Sunday, November 6, 2011

die Mode - fashion

I just finished watching a documentary about this East German fashion magazine called Sibylle. A friend of mine, another PhD student, is working on East German photography and I found it really fascinating.

As an East German publication, they had a small audience, limited travel opportunities (to Eastern bloc countries), and were supposed to present a certain image of women. One of the women in the documentary said that abstractly, their views harmonized very well with those of the party: they wanted to present working women who were well-educated and independent. But sometimes they had difficulties with the aesthetics of the images. The former editors who they interviewed said that usually they got away with what they wanted to do. 

In general, the magazine was popular. It had a mix of fashion and culture, and the fashion photography was very artistic and avant-garde, especially during its beginning years in the 1960s. To move away from the posed models of the 1950s, they used more realistic, natural poses, and also women who weren't smiling, women moving. Here were some of my favorites. I couldn't find pictures of all of them on the web, but you get a sense.  They're very beautiful images. Fashion photography is interesting. If you think about artistic photography, that sets a certain feeling or image, rather than necessarily portraying the clothing...I have seen some really whimsical and creative photo shoots in Anthropologie , for example, compared to catalogues like J Crew, that actually does show the clothing. And of course the major fashion magazines all have very elaborate and artistic photo shoots.

Arno Fischer

Sibylle Bergemann

Günter Rössler
Günter Rössler
 As far as "street fashion" vs high fashion, if you haven't yet discovered the blog The Sartorialist, it's amazing. The photographer shoots real people he sees out and about, being fashionable. This is also the technique of Bill Cunningham at the New York Times. Another documentary tip, if you haven't seen it yet, Bill Cunningham New York. watch a clip here. One of my favorite movies I saw last year.
Günter Rössler

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