10 May Karl Lagerfeld in the lens….
Author : Fabrice Salvadori
Quote : ” The picture appeared much clearer to me.”
In the fashion world, one can find an essential living icon that both intrigues and fascinates. Behind the dark sunglasses and apparent coldness, he was able to impose his style and vision to climb the heights of haute couture in perpetual renewal and modernity. But beneath the mysterious Lagerfeld hides a man of great culture who blends his nature with his predispositions. The visual aesthetics, image, and specifically photography are thus an integral part of his creative process. “Today the picture is part of my life,” said Lagerfeld back in 1992.
Beyond his commitment to the German photographers of the 20s such as Newton, Steichen, Stieglitz, and Ellen von Unwerth, there are many references that inspire his work, including the bold and daring Guy Bourdin. Lagerfeld’s knowledge of the history of photography reveals his attachment dedicated to this art. Since the age of 12, he literally fell in love with this world through Irvin Penn (virg) by discovering photos in a Vogue magazine (U.S.) that his mother had brought him while on a trip to New York.
The vision behind the lens allowed him to sharpen his eye: “The picture appeared much clearer to me.” For Lagerfeld, a good photo represents his epoch without becoming out of fashion over time. From his perspective, a photo should be representative and timeless – and, if possible, devoid of artifice. But beyond photography, it is the image that interests him, the beauty of the image in a large sense. Paul Strand’s The White Fence could perfectly translate the visual resonance experienced by Karl Lagerfeld at the touch of a successful photo with this immutable barrier etched in the collective memory.
Accumulating photographs taken from advertising, fashion magazines, but also for personal enjoyment during his travels or walks, all of his accomplishments wish to animate a subtle play of light and low intensity. They easily meet this quote from John Stuart Mill: “Photography is a brief complicity between foresight and luck.”
In terms of current events, it is in Germany, Lagerfeld’s birth country, where one can discover this artist’s photographic universe. In 2013, Italian fashion house Fendi presented The Glory of Water, where Lagerfeld exhibited his black and white photographs of Roman fountains. This short-term event was held in July in Paris under the Pont Alexandre III in association with the restoration of the Trevi Fountain, and is expected to exhibit at venues internationally. Meanwhile, the Feuerbachs Musen exhibition, which is devoted to Lagerfeld’s work, is open to the public at the Hamburger Kunsthalle until June 15th. Lagerfeld’s “Parallel Contradictions” collection is also currently on display until May 11th at another German venue, the Museum Folkwang, in Essen. This exhibition shows the richness and fertility of the creator hailing from Hamburg: photography and fashion as a lifestyle are two of many ways to attempt to summarize the wide creative range of this iconic character.