Female View

Fashion Photographers from Modernity to the Digital Age 

24 September 2022 – 15 January 2023

The exhibition Female View focuses on fashion photography by women photographers, which is often unjustly neglected. This medium has been shaped by women for decades. Most of them have worked for influential magazines such as Harpers Bazaar and Vogue and thus influenced the style of their time as well as other artists. A large number of exhibitions on fashion photography have so far depicted the male gaze on the female body, through which, sometimes dubious, representations of the garments are staged. The viewers of these images are mostly female. This problem is linked to the broader field of the fashion business, which is largely geared towards female target groups, but whose executive committees are often staffed by male leaders. In this context, it is also possible to trace the social and political changes that have taken place in the female and male body images and fashion of the various decades.

The current production of fashion images is more diverse than it was in the 20th century. The gaze is no longer exclusively directed towards supposed ideal images of beauty. The concepts of beauty, gender classification, cultural participation and identity are being called into question. This tendency has already reached the mainstream and is reflected in advertising as well as TV formats. In order to show the range of today's production, photographers with queer and feminist emphases in their work are as much a part of the artist selection as BIPOC.

In the exhibition, the transformation of the photographic image and its medial dissemination is presented aesthetically and located in the respective historical and social context: from the fashion magazine to the exhibition space and the coffee table book to video staging and, above all, to digital self-staging in today's social media, the relevance of which is constantly growing in the present. The development from the 1930s onwards will be exemplified by selected positions. This selection focuses on women photographers from Europe and the USA, with spotlights on developments in the respective fashion centres of the periods described.