They say one picture says a thousand words. And the adage is never truer than for fashion photography. An image has to intrigue, entice and draw you in. It's an invite to find out more. It has to grab attention and convey in one glance the values that you are asking your prospective buyer to trust and invest in.
We are in the midst of planning our 2015 photography campaign and believe us when we say how deceptively difficult it is to shoot a simple white t-shirt - when you want it to say so much about you. So this exhibition was perfect timing for us. Photographer of Style is a homage to the master of fashion photography, whose iconic photographs carry the simple one-word byline ‘Horst’.
The exhibition moves through the images that Horst created throughout his 60 years career. On entering the exhibition the simple use of light and shadow on the word HORST epitomises the beautiful lines and balance of the photography to follow.
On leaving art school German born Horst Paul Albert Bohrmann started his photography career at Vogue in Paris in 1931, when photography had just begun to eclipse graphic illustration.
The laced Mainbocher corset below is perhaps one of the most iconic and representative of Horsts images. It was the last photograph Horst took at Vogue before leaving Paris for New York at the start of the war In 1939.
During his time in New York, Horst took portraits of artists, writers, presidents and royalty, capturing some of Hollywood's most glamorous stars. This beautifully engineered lighting of Dietrich was taken in New York in 1942.
There is a surreal serenity to many of Horsts photos. He was influenced by artists such as Salvador Dalí, whose costumes for the ballet Bacchanale appear in the photo below.
Horst pictures graced the pages and covers of Vogue, Harpers and Queen and House and Garden from the 1930s onwards and he received the Master of Photography award in 1996.
A lesson we learnt during our first photo shoot was how deceptively complex simplicity is. Add to that the technical difficulties of photographing white we, unsuspectingly, gave our photographer Ryan Edy a considerable challenge. We love Ryan's photography and like wise any lover of art, photography or fashion will leave the Horst exhibition with admiration for making something so complex look so beautifully simple.
Horst: Photographer Of Style is on at the V&A until the 4th January 2015.
Photographs: © Condé Nast/Horst Estate via V&A website and Creative Review