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What We Learned This Week: Italian Vogue Links Fashion Photography to Climate Change

By David Schonauer   Friday January 17, 2020


Does fashion photography contribute to climate change?

Climate crisis has touched nearly every industry in the world — including, now, the glittering world of fashion photography: This week we learned that Vogue Italia decided to reduce carbon emissions by publishing its latest issue without any editorial photography. Instead, all the images in the January issue were created by illustrators in collaboration with stylists and models.

Editor-in-chief Emanuele Farneti explained in an editor’s note that to his knowledge this was the first time a Vogue magazine has gone photo-less since photography was invented, noted Bloomberg. Farneti said the issue was part of an environmentally-focused initiative, which was articulated in a recent mission statement and signed by the editors of all 26 editions of the Conde Nast publication.

“In the global debate on sustainability... there is one aspect that is particularly dear to me: intellectual honesty. In our case, this means admitting that there is a significant environmental impact associated with publishing a fashion magazine,” Farneti wrote in his editor’s note.

He went on to detail the carbon footprint left behind by photo shoots for the magazine — operations involving 150 people, 20 plane flights, 10 train trips, 40 cars on standby, 60 international shipments, and 10 hours of continuous lighting, as wells food waste from catering, plastic to wrap clothes, and power to charge phones and cameras.

Money saved from not producing photo shoots in this issue will go to Fondazione Querini Stampalia, a historic house and museum in Venice that was damaged in the floods in November. Venice’s mayor blamed climate change for the highest tide the city had seen in over 50 years, noted HuffPost.

Vogue Italia’s action is certainly novel within the fashion industry, declared Observer, which noted however that in the art world there has been “much conversation of late surrounding the need to decrease the amount of air travel arts professionals take part in all over the globe." Vogue Italia put the words into action.

Here are some of the other photo stories we spotlighted this week:
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1. Mark Peterson Looks at White Nationalism

In 2015, photojournalist Mark Peterson was covering a nascent presidential campaign that featured GOP primary candidates Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, and Rand Paul. At that point Donald Trump was not even on the radar. A year later, he was elected president. Meanwhile, that same year, 2016, Peterson photographed a rally in New York City led by far-right political pundit and provocateur Gavin McInnes, founder of the neo-fascist group Proud Boys, protesting Sharia law. Peterson, we noted, soon began a new project on the rise of white nationalism across the US. The work, featured in New York magazine in Dec., shows that "the threat of domestic terrorism can't be ignored.”


2. The Met Is Gifted 700 Photographs from Schaeffer Collection

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has received a promised gift of more than seven hundred rare photographs—including daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes, albumen silver prints, and gelatin silver prints—as well as albums dating from the 1840s to the 1910s, noted ArtForum. Donated by museum trustee Philip Maritz and his wife, Jennifer, the works are from the private collection of Drew Knowlton and William L. Schaeffer. A selection of daguerreotypes and early paper prints from the gift is currently on view in the exhibition “2020 Vision: Photographs, 1840s–1860s,” through May 10.


3. Shutterstock Creative Trends Report Points to a "Roaring 20s" Kind of Year

Welcome to the "Roaring 20s." The 2020s, that is. On Wednesday stock giant Shutterstock released its ninth annual Creative Trends Report, which, we noted, identifies "global and local trends that will influence design aesthetics and visual culture" in the year ahead. Based on data collected from billions of searches for images, footage, and music content by Shutterstock customers around the world, this year's report singles out three major creative trends peaking now: a yearning for "Roaring 20s" lavishness; a fascination with occulture and magic; and a taste for bright blooms. Also on the rise: "Cannabiz," "Minimalist Black," and “Wildlife."


4. How I Shot an Epic Image of a Bengal Tiger

Indian wildlife photographer Nitish Madan turned a dream into a reality during a December morning at Ranthambore National Park in northwest India, a former hunting ground of the maharajas that is now a tiger conservation center: Madan spent over 10 years waiting for the perfect moment to capture a Bengal tiger walking in front of the picturesque Ranthambore Fort, and he finally got it, noted My Modern Met. “I already knew how to compose the shot as I had practiced it a thousand times before,” he said.


5. Brilliant Timelapses Underscore the Problem of Light Pollution

Last year, photographer and filmmaker Asif Islam of Asif Photography set out to capture an 8K timelapse that would show the impact of light pollution. So he traveled from one end of the spectrum, so to speak, to the other, traveling from the bright lights of Los Angeles to the Great Basin Desert of the western U.S., one of the least light-polluted places on Earth. The result is the timelapse Where are the Stars? (above). We featured it on Monday, along Ancestral Nights, a new timelapse from the filmmakers behind the Skyglow Project, which aims to fight light pollution.
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At top: From the video Where are the Stars?

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