Fashion photographs have the power to convey ideas, moods, and feelings; making concept and style more important. Felicia Barth-Aasen, a fashion design student specializing in women’s wear at F.I.T. in New York City, says, “Fashion shapes our identity, helps to build confidence, and helps to determine where we stand socially.”
Although photography functions can range from providing self-expression from the artist to selling a product for a specific market, fashion photography typically falls under the “selling a product for a specific market” category.
“When it comes down to it, the purpose [of fashion photography] is to portray clothing in a way that makes people want to buy it”, continues Barth-Aasen. Told by a fellow friend photographer, Annie Leibovitz wrote in her book, Annie Leibovitz at Work, “You can take any picture you want, but you must always see the clothes. You must be true to the fashion.”
However, fashion does affect everyone in some way. "Even those who claim to 'not care' what they look like or what is 'in style,' they are still making a choice to buy/wear what they do, and that ultimately becomes 'their style," explains Renee Butt, a Buyer for Victoria's Secret for over 2 years who studied Fashion Merchandising and Business at The Ohio State University.
When it’s fashion photography, it’s fashion that is the product. Fashion photographers hold the key to expressing what a specific emotion looks like. But according to Barth-Aasen, “Fashion also affects our overall confidence and can be an outlet for self-expression." Fashion Photographers may hold the key to expressing a specific emotion, but it's up to the individual to interpret it; defining their personal style and identity.