Strike a pose at major fashion photography exhibition

24 January 2013

The glamour, mystery and drama of some of the world's most striking fashion photographs will go on display in the first major exhibition of 2013 at Aberdeen Art Gallery from Saturday 02 February.

'Selling Dreams: One Hundred Years of Fashion Photography' features work by giants of twentieth century photography including Edward Steichen, Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton and David Bailey, alongside contemporary images by Corinne Day, Rankin, Tim Walker and Steven Meisel.

The exhibition is organised by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, which is home to the UK's National Collection of the Art of Photography. 'Selling Dreams' is drawn from this collection and is the first V&A touring exhibition to explore the work of international fashion photographers from the earliest years of the twentieth century to the present day. It will include approximately 60 photographs.

Susanna Brown, curator of photography at the V&A, said: "This exhibition brings together diverse works by more than twenty leading image-makers and will include some wonderful iconic images as well as rarely exhibited photographs from the V&A collection."

Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums manager Christine Rew, said: "Fashion photography has never existed in a vacuum - the photographs on display chart the changing roles of women throughout the 20th century alongside key world events and dramatic shifts in culture and society.

"This is a marvellous opportunity to see images taken by some of the best known fashion photographers from the V&A's outstanding collections and we are delighted to be hosting the exhibition in Aberdeen."

The exhibition title is inspired by a quote from photographer Irving Penn. In 1984, he commented on his role at Vogue as 'selling dreams not clothes'. This simple statement highlights the complexity of the fashion photographer's role, which goes far beyond the simple recording of fabrics and surface detail.

Eight sections will chart key themes in fashion photography over the last 100 years. The first sections reflect how fashion photography flourished with the rise of illustrated magazines and include bold experimental works inspired by Surrealism and the European avant-garde.

Influential editors and art directors such as Alexander Liberman and Diana Vreeland collaborated with photographers to shape the optimistic and energetic image of Post-War New York, while in the Swinging Sixties London became the centre of the fashion world. In the 1970s, photographers pushed the boundaries with highly-charged and provocative shots. By the end of the century, fashion images took on an increasing reportage aesthetic. The exhibition ends with a focus on the elaborate narrative approaches of contemporary photographers.

The exhibition will run until Saturday 20 April 2013.