Best Fashion Photographers in 2019
by Ryan Blackwell | 22.03.2019
The age old question of who is the best at something, is ultimately a subjective one. This being said, the below photographers and image makers in the fashion industry are ones we at Beyond Photography are particularly fond of. These experimental fashion photographers and image makers are creating work that challenges fashion photography as a medium and bring new interpretations and visions to the art.
Spanish artist, Kito Munoz's notable collaborations with Camper, Dust Magazine, MSGM, and Palomo Spain has brought Surrealism to fashion photography in a new exciting ways. This accompanying image from Solar Magazine is an example of the ways in which Munoz is retelling this narrative of the unconscious mind, of sexuality, and ultimately of beauty. These thoughts and feeling of the first surrealists feel to be at the forefront of Kito Munoz's photographic practice.
Like many experimental artists today, Kito's work feels like a blending or perhaps a clashing of genders at times taking further the way gender was represented in the 90s by campaigns such as Calvin Klein.
The seductive and incomprehensible images of Kito Munoz, it feels, are pushing fashion photography out of its stale dullness which we often find it to be now. The photographer rejects the safety of traditional 35mm portraits which feel to be constantly on the return in an attempt to create something that will make you think.
Harley Weir is challenging fashion photography with her eye for humanity. Weir's work whilst sitting in the realm of fashion/art is consistently political with her subject's vast range of body types, class, race and sexuality in her images.
From covering the migrant crisis, to editorials with British Vogue, there is definitely a line that runs consistently through Harley Weir's photographs. This line is her need for truth, to show a true reflection of humanity across her portfolio.
Weirs images are always conventionally beautiful; the angelic lighting, angles and composition are often reflective of traditional western oil painting but become subversive in her inclusion of subjects who would never have been represented in such paintings.
Work focused on gay male sexuality, no one else comes to mind but Gerardo Vizmanos. In his late thirties, the photographer left law and picked up a camera. Vizmanos brings a sensitivity and even a femininity to what society depicts to be a 'masculine and male body'.
In an interview with Metal Magazine, the photographer said "I don’t like over-emphasizing, but I feel comfortable when people encounter themselves through my work." The work is always political, sensitive, and working hard to undo and recreate the representation of the male as a sensitive figure.
Under the roster of Prettybird.co and a longtime friend and collaborator of Nick Knight, Rei Nadal seeks to create images and videos that are incredibly poetic telling truths about today's youth. From models filming each other within her films, to photographs of boys doing drugs, her work always aims to tell some truth about fashion's connection to British culture in the 21st century. Nadal's 'found footage' style of film making, the jarring camera angles, and the unnerving pace makes these films feel intrusive and personal which could be read as a reflection of our relationship with technology and perception. Starting out on tumblr as Death and Milk with incredibly personal and intimate selfies, Nadal's now large production photography remains self referential of these original images.
Ethan James Green
Ethan James Green had his start in fashion in front of the camera as a model, he soon moved away to photograph friends of the queer New York scene and partly responsible for the success of models like Torraine and Dara, trans models who are now signed and booked by some of the largest luxury companies and magazines in the industry. The full body portraits of the queer community presented through black and white straight up photography (often shot in central park) feel like a more contemporary and inclusive version of Arbus' work in a way that puts people not often presented in the forefront of advertising and editorials in a way that is humanising.
Now shooting global campaigns for brands like Helmut Lang, Green is bringing his all inclusive fashionesque world of culture to the mainstream.
Norwegian photographer Sølve Sundsbø has been working tirelessly in the industry for over two decades. Since assisting Nick Knight, Sundsbo has gone on to work with the biggest brands in fashion, from Alexander McQueen to Louis Vuitton to Gucci.
Represented by Art + Commerce, Sølve Sundsbø has always challenged what fashion photography as a medium could mean through advanced retouching processes and most recently is working mostly with video and GIF for online publications.
Taking his creative into the moving image world, Sundsbø is pushing the language of fashion image into new territory.
Nick Knight has for many years rejected the title 'photographer'. He breaks the conventional rules of photography in his work and must therefore be considered something else. Before settling on any specific term, he has considered himself a Generalist, an Image Maker, Post Photographer, an Artist, but hasn't yet found something that sticks.
Like Beyond Photography, Knight feels he is treading new ground, uncategorised territory that ultimately involves photography, but is more than photography.
With strong ties to British culture in his start out photographing Skin Heads, Knight is a global phenomenon working with the biggest brand, publications and musicians from Kanye West to Dior. With each project, Knight brings a new revolutionary concept that tells the perfect story and features new innovative digital technologies all in the attempt to push the boundaries of visual culture and fashion.
Frederik Heyman is a multi talented visual artist working with video, instillation and photography to bring together a series of floating moving photographs made in a digitally altered environment.
Taking 3d scans and CGI rendering out of the cinema context and placed into a fashion image environment allows Heyman to develop new narratives in the medium.
Leading fashion photographers are challenging not only fashion as an industry and as a visual representation of society, but also challenging the medium itself. the term Fashion Photography has always been more than Photography as a whole through its defined characteristics and connotations, but Fashion Photography is now broader than before, we have fashion video, digital technologies such as CGI and 3d, all working from this language and format of Fashion Photography.
The ultimate goal of these commercial artists is not only to challenge the world we live in and how we perceive images as a whole, but also to challenge the art form itself and what can be made when a fresh perspective is added.