Erwin Blumenfeld is one of those rare fashion photographers whose career was so long that he experienced so many different variants of culture go past him but instead of falling out of fashion he was always able to evolve and adapt around whatever was happening. Somerset House have dedicated this exhibition to Blumenfeld’s studio photography. Many know Blumenfeld for his archetypal glamour photographs of women wearing the new look, the anonymous eyes and lips dissolving on to the cover of Vogue, or the model swinging from the top of the Eiffel Tower, however he also created a large array of surreal and unsettling work which distorted concepts of fashion and the female body. Working at Harper’s and Vogue when they championed progressive thinking in their photography enabled Blumenfeld to create some of his best work. Dada-inspired and completely self taught his work can be seen as a direct influence of the work of Bourdin and Newton in their mysteriously sexual but surreal representation of women. Considered one of the most important fashion photographers of the twentieth century, to this day he still exists as the photographer who has taken more Vogue covers than anyone else. In the 1950s, he become the highest paid photographer in the world but still preferred the role of thinking of himself as an artist. His progressive thinking within fashion not only evolved within his morphing of the female body but he was also the first ever photographer to photograph a black woman for Vogue in 1958. The exhibition runs until the 1st of September and will be well worth going to see.
New York, 1941–1960
23 May–1 September 2013
Open daily 10.00-18.00 (Last admission 17.30), until 21.00 on Thursday 1 August
East Wing Galleries, East Wing