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Chapter 1. From Film to Digital: A Brief... > Fashion Photography: The Early Years

Fashion Photography: The Early Years

As photography grew in popularity, so, too, did another art form: fashion. This was prompted in part by the development of a system of sizes and patterns, along with the invention of the sewing machine, both of which made it possible to mass-produce clothing. At the same time, thanks to the advent of the Industrial Revolution, factories could churn out textiles more quickly and more cheaply than ever before.

Even early fashionistas needed someplace to turn for the latest in style information—hence the publication of fashion magazines. Among the first was Godey’s Lady’s Book, which was first published in 1830. This magazine featured sketches of the latest in French fashions. The earliest issues of Harper’s hit the presses in 1867; within a few months of its launch, Harper’s circulation topped 30,000. With the aforementioned improvements in photographic technology came the use of photographs in lieu of sketches in fashion magazines. Although couturiers were at first wary about employing photographers to shoot their designs, fearing plagiarism, they quickly realized how powerful photographic images could be. In 1884, the use of fashion photographs extended to include catalogs.


  

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