by Fiona Shaw
Fashion Photography is a tough old craft to get right. It’s more of an ensemble effort in reality involving models, stylists, make up, lighting as well as the photography itself. And after all that meticulous planning and attention to detail you have to somehow make the final image look effortless. This is no mean feat. Many art and portrait photographers try and fail. Some fashion photographers go beyond the mere commercial realm and tip their toe into the art world. Cathleen Naundorf is one of those artists and her latest book is a treasure trove of images that push the edges of fashion photography to their limits.
Cathleen Naundorf was born in 1968 in the German town of Weißenfels an der Saale. In the late 1980s she graduated from photography studies in Munich. Her nomadic life and career then began and took her to New York and Singapore working as a photographic assistant. She went onto work for some of the most prestigious magazines in the world including Marie Claire, Elle and Vogue. For her Haute Couture series she was given special access to the archives of such respacted houses as Chanel, Dior, Gaultier and Valentino. Each picture is carefully researched and locations and models are chosen to tell the story of each gown in Cathleen’s own special way. Where possible she even interviewed the actual designer of each featured piece.
The photographs are preserved as sumptuous large-format prints taken from the original Polaroids and presented as a classic hard-backed book. Her personal technique involves using the distinctive colours of instant film and lots of layering with her own instinctive eye. The resulting images are ghostly and muted like old masters that have faded over centuries.
Haute Couture: The Polaroids of Cathleen Naundorf is out now published by Prestel – www.prestel.com
Fashion Article by Fiona Shaw