I know I’m probably a bit unusual in that I spend a lot of time trawling through fashion and Tumblr blogs, Pinterest boards and the like, sourcing images – but I’ve noticed that there are a number of shots that keep recurring: not just in different places, but over time as well. I’ve often thought that there should be a repository – a kind of Hall of Fame – for these iconic images: Lilly Kruk and Kaegan Baron wearing thigh-high socks and whispering to each other, Meika Woollard sitting on a high stool wearing Tutu du Monde, Kristina Pimenova hugging an Irish wolfhound… and these two: both by Italian photographer Stefano Azario for Il Gufo. They’re from different collections, and feature different models – but both are perfect in their own way.
I know people say that it’s easy when you take hundreds of shots for each session – one has to be better than the others. But for me it’s like saying, when a centre-forward scores in front of the goal “My grandmother could have scored that!” The point is that your grandmother wouldn’t have been there: the player had to run from the centre-circle, stay on-side, time his run to be in front of goal at precisely the moment the cross arrived: then the side-foot into the net looks easy. Stefano had to scout the location, choose the perfect light conditions, work with the stylist and MUH artist to pin the outfits so they hung correctly and the make-up and hair were perfect, decide on the appropriate poses, set up the camera and light settings etc., etc. – then serendipity takes its course, and these two wonderful shots magically appear: and it all seems completely effortless….
The first shot has a bleached-out look to it with strong shadows: high summer. The girls’ dresses are tonally perfect matches – and the shoes even match the other dresses: the way the three models’ bodies come together then gives it a statue-like quality….gorgeous.
The second has Olivia Fanders in an oufit that looks normal, but then reveals details like the swatch of material on the tee similar to that of the skirt – which seems to be made up of transparent layers made opaque by their own density, with a surprisingly colourful band on the hem: similar to a band on the swatch. The masterstroke however was the tree shadow: only Olivia’s positively angelic face and expression prevents it from looking almost sinister…
Stefano posts these images on his site with the addition of empty spaces to the left that were part of the original sessions: I don’t know why, but they do give another idea of how he originally conceived the shots (and, by the way, I also don’t know why the first image is often reversed: even when posted by people associated with the original it appears in both versions).