many of their photos are highly controversial, representing women as sexual objects. But there is a fine line here, in that the power of these images resides in showing women as openly erotic beings. This is the same freedom that was generated by the feminist movement.

In fact, despite these images being created from a male point of view, their consumers were women. These were the three most sought-after photographers of the time, working for Vogue Paris, Harpers Bazaar, Vogue US, Nova, etc. As a result, women that consumed this fashion felt totally attracted by the erotic, and at times sinister allure that was portrayed in these images. Perhaps there is a sense of guilt in gaining a new freedom? It’s a topic worthy of analysis.

 

Helmut Newton

Newton was the first to work in this aesthetic, and the one with the longest trajectory. He worked as a photographer in fashion until the day he died in a car accident in Los Angeles, 2004, at the age of 83. Newton grew up in wartime Berlin amongst avant-garde surrealism and the infiltration of the Nazi movement. Being of Jewish background, at the age of 18 he had to escape with his family. From there he began a new life as a migrant living mainly between Monte Carlo, Paris, and Los Angeles.

Since he was a child, Newton had an obsession with women and their bodies. He claimed to love and respect them, and in fact maintained his marriage with June Newton for 50 years. His women were strong and sexually empowered, Amazonian women, tall and muscular with long legs. Of the three, he was the one who elevated women the most in this renewed eroticism.

Guy Bourdin

Every day, the images created by Guy Bourdin become increasingly iconic. He is a photographer who has been imitated widely. His photos with their saturated colors generally show women in dangerous situations, or directly in crime scenes. Clearly there was a connection to his conflict with the female gender initiated in his childhood.

Guy Bourdin was abandoned by his mother when he was very young, and he never forgave her. Throughout his life, he maintained various relationships, two of these ending in suicide. It’s said that he kept his girlfriends locked up without any communication with the outside world, creating distressing environments – much like the images that he achieved in his fashion photography.

He was a perpetual collaborator with Vogue Paris and with the shoe label Charles Jourdan, whose image was completely intertwined to Bourdin’s aesthethic.

Chris von Wangenheim

Born in Berlin to a noble family, Chris von Wangenheim migrated to New York in the mid 60’s, arriving in the years when the city was converting into the epicenter of the artistic scene. He started off as an assistant, but Anna Piagge from Vogue Italy soon recognized his talent and started commissioning works for the magazine. He was soon working for Interview, Vogue US, Playboy, Dior, Valentino, etc. His greatest muse was Gia Carangi, a model whose subversive lifestyle fit perfectly with images his decadent and violent images

His career was potent but short, as he died in a car accident in 1981. His legacy was entrusted to his wife who was busy raising their daughter. For this reason, just recently in 2015, Rizzoli published a monograph of his avant-garde and sometimes macabre work.

Be part of KatariMag

In KatariMag we love art, beauty and ideas. We devote hundreds of hours to research and write to deliver the best stories of contemporary culture.

But the love of art also has its needs. So if KatariMag moves you and entertains you, be part of our community and collaborate with us! You can choose between PayPal or Patreon


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