I’ve spent my time looking at Horst today. I’ve already heard his name before and I thought that it would be beneficial to look at another part of the art & design industry. Primarily Horst was a fashion photographer and was truly an artist with lighting and style.
He was largely focused on the time of his images, so they were representative of the current happenings. His work was often featured in Vogue and has been ranked as one of the leading fashion and portrait photographers of the 20th Century.
Primarily based in New York & Paris, the German born artist became an American citizen in 1943. Interestingly he also changed his name to Horst (birth name was Bohrmann).
In 1931 Horst began working for Vogue, at that time Paris was still classed as the heart of the fashion world. Fashion magazines were mesmerising the world and showing clothing/design in new and exciting ways. Horst of course had a massive impact on this, his method of working was part of a modern way. With an entire team behind him, directors, fashion editors, assistants, set designers/technicians. Professional modelling was still developing in the 1930s & generally the models were friends of the magazine, so often aristocrats or actresses.
Horst is described as being a perfectionist, insisting that all Vogue photographers used large format cameras to improve the image quality and therefore would have a richer image.
Like most artists, Horst was greatly influenced by events of that time. So the surrealist movement had a big impact on Horst’s work. From my research and findings, I found that his work during this period is particularly mysterious. He was largely focused on aesthetics but in a classic way.
Befitting to my previous research on Elsa Schiaparelli, Horst was good friends with the designer and used her designs in his work & even collaborated with other practitioners like Salvador Dali. There was a lot of representation of the female form, and even a sense of erotica to his images.
During his career, Horst travelled to other parts of the world, including the middle east to capture images of Persian cities & other parts.
In the 1940s, Horst took his work to a new level and tried a different direction. They are close up images of natural elements such as plant life, shells etc. It was inspired from the works of Karl Blossfeldt & Horst wanted to take objects and remove them from their natural context thus moulding them into something else entirely.
I’ve learnt much from researching Horst, that collaborations are beneficial, connections are important & also that taking inspiration from other practitioners work is a good thing. (Which happens all the time in the fashion industry). I’ve also discovered that there are lots of aspects to Horst’s work that I find inspiring and I want to research him more. His ideas of context and changing original states is an interesting topic area.
Because I have been so interested in Horst, I want to research him further and look at other aspects of his career. His interpretation of culture, society and innovative methods were clearly an important step for commercial photography.