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For Racked, reported features were an opportunity to delve into the business, culture, history, and science of consumerism and appearance in ways big and small. Whether reporting on low wages in factories or the Bachelor Instagram influencer universe, we were interested in the totality of our shopping landscape.

We also put together some big packages in our time:

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Service was always a pillar of Racked, since its earliest days as a local New York blog. We published innumerable guides and product recommendations throughout the years, the best (and most evergreen) of which we’ve compiled here and organized by type.

First up are our favorite entries in the Just One Thing series, which sought to highlight items the Racked staff and contributors were truly obsessed with:

Here are all the online shopping guides you’ll ever need:

We also have an amazing archive of shopping maps — heavy on local, independent boutiques — though we recommend you check addresses before heading out to shop IRL: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Chicago, DC, Seattle, Austin, Boston, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Nashville, Oakland, Palm Springs, Richmond, Portland (Maine!), Providence, Kansas City, Louisville, and Cincinnati.

Our service stories didn’t stop at products or places, of course. We’ll leave you with a whole bunch of tips to make you a better shopper:

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Today is our last day publishing on Racked. Thank you for reading and watching (and commenting and tweeting and emailing!) for the past 11 years. We’ve put together some best-of lists for you to enjoy, and our entire archive will remain available on the site.

Check out the newly launched The Goods by Vox for stories and videos about what people buy, and — more importantly — how and why. You can sign up for The Goods’ newsletter here.

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The fashion industry’s fascination with older models doesn’t impress me, a 55-year-old woman, very much.

All hail her grace Lauren Hutton, First of Her Name, Queen of ’70s Insouciance, Lady of Flowing Palazzo Pants, and Insignia of Women of a Certain Age.

Born in 1943, Hutton has been modeling for almost 50 years, and these days she’s kind of a poster girl for … something. Body positivity in the septuagenarian set? Fashion diversity? Aging with grace and a low BMI? A canny grab at aging women’s disposable income? Who can say? It’s aging, but make it fashion.

Hutton is beautiful, and her face has lines upon lines, wrinkles spreading from her smile like crepuscular rays from the sun. Though she is visibly older, her looks still stun, and in the past few years, she has been featured in major campaigns (Alexander Wang in 2015, Tod’s in 2016, and H&M in 2017), become the oldest cover girl for Vogue (Vogue Italia October 2017), worked as an underwear model (Calvin Klein fall 2017), and closed a major runway show arm in arm with Bella Hadid (Bottega Veneta spring 2017).

Hutton may be the longest-working, most iconic fashion Old, but she’s not alone. Alongside her is 66-year-old Isabella Rossellini regaining her place as Lancôme’s face after a 25-year-absence; then-68-year-old Charlotte Rampling as the façade for Nars in 2014; Helen Mirren and Jane Fonda, then both in their 70s, walking for L’Oréal last year; Maye Musk getting featured in Harper’s Bazaar at 70; Saint Laurent showcasing 70-something Joni Mitchell in its 2015 campaign; and 85-year-old Carmen Dell’Orefice closing Guo Pei’s 2017 show to a blissed-out chorus of “YAS KWEEN” from the Youngs.

It’s a lot of gray hair and wrinkled skin in the name of fashion. You could get breathless over these women, all old, and all magnificent. (And all, it must be noted, blindingly white.)

LANCÔME | Isabella Rossellini is back for NEW Rénergie Multi-Glow. - YouTube

Hutton, though, laid the foundation and unfurled the red carpet that these other Olds tread on, for in 1988, at the ancient age of 43, she appeared in a campaign for Barney’s New York. A year later, she was photographed by Steven Meisel for the Gap’s “Real People” campaign. In 1993, she, along with Patti Hansen, then an unthinkable 37, walked for Calvin Klein during Fashion Week in April. In 1996, Revlon hired Hutton to be the face of its “Results” skin care line (called “Resilience” in Europe), a revival that came after a 20-year absence from the company.

As a model, Hutton has always been bigger than herself. Models by profession act as giant silver screens for our own projections — who we want to be, how we want to look, what we want for ourselves, and, yes, whom we imagine others (or ourselves) fucking. When a company chooses a model, it’s banking on our collective ideation, making a complex computation based on an esoteric algorithm of image, marketability, press, and buzz.

It’s not just about who looks “good” in your clothes or your makeup; it’s also about a calculated guess at the narratives your would-be customers will literally buy. Someone like Hutton tells a clearly glamorous, extremely American story; she is shorthand for an independent life lived well.

And older models, like any others, should tell a story, but the most facile way to understand why companies choose them for their campaigns is cold, hard cash. While often undervalued by advertisers, 55- to 64-year-old women spend the most on their clothes. And while millennials stoke the financial fire of makeup and skin care, higher-income women spend more on beauty. Therefore, if you’re a company with stuff to sell women, you want to entice older women — but you want do it without alienating younger women.

Céline

Which is how we ended up with Joan Didion. When the super-chic French clothing line Céline revealed the then-80-year-old Didion would be the company’s new “poster girl” in January 2015, Vogue gushed, “Do you have two eyes and a heart?” (The italics are original, as is the breathless tone.)

Didion, who, like Hutton, modeled for the Gap in 1989, is an ideal silvered screen for our collective projection because her surface is sleek and seamless. Sphinx-like and press-wary, Didion closely curates her life — and what we see is often polished, circumspect cool. If there could be an Old who would appeal to the Youngs, and especially to Youngs working in publishing, it was Didion. In picking her, Céline chose a woman every cool girl wanted to either be or be blessed by. It was some canny-ass marketing.

Let’s face it: Picking women over 40 to advertise your product will get your company easy press — and often praise. “There’s something else being signaled by Céline choosing Didion: the idea of women writers and intellectuals as the new cool girls,” exclaimed the Washington Post. When the tire manufacturer Pirelli featured Rampling, Mirren, and Julianne Moore, among others, in its famous 2017 calendar, the New York Times suggested that Pirelli had broken “fashion’s last taboo,” which apparently is aged flesh. So transgressive, to imagine that women over 50 could be, like, attractive.

The issue with the fashion industry, as everyone has said since forever, is that it upholds unrealistic beauty standards. No living person — not even a model — is that perfectly thin, that flawlessly skinned, that artfully coy, that frozen in time. Grudgingly, the fashion and beauty industries have collectively sighed, “My bad,” and made moves to show diversity in body size and skin hue.

These changes arguably represent a wider, arguably healthier range of female bodies. However, that kind of active diversity is nonexistent in older models. It should be enough, fashion seems to tell us, that they’re serving gray hair and wrinkled white women. To ask for older fat models, older black models, or older trans models — well, we’d just be getting greedy.

It should be enough, fashion seems to tell us, that they’re serving gray hair and wrinkled white women. To ask for older fat models, older black models, or older trans models — well, we’d just be getting greedy.

The biggest difference between young models and older models: Older models are almost always already known. They are writers. They are actresses. They are dancers. They are the mother of that tech titan who’s dating Grimes. They are legendary models with clippings and books that run into the hundreds of pages. With the exception of Jacky O’Shaughnessey, who headed America Apparel’s “Advanced Basics” campaign in 2012, and Tziporah Salamon, a “street style star” who posed for Lanvin the same year, every old face has been a someone for a long time.

So what these women are selling isn’t effortless aging (which is a fantasy), and it isn’t diversity (which for aging models is virtually nonexistent). It’s fame. It’s backstory. It’s a complex web of fictions that to me, a 55-year-old woman, is a mildly interesting, somewhat relieving break from the onslaught of images of very young women. I know I’m supposed to feel grateful that the fashion gods have deigned to care about mortal women my age, but mostly I feel bored. Caught between the Scylla of ageism and the Charybdis of capitalism, the older model is something I side-eye.

I’m old enough to remember Hutton’s Barney’s and Gap campaigns, which came out just about the same time I moved to New York. She seemed impossibly old and impossibly glamorous. I myself could never be that old or that glamorous, until, of course, I was. Old, that is. My glamour, like anyone’s, shimmers like a heat devil, more of an abstract notion than a concrete reality. No product, no frock, no lipstick, and no handbag will ever solidify my glamour — not even when it’s being hawked by someone as grand as Lauren Hutton, who is, let’s face it, pretty fucking great.

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Bra and girdle technology and seamstresses on Singer sewing machines were integral to NASA’s first spacesuits.

Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin are known for many things; being fashion plates isn’t one of them. When the Apollo 11 astronauts made their giant leap for mankind in 1969, however, they were wearing a type of “space couture” that shared a history — and, indeed, many of the same seamstresses — with what was essentially the Spanx of the time.

More than two decades earlier, the International Latex Corporation, later known as ILC Dover, debuted the Playtex Living Girdle, a “sheath of smooth liquid latex” that was a “new discovery in figure control.” Hailed as a revolution and a revelation, it was free from seams, stitches, bones, or rods that pinched or restricted, along with an “all-way stretch” that molded to the wearer without the need for custom fitting.

“The ideal all-occasion girdle that makes you inches slimmer in everything from an evening dress to a bathing suit!” one ad in Life magazine declared. “As comfortable for golf or driving as for hours of sitting at an office desk. Work or play, winter or summer, the Playtex Living Girdle never tires for you.”

Photo: Gjon Mili/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images A woman clad in bra and Playtex panty girdle walking down steps.

By the time the government put out an open call for proposals for an Apollo suit in 1962, ILC had parlayed its profits into research and development, filling orders such as steel-and-aluminum helmets and partial pressure suits for the Navy and Air Force. A spacesuit didn’t seem like a huge deal.

ILC’s experience working with rubber in combination with other materials didn’t hurt either, says Nicholas De Monchaux, author of Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo, a book that recounts, in staggering detail, Playtex’s unpublicized role in the history of the space program.

Rubber wasn’t an obvious spacesuit material, at least not at first. Prototypes favored by both military contractors and NASA engineers had so far been armor-like, cumbersome, and nigh impenetrable. But the Speciality Products Division (SPD) of ILC proposed a new kind of textile, one that employed flexible, accordion-like folds instead of tin-can-like components. Coupled with restraints that would keep the folds from flattening out, this “convolute” would allow a certain degree of movement in the areas of a suit that needed it, such as elbows, shoulders, and other joints.

Coincidentally (or perhaps not), the combination of materials that comprised the convolute was something with which ILC was deeply familiar: “the nylon tricot of the bra surface, the polyester webbing of a bra strap, and the dipped rubber out of which a girdle was made,” De Monchaux said.

Photo: Ralph Morse/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images Employees of ILC Industries work on inner pressure suits during the assembly of a spacesuit to be used in NASA’s Apollo space program, Dover, Delaware, 1968.

Another plus? Playtex’s expertise in puncture-resistant latex assembly — not just girdles but also waterproof bed sheets, bibs, and diaper covers — made it possible for ILC to mass-produce the convolute in a range of shapes and sizes.

But ILC’s relative inexperience with government contracting, small size, and dearth of professional qualifications — Len Sheperd, who supervised the company’s pressure-suit development, was an MIT dropout who repaired TVs for Abram Spanel, ILC’s founder, before he was pressed into service — made the SPD the underdog of the space-outfitting race.

So even when ILC’s proposal emerged as the clear victor in NASA’s evaluation of eight submissions, the space agency opted not to hire the company directly. Instead, ILC was hired as a subcontractor to Hamilton Standard, a division of United Aircraft and, in NASA’s eyes, a known quantity.

Photo: Ralph Morse/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images Employees of ILC Industries trace suit pattern shapes from sheets of nylon during the assembly of a spacesuit to be used in NASA’s Apollo space program, Dover, Delaware, 1968.

“That really did not work out well for both companies,” says Cathleen Lewis, curator of space history at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. “Hamilton had also proposed its own spacesuit to NASA, and it had its own ideas, and so there was a great deal of conflict. And it fell apart.”

To Hamilton’s highly trained staff — ”students of the latest methods in testing, planning, and management,” per De Monchaux — ILC’s team practiced a “ragged art” and graduated “only from the school of hard knocks.” (The later comment became a badge of honor for ILC employees, who referred to themselves as “hard-knocksers.”)

Hamilton finally fired ILC in 1965, precipitating a series of events that was like something out of a movie.

While NASA agreed that ILC didn’t appear capable of producing a successful suit, its confidence in Hamilton was flagging, too. To test its mettle, the agency decided to engage Hamilton in a performance-based competition with the David Clark Company, which was producing a backup suit with B.F. Goodrich. It was assumed by all that ILC was completely out of the running.

But Len Sheperd got wind of the competition. He headed for Houston with ILC’s new president, Nisson Finkelstein. The duo offered NASA a new suit prototype, produced at ILC’s expense, if only it would allow ILC to compete against Hamilton, David Clark, and B.F. Goodrich. NASA agreed, but they only had six weeks to prepare.

A flurry of activity followed. A skeleton crew of little more than a dozen engineers and technicians began working 24-hour shifts. They picked the locks of their own labs and storerooms, some of them freshly vacated by visitors from Hamilton, to obtain supplies and records in the dead of the night. They batch-tested bodies of suits alongside alternative arms, legs, and joints.

Photo: Ralph Morse/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images An employee of ILC Industries sews layers of aluminized plastic together during the assembly of a spacesuit to be used in NASA’s Apollo space program, Dover, Delaware, 1968.

Events at the competition arena were equally dramatic. The zipper on the internal pressure bladder failed on ILC’s entry, forcing the company to fly the suit back to its headquarters in Delaware for repairs. David Clark’s helmet blew off when its test subject attempted an escape maneuver from the Lunar Module. Because the shoulders of Hamilton’s suit were too wide, its test subject couldn’t enter the Lunar Module at all, thus “stranding the imaginary astronaut on the surface of the moon forever,” De Monchaux says.

The hard-knocksers won, naturally.

To hear De Monchaux tell it, however, the true story about the Apollo spacesuits isn’t about which company beat out which, but rather the women who ended up making them. Many of the seamstresses hailed from Playtex, which means they went from one shop floor making bras and girdles to another one producing clothing for the moon.

It wasn’t an easy job. ILC’s seamstresses, he says, were asked to achieve “unprecedented precision,” even more so than you’d find at a couture house because NASA could only abide tolerances less than 1/64th of an inch from the edge of a seam.

The seamstresses had to piece together 21 gossamer-thin layers of highly technical fabrics — including a Teflon-coated silica-fiber cloth and a woven form of stainless steel — by “nesting them together like a Russian doll,” De Monchaux says. And they just used regular Singer sewing machines.

Despite this Herculean endeavor, pins and other temporary fasteners were highly regulated and generally frowned upon. The firm even installed an X-ray machine on the shop floor to regularly scan the suits for rogue pins. Anyone caught sneaking in extra pins from home could find “one of them pricked into their backside by an irate supervisor,” he adds.

When ILC conducted its seamstress auditions, it preferred women — and it was always women — who had “extreme skill over extreme experience,” Lewis says. “[ILC and NASA] can teach someone who has very high skill level in sewing but they can’t unteach bad habits.”

Photo: SSPL/Getty Images This spacesuit was worn by William Anders during the first manned flight around the moon, the Apollo 8 mission at Christmas 1968.

A single mistake, especially one that damaged the fibers, could result in a discarded suit. Work would have to start all over again. “There’s no seconds outlet for spacesuits like there is for bra manufacturers,” Lewis quips.

Standing shoulder to shoulder with the seamstresses were what Lewis calls the “glue-pot ladies,” who applied the seals on the rubber bladders and likewise had to work “very, very quickly, very, very efficiently and without flaw.”

There were also the “dippers” who dipped layers of rubber to create the convolutes, often with the same skill they honed at the Playtex division. More proof of the relationship between Playtex and the Apollo program: Until 1966, the pipes of liquid latex that ran to the dipping room emerged from the same tanks that supplied the girdle and bra assembly lines.

The women of ILC were yoked with a great responsibility, one that they never lost sight of. Neither did they forget that their suits would be worn by actual people. Each suit, De Monchaux says, bore a laminated photograph of the astronaut it belonged to, “just so they felt that connection to this person whom they were literally keeping alive with their craftsmanship.”

“It’s really important to understand that they were made like a piece of clothing, not like an engineered object,” De Monchaux says.

Photo: Eye Ubiquitous/UIG via Getty Images Astronaut Buzz Aldrin walking on the moon.

In the end, the suits did more than maintain the barrier between life and death on an impossibly alien terrain. Thanks to the combined efforts of the spacesuit program — and the same materials that Playtex used in its foundation wear — Armstrong and Aldrin were able to flex their elbows, knees, and ankles with minimal effort, run experiments, collect samples of rocks and dust, and, in the former’s case, make an unscheduled sprint to photograph a crater 200 yards from the lunar lander.

“It turned out to be one of the most widely photographed spacecraft in history,” Armstrong later said of the suit. “It was tough, reliable, and almost cuddly.”

In the span of two decades, ILC, by now a completely separate entity from Playtex, had gone from exploring the intimate space of women’s bodies to constructing the “intimate architecture” of suits in space. That mid-century women were forced to conform to these impossible shapes was ridiculous, De Monchaux says. Then again, so is a pressure suit, if you think about it. Both the rubber girdle and the Apollo suit were “painful and difficult garments.”

And indeed, such was the relationship between astronauts and their bespoke suits that they often visited them in deep storage at the Smithsonian, just to make sure they were being taken care of.

“All of the Apollo astronauts regard these pieces of clothing as having been part of their bodies,” De Monchaux says. “They were part of themselves.”

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High-flash photography has infiltrated magazines, Instagram, advertising — you name it.

Pick up a magazine or fall down Instagram’s rabbit hole and you’re likely to come across at least one photograph lit up by an unnaturally bright flash — a flash that floods the space, evenly illuminating every detail in vivid color. When it catches someone unaware, laughing or cheering or yelling, you can see clear into their mouth, all the way to the pink inside of their cheek.

Under this light, which is ruthless but not unflattering, you can count the grains of quinoa in a Sweetgreen Chicken Pesto Parm bowl. You appreciate every buttery gradient on the toasted exterior of a Waffle House sandwich. The subjects of the photograph may be young Fortnite players, royal wedding superfans, or political protesters; no matter who they are, their teeth look whiter, and their skin glows as though post-facial, even more so when amplified by the luminosity of a computer or phone screen.

The key elements of this ubiquitous photography style are a direct flash, high color saturation, and a blunt-force sense of hyperreality. It’s used by both consumer brands and journalistic institutions, from Bon Appétit to the New York Times.

“That look we refer to as the ‘heightened look.’ That pop of flash helps to elevate what would normally be a fairly banal situation,” says Jody Quon, the photography director of New York magazine. “The colors become more saturated; there’s a little bit more lit drama to the image. I wouldn’t say it’s cinematic, but it is, slightly, in a more crude way.”

Product photography with a stark, direct flash has become a signature for Coming Soon, a mostly vintage furniture store in New York that opened in 2013. It transforms a pale pink velvet sofa, irreverently set on a concrete floor, into a gleaming pearl of an object. A glass side table looks as crystalline as the ocean in the Bahamas.

Owners Helena Barquet and Fabiana Faria say they initially gravitated toward this look because it creates a mood that’s playful and not at all precious.

“We always hoped that the store would be a fun experience for people to come into,” they explain over the phone, “and that type of photography at that moment seemed to be the match.”

A post shared by sweetgreen (@sweetgreen) on Apr 2, 2018 at 8:52am PDT

Some photographers turn to it as a matter of necessity. Cole Wilson, a regular contributor to the New York Times, says he learned the technique of “blasting light everywhere” from another photographer and found that it gave his images a uniform look when he had to work quickly. When Wilson shot the 2016 Democratic National Convention for a Racked story about political fashion, he roamed around the protest site outside the venue, raising a handheld flashbulb to snap a photo before the person knew what was happening.

The blast of light approach has also proven useful when Wilson has been tasked with capturing executives in their natural habitat.

“I’m in these really shitty spaces where you don’t have a lot of control over anything,” he says. “They have low ceilings and really boring office furniture. There’s nothing to work with that feels aesthetically inspiring.”

This has become a common photographic strategy for business stories. When New York magazine was working on a feature about IAC chair Barry Diller a few years back, Quon’s team was told at the last moment that they had just five minutes to photograph Diller in his office.

“Not the most photogenic situation,” Quon says. “Not the easiest picture to make.”

So she hired Jason Nocito — a master of what Quon calls “docuport,” or a mashup of documentary photography and portraiture — to give it the “heightened look.” In the final photo, Diller is striding forward, his gaze fixed, one finger pointed at the camera.

“The combination of the flash and how Jason caught him, you could feel the ego of Barry Diller in the picture,” Quon says. “It wasn’t just a generic businessman of a certain age. It brought a little sex appeal to the image.”

A heavy flash can make a bland room look cool, in a garishly mundane way; office dwellers suddenly look energetic, caught mid-action. This style can also give the unromantic appearance of putting its subject under a microscope, which fits the bill when the story is about corporate America.

In the retail world, Barquet and Faria feel a similar desire for photography that emphasizes clarity.

“We live in a very peculiar moment right now where everyone, even if the economy is doing well, has this weird unease,” they say. “There’s more of a need to be honest, almost like a burning need to be more candid, versus smoke and mirrors.”

Photo: Cole Wilson for Racked The scene outside the Democratic National Convention in 2016.
Photo: Cole Wilson for Racked The scene outside the Democratic National Convention in 2016.

It’s certainly not the gauzy, dreamy look made popular in the early 2010s by Petra Collins, a young champion of the female gaze who now shoots Gucci campaigns and music videos for Selena Gomez. But a photograph shot under harsh, direct light isn’t necessarily more honest than that. It’s an ultra-stylized way of looking at the world — raw, but exaggerated.

It would be wrong to call high-flash photography a trend. In the earlier part of the 20th century, the photographer Weegee made it a hallmark of his gritty black-and-white pictures of murder victims, fires, and the crowds that gather at crime scenes. (Weegee provided the basis for Jake Gyllenhaal’s character in Nightcrawler.) Rounding the corner from the ’90s to the aughts, the German photographer Juergen Teller rose to prominence in the fashion world thanks to his blown-out editorial and advertising images, which gave luxury brands like Marc Jacobs and Céline an off-the-cuff, unvarnished look.

Teller’s overexposed style is versatile, by turns idyllic and confrontational. It can sell a Marc Jacobs Daisy fragrance to teenage girls at Macy’s just as easily as it can provoke discomfort in adults, if the sight of a stranger’s bare asshole — lit up, unmistakably, by the camera’s flash — makes you feel weird. (I’ll let you Google that yourself.)

The unapologetic anti-professionalism of direct flash photography has no better poster children than Terry Richardson and American Apparel, both known for their bright, highly sexualized imagery of the mid-aughts. Longstanding sexual harassment claims against Richardson finally gained real traction in the #MeToo era, leading the publishing giant Condé Nast to bar its publications from working with him. American Apparel, having ousted founder Dov Charney (who’s also been accused of sexual harassment) in 2014, filed for bankruptcy twice before shutting down all of its stores and selling to Gildan.

Tag your bestie. to shop.

A post shared by American Apparel (@americanapparelusa) on Aug 22, 2018 at 12:32pm PDT

Relaunched and readying to open its first store since closing down shop, American Apparel seems focused on maintaining a cleaner image. But that heavy flash is all over the new pictures it’s posting on Instagram — just with less controversial content. Meanwhile, Richardson may be a pariah, but his influence remains strong.

Of course, this kind of photography can also be applied to more wholesome pursuits.

“The stronger, harder light style of photography is nothing new, but it certainly is perhaps evolving into a bigger trend in terms of our photographic language,” says Michele Outland, the creative director of Bon Appétit.

It wasn’t so mainstream in the food world when Outland launched Gather Journal in 2012. When she was coming up as an art director at Martha Stewart Living, food photography was mostly about shooting dishes by a window, bathed in natural light. At Gather, Outland wanted to give food a more cinematic treatment, which often involves a dramatic burst of light.

Outland praises this style for being graphic and modern — ideal, as others have remarked, for capturing the energy of a place. Such was the case when Bon Appétit staff photographer Alex Lau was shooting the lively staff and fiery food at the Brooklyn Thai restaurant Ugly Baby for the magazine’s list of America’s best new restaurants this year.

Appropriately for our information age, this style gives us details. Those details may not capture the full reality of the situation — no photograph can — but there are certainly a lot of them.

Photo: New York magazine King Bach on the cover of New York magazine’s April 21, 2014, issue.

“If you have a flat style, everything becomes the focus of the image and it maybe makes the viewer’s eye wander throughout the image rather than immediately going to the subject when the background is dark,” explains Dolly Faibyshev, a photographer who loves using flash against a blue sky. “It’s more meaty, and there’s more detail.”

Indeed, it’s a style favored by the popular beauty and fashion websites Into the Gloss and the Coveteur, both of which built their names by going into the homes of cool, creative people and documenting the full contents of their medicine cabinets and closets, respectively.

As with all things aesthetic, creatives’ interest in a heavy flash is going to wax and wane. Since moving into a bigger store space that allows for new light positioning, Coming Soon’s owners have brought more shadows into their product photography. The look is still one of blunt brightness, but with some creeping darkness in the mix.

Should Barquet and Faria stray too far from their signature look, however, their Instagram followers might revolt.

“We’ll sometimes post darker photos, and we notice that when we do that, we don’t get that many likes,” they say. “People don’t want that from us.”

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