Entering the first of the ten exhibition rooms instantly makes a lasting impression. The room is encapsulated in darkness, all of his work subtly lit by spotlights. This showcases Horst’s signature, as he was admired for his ability to play with light and shadow and dramatic spotlighting.
The exhibition does not just reveal a legendary fashion photographer, it is also shows Horst P. Horst as a well rounded individual with a mind of his own. Starting early in the 1930’s, his long lasting mentor Hoyningen-Huene gave him a chance as his assistant and taught him everything he knew about photography and even (behind closed doors) became his lover. Being the assistant of such a star photographer as Hoyningen-Huene didn’t just bring him experience, it also opened doors to important contacts such as Cecil Beaton and the Art Director of American Vogue, Dr Mehemed Agha, who later on encouraged Horst to work as a fashion photographer. The first milestone was set and his career took off by working regularly for Vogue, where Horst’s first cover was published on the American, British and French editions of Vogue, depicting Princess Sherbatow in a red velveteen jacket.
Another insight that the exhibition gives you is that Horst found a breathing space from the fashion world by travelling to Israel, Italy, Syria and Morocco. He discovered ancient cultures, architecture and nature that he found inspiration in. A series called “Patterns From Nature” were the result of this fascination and showed another side of the creative and talented photographer. So much unseen work – and work from a different perspective than fashion – let the legend of a photographer grow larger but also makes him more human.
This exhibition left a big impression on me; it doesn’t just represent the fame of Horst P Horst as a fashion photographer, but rather as a unique individual that was talented in many ways. Get your own impression and visit the exhibition which runs until January 4th 2015.
All images @ Copyright © Condé Nast/Horst Estate
Horst: Photographer of Style
6th September 2014 – 4th January 2015
Victoria and Albert Museum
London SW7 2RL
Words by Sarah Tobias
TagsCondé Nast, Horst P Horst, Horst P. Horst – The work and life of a legend, Photography, Sarah Tobias, Victoria and Albert Museum, Vogue,