Archive for category Placing Photographic Practice in Context

CW1 Research: 1940′S Photographer, Cecil Beaton

Valerie Hobson and Volunteer Nurses

Cecil Beaton was a Fashion photographer during the war and his images often showed war in the background including posters and blackouts. Since his images were not from the battle scene and did not include any of the battles they felt his images did not contain the immediacy of other images and therefore he became obsessed with form and composition within the image. The above left image was taken on location in front of war-scarred background as the studio he was meant to be working in was burnt down. I can see that he was a fanatic over composition and form as the people in the frames are central placed people. With the nurses picture he wanted to show the work that people were doing at home rather than concentrate his efforts on the front line duties. He wanted to capture the un-sung heroes.

Derrick. Robin, 2004. Unseen Vogue: The Secret History of Fashion Photography. Edition. London Little, Brown Book Group


Leave a comment

CW1 Research: 1940’S Photographer, Norman Parkinson

Iron Road 1947

Hat Fashion 1949

Like Avedon Parkinson in the image above has been concentrated on the main focus on the item of clothing, the hats.

Barbara Goalen (Mrs Nigel Campbell); Wenda Parkinson (née Rogerson), 1949

Here i think that he chose the open space at the top and include the statue in the background of the image to mirror the pillars and the way the two are standing in the foreground.


‘Parkinson Likes to show people at their best. ‘If you have the responsibility of using your lens to record people in history, do it well.’ ‘Don’t destroy them and make them look hideous for the sole purpose of inflating your own photographic ego” Pepper, Terrence, Norman Parkinson, 1981. Photographs by Norman Parkinson: Fifty years of portraits and fashion. Edition. G. Fraser.

Leave a comment

CW1 Research: 1940’S Photographer, Richard Avedon

Resource: Avedon Fashion 1944-2000 The definitive Collection, Phaidon.


One thing I notice about Avedon’s images from the 40’s so far is that he has mainly used a location based ‘studio’ where he photographs the models/clothes in the situation they are intended. Also by the look of some of these images he has used natural light to illuminate the model and clothing. With Avedon he mainly focuses on the main object that they wish to show off. For example the last image above is mainly focusing on the hat so therefore he cut out the rest and got the model tilt her head down to present the hat more.


Leave a comment

CW1 Research: 1940′S Photographer, Horst

Fur, Pearls and Diamonds-1940

The Gibson Girls, Vogue-1948

Goya fashion Mrs Stanley G Mortimer Later Mrs William Paley Mrs Desmond Fitzgerald later Mrs Ronald Tree Modelling Matador Hats-1940

Black Corset-1948

From these images i have gathered that Horst has used a studio to compose his images in. Also from these images I can tell that he likes to get the models to interact with something or be doing something rather than just standing there doing nothing. compositionally he has not shown the full length of the clothing item.

Derrick. Robin, 2004. Unseen Vogue: The Secret History of Fashion Photography. Edition. London Little, Brown Book Group


Leave a comment

CW1 Research: 1940′S Photographer, Lee Miller

Fashion As Photograph, Viewing and Reviewing Images of Fashion, Edited by Eugenie Shinkle.

Lee Miller worked as a model and as a photographer in her time. This led to many of her fashion photographs being self-portraits. Through this manner she explores the ideas of active photographer and the passive model that told the stories in many of the fashion images. However from 1944 to 1945 Miller became Vogue’s War correspondent and therefore there is no evidence of her using herself as a model.

Miller often found it easier to Photograph women than men in her pictures as ‘women are used to being looked at’ (Shinkle quoting Miller, as quoted by Blanshard, 1932)

Lee Miller June 1940 Medium Price Fashion, London

Model preparing for a millinery salon paris 1944


Leave a comment

CW1 Fashion Shoot: Shoot #1

For this first shoot I worked with the Fashion students from Coventry University. Luckily they were using 1940’s clothing. There idea for this shoot was to have her in a modern cafe before going to a ball.

Out of the above selection I think I prefer the sepia and black and white images. These images best represent the period and i do not like the colours within the other images. Furthermore I would of chosen a different location with the streets shots as I do not like the lamposts and traffic within the background, plus the sun was too bright and almost blew out the details on the models face.

, ,

Leave a comment

CW1 Research: 1940’s Fashion background intel

DVD 3085/1-4, Style on Trial Disk 1, BBC4 08.01.2009 59min, with Stuart Maconie and Lauren Laverne

  • 1940’s
  • Second world war
  • Women liked more practical style
  • Pre-war ideal of femininity and excess
  • Annalisa Barbieri
    • 1940’s are:
      • Inventive
      • Sustainable
      • Feminine amongst a lot of masculinity
      • Ever-changing
  • Lawrence Bowen
    • 1940’s are:
      • Started amazoningly bossily sexy with big shoulders
      • Ended with through troughed Victorian revived sty
      • Blokes looked smart
      • How sexy it all is
  • Immodesty Blaize
    • 1940’s are:
      • Incredible hard glamour, about utility wear with boxy straight lines
      • Women opened up like a flower from the 1947 Dior show
      • Two extremes of both shapes above.
      • Dior Reclaimed women’s femininity and the female shape
  • 1940 style started in the 1930’s with the second world war
  • 1939 Britain declared war with Germany
  • Women did men’s work as they fought away
  • Fashion became functional
  • Lawrence
    • Women re-incarnate thrilly 1930 clothes to incredibly capable sexualised
      • Jumpers
      • Trousers
      • Shoulder pads
      • No concession being made to practicality
  • What would that austerity of meant in terms of the silhouette
    • When uniforms become important?
    • Lawrence
      • RAF uniform
        • Almost Savile Row tailoring.
  • 1941 Rationing
    • Certain amounts of buttons on things
    • Material was brought by the yard was rationed
    • How people were going to use their coupons
    • Had to destroy things you owned.
  • Ingenuity over resources
  • Women thought more about clothes not fashion
  • Didn’t have to waste their coupons so women thought more about accessories
  • Hats, feathers weren’t rationed
  • Project personality through the clothes
  • More about positivity about creating an image (best face forward)
  • Sense of carapace to it, sense of armour to it.
  • Government issue clothes coupons releasing own line of utility clothing
  • 48 per year, coat bout 16 ‘costume’ about 12
  • Style, first line of utility wear
    • Turn ups turned down
    • Hemlines go up
    • Only two pockets
    • Designer – Norman Hucknell?
  • Christopher Breward (Fashion Historian, Victoria & Albert Museum)
    • Danger was utility clothing could be seen as drab
    • Could be skimping
    • Stylistic invention
    • People designing for the utility scheme
      • Technically interesting
      • Brought out the best of British fashion expertise
  • Amy De La Haye (London College of Fashion)
    • Well designed
    • Flattered the feminine body
    • Good use of fabric
    • Juxtaposing check
    • Big feature of buttons
    • Brightly colour
  • Utility clothing looked like
    • 3 buttons on a suit
    • CC41 label
    • Military looking
    • Designers
      • 26 outfits that could be massed produced
      • Norman Hartnell
      • Hardy Amies
      • Digby Morton
  • Live for the moment as they thought that they may not make it the next day
  • Hair Style
    • Liberty Curl
    • Perm
    • Vingull
    • Andrew Barton (Televisions Favourite Hairdresser)
      • Practicality rule (short hair)
      • Hair had to be in control and practical
      • Hair could get rid of easily
      • Hats and scarf often hid them
      • Vingull
        • Tight rolls in little curls close to the head.
        • Checked Section pattern at the top, almost V for Victory
        • Hair curly to keep the feminine look over the boxy style of clothing
  • Make Do and Mend
    • Mrs Sow and Sow
    • Vogue
      • Have features of how to nake do
    • Pathe Pictorial
      • Instructional side to show how to re use old clothes
      • People wanted to reassert their personality
      • Morale booster
      • Aimed at more middle class women
      • WI’s show tips and tricks
      • Make things last longer
      • Less expensive

Fall Of Paris

  • French Vogue shuts down
  • Ready to wear closes
  • Chanel stays open to supply Nazi soldiers and their partners, Coco Chanel disappears to a hotel with her Nazi Lover
  • Nazi had textile cards for couture houses in Paris
  • Couture: The production of high-end, custom-made clothing
  • Fashion Attention turns to:
    • Nazi officers wives would have real hard glamour
    • Lucian Delon
      • Lied to the Germans about what was going on
      • Kept fashion houses open.

Hitler Took over Paris

  • Couture industry
    • Employed over 12 thousand people, meant working for the Nazi
    • Was aware of culture clashing of the couture
    • Rare it showed a rebellious streak
    • Madam Grey made red white and blue collection and was shut down for a while after
    • Liberation of Paris
      • Designers struggled to retain their reputation
      • Couture came under criticism for working with Nazi’s
      • Isolation of Paris of a fashion centre allowed other countries to come to prominence
        • America through the war in Hollywood
        • Other countries became interest of fashion

Christian Dior

  • 1947
  • Released ‘the new look’
  • Reclaiming feminine shape
  • Some say continuing from late 30’s
  • Wants to move forward
  • Tiny waist
  • Big hips
  • British vogue banned from talking a bout it
  • Wasn’t a reaction to the war, he was interrupted
  • Still rationing in material in 1947
  • Stereo type of what women should be – controversial
  • Fashion should be pointless, should not have a relevance and be escapism

British Fashion after Dior

  • Still rationing
  • Head of board of of trade – Harold Wilson
  • British fashion consumer
    • Controversial
    • Short or long skirt
    • Long skirt was waste full

Fashion Icons of the Decade

  • Princess Elizabeth Hartnell Wedding Dress
  • Lauren Bacall – The Look
  • Trevor Howard
  • Fred and Ginger
  • Katherine Hepburn
  • David Niven
  • The Beverly Sisters
  • Jane Russell – The outlaw

In conclusion the 1940’s were about making do and making the most out of what people already owned due to the rationing and lack of resources like material. Therefore a new style of utility clothing was made for women to wear to save on material and resources and become more practical. In turn altering your own clothes became about showing off your personality through your clothing, effectively, I believe making everyone who altered their clothing a designer. On the other hand towards the end of the decade Christian Dior set about creating ‘The New Look’ which was more about creating items that were nothing to do with the era. For example using more and expensive material to against the times of rationing and the idea of ‘skimping’.

Therefore more to decided on the clothing style to use within my photographs I will look at either more utilitarian style of clothing or more towards the opposite end of the decade and use items that are more daring and elaborate than the utility clothes.

Leave a comment

CW1 Fashion Task: Meetings

Meeting 1

Attendance: Dorrell, Danielle, Steph, Nicola and Myself

Since this was our first meeting it was more a briefing of the project at hand. What we need to do, what we should learn and find out our potentials during the task. Therefore we were told that we will be working with a Fashion Student from the university that needed images for a portfolio.

As a group we did a mind map about the items/challenges we will need to include or overcome to be prepared for the ‘shoot’ ahead. This mind map included branches such as, Location, Equipment, Clothing, Styling, Make up, Travel. From these main branches we then plotted the things we felt could go wrong or what we needed to think a bout in order to have a set ‘game plan’ and be prepared for the worse.

Once the mapping was done, we then set about setting tasks for each other and ourselves to be completed by the next meeting.

One idea that did keep cropping up was the idea of doing a street or suburb

Within the next meeting we would be meeting up with the fashion student herself to discuss factors like styling, her thoughts and ideas on our ideas and what the clothing is like.

Meeting 2

Attendance: All + Amber

In this session we looked at any ideas that the Fashion student Amber had come up with and that would work with the items of clothing. Amber also showed us pictures of the clothing since they were not available to bring in at this stage.

As Photography students we then pitched our ideas to Amber which involved the industrial idea and street scenes.

Next on the agender for this meeting was to talk about where we can get accessories from to suit any of the clothing. Furthermore we showed our images of the Locations that we had found and talked about the pros and cons of these places.

Start thinking bout dates and gear

Meeting 3

Attendance: Steph, me, dan, Amber

For this meeting we were shown the clothing that Amber had brought with her that we needed to shoot our model in.

After Amber had gone, Steph, Danielle and I walked around the areas in which I found. On the way to one of the locations we saw a roof space on top of the university building. We thought this would a great place to shoot with industrial views across the City. Our next step was to email ‘Estates’ who are the caretakers of the University. This however became to no avail as we did not receive a reply from them and so this location was scrapped.

Meeting 4

Attendance: All but Amber, Dorrell.

In this meeting we just went over any last issues people had with the shoot and discuss what equipment and other props we will need. Once we had discussed these issues we then split the bookings into the items we needed and booked them out for the correct times.

After this we then decided on tasks that we had to do. Danielle had to email the model about shoes and other accessories. Steph was going to contact the City College about using students to do the make-up and hair for our model. My task before the shoot was to decided and book out the lighting equipment that we might need on the day of the shoot. Also I was to book out the room in which we will be shooting.

Leave a comment

CW1 Research: Youtube, Interviews

To find any talks or interviews about 1940’s fashion I decided to Search ‘1940’s Fashion’ on Youtube.

This came up with nothing but tutorials on how to dress like the 1940’s. This maybe ideal later on when it comes to finding the right style of clothing for my models.

Leave a comment

CW1 Research: 1940’s Vogue

One of the key publishers in fashion in todays world is, I believe, is Vogue. Or at least it is one widest known magazine in todays trends and fashion.

Since the issues from 1940 Vogue are most likely no longer in circulation I decided to head for the internet in search for any copies still available. Therefore I came across the magazine archive for:

The problem with this research is that I can only see the cover of the magazine and not see inside to look at the work of other photographers.


Leave a comment