World Photo London 2013, WPO hosted recently a series of PhotoTALK discussions exploring various fields of the photographic industry. I attended a talk where experts and participating audience members analysed the Fashion & Advertising industries. The panel included Klaus Thymann, Photographer and professional finalist of 2013 Sony World Photography Awards, Fashion & Beauty category, Tim Paton, Managing Director of Balcony Jump agency and Catherine Chermayeff, Director of Special Projects, Magnum Photos.
The growing need and importance of photographers Art Direction skills, was one of the topics mentioned during the discussion. As the brands are commissioning the photography directly without using an agency, there is often no Art Director. Therefore, the job is left to the photographer, who is needs to be a good storyteller. The photographer must have a deep understanding of the brand and lifestyles, since the focus has moved away from the product to lifestyles.
Moving image is now used in 90% for brands like Burberry. Therefore the photographer needs to have the ability for film making as well. If not behind the camera, then at least in the direction.
One of the conclusions of the discussion was that more skills than the actual picture taking is required for a successful photographer; networking, cross-disciplines, producing, script writing, understanding the brand and having a personality to get along with everyone.
Some trends that were talked about were: less retouching and more believability, honest messages, more wrinkles, heavier and older models. So it seems like we have reached the tipping point in retouching and the new direction is a healthier and realistic looking instead. Advertorials is a growing area.