The Politics of Fashion Photography Part 7 You’re Not Published Until You Are Published

Alexandra-Richards-Benjamin-Kanarek © 2012 Harper’s BAZAAR

When someone views a fashion or beauty spread in a Fashion magazine, I suspect that most of you think that what you are seeing was what was shot for that spread. Well more often than you can imagine, it is just a fraction of what was actually shot for the magazine.

There is nothing more infuriating than shooting a 16 page story to see it reduced to 8 or 10 pages or a 6 page beauty story reduced to 2 to 4 pages. The politics of Fashion & Beauty photography is a very fickle animal, where those who make the final decision were often those who were not in the loop in the first place.

How one deals with this issue depends on many factors. It could be that they finally  didn’t have enough space to support the story, they might have decided that it was too strong for their issue or it could come down to purely personal decisions. I react depending on the circumstances. But if a brief has been given to do a 16 page fashion story and your storyboard or mood board has been accepted, it is more than frustrating when you see your story cut in half.

It has happened to me on at least 3 occasions and in all cases, it is medicine that is difficult to swallow. Those viewing the story don’t know that this happened, but the team do and that in it’s own right is injurious to ones self esteem. You just never know until you get the final layout from the art department, what your spread is going to look like.

I recently did a major spread for one of the Big Two magazines where I was asked to do a 14 page spread, did so and was even asked to suggest the order and layout of it. Luckily all of the images were accepted and I have yet to see the layout, as it is for the July 2010 issue that doesn’t come out till the end of June. I had another story in one of the two majors that was destined to be a 5 page story that was reduced to a 4 page spread with 3 of my images. I was quite taken aback to say the least. C’est La Vie.

I’ll get over it, but when it happens, it is something that is inexplicably difficult to explain emotionally. One might feel robbed, befuddled and disoriented, because in your mind you saw it as one thing and it comes out entirely different.

So as the saying goes; “Your Not In Until You Are In”… In fact, not until it is print, can you be sure that what has been shown to you as the final layout will actually make it to press until it has done so.

So, for all of you out there who look at a fashion or beauty spread in a magazine, remember that what your seeing just might be only part of the huge effort made by all of the members of the team…

That’s the “BIZ” like it or not…

Continued in Part 8

About Benjamin Kanarek
Fashion and Beauty Photographer. Some of the magazines I have shot for include: VOGUE (China, Portugal, Brazil, Italia, Paris and South America & Mexico editions), RG VOGUE Brazil, Harper’s BAZAAR (China, en Español & Latin America, Hong Kong, Italy editions), L’Officiel Paris, ELLE (Spain, Portugal and Greece editions), Madame Figaro (France), Cosmopolitan (France and Italy editions), Glamour (France), Votre Beauté, Jardin des Modes, Dépêche Mode, New York Daily News, Fashion District News, New York Times Magazine, W (British edition), WWD, Fashion Magazine (Canada), Flare (Canada), Oyster, Tank, WestEast…