The Saatchi Gallery Celebrates Fashion Photography

LONDON — Ostensibly only a vehicle to sell clothing, the Saatchi Gallery’s upcoming exhibition “Beyond Fashion” explores how fashion photography has grown to become much more than that, a window into identity and self-expression.

Running from Friday to Sept. 8, the exhibition includes work from acclaimed photographers such as Nick Knight, Peter Lindbergh, Paolo Roversi, Ellen von Unwerth, Koto Bolofo, and Elaine Constantine, as well as those from emerging artists. 

Works on display include Constantine’s “Girls on Bikes,” in which three girls are pictured shrieking as they careen down a road. Sporting eclectically mismatched and layered looks — a lacey miniskirt over opaque red tights, a gray shirt under a dress worn with technical boots — the image is a lens into female adolescence. 

“When I work with magazines to create stories it’s a collaboration between me and a stylist. The images featured in the show were collaborations,” Constantine told WWD, adding that Polly Banks styled the image.

“In both cases, we wanted to create a sense of that freedom you feel when you’re young and lose your inhibitions, especially when emboldened by friends of a rebellious spirit,” she explained.

Koto Bolofo's "Skin Deep."

Koto Bolofo’s “Skin Deep.”

Courtesy of the Saatchi Gallery / Koto Bolofo

While clothing is important to fashion photography, so is the lack thereof: Koto Bolofo’s “Black Beauty” and “Skin Deep,” each portraying a female nude, pay homage to the photographer’s background as a political refugee from apartheid South Africa.

“The root and spirit of my images come from my motherland South Africa. My inner aim [with ‘Skin Deep’] was to integrate two human beings with different skin colors but convey a poetic message without offending anyone. Apartheid is something deep I want to destroy using my photographs,” Bolofo said, explaining that “Black Beauty” represented female strength, paying homage to being carried on his mother’s back as a child.

“The suffering of where I came from inspired my photographs, which ultimately bring positivity,” he added.

Victoria Beckham shot by Juergen Teller for a 2007 Marc Jacobs campaign.

Victoria Beckham shot by Juergen Teller for a 2007 Marc Jacobs campaign.

Courtesy of the Saatchi Gallery / Juergen Teller

Split into four sections, the exhibition also features fashion films, highlighting Knight’s Showstudio, a website dedicated to celebrating moving imagery to document fashion.

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