A London Exhibition Traces Fashion Photography’s Journey to Becoming an Art Form

Elaine Constantine, ‘Girls on Bikes,’ 1997
Elaine Constantine, ‘Girls on Bikes,’ 1997. Courtesy of the artist and Saatchi Gallery.

In 1988, Peter Lindbergh photographed a crush of supermodels, including Christy Turlington and Linda Evangelista, roughhousing on a beach in Los Angeles. He may not have known it at the time, but that image, titled Santa Monica, would come to epitomize Lindbergh’s artistic style and change not just the course of his career, but the history of fashion photography writ large. Now, that photograph is one of over 100 works on view at London’s Saatchi Gallery in the exhibition “Beyond Fashion,” a survey that features contributions from Ellen von Unwerth, Miles Aldridge, Inez and Vinoodh, Viviane Sassen, and many more groundbreaking photographers. Taken as a whole they represent the far-flung places the visionary image-makers have taken fashion photography.

The show is split into four sections: Allure, Fantasy, Realism, and finally, Surrealism, where Saatchi has mounted works by emerging photographers. As viewers wind through the gallery, they witness the evolution of the art of fashion photography—its transformation from marketing materials for catalogs to a venerable art form of its own. During the 40th anniversary of London Fashion Week, the exhibition feels like a real celebration. Below, scroll through a preview of “Beyond Fashion,” which runs through September 8.

© Erik Madigan Heck

Erik Madigan Heck for Comme des Garçons, 2017.

© Daniel Sannwald

Daniel Sannwald, Garage magazine, fall-winter 2014.

© Yelena Yemchuk

Yelena Yemchuk, Tokyo, 2017.

© Marton Perlaki

Marton Perlaki, Female Torso, 2014.

© Miles Aldridge

Miles Aldridge, Home Works #3, 2008.

© Peter Lindbergh Foundation (Courtesy of the Peter Lindbergh Foundation, Paris)

Peter Lindbergh, Estelle Lefébure, Karen Alexander, Rachel Williams, Linda Evangelista, Tatjana Patitz & Christy Turlington, Santa Monica, 1988.

© Coco Capitán

Coco Capitán, Boy in Socks, 2017.

© Paul Jung

Ayoto Ataraxia, PJW508 No3946, 2015.

Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, Vogue Paris, 2002.

© Inez & Vinoodh / courtesy The Ravestijn Gallery, Amsterdam

Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, Vogue Paris, 2002.