Below is the final body of work that I will submit for my Techniques and Processes 2b project Little Black Dress. The project explores fashion throughout four different eras using the same black dress as the main fashion item, the project will also explore the use of film in all of it’s glory.
The first image in the set is a 40s style image, the image will be printed at approximately 7×5″. I have decided to print the image smaller than the later eras as I thought it would be in keeping with the era, and would give a realistic touch to the image. Even though the project is about untouched film images, this is only referring to the scratches, marks and fogging that comes with using film. However, with the two final 40s images I decided to add a vignette to the image to add to the 40s aesthetic, I also smudged the black border on the image, as I wanted to create an old print look for the image. I did not want to rely on the hair, make up and image to create the 40s look, I wanted the image to feel old and not just a nod to 40s fashion.
I think this is a really successful image as part of the set, and a strong first image to introduce the project with. I also wanted to present the images in chronological order, as a timeline of fashion and fashion photography. If I were to criticise the image, I would say that images of people in the 40s would not have the model smiling, due to the prolonged exposure times and risk of blur. Furthermore, the dress probably would not have such a low neck in the 40s which is not something I considered when shooting and is something that I could have easily fixed.
Again with this image I added a vignette and smudged the edges to create the aesthetic of an old print. However this image has a lot more noticeable scratches and marks compared to the first image, which I like as it shows that the model is untouched by post-production. I think model choice in this project is of great importance, and I believe that Kerrie was a good choice for a 40s model, as she has big brown innocent eyes that catch the light really well. Again if I were to criticise the image I would say that the dress’s neck line is too low and is even more prominent on this image, however apart from that I do really like the image and think that it works really well as a documentation of 40s style fashion and as a documentation of film.
My third image in the set is a 50s style image using Marilyn Monroe as inspiration. What I think is strong about this image is the pose and composition are successful and compliment each other. Both work together to show a 50s aesthetic, however what I have noticed about the image is that it is not straight. This is not necessarily a negative thing, as angled fashion photography (in my opinion) is not used very much anymore, and is not seen as on trend photography nowadays. The angle gives the image extra flare, rather than a dull portrait the image becomes a fashion image. The image will be printed at approximately 10×8″, I have decided to print at this size because A) I did not want all my images to be printed at 7×5″ and B) because by the 1950s photographic technology was on the rise and I do not need to acknowledge technical limitations like I did with the 40s portraits.
The fourth image in the set is also A 50s style image, I wanted to use a close up image to show the detail that was put into the hair and make up and not just show the dress. The pose is in homage to what is thought of as the only image of Norma Jean taken by photographer Richard Avedon, in which Marilyn was caught off guard in between shots. The facial expression is very neutral and the pose is not sexual or vulgar in any way. I decided to line the image with a black border because I thought it worked well with the black dress and created a balance in the image, as there are a lot of greys within the photograph. Whilst creating this project I noticed that I have a tendency to crop tightly into people’s faces, and this resulted in chopping off their shoulders on a lot of images. This can be seen when looking at the 40s photo shoot contact sheet. And so working with a limited amount of shots helped me to develop my photography and correct my mistakes, and so I think that the composition of this image is strong, the subject is centred, the image is straight and there is just the right amount of space above the model’s head.
The fifth image in my set is a 60s styled image. The image is really strong and I am really glad I was able to include this image in the set. As the film was accidentally fogged whilst it was being developed, the image has lost some of it’s tones and detail. However, I do not think that the fogging takes away from the image, and I do believe this may be one of my strongest images that I am submitting. The composition of the subject and the hands surrounding her are very fashion editorial and could be used in a magazine had the film not been fogged (I like the fogging however mainstream magazines would not even consider the image). I decided to leave the image without a border, as I A) did not want to cut off any more of the hands and B) I thought a border would mean too much going on with the image and would not be a compliment to a fogged image.
The sixth image in my body of work is another 60s styled image. The dress is not very 1960s in comparison to what is thought of as 60s fashion. And although the famous Audrey Hepburn and her little black dress from Breakfast at Tiffany’s is from 1961, the black dress we used does not quite fit with the 60s style. If I had more time or more of a budget I would have tried to style the dress realistically for each era, rather than just changing the hair, make up and jewellery. The other thing I am critical of in the image is the cigarette, it can been seen clearly that the cigarette is not and has never been lit. This is something that I comment negatively on a lot with a particular image hung up in the college, and so to have my own image in which the cigarette does not look lit is slightly hypocritical of me. However, unlike this image in college, there is no smoke in my image, so am I not trying to give the impression of a lit cigarette.
At the time I was not sure how to fake a lit cigarette especially in the studio, however (as can be seen in my 80s photo shoot contact sheet) I found fake cigarettes in a joke shop which are really useful for photo shoots in locations where an electronic cigarette can not be used.
My seventh image is an 80s styled image, using the black dress as a top, I styled the dress with a baby pink skirt and a denim jacket, along with a number of accessories. The image has a lot of scratches and marks which is what I wanted, although they are not intentional I am happy to include them. I decided to include the edges of the film as I believe it adds to the 80s rebellious aesthetic that the image gives off. I sent the images to be printed at Proam, as it was cheaper than printing them myself, and as I got the prints back I realised that the edges have been cropped out so that the image was 10×8″. However I am happy with the final image, and the film edge can still be seen which is what I wanted, and even though the writing on the film is not visible I think it still works with the image. The only thing I would criticise about the image is the composition of the image, as the edge of the backdrop is visible, if I had moved further back from the camera then I would not have had this problem.
The final image in my body of work is my second 80s styled image. I struggled to decide which 80s image I wanted to include in the set, after a quick group tutorial and a tutorial with Sally I realised that this image was the one making most impact with viewers. People were drawn to the image, not just as part of the set but as a fashion portrait, and I decided to include the image as it was most representative of the 80s style I was aiming for. Throughout the shoot the images strayed from 80s to 90s a lot, and so many of the images I took can not be used as an 80s portrait, however the pose in this image is very 80s and the composition and lighting all compliment each other. The one thing I would change about the image is my hair is so close to covering my eye, I would move it as I believe it is important to see a models face, especially in a portrait.