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Fashion Photography: The Magazine as Canvas

Online / Exhibition-Related

Wednesdays, April 24 – May 15, 6:30 – 8pm


Lillian Bassman. Across the Restaurant (detail), 1949, printed 1994. International Center of Photography, New York. Gift of William A. von Mueffling in honor of Willis E. Hartshorn’s 25th Anniversary at ICP

$220; members $198
(4 classes)

About the Class

Many of the world’s most recognizable images were shot for fashion magazines. During the 20th century, illustrious photographers lent their eyes to glossies, including Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Vanity Fair, challenging conventional taste with their avant-garde visions. Thanks to image-makers such as Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Louise Dahl-Wolfe, and Alexey Brodovitch—the subject of Alexey Brodovitch: Astonish Me—the line between fine art and commercial photography blurred, forever changing print media.

This course surveys the key photographers—and the editors who dared to hire them—who elevated the field of fashion photography to an art. With an emphasis on the 1930s through 1980s, this course will chart how artistic movements like surrealism influenced fashion and editorial creative direction at large. An examination of the work of today’s preeminent photographers will further illuminate the profound legacies of their predecessors.

The class is online-only. More about online classes.

Barnes classes will:

  • Increase your understanding of art-related concepts.
  • Increase the ways you think critically about art.
  • Improve your ability to communicate about art.
  • Deepen your appreciation for cultures and histories outside your own.

See all classes.


Lillian Bassman. Across the Restaurant, 1949, printed 1994. International Center of Photography, New York. Gift of William A. von Mueffling in honor of Willis E. Hartshorn’s 25th Anniversary at ICP


Stephanie Sporn

Sporn is an award-winning arts journalist, fashion historian, and author based in New York. Specializing in the intersection of fashion, art, and design, she writes for Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, W, Architectural Digest, and Artnet, among other publications, as well as auction houses and art fairs. In 2024 she will launch her first art and fashion column and present research about the cape’s role in early cinema at the Critical Costume conference at UCLA.

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