A simple Google search of famous fashion photographers will turn up multiple lists of "fifty of the greatest" and I certainly can't argue any of them. However, the pictures used as examples representing each are shots from major fashion campaigns where teams of people came together to make the images possible. This brings us to my question: do photographers get too much credit?
The picture above is my mother. There's no denying the necessity of a photographer who understands how to use a camera and how to control light. Without that, there's no picture! But my mother is incredibly beautiful and she's a hair stylist, two things 99% of photographers don't have control of.
This is a great image. I don't mean to take credit away from the photographer or studio that captured it, but my mother certainly made it easy for them.
Think of a fashion photographer you consider famous; it could be Helmut Newton, Patrick Demarchelier, David LaChapelle or Annie Leibovitz. Or those that set many of the lighting trends still used today, like Richard Avedon, Martin Munkácsi or Irving Penn. Now picture an image of theirs that's well known. Who styled it? Who did the hair and makeup? Who was the art director? Better yet, what's the model's name?
My mother grew up speaking French and English, as her parents native language was French. Her image never graced the cover of any high fashion magazine or any magazine at all. Yet it seems fitting to use this French term to describe 75% of the fashion industry: they're full of shit.
There's something to be said about confidence and natural beauty. I don't aim to define either, but when I've had the opportunity to work with someone that truly understands each I feel guilty taking credit for the end product.
The pictures below, taken by my father, shows a woman wearing everyday attire on both a sunny winter day and a summer day. Composed and beautiful. My mother.