THE RETURN OF THE THIN WHITE DUKE: I usually find out any piece of interesting news circulating throughout the various media outlets in the world myself. So it was out of the ordinary for me to find out about David Bowie’s supposed 2013 comeback via my friend’s Facebook page. Naturally I’m thrilled, but it serves as a reminder that I need to check out a lot more of Bowie’s work. Even though I consider myself quite the fan (as if it isn’t clear from my current icon), I won’t front and say that I know everything about his work. Anyway, I came across this striking image of the legend, shot by Mario Testino and styled by Camilla Nickerson for V Magazine back in 2002 and had to post it. Wearing a slim suit (although there might even be a skirt involved?) and wide-brimmed hat, he looks like the vision that I have in my mind whenever I listen to my favourite album of his, ‘Station To Station’ (1976). Despite being photographed so many years after the release of that album, this shot feels like a nod to his Thin White Duke era. This image was sourced from my new favourite website, VFiles.com.
TIME FOR A QUIET STORM:Mario Testino is one of those photographers who can impress by creating something out of character every once in a while. This image of Freja Beha Erichsen and Behati Prinsloo is one that I wouldn’t normally associate with him, but is all the more captivating because of that. Wearing coats from Prada’s Fall/Winter 2005 collection, they both stand out in this soft picture, taken from a UK Vogue editorial entitled ‘Quiet Storm’ (I love, love, love that term; probably due to associations with marathon R’n’B slow jam radio shows aired at midnight). However I am partial to Behati (or should I say Behottie) here, who manages to pull me into the environment, despite looking rather contemplative here. I kind of find her former, high-fashion image more sexy than her current Victoria’s Secret one. Maybe because, there was a bit of darkness and mystery surrounding her work, as can be evidenced here.
TUSCAN TREASURE:I remember my holiday in Tuscany (well the holiday where I went to various places in Italy) so well. The rolling countryside, the heavenly silence (save for the chirping of crickets) and the rustic buildings. Of course this all sounds very cliche, but one can’t help it when they have seen it with their own eyes. This shot is from a US Vogue editorial by Mario Testino and featuring the ubiquitous Lara Stone makes use of the same landscape with some impressive results. An editorial that accompanies an article on a health retreat (that often appear in the publication), there are some commading shots in the story, but none quite as captivating as this one which features the model half-nude, painted in white and slipping into a Donna Karan dress. Let’s not forget the concealed but not hidden view of the Tuscan landscape in the background. It’s a shot that I will remember for being a lot more daring than most pictures found in US Vogue, but also for its serene sense of beauty. Phyllis Posnick once again proves that she can pull off an iconic image, no matter who the photographer or subject involved is. A perfect shot to bring in the spring and summer vibes of the coming months of the year.
FUN IN THE SUN: I keep coming across amazing work by Mario Testino that just go to show how stupid I was to dismiss (most) of his photography as commercial and unremarkable, when I first got into fashion and fashion photography several years ago. This old editorial from W Magazine’s September 2000 issue (thanks to the member of TFS who scanned this BTW) is another luxurious editorial that makes me miss the days of the early 2000s. Even though I wasn’t into fashion photography, I could still grasp the general aesthetic of those initial years thanks to film and music videos amongst other visual media. I loved this shot of Anouck Lepère from ‘A Place In The Sun’ featuring her climbing onto a boat after her swim in the Corsican sea. Ironically I went to the South of France around the same of time that this editorial must have been shot. It’s a beautiful story (and very summery for a set of photos intended to showcase fall/winter clothes), so I’ll post some more shots soon but this one stood out to me right away, so I had to post it. Alex White once again brings a sense of escapism to this editorial, as only she seems to be able to do. It represents the ‘anything goes’ fantasy of people’s summer holidays, which are being enjoyed less and less since the financial crisis in 2008. This image might just motivate people to try and take a trip abroad this summer.
MELTING POT: I am not the biggest fan of either Mario Testino or Carine Roitfeld’s work, despite the fact that they have reached near iconic status in the fashion game. However over the years I have come to appreciate their aesthetic, not just their early collaborations which brought Tom Ford’s Gucci to the forefront, but also their collaborations in Vogue Paris during the noughties. Plus I couldn’t resist posting another shot of Liya. This story from the December/January 2002 issue was very clean and managed to bring a bit of Middle Eastern/North African influence into it without looking ridiculous or cliché. I have always liked this shot of Liya, there is something very on point about the composition and styling of the shot, visually your eyes dart from the top of the photo to the bottom, from the turban down to the shirt. It helps that Liya looks so at ease here. I can really enjoy Carine’s work when she stays simple and keeps to the a clean aesthetic. This also goes to show why Testino should work in the studio more often, he can be just as good as his contemporaries when working there. Having a model of Liya’s calibre obviously helps a lot as well.