Monday, August 3, 2009

Photographic Paintings

So I was right after all. Freja shot an editorial for Vogue UK just like I thought she would back in this post. Thank you to tFS member OhJane for scanning!

Enter the Dinner Dress
Vogue UK September 2009
Ph: Javier Vallhonrat

It's a gorgeous editorial and I'm beginning to love Vogue UK for showcasing Freja so often and so creatively. She's had two editorials in back-to-back issues and I'm really hoping she gets a cover in the near future. I know she's neither a celebrity nor British, but Vogue UK is not above putting models on their covers unlike Vogue US. Freja's done some stellar work for them as you can see here, so I think she deserves it.

And much of her stellar work was shot by photographer Javier Vallhonrat. They produce some wonderful work together and I hope they continue to do so. I can say without hesitation that Vallhonrat-lensed editorials are my favorites out of Freja's oeuvre, especially Couture Stripped.

Vallhonrat has a very noticeable and unique photographic aesthetic. I characterize his approach as highly refined with a strong, vivid clarity. His images are loud, unrelenting and intense--a visual equivalent to Phil Spector's "wall of sound" effect in music if that makes sense. I really don't know how else to describe it. His images hit your eyes and take over your sight immediately. There is such a photographic quality to his pictures in that they are so defined, polished and highly stylized. Yet, on the other hand, these qualities are tempered by a tendency towards painterly aesthetics and composition.

When I look at his images I am reminded of late 19th Century Orientalist paintings. To me, Vallhonrat has a very painterly approach and formal sensibility toward photography. It's in the way he composes his shots and arranges his backgrounds. His use of a shallow depth of field and flattened background only accentuates this. There is such an arresting dichotomy of both photographic and painterly qualities colliding in his images. I would argue that it's his defining aesthetic as a photographer.

And Freja works so well within this aesthetic because her features are distinct enough so as not to be overwhelmed by the chaos of the setting and vibrancy of the colors. She herself is a dichotomy of sharp androgyny and soft femininity. A perfect compliment and mirror to the artistic approach of Vallhonrat.

It's important to note that Vallhonrat studied painting early on in his life. I wasn't too surprised to find this out after doing some research on him, as you can clearly see the influence in his photography. He was born in Madrid, Spain and studied at the Fine Arts Faculty. He began his fashion photography career around 1984, but I don't know how he made the transition from painting to photography. I couldn't find too much detail on this. Vallhonrat currently teaches photography in Spain while continuing to photograph for fashion magazines and clients.

This is such a beautiful editorial and the more I look it, the more I find to love. My favorite shot has to be this one for it's moody, introspective quality.

I've really been into the moody, introspective Freja lately. I like this side of her much more than her stern, melancholic side. Isn't the above image a great partner to the other one from her Vogue Nippon editorial?

Anyway, I think I've said enough now....probably too much. But I'm so happy new work is coming out because it gets me excited for more and for the upcoming fashion month!

Image Credits: Scanned by tFS member OhJane
Scanned by tFS member MAGstyle


SF said...

my favorite shot is the one with her pistol tattoo showing,she has a lovely faraway look.clever putting the paintings and ed together. not many would analyze it like that.

Jingie said...

i also love the shot with her pistol well as the Vogue Nippon one. <3 her tattoos!