Sunday, September 22, 2013

LDN: Blumenfeld Studio

Deanne writes... 

I haven't mentioned it in this blog yet but I've been back home for more than a month now. It took a while but I've finally accepted the fact that I've left the land where the River Thames runs through. Excuse the sentimentality but when you had the time of your life in a certain city, you develop a love for it like no other. So now, London is just a memory. And I'm going to remember it in any way I can. Starting with this entry.


During the Vogue Fashion Certificate course at Condé Nast College, we were asked to visit the Erwin Blumenfeld Exhibition at Somerset House. On a particularly grey Sunday, I made my way to the other side of the river... a place I hadn't yet visited. I know that architecture is usually appreciated when set against the sunlight but there was something romantic about the London sky that day that made this majestic, neo-gothic building even more beautiful. It's also quite amazing that London Fashion Week transpires here. Talk about true British inspiration.

Before visiting this exhibition, I hadn't heard of Erwin Blumenfeld, a Berlin-born Jew. Apparently, he was one of fashion's most talented photographers during the 1950's. After having captured the attention of Cecil Beaton and working for French Vogue, he moved to New York City to work for the fashion magazine bigwigs such as Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. I loved looking from one magazine cover to another in this exhibition... His photos were just so artistic as they were minimal yet absolutely striking... He didn't need any props, frou frou, or hulabaloo to make the photos work. His techniques brought out the natural beauty of his subjects. There was also a certain aura of elegance and refinement in his photos, demonstrating the fashion industry atmosphere during that time. Take note: the 1950s was the decade of Christian Dior's New Look and the rejuvenation of haute couture in Paris. 

One thing I noticed was that the Vogue covers were so much more creative - albeit simple - during his time. I fell in love with them! I liked that there were no texts screaming "Buy this now!" or "Fall Must-Haves"; instead, there were a lot of illustration-photography mash-ups. I wish fashion magazines now could revive this cover art... I think these would make much better collectibles. Covers these days focus too much on the clothes, models (celebrities, rather), and texts rather than the overall impact. 

Besides the photos, there was also a running documentary which was actually quite interesting. It featured the Blumenfeld Studio in New York where he held a lot of his shoots with models and celebrities... And still shot with film. I really think that we should give props to photographers of yore because they didn't have the convenience and ease of modern technology. And yet, they managed to create such exquisite images that can still inspire decades later. After viewing the exhibition, I sat in one of the courtyard chairs of Somerset House and just contemplated on the art I just saw. Interestingly, a British lad came up to me and then we just started sharing our thoughts over the exhibition... Hmm, a film moment, I must say... What I remember most from our conversation was our mutual admiration (for each other, hahahaha, just kidding) for Blumenfeld's photos... 

Here are more photos from The Telegraph. Don't tell me you aren't left in awe. 

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