Fashion Photography as a Cultural Platform

Column - Fashion

Fashion Photography as a Cultural Platform
Platform fashion photography



Sohei Oshiro
Oshiro Sohei / Born in Miyakojima, Okinawa Prefecture in 1988. Dropped out of Waseda University School of Commerce. After working as an editor for "Them magazine" (Righters), became independent. Worked on fashion/culture magazine VOSTOK and culture media <POST-FAKE>. "VOSTOK" Vol.005 is scheduled to be published in April this year.


"Oshiro-kun, fashion photography is already done in the 90's."
Katsuya Kamo, a hair and make-up artist who passed away two years ago, said these words during the shoot, and I still remember them. According to Mr. Kamo, all sorts of approaches have already been taken to express fashion photography, and even if he tried to express something in the future, it would be nothing more than a rehash of the past.

At the time, I thought it might be true. In an era when fashion magazines had money, power, and above all, influence, our predecessors were ambitious in trying out all kinds of expressions, from model selection to lighting, situations, styling, hair and make-up to layouts. As Kamo says, it may be difficult to explore completely new expressions in fashion photography. However, it is only a matter of “expression”. Now, I think that fashion photography functions as a kind of "cultural platform" rather than "expression".

The history of photography began as a documentary tool that replaced painting. Like painting, it has become a part of the art method, and because of its high affinity with fashion, which is an indispensable factor in shaping the culture of the time, fashion mainly based on photographic images. A specialized medium called a magazine was born. Starting with "Harper's BAZAR" and "VOGUE" launched in the latter half of the 19th century, "THE FACE", "iD", "purple", "self service" and so on until the beginning of the 21st century. A number of magazines were born, competing with each other, the expression of fashion photography was established, and all sorts of images were produced.

In such a trend and environment, fashion photography has always been with fashion magazines, and the creatives of Mr. Kamo's generation repeated various experiments almost every day, which led to the opening words. However, with the rise of SNS and the web, fashion magazines have become dead bodies. The images posted on Instagram and Twitter are the triggers, and communities are born there, and culture is formed. In the 2020s, fashion photography is no longer something produced by the medium of magazines, but has become a medium in itself, continuing to transform itself into a platform that spins a new culture.

In 2019, when I felt such signs, I launched a fashion and culture magazine called "VOSTOK". What can this medium do? Unfortunately, I've run out of space here, so I'll have a more in-depth discussion with photographer Takashi Homma and art writer Yuzuru Murakami in the next issue of VOSTOK (released in April).


Published: almanacs Vol.02 (2022AW)
text: Sohei Oshiro (VOSTOK)



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