Selling Dreams: 100 Years of Fashion Photography @ The RWA

Lily Cole and Giant Camera by Tim Walker

Conveniently timed to coincide with Bristol Fashion Week later in the month, the V&A’s touring fashion photography retrospective Selling Dreams: One Hundred Years of Fashion Photography stops at Bristol’s Royal West of England Academy from this Friday, 9th March.

Taking its name from Vogue photographer Irving Penn’s comment that he considered his role to be “selling dreams, not clothes”, this exhibition features images from some of the biggest names in the last hundred years of fashion photography in an attempt to tell the story of the evolution of the discipline from the early glamorous black and white early days of Vogue and Harper’s through the influence of surrealism in the 30s, the swinging 60s as captured by David Bailey, the depictions of sexuality and femininity of the 70s and 80s, the raw subversive and reportage styles of photographers like Corrine Days and Juergen Teller capturing the changing attitudes to fashion in the 80s and 90s for magazines such as Dazed and Confused and then on to the big-budget, fantastical editorials of the likes of Tim Walker that fill fashion magazines today. The exhibition also considers the ongoing dialogue between the worlds of fashion and art and particularly between fine art photography and fashion photography.

This exhibition should have something for every taste with around 60 images by over 20 fashion photography greats of models such as Twiggy and Lily Cole. Tickets are £5 and it runs at the RWA until 29th April. Opening times and info can be found on the RWA website.