Famous Fashion Photography Comes to Houston: MFAH’s New Exhibit
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston's latest exhibit, “Icons of Style: A Century of Fashion Photography” is a homage to fashion photographers. The exhibit focuses on noted photographers and their recognizable photos, often from famous magazine covers, including Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.
Walking the viewer through several different sections and eras of fashion photography, the exhibit explores such movements as “Black is Beautiful!”, “Surrealism,” “Elegance,” and “Street Style.” My favorite section was the music section (big surprise), which looks at the intersection between musical icons and fashion. The exhibit details how social movements influenced fashion designers and the fashion community, who often drew inspiration from minority groups, or “street style.”
You will recognize many of the photographs but being able to see the pictures in context with other photos from the era along with background details makes each picture that much deeper and detailed. The photos come from a variety of sources; most are famous pictures from magazine covers, but others are advertisements or purely for fun and artistic purposes. The accompanying captions for the photos explain the photographer’s style and how the photo was taken
Even if you’re not a photography buff, the explanations are easy to understand and are quite enlightening. Part of the intrigue of the exhibit is getting to understand how each photographer used different skills to create illusions within the photos. One picture in particular is stuck in my mind: The models were laying down on a black backdrop, but the photographer arranged their clothing and the angle of the camera to make it seem that the models were moving upright throughout the air instead of laying still.
And in case you need something a little more three-dimensional than a photo, the exhibit also includes various dresses and outfits from the various time periods mentioned within the exhibit. The outfits include pieces from celebrated designers like Yves St. Laurent, among others.
At the end, there is even an opportunity for exhibit-goers to create their own fashion photograph. A black and white-checked floor and a red curtain await all Instagrammers waiting to share their fashion pictures with the world - there is even a nearby monitor that shows all pictures taken at the exhibit that tagged the museum. You, too, can be a part of the fashion photography!
If you love beautiful clothing, photography, fashion or history, this exhibit will interest you. I learned so much about photography to make me really appreciate the behind-the-scenes work that goes into creating what we think are simple magazine covers but are really works of art. The exhibit runs until Sept. 22.
See all articles by Haley, including her monthly concent roundups, here.
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