Photo Vogue Festival, the international festival devoted to fashion photography, involves the whole city of Milan with talks, exhibitions and events. For its 3rd edition, it focuses on the role of photography – and especially fashion photography – in representing and analyzing our contemporary society as pointed out by exhibitions such as Sølve Sundsbø . Beyond the still image at Palazzo Reale, Embracing Diversity and All That Man Is – Fashion and Masculinity Now at Base, plus many significant photography events produced by the best galleries and institutions.
Chaired by Emanuele Farneti, editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia and L’Uomo Vogue, and directed by senior photo editor, Alessia Glaviano, the Photo Vogue Festival features the solo exhibition of the Norwegian photographer, Sølve Sundsbø. In his works Sundsbø uses a creative and fruitful approach toward new technologies – from 3-D scanning to hand-painted retouching – pushing fashion photography beyond the realm of the still image. “Kind of an impactful aesthetic of dream”, curator Alessia Glaviano says.
“Vogue Italia, thanks to the visionary photographers it employed, has always succeeded in becoming a mirroring tool of our times, documenting the changes, capturing the trends and anticipating desires and direction. Indeed, this year, the Photo Vogue Festival deals with the issue of “diversity”, a quite interesting one, especially in our historic period . Taking a stand is a must today and fashion photography has a significant role in providing information to people”, Glaviano explains.
In its first two years, the Festival, besides being a significant event for the promotion of photography culture, was also a platform for discussion of critical topics, such as the power of the female gaze in the arts (The Female Gaze, 2016) and the political significance of fashion imagery (Fashion and Politics, 2017).
“Civic commitment is a crucial issue and a key part of our duty as journalists: it can be also conveyed through fashion photography, for it is an effective way to deal with wide ranging and tough subjects. We must dispel the idea that ethics and aesthetic must be forced apart. Indeed, they can coexist and generate synergies thanks to the immediate language of images”, Glaviano adds.
According to this theme, the exhibition at Base, All That Man Is – Fashion and Masculinity Now explores the concept of masculinity through the work of over twenty contemporary fashion and art photographers. The issue is a complex one, as men are more vulnerable than ever to anxiety, depression and anger, and a proper conversation on it should step away from reductive gender stereotypes towards a more inclusive concept of masculinity, where, for instance, showing vulnerability is no longer stigmatized. Base also hosts Embracing Diversity, dedicated to the promotion of diversity and inclusiveness. It’s a need in our world, that is increasingly interconnected despite the current reassertion of nationalist sentiments: it is urgent to provide a more faithful and not stereotyped representation of various cultures. The works on stage were sourced as the result of a scouting initiative carried out on the PhotoVogue platform with different perspectives from over 155000 users from across the world.
The Photo Vogue Festival has a quite interesting wealth of contents thanks also to the contribution of cultural institutions, photography schools and specialized galleries.
The exhibition Sølve Sundsbø . Beyond the still image, curated by Alessia Glaviano and Michael Van Horneis promoted and produced by Vogue Italia in collaboration with Comune di Milano – Cultura and Palazzo Reale and with the support of Art + Commerce. All that Man Is – Fashion and Masculinity Now is curated by Chiara Bardelli Nonino, while Embracing Diversity is curated by Alessia Glaviano and Francesca Marani.
Paola Sammartano is a journalist specialized in arts and photography based in Milan, Italy
Photo Vogue Festival , Milan
15-18 November 2018
Sølve Sundsbø . Beyond the still image
15 November – 9 December 2018
piazza del Duomo 12, Milan, Italy
All that Man Is – Fashion and Masculinity Now
15-18 November 2018
15-18 November 2018
via Bergognone 34, Milan, Italy