Fashion Editorial

The History of Fashion Photography

By  | 

The history of fashion photography is something that every enthusiast should be aware of. Fashion photography is a photography genre dedicated to the display of clothing and other fashionable items. In most cases, fashion photography is conducted for fashion magazines or advertisements. Over the years, a unique aesthetic has developed in fashion photography in which exotic story lines and locations are used to enhance fashions and clothes.

1830: The First Camera

It was back in the 1830s when this method of photography was developed, but the concept of fashion photography did not exist until much later. For mass printing, the earliest renowned daguerreotype photographic technique could not be used. Fashion photos started appearing in magazines only when advances were made in halftone printing techniques during the 1st decade of the 20th century.

1910: Baron Adolphe de Meyer, First Fashion Photographer

Baron Adolphe de Meyer was probably the first fashion photography, who was hired in 1913 by Conde Nast to take experimental photographs for Vogue. He used soft-focus lenses and backlighting quite wonderfully, which were his main traits. Early fashion photographs were simply photographs of aristocrats, actors/actresses and models dressed in their own clothes.

1911: Edward Jean Steichen

The Photo-Secession Galleries was founded by Edward Jean Steichen and Alfred Stieglitz in New York. In 1911 when he photographed fashion models for the first time for the “Art and Decoration” magazine, and during the twenties he worked with Conde Nast.

1930: Photography in Advertisements

As the demand for photographs in advertisements and editorial content of magazines increased, this lead to a new approach to fashion photography, which involved the use of sophistication. In the 1930s, Steichen became the highest-paid fashion photographers while working for Vanity Fair and Vogue magazines.

1951: Richard Avedon

After the Second World War, Richard Avedon took fashion photography in a new direction. Since 1945, he has been a prominent figure in the world of fashion photography. The modernistic style of Richard Avedon’s put an end to the more “classical” style and had a sweeping effect on fashion photography.

1970: Liberation

The liberation of the seventies was reflected in the fashion photography of that era. The photographers of the 70’s were challenging the traditional boundaries and the models were more uninhibited. The most renowned fashion photographer of the era was Helmut Newton. His photographs were most set on the streets, or in costly hotels featuring tall, long-limbed models some androgynous, but most often nude. A situation or action is featured in each of his photographs, leaving the rest to imagination.

2008: Modern Fashion Photography

By 2008, fashion photography became the guiding medium of modern visual culture. Fashion into a maker of ideas and icons supported the evolution of fashion photography.

In every sense, fashion photography is regarded as an art form and every field of communication seems to be influenced by it. Fashion photography not only portrays the beauty ideals of any given era, but also indicates the political and social climate of the era.

My name is Angela Ricardo Bethea and I am the founder and editor behind ( and many other online publications ) ... I love the finer things in life, I'm quite a shop-a-holic and a certified jet-setter. So if I am not behind my laptop to blog, I'd probably be shopping if not traveling.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.