I cannot, in all honesty, find the right words to describe how wonderful and how much I loved this exhibition. Fashion photography and paintings are two of my favourite things in the whole wide world so when I found out that Madrid’s Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum were hosting an exhibition called “Vogue: Like A Painting” I almost had a heart attack, as well as another reason to go to Madrid.
Comprised of 62 photographs from a wide and wonderful range of fashion photographers, it was a small yet spacious and beautifully laid out exhibition that was impressive without being imposing. For me there has never been any doubt that photography and fashion are art. So when these two mediums take inspiration from the traditional form that is painting, the result can only be explosive.
One of the things I love the most about Thyssen Museum is that people are allowed to take pictures – and what better way is there to spread passion for art? As expected I couldn’t put my camera down – here are a few of my favourite works from the exhibition.
Meet Alas & Marcus Pigott
Horst P. Horst
Horst P. Horst
Video still from a Tim Walker video
Mario Testino, Horst P. Horst, Leibovitz, Cecil Beaton, Tim Walker… it’s like a photography dream team! There were even two super dreamy dresses (the Ophelia-like one seen above and this one seen on my Instagram) and a bizarre and whimsical video by Tim Walker featuring a mermaid and the amazing Tilda Swinton (I managed to find it on YouTube but bear in mind the weird song was not included at the exhibition).
I enjoyed the exhibition so much that I didn’t even give the show’s theme any thought whatsoever. How blurry is the line between a painting and fashion photograph? Moreover, can it reach the same level of beauty as a painting? Personally I couldn’t choose between these two mediums – I enjoy a photography exhibition as much as a painting exhibition. They both invite us to enter a world of beauty, magic and escapism. But let’s face it, painting has a couple of centuries of advantage over photography, and perhaps involves more skill? So I’m all for photographers taking inspiration from the masters of classical art – be it a great use of perspective, key compositions or colours. After all, there’s nothing more inspiring than two arts getting so beautifully matched up.
This exhibition ended last month, so I apologise if any of you peeps had planned a trip to Madrid by the end of this post. Thankfully, you can always have a look at Vogue’s photography archive on its website – or buy your favourite magazine and enjoy the art of fashion photography on a daily basis.