The Victoria and Albert Museum presents the latest exhibition of renowned master photographer Horst P. Horst, in the exhibition ‘Horst: Photographer of Style’. Ultra Vie took the opportunity to view the exhibition, as it displays the range of Horst’s works this autumn.
As a german-born photographer, Horst achieved a 60-year career in exploring photography, art, fashion, design, theatre and high society. Director of the V&A, Martin Roth, said, “Horst was one of the greatest photographers of fashion and society and produced some of the most famous and evocative images of the 20th century. This exhibition will shine a light on all aspects of his long and distinguished career.”
It was during the per-war 1930s of Parisian haute couture that his career strived. In the range of photographs, many models are acknowledged for several works, including Lisa Fonssagrives. Fonssagrives was similar to the photographer himself as she enjoys spending hours examining paintings and sculptures in Louvre, Paris as well. She once said, “I became a model because he made me one.” Fonssagrives’ grew a strong relationship with Horst, as in 1976 she wrote, “I feel such soothing blessings by your beautiful work – even more today when we live in a sea of flickering snapshots, bombarded from everywhere.” Horst’s skills and visual implementation his idea brought back classic beauty in the form of photography during the day. Their relationship depicts Horst’s brilliant work in capturing beauty and bringing back the definition of photography through his perspective.
As you walk through the Haute Couture display of photographs, you will soon realise the reflection of room plays an effect for Horst’s emphasis in his play of lighting: to dramatise and romanticise effects of the models within their spotlighted faces, adding a layer of intensity through the monochrome lens.
During the 1930s, Horst found fascination in Surrealism art and experiments through the photography medium, collaborating great works with renowned artist, Salvador Dalí. Among the exhibited collaborative works, a self-portrait photograph of Dalí is also displayed, that holds the strong elements of a Horst photograph: a close examination of Dalí’s face is very lifelike in the still image through its visual intensification as a black and white photograph.
Mainbocher Corset (1939) was Horst’s last photograph before the outbreak of the Second World War. this particular photograph depicts the Goddess of Love, Beauty and Pleasure, Venus, thus her body portrays as flawless as a classic sculpture. The elegance within the photograph indicated the charm that was lost due to the war commencement.
Although Horst is a renowned photographer in , the exhibition also included Haute Couture garments worn by the models, sketches of Horst’s visual ideas, letters with collaborators and friends, and a film of Horst’s studio in Condé Nast Studio, located on the 19th floor of the Graybar Building, an Art Deco Skyscraper in Manhattan.
Nearing the end of the exhibition, visitors will find themselves in the section ‘Fashion in Colour’ where coloured photography has taken place during the 1940-50s. Within the displays, the vibrancy within hues is recognised by Horst, bringing lively pictures through his representation of female body admiration such as Muriel Maxwell’s American Vogue pose for the Vogue cover which displays along with the laid out Vogue Magazine covers, offering a gradient of colours in the early years of fashion photography.
techniques and photography-characteristic highlight vintage photography from the 1930s until today. His capture of fascination in high society depicts an everlasting perspective, particularly in fashion photography. ‘Horst: Photographer of Style’ pays a fulfilling dedication to the master of photographer himself, and places our perception in today’s generation of art and photography.
The V&A is open daily from 10.00 to 17.45 and until 22.00 on Fridays.
Tickets £8 (concessions available). To book tickets, visit or call (booking fee applies)
Horst: Photographer of Style runs from 6 September 2014 – 4 January 2015 at the V&A. Travel partner American Airlines; with thanks to Bicester Village, London, and Kildare Village, Dublin; supported by the American Friends of the V&A.