While the fashion industry is huge and covers a big range of jobs, fashion design is still portrayed, In the Mena region, as the epitome of it even if it is just the tip of the iceberg. As much progress as it has made, the industry is still by far lacking in inclusivity and diversity.
Through their filtered lenses, Fashion photographers play a huge role in the shift of power and visibility in the fashion industry as they project their diverse perspectives, visions and even political statement.
To have the greatest impact, fashion design must live beyond store windows and runway shows. Fashion photography has reached new heights of artistry, with photographers ating a label’s digital brand to gallery- and museum-worthy stature. They also capture the designers at work backstage, allowing us insight into a level of creativity and dedication that’s not readily visible in the seams of a zipper or the hem of a skirt.
Some of the most intimate and memorable designer and photographer pairings ever include Versace and Richard Avedon, Alexander McQueen and Ann Ray, and Rodarte and Autumn de Wilde. These partnerships have resulted in legendary collaborations that have elevated both artistic standards through innovative imagery.
A fashion photographer's role isn't just about taking pretty pictures of clothes. The fashion photographer has to do many things to ensure success, like meeting with designers to generate unique concepts for photoshoots, understanding trends, style and fabrics and how to shoot them while also using different types of light and modern technologies in photography such as photo editing software.
They also have to play the director's role on set to instruct and guide models and staff through the shooting process.
Some of the photographers who shaped the Fashion industry were Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton, Francesco Scavullo, Herb Ritts, Gleb Derujinsky and Peter Lindbergh. They paved the way for the next generation of artists like today's most famous fashion photographers, Patrick Demarchelier, Steven Meisel, Mario Testino and Annie Leibovitz.
Fashion photography highlights clothing and other fashion products in exciting and memorable ways. As we saw at the end of the twentieth century, the Calvin Klein advertisement that changed the game by featuring only Calvin's portrait/ This move changed the very definition of a fashion photograph from only a picture of clothing to the selling of a fabulous lifestyle identified with a specific logo.
It has produced some of the most creative, interesting, and socially revealing documents of all time but also it revealed the attitudes, conventions, aspirations, and taste of the time. They are able to reflect women's image of themselves, including their dreams and desires, self-image, values, sexuality, and interests.
Each photographer finds his element, his sense of belonging in a specific style of fashion photography as some are limiting and others have more expression freedom. Here’s the 4 common styles of fashion photography that exist so far.
Catalog photography is a type of product photography. They differ with the presence of the model and the focus on the clothes.
It is perhaps the simplest of the 4 fashion photography styles as Its purpose is mainly to sell clothing and is considered the starting point of most fashion photographers.
The background of the photos are usually plain and there are minimal accessories and few props. The models don’t have to strike too many poses, mostly standing up and only when needed to show off features of the outfit like pockets. The biggest challenge the photographer faces with this style of fashion photography is the lighting as it can be tricky to conserve the colors and features of the outfits.
High Fashion Photography
High fashion is what we frequently see on the cover of our favorite magazines.It is all about using supermodels in exaggerated poses, unrealistic clothing and hairstyles that a photographer has to blend in with a certain location to create a flawless, polished image. Which can be quite challenging as he doesnt have much creative control of the situation but has to make it look fabulous and glamorous. There has to be a certain harmony between the model, the team and the photographer. A group of skilled professionals is needed to create a marvelous mood and story as is expected from High Fashion Photography.
Street Fashion Photography
Street fashion is often thought of as the opposite of high fashion as it looks more rugged and less polished. It involves alternative fashion like grunge and hip-hop that later became mainstream street fashion styles.
Photographers who specialize in this style use regular people on the street rather than models.With this style, photographers don’t just focus on the clothes, they’re vision is mostly focused to highlight the person’s expression, their attitude, the lighting and background and more like how the clothes complement the whole picture. This kind of style has different rules than others as it involves regular people most of the time and unexpected situations so photographers are more careful and less in control.
But it still goes to show that some of the best fashion trends are around us everywhere through a photographer’s lenses.
Editorial Fashion Photography
Editorial fashion photography is a very creative field. It allows photographers to create a certain mood and vision with an elaborate wardrobe and different props and is found in magazines and newspapers. This type of fashion photography is all about storytelling and giving photographers a creative freedom of expression.
These images might involve one brand or several brands and various styles of photographs as well as types of shots requiring different equipment, different makeup, wardrobe, and hairstyles on the models in order to create a story and a statement.
Via Steven Klein for Interview magazine
David Beckham for LOVE magazine
However, The industry is dominated by European and Western photographers as we see on every mainstream campaign and magazine cover. But the world isn't short on talent, we have skilled and creative photographers all over the world. Which takes us specifically to Arab/MENA region's fashion photographers as they have been taking things to the next level and shaking the industry for some time now.
Today dear Maft readers we are shining light on our MENA region favs for to keep a watch on, specially those who have succeeded far to be published in major magazines
The Moroccan artist was raised in Belgium and suffered to feel a sense of belonging and identity. Through his photographs, he aims to challenge the stigma around his home as he tries through his work to debate the Arab world and Islam. He brings a playful and colourful touch, as we see it in his obsession with veils and fabric covering his characters from head to toe.
Growing up between Tunisia and the suburbs of Montreal, the Brooklyn-based photographer’s work merges spontaneous shots with nostalgia and inclusivity as she tries through her photographs to present something raw and authentic that can make people feel closer to home and have a sense of identity away from the mainstream media.
Oumayma Ben Tanfous for Vogue Arabia
Born and raised in Beirut, this artist began his career as a fine art photographer and then slowly started experimenting with fashion photography until he merged both worlds together. His unplanned and spontaneous style of photographs depict a personal and intimate take of fashion photography.
Aly Saab for Emergency room Beirut
She started her artistic career as a painter and digital artist in Jeddah. Then, After studying fashion photography in Paris, she returned to her home country to launch MishMosh, a Saudi-based creative agency dedicated to support young, up-and-coming Saudi creatives and connect them with known brands.
Shkoon by Huda Beydoum
The Lebanese photographer graduated with a plastic arts degree but then changed his direction to photography as he started working on commissioned fashion editorials. His raw and candid style won him features on prominent magazines and campaigns.
By Bahar Srour for Financial Times Magazine
This photography duo combine two backgrounds, Iraqi and Omani. Chebmoha and Chndy have made a name for themselves in their region for their creative direction that oozes localism and community while also creating a genderless brand Shabab International.
Carhart WIP SS19 Campaign by Chndy & Chebmoha
After learning photography from YouTube tutorials, the Saudi native began shooting Saudi’s burgeoning creative scene and uploading the raw portraiture of her subjects onto her online project Recent Magazine. The self-taught imagemaker has won people and publications over with her honest, touching portraits that capture the carefree essence of Saudi youth.
Marie Claire X Dior Cover Jan 2021 by Hayat Osamah
Dubai-based Tunisian photographer started his career taking street style photos for Style.com/Arabia and then reaching the level to work with well known and renowned magazines like Vogue and doing campaigns with Dior and Chanel. In 2019 the photographer made a political photographic series . “How can I use fashion and photography to raise awareness?” is the question that triggered the series entitled ‘The Real Issue’, a series of images that bring to light serious global issues from gun control, pollution, safety and water to the refugee crisis.