I visited Vogue100 while I was in London yesterday and found it surprisingly inspiring.
An enormous, arresting portrait of Alexander McQueen, covering an entire end wall, greets visitors to the exhibition. It’s hard to distinguish the emotion of seeing the image, whether it is the portrait itself or the sadness associated with the subject.
I was awed by the lists of photographers from each decade. Glancing at the labels of the most eye catching images I was seeing the likes of Helmut Newton, Cecil Beaton, Norman Parkinson, Irving Penn, Mario Testino, David Bailey, Nick Knight…
There were a few images in particular that really captured my attention: ‘Space between Sea & Sun’ by Norman Parkinson. I think it was the wonderful props and shabby backdrop that I most loved about it. A beautiful misty portrait from the 60’s of Jean Shrimpton by Saul Leiter. And my absolute favourite was a Herb Ritts photo of Claudia Schiffer riding pillion on a motorbike in Paris.
Three things that I came away with:
1. Good images printed large make a great impact.
2. I really do love black & white. There are lots of mono images in the exhibition and they look amazing.
3. No need to be scared of high ISO. As a ‘wise man’ recently said to me – A beautiful image is a beautiful image. Whether it’s technically perfect or not is largely irrelevant!
Vogue100: A Century of Style is at the National Portrait Gallery until 22nd May.