As part of the V&A Dundee project, the latest exhibition to come to The McManus (Dundee's Art Gallery and Museum) is Selling Dreams: 100 Years of Fashion Photography. The exhibit includes images from some of the world's most iconic and influential fashion photographers, including David Bailey, Norman Parkinson and Richard Avedon, as well as contemporary photographers such as Rankin and Corrine Day.
The title Selling Dreams, derived from an Irving Penn quote in 1984. Regarding his role at Vogue, Penn said that he was "selling dreams not clothes" - quite possibly, the perfect description of fashion photography and definitely an idea to base an exhibition on.
There are some truly breathtaking images in the Selling Dreams exhibition, some which are simply striking in content and others which compel you to stop, look and really think about the image. The exhibit is a fascinating explanation of how photography techniques developed over the past 100 years, but it is also an educational experience in terms of discovering how time and trends affected the way in which fashion and fashion photography was seen. For example, the liberal 1960s encouraged the new generation of photographers to move from the studio to the street; fashion was no longer a high-society elitism but rather, it was the girls in Mary Quant minis on the high street that inspired fashion, and thus fashion photography. It is inspiring to see how each era changed the way in which fashion was documented through photography.
Around 60 photographs are on display at The McManus, ranging from the late 1800s to the present day. The exhibition is in Dundee until 6th January 2013 and I would highly recommend anyone in the area to visit the exhibition: it is a stunning display and a must-see for everyone, regardless of whether or not you are a fan of fashion photography.
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