The audio version of an Ugo Osmunds article titled "Black Fashion Photographers." Read by Emma.
I’ve been persistently following fashion since 2004. I was in high school. I was already into art, and I fell in love with fashion, because I learnt that it was paradise for artists. Everything in the fashion world is about art. ART is the god of the fashion world. You can illustrate. You can design. You can take photos. You can appreciate beauty. You can model new clothes. These are the things that makeup the fashion world. This particular side of the world gave me a new meaning, and changed the way I look at everything in life.
Reading fashion magazines and looking at the fashion ad campaign images in GQ, Vogue, and online blogs such as thefashionspot.com, it was a different world, it was beautiful, it was unique. I wanted to belong their. At age 16, I used to borrow my friends mini cameras to take artistic pictures of what I saw online or in fashion magazines. I would use my friend or myself as the model. I would illustrate the things I saw in magazines or online.
Then I wanted to learn more, while going to school as well. I decided to create a fashion blog. It was the birth of GLAMOURBOYSINC.com. (At first, it was Glamour BoIZ Inc, I got a little smarter and changed it to Boys) The idea was a reflection of my fashion experience, the blog served as an online luxury magazine for everything aesthetes, designs, photography, fashion, films, sexuality, beauty, architecture and models.
It was the year 2006, and everyone was blogging about fashion. Some of us were making money from it. Owning Glamourboysinc.com and reading so many fashion books, I quickly learned more things about fashion. I realized how relevant images are to the fashion industry. I mean, I’ve always known that cause I was already taking photos of my friends, inspired by the things I saw in magazines.
Learning about the hands behind so many iconic images I saw on so many fashion magazines such as Vogue, GQ, and many other countless outlets, I couldn’t find any BLACK FASHION PHOTOGRAPHERS. Now when I say, “Black fashion photographers,” I’m talking about black people all over the world: Africa, Europe, Asia, South America, and North America. I’ve read and owned so many coffee table photography books from so many fashion photographers like Avedon, Testino, Newton, Lindbergh and so many others. I have researched online and went to libraries and looked for books about black fashion photographers, I didn’t find any. I was shocked. It’s not that there isn’t any ‘black photographer’ that is aesthetic enough to do anything Avedon or Newton could do. I realized, it is LACK OF REPRESENTATION. This was one of the reasons why I went into the fields of art directing and fashion photography.
What is Fashion Photography?
According to wiki, “Fashion Photography is a genre of photography which is devoted to displaying clothing and other fashion items. Fashion Photography is most often conducted for advertisements or fashion magazines such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, or Elle.”
There are so many iconic black photographers all over the world such as, Anthony Barboza and Gordon Parks, but they are not Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton or Steven Meisel. This bothered me so much, for so long. I don’t want to lay blames or call the fashion industry racist. There are so many people doing that already.
I see myself as a real revolutionist. The revolutionist who doesn’t walk around with sign boards or stand on stage for hours explaining how much I hate something. What am I talking about? You might think, “If someone is a photographer, then they can also be a fashion photographer.” NO. There are different types of photography. There are art photography and none art photography. An artist is a person with great vision. Artists often make great fashion photographers like Richard Avedon, Annie Leibovitz or Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin.
You maybe a photographer, but are you an artist? When you push the shutter and take a photo, you are a photographer. When you stand a model, in great clothes against a dramatic backdrop, and push the shutter, you are still a photographer. As an artist, I use photography only as a tool to express my artistic vision. And in the fashion world, a place where ART is GOD, being just a photographer who takes a photo, isn’t enough to make one a fashion photographer.
Read the rest of the article: http://shotbyugo.tumblr.com/post/149986715619/black-fashion-photographers-by-ugo-osmunds