No Mario. No Bruce. No Patrick.
With at least three big-name fashion photographers out of action because of allegations of sexual misconduct — and wariness that further scandals might emerge and ensnare others — a huge gap has formed as to who brands and magazines can now turn to for their editorial and advertising shoots.
Executives surveyed believe this will create an opportunity for a younger generation of photographers, as well as female ones, including names such as Harley Weir, Zoë Ghertner, Theo Wenner, Petra Collins, Camilla Akrans, Jamie Hawkesworth, Alexi Lubomirski, Bibi Borthwick and Gray Sorrenti. Then there are the already-big names who will get even more work, such as Steven Meisel, Craig McDean, Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, Steven Klein, Nick Knight and Willy Vanderperre.
Brands such as Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Gucci, Burberry and Givenchy — many of which used Bruce Weber, Mario Testino or Patrick Demarchelier for their ad campaigns — declined to comment.
Here, WWD speaks with creative and media executives about whom they consider to be both rising stars and the next crop of influential photographers.
Doug Lloyd, founder and owner of Lloyd & Co.
“The ones who at the moment seem the most interesting are Jamie Hawkesworth, Harley Weir and Zoe Ghertner. I think those are the main ones, maybe Tyrone LeBon. I think across all those guys, they have a rawness and realness which they seem to be bringing to fashion, which is counter to the Mert and Marcus [Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott] school of slick, finished and glossiness that was the last wave of really big photography stars. A lot of it has to do with them going back to using film, as opposed to digital. They’ve gone back to old school techniques that have more of a tactileness to them and a realness. That emotion comes through in those guys’ work. For a younger crowd, that’s more of a genuine kind of approach.
“The ones that are benefiting from certain people’s departure from the category, and these are ones who have been great for the past 10 years — like Craig McDean, Mario Sorrenti, David Sims, Willy Vanderperre, who are probably doing well. I’m doing a lot of work with Willy on Calvin Klein. He’s tremendously busy and super successful. Collier Schorr has been doing good work and has been super busy. Both her and Inez [van Lamsweerde] have been doing a lot of work.”
James Danziger, owner of The Danziger Gallery
“These are all people I follow on Instagram because I’ve noted their work — Olivia Bee, who is 24 years old; Petra Collins, who is 25; Harley Weir, 29 years old; Coco Capitán, 25, and Jack Davison is 28. Clearly, this is the right time for women fashion photographers. It’s kind of natural and also timely that the people who are doing interesting work are women. They all have individual styles. When you see one of their pictures, you can identify that that’s one of the photographers who took it. That’s what separates the really good fashion photographers. They are people who are artists as well as fashion photographers, which is what all the great fashion photographers are. Their work was of note pre-MeToo, [Harvey] Weinstein or whatever you want to delineate the time as being. With the current situation with the top-tier of fashion photographers having all been called into question, that opens up space and people are always going to be looking for the best photographers. If these people continue to deliver on the work that they have done so far, they would have every reason to expect long and strong careers.”
Rony Zeidan, founder and chief creative officer of RO New York
That’s a very good question. I think when it comes to photography, they’re all figuring out what’s happening next. There’s definitely been an opening in the fashion industry that allows the next generation to take full force.”
Zeidan said one of the next generation of leading photographers is Alexi Lubomirski, who used to be Testino’s right hand. “He’s kind of followed suit in a style that’s very similar to how Mario has worked. He recently shot Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. He did their official portraits that are actually a similar step to Mario Testino, who shot Princess Diana. Lubomirski shot the Gloria Vanderbilt campaign last season.
As far as the next crop, he cited Giampaolo Sgura. “I see him very active on social media. He shot a lot of celebrities and a lot of the cool magazines, Interview is one of them. He’s shooting a lot of the Ralph Lauren campaigns. He’s kind of stepped in behind Bruce Weber. Then there’s Willy Vanderperre, amazing, talented guy and he’s brought to light with Raf Simons taking the helm at Calvin Klein. And you have Mariano Vivanco. He’s done edgier work. Recently he shot Jennifer Lopez for Bazaar. He does a lot of celebrity and he does the ‘It’ fashion girls.”
As for other top-name photographers, he cited Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin. “They are a staple. Steven Meisel is still doing some great work. So is Steven Klein. Steven Klein recently shot Tom Ford. That high caliber, as long as they’re not touched with scandal, they’ll remain.”
Zeidan said one of the top female photographers is Paola Kudacki. “She is phenomenal. She can get any celebrity to work with her. Her claim to fame has been shooting Alicia Keys when she went with her no makeup look. I wanted to get Iman to be the face of Gloria Vanderbilt and she only accepted because Paola Kudacki was shooting,” he said. He also likes Matthew Brookes. “Having Shot Giorgio Armani fragrances, Cerruti, Zegna and Tommy Hilfiger, he is someone to watch.”
David Lipman, owner of Lipman Studio, the ad agency
“I believe the strong photographers will only get stronger,” “citing such photographers as Steven Meisel, Peter Lindbergh, Steven Klein, Inez and Vinoodh, Nick Knight, Glen Luchford, Mario Sorrenti, Alasdair McLellan and Willy Vanderperre. As for the young photographers ready to take the next step, he cited Harley Weir, Zoe Ghertner, Theo Wenner, Jamie Hawkesworth, Ben Toms, Bibi Borthwick and Gray Sorrenti.
He believes that we will also see the rise of female photographers. “It’s time and we are seeing it. Harley, Zoe, Petra, Bibi and Gray will become very important photographers over the next decade and I’m sure I’m leaving some out. Others will emerge.
“Recently my daughter called me on the phone from London and asked ‘Dad, have you seen Gray Sorrenti’s pictures? There’s no one out there right now that speaks to us [young women] like Gray – you have to use her for something,'” said Lipman. “I also adore the conceptual nature of Bibi Borthwick’s pictures. They have a sensitivity to them that draws you into each image.”
Quynh Mai, founder of Moving Image & Content
“The industry is moving back to a more reportage/documentary style that was popular in the Nineties and early Aughts and is being reinterpreted today by the likes of Jamie Hawkesworth, Harley Weir and Alasdair McLellan. It is also bringing back the original photographers who brought its rise, like Glen Luchford, who has been shooting for Gucci. The latest crop of photographers are creating both photos as well as moving images, capturing subtle artwork for ad campaigns and magazines that are more natural, set in context and more Instagram-friendly by not being so perfect and posed.
“I predict that as an industry, we will be commissioning more photographers, not less, as the need for engaging and original content rises due to the frequency needs of digital and social. Rather than a few big talents at the top, there will be a larger pool of artists who are more collaborative, flexible and nimble in their approach meeting the needs of the new media landscape — those who have the eye to shoot visuals that are natural and ‘real life,’ which performs better in digital than the staged, posed images of the generation before.”
She said fashion photography is still dominated by men, but photographers such as Harley Weir and Cass Bird are blazing a trail for female artists, “which I think will continue as women are more compelled by imagery that respects and humanizes the female form rather than imagery that objectifies it.
“As consumers, I think women will have a harder time looking at young, underage women set in sexualized situations in the age of Time’s Up and #MeToo. This cultural shift will force fashion brands to find a visual language that resonates with their consumer but also doesn’t feel tone-deaf, and I hope, will in turn commission female artists to understand the subtleties of showcasing strong and beautiful women.”
Alix Campbell, chief photography director, Hearst Magazines
“Hearst Magazines always looks for fresh talent, it’s in our company’s DNA. We look to find photographers that are trustworthy and collaborative.”
Some examples include Camilla Akrans, who has been shooting for Harper’s Bazaar for more than 10 years. “She has a very distinct graphic eye and is great at creating atmosphere and bringing out the beauty in a subject,” she said.
“Marie Claire’s new creative director Kate Lanphear has been working closely with photo director James Morris to introduce the brand to new photographers, such as Thomas Whiteside and Carlijn Jacobs, from Amsterdam. Elle has been working with Chris Colis, Sebastian Kim, Paola Kudacki, Raymond Meier and young up-and-coming talent Tom Schirmacher, who has a personal aesthetic derived from simplicity, ease and beautiful light.
“And while we are always keeping our eye on the fresh, new undiscovered talent out in the world, we are also working to cultivate and groom talent from within. Allie Holloway is a shining example of one of our Hearst staff photographers who shoots for many brands across the Hearst portfolio including Marie Claire, Elle and Esquire. She has a young, modern approach to photography that is fresh and pops off the page which resonates with our readers.”
Stefano Tonchi, editor in chief of W
“Fortunately, we were not working very much with any of the people that are in trouble. We keep our relationship with Mert and Marcus and Steven Klein and that generation of photographers. Clearly, we are also looking for the new generation. We already started bringing new names and new faces, especially for our who’s next issue, Volume III, which is our April/May issue, is all about discovery. We have two covers and they were shot by Ethan James Green. It is not the first story that he shot for W, but it is his first cover. We also work with Harley Weir. We work with Oliver Hadlee Pearch.”
Tonchi spoke about the importance of gender fluidity. “I think we are looking for new photographers that could express this sense of change. If you look at the work of Ethan James Green, he is probably the one that more reflects this sense of fluidity of gender. It is kind of interesting that this idea of fluidity comes to the surface in a moment when we are putting under scrutiny the idea of uber-masculinity or uber-femininity.”
As for featuring more female photographers, he said, “That is something that we are all aware of. But I think that there are not going to be more female photographers until we give more opportunities to female photographers. In our last issue we had Collier Schorr, Zoë Ghertner and Tina Barney.
“There are some photographers that define a genre in a certain way. Like Juergen Teller. There is one Juergen Teller. And he kind of will always define that genre and if you want the firsthand of that genre, he is the photographer. And I hope that he will keep doing what he does. Another person I love is Tim Walker. That’s another one who has such a specific signature and creativity and he goes so beyond the world of fashion that I think we will always want to work with him, too.”
Joe Zee, fashion stylist and journalist
“Certainly the tide of new photographers is swiftly changing. Definitely that next generation of photographers is doing such incredible work like Jamie Hawkesworth and Josh Olins are great, but I am also very interested in this even newer crop of photographers who are bringing a different and unique youthful energy and vision to fashion and editorials, and a lot of them have been primarily female photographers as well.”
He said that Petra Collins and Harley Weir definitely lead that pack, but he also loves Charlotte Wales, Amanda Charchian, Coco Capitán and Dafy Hagai, as well as Tyrone Lebon, Charlie Engman and Ethan James Green.
Katie Grand, editor in chief of Love Magazine
She cited photographers such as Harley Weir, Jamie Hawkesworth, Lynette Garland, Hugo Scott and Carin Backoff as the next crop.
Trino Verkade, founding trustee of Sarabande: The Lee Alexander McQueen Foundation
“Big agencies are aware they need fresh blood and not rely upon their existing stable. Sam Rock, at Sarabande, has just received representation from Art & Commerce, which puts him alongside great, established photographers with decades of experience. Agencies recognize they need a variety of styles, and also offer different budgets and creative approaches.”
Asked who is up-and-coming and who will step into the shoes of Demarchelier, Testino and Weber, Verkade said, “There are amazing photographers, both experienced and up-and-coming, who have been overlooked by big brands who take comfort from using an established name. With big names become big budgets, with sets, lighting and post production. Ideas and strong, impactful imagery should not be tied to expensive budgets.”
As for whether the rates for the next generation will be lower than the biggies of yore, Verkade said, “Yes. Media has changed, with the impact of the digital world; also times and mood have changed. Some brands are looking for some sense of realism in their imagery, and are less reliant on highly produced images. For others the usage is different, and they need different types of images beyond the big campaign images of the past.”
Jimmy Moffat, founder of Red Hook Labs, the photography studio and exhibition space in Brooklyn and cofounder of Art & Commerce
“I think there is an actually really interesting, wonderful, powerful, new group of photographers emerging from backgrounds that we’ve never seen before. It’s a really fascinating time.” Asked who these groups are, he replied, “Women, people of color. The fashion industry has been dominated in its entire industry by white, male photographers. We’ve seen in the past couple of years a wonderful influx of really talented women photographers, and now you’re starting to see a group of young African-American, second-generation African and photographers of color really entering the market and producing incredibly exciting work.”
One person he would definitely highlight is the 23-year-old British woman Nadine Ijewere, second-generation African, her family is from Nigeria, and she’s an artist in residence at Red Hook Labs. She has contributed to Nataal, the online digital media platform that’s being published for the first time in June, run by Sara Hemming and Helen Jennings. “It’s a wonderful source for emerging photographers from Africa and the Diaspora,” he said.
Ijewere is being repped by Camilla Lowther Management in London and has photographed for Italian Vogue, Stella McCartney and Adidas.
He also pointed to Campbell Addy, “a young, black London photographer. There’s a young African-American artist whose name is Tyler Mitchell, who’s super talented and super young. These guys are all friends,” he said. He also cited Ronan McKenzie and Ruth Ossai. “I’ve discovered them and I’m going to show their work in May. I think there’s a really interesting young group. I think what’s also interesting is these kids, because they’re all in their early 20s, have bypassed the traditional pathway. Now, with social media, and particularly Instagram, kids are being discovered all the time. I discover photographers all the time on Instagram. They get hired directly by clients who have no patience anymore necessarily for going through creative agencies.
“What’s really important to me is to teach kids from Red Hook in the South Bronx. Some of the kids I’m teaching are really good and are really talented. And they had the same opportunity to even consider this industry. My friend, Jaime Perlman, who used to be a creative director of British Vogue, is coming out this summer with a magazine called Less Is More about fashion under $100. My students are shooting fashion stories for her, and they’re amazing.” He is involved with an organization in Los Angeles called Las Fotos, with teenage Latino photographers. “A young woman named Jasbeth Perez photographed a fashion story in a skate park for Less Is More, and it’s one of the best fashion stories I’ve seen,” said Moffat.
As for which photographers are doing the big fashion magazine covers, he said, “I’ve had the privilege of working with Steven Meisel for 30 years, and he’s widely known for taking care of models, respecting models and helping models succeed. He’s doing much of the major fashion work today. There will never be another Steven Meisel. He’s the greatest fashion photographer in history, and he’s still going strong. Inez and Vinoodh are wonderful and they’re doing a lot.”
Stephen Frailey, chair, BFA of video and photography department of the School of Visual Arts
“The first thing that comes to mind, other than the students who are graduating from our graduate fashion program, is the generation of photographers who are still influencing and who are still thought of as relatively new — Jamie Hawkesworth, Julia Hetta and Harley Weir. One could say their work is already acknowledged. But I feel that they still represent a real shift in fashion photography toward something that has a lot more naturalism and lack of affect, and that also embraces other genres of photography such as landscaper and documentary.
“Female photographers, more so in fashion and commercial photography, are completely underrepresented. What’s considered fine art photography, although I am uncomfortable with that term, has become much more democratic. It’s possible that naturalism is a renunciation of a certain kind of macho, aggressive photography. What we consider to be a female sensibility has influenced both genders.
“The biggest things that I see in fashion photography is blurring the binary genders, which I think is also responsible for what I’m calling the kind of naturalism, and lack of affectation. A simple way of saying it is that it feels to me in a lot of my students’ work, and the names that I’ve mentioned, it’s a matter of photographing your friends, the people you hang around with and doing something that feels authentic and not highly stylized and artificial. There have been a lot of different points in the last 30 or 40 years in fashion where that has occurred. It seems to go back and forth between a sense of artifice and a sense of realism.”
Li Edelkoort, founder of Trend Union and dean of Hybrid Design Studies at the New School’s Parsons School of Design
“It’s all new names in a way so nobody has really been established in this new field. What I know is there are many, many female photographers and they do have a very different vision on color and composition and what is beautiful and not. The new wave of photographers will be much more inclusive. The eye has gotten so used to the thread-thin models that it will take some time, but already the eye is getting used to hugely different bodies, faces so the time for ethereal beauty has sort of been left behind. It’s more real. I think it’s very, very good. Certainly, there are many people falling off and they will have to be replaced. There is also a host of new editors-in-chief that will help to take the conversion to another period. In a way, it’s long overdue. Power, money, greed are always the same reasons why things don’t move. The late Corinne Day is almost like a role model for this new generation of girl photographers. Her type of photography and vision is what is now coming into bloom — the no-sock revolution.”