This is a shoot I saw this week in Love Want which I thought was particularly lovely. I sometimes find shoots with models pretending to be lovers a bit awkward, but these- they're full of romantic abandon, tenderness, companionship. And the clothes are all bound up in it- don't they simply look like an extension of the moments captured, rather than the show-stopping focus? Maybe that places them more in the photography category rather than purely fashion photography. . . wow, I'm tackling the big questions this morning! But see below-
See what I mean? So awkward! Is she smelling him? And he looks like he's sleepwalking, in the middle of that recurring dream where he's in the supermarket but he can't remember what he came to buy. But we notice her (black! felt! ARGH!) hat and vest and his necklace. So we're noticing the clothes and, sure, they're well-framed and all but- who cares? Because it looks staged. And the clothes aren't alive.
The trick seems to be creating a compelling story- shooting an image which stands alone in its beauty or in some arresting quality but that doesn't give too much away, so that the person looking at it is led into their own imagination. The image is the trigger, and the clothes furnish the fantasy. At least, that's what I experience when I look at the work of my favourite fashion photographers- Tim Walker, Norman Parkinson, Peter Lindbergh.
Course, I'm not an expert. But I saw both of the above editorials on the same day and was struck by how I was captured by the first and distanced by the second, and suppose this chat is me trying to fathom why. . .
Anyway, while we're looking at couples, modelly or otherwise, here are some wonderful shots of real- life lovers. And just LOOK at how they're dressed!
Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm Maclaren
Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith
Editorials and Westwood + Maclaren shot by me from the pages of Love Want and Acne Paper (latest issues); Mapplethorpe + Smith images from my good friends at Google.