Beauty through fashion photography is the focus of the Henry Art Gallery's new exhibit, Out [o] Fashion Photography: Embracing Beauty. Out [o] focuses on the many nuances of beauty using studio, fashion, and pop culture photography by artists from the 19th to 21st century.
I had the opportunity to walk through the gallery with curator Deborah Willis and a small group. The fluid and open gallery perfectly frames each photograph, which are juxtaposed with multimedia further enhancing the subtleties of Willis' ideas about media, and how different forms of beauty interconnect with each other.
Hans L. Jorgensen. Frederick & Nelson Hair Salon Photograph.
One of the many conversations this exhibit sparks is being able to explore and look at beauty in an unconventional, collective, and transformational way--to think of how beauty can start a conversation about bodies, which have been used as objects of desire.
Ideas of beauty, fashion, and gender identity are further explored with studio and commercial photography. Women have been a focus of beauty and fashion throughout history, and fashion stills, and glamour shots throughout the exhibit exemplify how culture can create an "ideal" beauty and body. But Willis also explores how men can be a source of fashion, desire, and beauty with various photos. In Robert Lyons, Boxer, Khartoum, Sudan 1989, the boxer proudly stands in a pose looking straight at the viewer, conveying strength and identity through the body. Many other photos of men such as those of depression-era workers or Native American chiefs or one, by Richard Avedon, of Truman Capote dressed in fur, exemplify how powerful a camera lens can be.
Lewis Wickes Hine. Powerhouse Mechanic.
Deborah Willis, the curator of the exhibit and an artist herself, is currently the Chair of the Department of Photography and Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.
Out [o] Fashion Photography: Embracing Beauty
Henry Art Gallery
Through September 2
REMEMBER: The Henry Art Gallery is ALWAYS FREE for TeenTix members, and you can always bring a guest for $5!