An exhibition on view in Zurich, Switzerland, currently features the work of British fashion photographer Jim Lee. Photographer and filmmaker Jim Lee has always kept an ear to the ground – mindful of the zeitgeist and anticipating the trends. But, as with many artists, it is only the benefit of hindsight that reveals some of the most remarkable aspects of his work. As a fashion photographer in the sixties and seventies, Jim Lee was at the centre of the fashion world, but unlike his contemporaries, he quickly tuned in to the revolutionary changes underway in gender politics. He understood early that women would no longer only have supporting roles in narratives about men. So, rather than treating women like mere mannequins or objects for male desire, Jim made the women the protagonists of their own stories. The model in the 1974 Umbrella series, which Jim Lee shot for Anna Wintour when she was at Harper’s & Queen, exemplifies the Jim Lee woman – a woman in charge of her own destiny, assertive and self-assured. Jim Lee was also ahead...
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