Back in the pre-Mert & Marcus days before ultra-sophisticated fashion, when it wasn’t all about It bags and It shoes, Elaine Constantine was one of the most in-demand photographers around. Her peak was the late nineties when every other photographer tried to imitate her energetic, brightly-lit compositions. Her commissions included ad campaigns for Jigsaw and endless editorials for Italian Vogue and The Face with Big, Arena Homme Plus and US Vogue coming later. Youthful energy – complete with flowy hair and open-mouthed laughter – was her main trademark and the one that brought her to my attention. Her shoots involved a mix of models and ‘real people’ (often her friends) crowd-surfing, dancing, cycling and having pillow fights – in essence, simply having a good old time. The result was a hyper-real, action-packed style that wasn’t often found in fashion photography. These days, sadly it’s all about pandering to the advertisers, so statue-still studio shoots take precedence over location shoots which also keeps the budget reined in.
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Artist Mark Leckey’s ‘Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore’ film, a mash-up of 70s, 80s and 90s disco and clubbing footage was created in 1999 and caused quite a stir. Its technique of splicing Northern Soul dancers with 80s casuals and 90s ravers, speeded up and on repeat is a compelling observation piece on the culture of clubbing and dancing. (more…)