Fashion photography can be dated back as far back as the 1850s, where women would pose in their most elaborate garments for fine art or portrait artists, who would then paint them for influential fashion magazines such as, Vogue. Established in the 1800s and initially illustrated by hand . In 1913 Condé Nast hired the artist Adolphus Meyer as their first photographer, his work was realistic using models for fashion editorials compared to the brush strokes of illustration. As the audience for fashion photography grew, so did the need for fashion to become more easily accessible to the wider public. Magazines started to introduce collaborations with designers and photographers blurring the lines of artist versus designer. Social and political changes arose in the 1970s, displaying changes in social feminist constructs and the way feminism was portrayed in the media. Evidently this had a major impact on the fashion industry following the way photographers involved women in imagery. Before the 1970s women were being mainly represented in magazines as objects simply displaying garments, but the rise of feminism followed the rise of new female photographers. Deborah Turbville started as a fashion editor for Harpers Bazaar. In the 1970s she became a photographer using light and positioning to create a fashion narrative with a darker side than most people at this time were used too, with an emphasis on the female gaze Turbville’s work is dreamlike and delicate. It was said that Turbville turned ‘fashion photography into avant-garde art.’ During the 1970s through to the 1980s an era of overly sexualized imagery began to push the boundaries of ready-to-wear, advertisement campaigns in magazines began to use subversive imagery and noticed a growing industry for fashion photography once more. New sexualized editorials adapted by Turbville were adopted in brands who wanted to have a new perspective on the industry, seeing an artistic photography and commercial work crossover. The human body has been the focus of fashion photography since it began, the camera has been focused on the body for informative and logical scrutiny, in addition to a creative investigation. Imagery often focuses on themes of nudity, growth, decay and beauty. Fashion photography is being used on such a regular basis on a multitude of different platforms, with the power to educate, shock, and entice.
Street photography has always been debated as a medium. Since the beginning of fashion photography, the concept of street photography struggled to be accepted as a true art form. Street photography by definition is photography that is conducted for art or enquiry purposes that feature chance encounters and random incidents. Photography as a medium, throughout history has been trying to establishing itself against fine art, sculpture alongside other classical art forms. During 1877 the portable camera was first founded, meaning that photographers were now not restricted to the constraints and confinement of a studio. These photographers were suddenly able to travel, capturing life and movement on the streets. New technology flooded the streets, and transportable cameras evidently found themselves within hands of people with little skill or background knowledge within the profession of photography. As progressively more people found themselves access to a camera the threat of privacy in America heightened. During this time in America, the New York Times printed an issue explaining ‘The camera Epidemic’ which referred to street photography as a disease, suggesting these people have contracted ‘Camera Lamina Sicca’ this article stated that ‘no one can feel sure that at any moment a camera has not been brought to bear upon them.’ Then went on to say that ‘Even when walking quietly in the public street a person is not safe, he a constantly made the victim of the instantaneous process by camera.’. Portable cameras became a key topic for discussion in 1900 when Eastman Kodak released a camera the working class could afford, capturing and recording images from everyday life using a form of low cost photography. Susan Sontag writer, director and activist took a keen interest in photography and used her work as a beneficial platform to inform and record historical events. She was described as ‘one of the most influential critics of her generation’. Her most significant books was On Photography where she writes about the beginning of street photography being accepted as a true art form. In this book, Sontag wrote ‘There is something predatory in the act of taking a picture – to photograph people is to violate them.’
By analysing the article written for the New York Times, in reference to street photography by making someone ‘the victim’ there are similarities made by Sontag where she calls refers to photographers as ‘predatory’. Within street photography, to obtain a candid image, a photographer would normally be hidden to capture someone’s true emotions. Alternatively, to obtain someone’s image without their knowledge is similar to possession without consent. Some people may find this idea distressing, not knowing when your images is being taken, or what the photographer may do with this image. Sontag explains ‘to photograph people is to violate them.’ Within photography, the freedom of a photographers expression and the definition of street photography still remains to capture art and enquire including chance encounters.