Thursday, 26 January 2012

Fashion: constructed image - Task 1

Task One
Research, analyse and deconstruct what you consider to be an 'iconic' fashion image.

Barry Lategan

"Twiggy sat in front of the lens and I said "Wow!" At just 16, she was self possessed and not at all shy for a girl new to the camera."

I have chosen this black and white photograph of Twiggy for the task. The reason I feel this is an iconic fashion image is because I feel for the photograph itself to be iconic, it must feature an icon - Twiggy is best recognised as a great fashion icon of the 60's, and therefore she makes this photograph an iconic fashion image. It is also the most famous photograph of her.

Lategan, who met Twiggy first hand, describes her portrait as conveying "acceptance, approval, acknowledgement." He was surprised by her young age and her confidence in front of the camera.

The use of props has been avoided due to the fact that it is not a full portrait of the model. No props are required due to this being only a head and shoulders portrait.

The model wears (from what we can see) a simple looking garment but with a complex fair isle design which seems a juxtaposition. The repeated pattern and simple neckline first draws attention from an audience but does not distract from the model herself too much. Any additional clothing, such as a hat or hair piece would impinge upon one of the models most famous features - her short hair.

Hair and make up
Other elements of her appearance that the model was well known for were her big eyes and long eyelashes - part of her androgynous look (a combination of male and female characterisations). In this photograph this is evident with the use of very dark, long separated false eyelashes and eyelashes painted on which emphasise her large eyes. They stand out against her pale skin and the dark eyeshadow applied in the creases of her eyelids emphasise their size even more. Other than her eye make-up she seems to be styles quite naturally - nothing on her skin or lips.

Her short hair cut into a crop has been styled smoothly with a side parting on her left side. The short length, shine, and lack of further styling does not distract the viewer from anything important but seems a contrast to the complexity of her clothing design.

Lighting and photographic techniques
Lategan talks of being inspired by the renaissance and impressionists who posed their models similarly to how he has done. He faced his camera at her eye level "so that she was looking on equality". The photograph is side lit as there is shadow only on the left side of her face and neck. This gives the shine to the opposite side of her hair. It seems there is a front fill light used in the set up also to avoid shadow on the front of the models face meaning no important information is lost.

Setting and context
This is unknown from just looking at the photograph, for the simple fact we see nothing in the image other than the models head and shoulders. This has allowed me to focus entirely on the model in the image who provides the 'iconic' I am deconstructing. However, having done research, the setting and context is very interesting and surprising!

The image
In 1966, at Barry Lategan's Chelsea studio, a hairdresser who Lategan worked with called him to tell him one of his friends had found a girl who worked in a hairdresser salon who wanted to be a model. She came accompanied with a man who interested Lategan in Twiggy. The next day she came back again, had her portrait taken and the headline was published "The face of 1966: Twiggy" the following morning.

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