Animals of Fashion (a concise history)

Edward Steichen. 1935

Richard Avedon. 1955

David Bailey. 1968

Richard Avedon. 1981

"The magical and funny picture is, above all, a great fashion photograph. What better way to sell a dress than to set its elegant sleekness of line and expensive smoothness of texture against the rough, wrinkled hides and ponderous shapes of elephants? It is instructive to compare this picture with what may have been its inspiration: Edward Steichen's celebrated Vogue photograph of 1935, for which he brought a white horse into a white-tiled lavatory and posed three models in white clothes around it-a notion that comes out looking as ridiculous as it sounds. Why Avedon's even more outrageous idea works when Steichen's doesn't could sustain a course in fashion photography".

from A Series of Proposals
Essays on the Aesthetic of Photography: Diana & Nikon
by Janet Malcolm (1980)

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