Fashion photography is an art form, but it struggles to gain the recognition it deserves in part due to its real-time commercial ties. Some merely see fashion photography as constrained to advertising, but fashion photography is so much more than ad spend. At its best, it can transport you to another world, to make you question your reality and your morality, and to sometimes simply leave you in awe. A perfect example of this is the Vita Series by Jordie Hennigar.
The heroine of the series is portrayed almost like a water goddess straight out of Greek mythology. The palette oozes with high contrast rich hues, which compliments the MUAs work on the model, the colour grading adds to the drama of the series. Jordie also demonstrates her command of natural light, almost as if she's bending the sun to her will.
Within the series, there’s a beautifully breathtaking image, one that makes you stop and stare. This image depicts the heroine floating in water. She is immersed in her element, wrapped in the tranquillity of the sea. The photograph works as a stand-alone piece of art. Dreamy, fantastical, hinting at the mystical. The Vita series is a reminder that a fashion campaign can be so much more than just a mechanism to fuel even more consumerism.
Another one of Jordie’s more conceptual images in the series is the photograph where the model seems almost out of sight. At first glance, this image looks rather odd - there are limbs with no head! But upon closer inspection, you'll discover that her 'head' in this picture is actually one of the most substantial elements in the photograph.
Jordie's sense of play and exploration comes through in this image; the closer you look, the more you see – behind one of the rock formations, you'll find the model's nose and lips are peeking through, flowing upwards is her forehead and the rest of her. The execution is impeccable; you get a real sense that the environment and the heroine are one and the same.
The series of images live alongside the film for the Lisa Fletcher Jewellery campaign (by cinematographer Nate Laverty). The shoot took place in Tofino, British Columbia in a secluded area. Logistically the crew had to use a dingy to navigate to some of the set locations, moving kit from one set to the next posed some unique challenges, but being in the middle of nowhere with a team of cool creative peeps equals a recipe for an awesome adventure. Although the water appears to be inviting, it was in fact freezing cold. Jordie and the rest of the crew had wet suits, but Marielle Proulx (the model) braved the cold like a trooper, the things we do in the name of art! Fortunately, the beaming sun helped keep the model somewhat warm during the shoot.
It’s always a joy to see females portrayed as both feminine and strong. There’s a wonderful duality at play in the image with the black hat and veil – masculine meets feminine, and they are in sync, living side by side harmoniously. There is no need to pick one. This image serves as a reminder that one can be both in equal measures at the same time.
The Vita series may have been the catalyst for Jordie's transition from working solely with photography to incorporating both photography and film within her practice. Her most recent work regularly features both. And that's the most likely conclusion to the battle of fashion film vs. fashion photography. They'll live alongside each other; each has a unique and vital role to play in the way which media is consumed today.
Some photographers have embraced the moving image, learning how to translate their current photography skills into filmmaking. One could say that the pioneer of the fashion film movement is Nick Knight who set up SHOWstudio in November 2000 as a platform to showcase the next generation of talented creators and to further encourage the creation of fashion on film.
Of course, there'll always be new developments, new tools and technology to enable image-makers to create stories in dynamic new ways, be it via AR, AI, holographic or something that hasn't even been dreamed up yet. Either way, with photographers like Jordie Hennigar infusing imagination with a splash of tenacity, regardless of where fashion image-making goes next, the future of fashion imagery sure does look delectable.