Into the Archives: Arthur Elgort

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In fashion photography, a genre dictated by clothing, engaging the clothes in reality while not reverting to the conventions of the standard  lifeless catalogue is crucial. Arthur Elgort’s photography is among the most lively of fashion photographers, where the fashion almost becomes secondary in the photographs. In the fashion industry, which is accessible to an incredibly small percentile, yet given public access to through its visibility in reasonably priced magazines and the ever booming popularity of the internet,  some form of accessibility is necessary to appeal to, and therefore profit from, the masses. Among the many positive aspects of his photographs, I feel that a good part of Elgort’s success can be attributed to the greater focus than most that he pays to any given photo’s subjects and story, rather than on the clothes themselves, which are virtually unattainable.

Prior to taking on any official photography job, Elgort’s first job was as an usher at Carnegie Hall where he photographed famed choreographer George Balanchine and the company of the New York City Ballet. This exposure to movement, as well as his later experience acting as an assistant to photographer Gosta Peterson, known for his use of light and movement, served as an influence on Elgort’s characteristic style of photography. Elgort’s models are rarely static or moody, and the outdoors, rather than bland studios, act as his backdrop. Editorially, Vogue has displayed the majority of Elgort’s work, in which he regularly collaborates with their eccentric creative director, Grace Coddington (seen above). Although 90s supermodels (Naomi, Christy, Linda, etc.) once acted as his muses, Karlie Kloss, who he favors due to her dance experience that she’s able to utilize in her shoots, is his modern day star.

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