If you like fashion, you love and live of gleaming images but also experience distance and mystery: it is quite impossible to get to know people behind the scene of the fashion industry. Unless you have chosen to discover bits of this world in Milan, last week: four days of exhibits, lectures, portfolio reviews and events, which is ordinary for a festival, but this time with an unordinary focus – fashion – and a unique guest, Vogue. A festival available to everyone like an open dialogue. Yourpictureditor went to see the shows in the beautiful venues of Base and Palazzo Reale and to listen to industry experts and we really appreciated it. But we wanted to know a little more and catch a bit the tail of it, asking directly to its creator: Alessia Glaviano, Senior Photoeditor at Vogue Italia and organiser of the Photo Vogue Festival.
Alessia, Photo Vogue Festival has been a big photographic event. What’s the most precious outcome of it, from your special point of view?
I’m really overwhelmed and humbled by the results of the festival, we had more than 12.000 guests in less than a week, 4,000 posts between Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with the #PhotoVogueFestival hashtag and about 300,000 people reached on the event’s special page. So many people came from all around the world, it was so moving, a lot of young people coming to me to say thanks for organizing the festival and that everything was free. I think this festival was needed: there are not many other occasions where you can talk with the key figures of the fashion photography business and where young people, with the same passion for fashion photography, can come together and exchange opinions.
Why did Vogue Italia desire to create a Festival? What can a festival add to the most renown fashion magazine in the world?
Following my passion for photography, I had been to various festivals around the world and I noticed that, while there are many dedicated to documentary photography, photojournalism or art, there is not a fashion photography festival – at least not one held by a magazine like Vogue Italia, which gained a credibility in this field of photography documenting the evolution – and revolutions – in costume through images for over 50 years, through the vision of the masters of photography that have chronicled women’s emancipation and the social and cultural changes through the years.
Another reason that motivated me is that our world is usually perceived as exclusive and unreachable. It’s not easy to get in touch with the great masters of photography, the most influential curators, the most prestigious agencies, photo editors… Every day I receive hundreds of messages from young photographers, asking me for advices and I feel that it’s important for us to be there for them – but then we all have so much to do in our daily routine that it’s not so easy to get back to everyone. I try to respond to the most talented but I also feel that we should start to open up and to create the conditions for an ongoing dialogue, that I hope will continue also after the festival. This is also the reason we wanted everything to be free at the festival: the exhibitions, the talks, the portfolio reviews.
It’s not only what the festival can bring to Vogue Italia but also what can a brand like Vogue Italia do for the community that would be useful and interesting. We leave in a very delicate historical period, where I feel that culture and the arts should play a big role and have a very important responsibility. Also, publishing companies are not anymore just about printed magazines, there is the web, the events, the core business is reshaping itself, we are in a very interesting transitional period.
Nearly 129.000 photographers with 399.000 images have applied to PhotoVogue, the platform that allow new talents to be reviewed by you and the Vogue staff. What do you see? what do you like and you don’t?
I see so many things!!! First of all I like that PhotoVogue is open to all genres of photography and that we think outside of the Western globalizing gaze through the contribution of so many interesting artists from all around the world. It’s about time we get rid of our provincial and ethnocentric vision and that we finally recognize the richness and beauty of other cultures.
I like that through PhotoVogue I discovered so many talented artists and we where able to create a community – because Photo Vogue is also a community, we have a group on Facebook, and I became good friend with some of the photographers, I try to be there for them if they need advices. There is nothing I don’t like about PhotoVogue as I consider it my baby! What I dislike is the verbal violence and the inability to be self-critical that some photographers that are not accepted display.
You see thousands of images from both renown and new photographers. Comparing new generations to the big names, what is the trend in fashion photography?
To talk about one trend in fashion photography today is a bit of an oxymoron. There are so many different things happening… Although for sure in the past few years there has been a lot of imitating Viviane Sassen and Harley Weir – deconstructed poses, geometric layouts with strong or pale color palettes or a soft sensual aesthetic. So yes there is a lot of this going on, but there are also many other different styles emerging.
A critique, if I may, that I would like to point out in regards to certain fashion magazines is that, in my opinion, flipping through the pages of a magazine should be a bit like listening to the soundtrack of a movie, so yes there should be a coherence but at the same time what makes it interesting is that one editorial leads you to a completely different one: it’s like music. I don’t understand what is the point of publishing a magazine that looks entirely like it has been shot by the same photographer and instead is shot by 10 different ones but with the same aesthetics – wouldn’t make more sense then to just do a monographic issue by one photographer?
As a child, what was your dream job? How is your actual one compared to that dream?
Why should I stop dreaming? 😉
Many thanks and see you at the next edition.
Margherita, Founder of Yourpictureditor
Cover image by Fabio Vittorelli