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Albert Watson. Fashion, Portraits & Landscapes


Albert Watson. Fashion, Portraits & Landscapes – Pictures from the Blumarine archive

Paola Sammartano

Published by Marsilio Editori, the catalogue presents a meaningful selection from the exhibition Albert Watson. Fashion, Portraits & Landscapes – Pictures from the Blumarine archive, hosted in the fascinating venue at Palazzo dei Pio Museums in Carpi (Italy). Indeed, Blumarine provided the museum with more than a hundred images exclusively taken by the Scottish photographer from the brand’s multimedia archive. Leafing through the pages of the catalogue is like being led through a suggestive journey into ten year of Albert Watson’s work for the advertising campaigns he carried out for the brand between the ‘80s and the ‘90s.

Watson, who signed more than 100 covers of Vogue (by the way, he is going to shoot the 2019 Pirelli Calendar) and portrayed celebrities, Alfred Hitchcock, Steve Jobs and Barack Obama, also shot numerous campaigns for major world fashion houses, embodying the image of the elegance of recent decades thanks to his unique visual language.

While interviewed  by L’Oeil de la Photographie on his photographic style, Albert Watson explains:

“I’ve a graphic design training and attended a film school, so in my images one can notice the graphic technique in addition to the gaze of the filmmaker. As a film director, I learned how to communicate and to work with people and as a graphic designer I got composition as a natural part of my creative work. So looking at my work, people say it’s graphics, it’s filmatic or a combination of the two resulting in graphically strong images with a film look: the filmatic graphic, as I call it. And then there is the idea, the concept, that stands behind all my photos.When you see these things together, that’s me”.


What about your ability to find a proper equilibrium between art projects and commissioned, composing elements that seem to belong to different spheres?

“Concept, graphics and film look, this is how, for example, I managed to get connection among my creativity, fashion and a rusty car (as it happened in a adv campaing, ed.). In a way you say it has nothing to do with Blumarine, but in the other way you find it in its shape, color and design a subtle link to that very dress making it even more memorable”.


How important is creative freedom?

I’ve always had a passion for photography, which means I’m happy while shooting (no matter what the subject). A photographer always looks for creative freedom: that’s the key. Still, when working as a professional, one also has a commitment to the client, while trying to stay true to his own style.  Blumarine gave me that artistic freedom: it was like having an empty canvas to be filled, with concept, fashion suggestions and the flavor of each location.

According to Luca Panaro, curator of the exhibition: “Love of nature induced Watson to a large use in fashion photographic campaigns of landscapes (from Scotland to Los Angeles), that were not simple backgrounds, but part of his artistic interpretations and landmarks able to transfigure the shots of very young models meant to become fashion icons such as Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell or Carré Otis”.

As for the exhibit in Carpi (historical headquarter of Anna Molinari’s maison), it displayed b&w prints, fotocolor and proofs, retracing the work of Watson, when he carried out twelve campaigns for Blumarine, along with Rossella Tarabini with the collaboration by Manuela Pavesi, then fashion editor of Vogue Italia. “The catalogue (and the exhibition) is an opportunity to discover a quite interesting archive, for  the maison conserved the property of images, extraordinary in quantity as well as in quality, with some unpublished materials too”,  Manuela Rossi, director of Palazzo dei Pio Museums, adds.

“My husband Gianpaolo and me, since the beginning, understood the significance and the need to cooperate with important photography  and communication professionals in order to define the identity of my style”. Images by Albert Watson “were the most meaningful for the spirit of my collectionsenhancing details and finishing, the elegance of a silhouette or the depth of a look”,Anna Molinari concluded.

The catalogue, includes texts by Albert Watson, Manuela Rossi, Luca Panaro and Anna Molinari and offers a comprehensive view on the concept of the namesake exhibition, curated by Panaro, conceived and produced by Palazzo dei Pio Museums with Carpi Fashion System and Blumarine and Fondazione CR Carpi.


Albert Watson. Fashion, Portraits & Landscapes – Pictures from the Blumarine archive

Published by Marsilio editori



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