Wednesday, September 5, 2012

John Rawlings August 1943

I'm planning an upcoming photo shoot based upon John Rawlings Vogue photography.  I've been studying his art so that I may parlay some of his ideas into a photo shoot.

I plan on showcasing images of John Rawlings and information about this iconic photographer.   His work is simply amazing and so I'd like to start out by analyzing one of his amazing compositions.

This image is from   This image was originally published in Vogue in August of 1943.   I'm sure you'll all agree that the beauty and composition in this photograph is timeless.   This is what I love about the work of Rawlings.

In terms of psychology, the color red signifies spirit, leadership, ambition, and energy.  It is the color of physical movement.  Too much red can cause agitation.  Black signifies absorption and can be considered unfriendly and unapproachable because of the power it exudes....but think about it when it is paired with red.   The combination becomes sophisticated, sexy, and takes on the power of contrast.

The viewer is drawn to the power of this combination.  This woman looks strong and confident.  There is just enough red in the backdrop of the lining of the coat to bring out the composition.

The power of three is seen as a suggestion from the circular three gold buttons centered on the suit to the three black buttons angled off on the coat.  (Can I say that I want this coat?)   There is so much balance in this photograph.  I read that the brain tends to remember things grouped in threes.  I wonder if this is true?  I do feel aesthetically that if the coat and jacket had four buttons it would seem less appealing.  Interesting.  It is also interesting how Rawlings created a great sense of balance with the use of three (being a odd number).

In addition, because of the same shape and color of the models earrings mirroring the buttons on her jacket the viewers eyes are also drawn upward.   The white background creates a neutral effect so that all the focus is on the clothing and the model.   It's like every piece and color serves a purpose.

The importance of the touch of red in the scarf is necessary to create a balance in the piece and also get the feeling of the power of three as there are three areas of red the viewers eyes to take in.   In addition the hints of silver in the stripes of the scarf help to break up the black.  I also feel the side turn in the model's head places more awareness on the clothing arrangement.

I'd take this outfit anytime of the day.

Who says fashion can't be art?


  1. That is nice! I love both black and red and especially when mixed together.

  2. Fashion is art. Not just the avant garde, no real human would ever wear it outside of the runway looks, but beautiful clothing in general throughout of time. I think that's a large part of what draws me to vintage fashion in fact - I see it as a way of celebrating the art and spirit of the decades I love most.

    Can't wait to see the results of your photo shoot, I'm sure you're going to look sublime.

    ♥ Jessica

  3. Such a beautiful image and a really interesting analysis of the composition. It's really interesting to think why certain images remain timeless. I can't wait to see your photoshoot! x