Documentary vs Fashion Photography

Comparing and Contrasting Documentary and Fashion Photography
This essay is a study on documentary and fashion photography, and on how they may have similarities and differences. This study will involve the research of photographers who have had the most influence on the two styles of photography, who in their own right have shaped the styles of Documentary and Fashion photography to what we know now. Irving Penn, Nan Goldin, Nick Knight and Patrick Demarchelier are examples of the photographers I will be using for research of this study.
Both documentary and fashion photography have a long history, in fact it could be argued that the two styles have been around near the creation of a camera. Fashion photography has most certainly come about since the works of Hill and Adamson in the 1840's, where they shot photographs of models facing away from the camera, the main focus being on the clothes they wore.Both subjects are very broad, and although they can be similar in approach, they also can be on the opposite side of the scale to one another. The argument is that documentary photography is the photographic reproduction of reality and that fashion photography is a manipulated and false view on that very reality. However there is an area between the two where the use of both fashion and documentary photography is apparent. Documentary has been used at times in some fashion photography by replicating the grittiness and the imperfect look of documentary style images, an approach that has been used more and more in present day fashion spreads.
Documentary photography on the surface is known mostly as the factual, realistic approach to photography. In James Curtis "Making Sense of Documentary Photography," he states that "Public and scholarly faith in the realism of the photographic image is grounded in a belief that a photograph is a mechanical reproduction of reality". What he means by this is that most …


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