I was at a shoot the other day and while I was waiting for the make-up/hair to finish, I saw an issue of British Vogue (May 2009) on the table. I flipped through it and found an interesting feature called "My Inspiration" wherein several personalities from the fashion industry such as Grace Coddington, Paolo Roversi, Sophia Kokosalaki, Alexander Wang, among others, talk about photos that inspired them.  I thought I'd share mine, but before I do, here are a few images from the article, which are posted on the Vogue UK website:

Grace Coddington
Inspiration: Nena von Schlebr├╝gge by Claude Virgin, 1959
"I remember flicking back through Vogue and seeing the Vogue Model contest and thinking, ‘This is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.’ I found out later it was Uma Thurman’s mother, Nena von Schleebr├╝gge. It was that image that propelled me to enter the contest myself. I ended up winning. So it was through that picture that I started out as a model, and began my career in fashion.The picture by Vernier of me fishing [link] was my first shoot."  

Kate Phelan, Vogue fashion director
Inspiration: Talisa Soto by Bruce Weber, 1982
“The shoot that inspired me most was one by Weber in Vogue, and the story was a reference to the American photographer Edward Weston. This image of Talisa Soto and a male model called Bruce, I think, sitting in a boat, shot in black and white, is one of my favourites from the shoot.” 
Sophia Kokosalaki
Inspiration: Couture by Paolo Roversi, 1994
“When I first saw this, I thought, ‘I’m so going to London. Bye Greece!’ I still have the copy of Vogue in which the fashion story ran in my house in Athens. I just hadn’t seen this kind of editorial in Greek magazines, nor these kinds of clothes – it was a fantastical set of pictures. I think it was a quality of the lighting, a combination of the hair, the make-up, the styling and the environment that meant it was totally different to anything I’d seen before. I like dark, damaged romance; I’m not into pretty-pretty things, or pictures that draw too heavily on romance or history. But that shoot signified to me that fashion can make you dream; it can take you somewhere else. I liked the use of distressed materials, and in my first shows, I had a lot of tattered, destroyed and ripped tulle and organza. It wasn’t the same look as the shoot, but there was a similar feeling. Is the picture still as fantastic as it is in my imagination? I hope so.” 
Hamish Bowles
Inspiration: Tree Allen by Barry Lategan, 1977
“There were so many Vogue sittings that fired my adolescent dreams of fashion. They evoked a world of impossible glamour, and of lives gloriously and richly led, peopled by magically dressed and impossibly beautiful women and dashing men. I ached to be a part of that world. There were some ravishing Barry Lategan portfolios that Grace Coddington produced, in particular one of lace and chiffon Bill Gibb dresses shot against an old-fashioned photographer’s portrait-studio backdrop of painted palms. It evoked the atmosphere of a New Orleans bordello. I chose to write about that sitting when I entered Vogue’s talent contest, aged 14 (I received a special mention). I cringe to think of that now, but I suppose that set me on the path.”


These are just a few, the Vogue UK website has 10, but there are so much more in the magazine. Anyway, I thought I'd share mine. I'll save my favorite Penn and Roversi photos for later, for now I'll share something a bit more personal:

These photos of my grandmother. I found these when I was about 10 years, I was in 5th grade, in an antique fold-out desk. I remember thinking they're the best photos of my Wowa I've ever seen. She looked so beautiful, and that I really loved her dress. I wondered why they weren't framed. I showed my grandma, and asked her if she was used to be an actress or a model. She said no she wasn't, and asked where I found those photos. She said she hates these photos, that's why they werre kept away. I thought that was stupid, cause these are gorgeous!

 Years later, I was about 18, I ran out of birthday gift ideas, so I thought I'd make a pop art version of a photo of her (back then I was addicted to Andy Warhol), and suddenly remembered where these were kept. They were still there! I chose the one on the upper right. I didn't care if she didn't like the photos. She still hated the photos, but she was really happy with my gift. 

These photos pop up in my mind every now and then. It's one of the first photos that I remember really really loving. It's a portrait, but upon rereading two paragraphs above it could very well be my first recollection of a fashion photograph.

What photo inspired you?


StateofJoe said...

Larry Clark's "Tulsa" photos inspire me. Not very fashion-y, but definitely, I think, very telling and honest – which is how I like to portray my subjects. :)

Gerard said...

There's always something about the past that's so inspiring...noh?