A Study on Play in Contemporary Fashion Photographs

현대 패션 사진에 나타난 유희성에 관한 연구

  • Received : 2015.04.17
  • Accepted : 2016.05.15
  • Published : 2016.06.30


The aim of this study was to gain an understanding of the element playfulness in fashion photographs related to openness and multiple significance in contemporary art. A total of 105 fashion photographs from US and UK Vogue magazine editorials and advertisements for the last five years were selected for the study. The photographs were analyzed in two main categories - the contextual element of themes, and the elements of visual expression; composition, models, objects and editing technology. The element of playfulness in the photographs were found to be divided into themes of infantile fantasy, social satire and situational dissonance, and elements of visual expression were found to express image distortion, expansion, exaggeration, reduction, and optical illusions. A photography type termed as infantile fantasy and social satire have descriptive characteristics and usually deliver the message by using models and objects to present a certain situation or express social satirical viewpoint and reflective attitude by using objects and photographic skills. A photography type termed as situational dissonance is characterized by immediately understood expressions and usually clarify the message by using a photographic technology such as editing the printed image or expect the model to express an exaggerated poses and ridiculous expressions, causing an optical illusion. Visually expressed and composed scene using composition, models, objects and editing technology is a specific character of photograph and due to the advances in computer editing technology it has been able to express the various playfulness.


play;fashion photographs;infantile fantasy;social satire;situational dissonance


  1. Advertising for Bloomingdale's. (2013, September). VOGUE USA, p. 418.
  2. Advertising for CH. (2011, January). VOGUE USA, p. 107.
  3. Advertising for DOLCE & GABBANA. (2014, August). VOGUE UK, p. 86.
  4. Advertising for Fame Lady Gaga. (2013, April). VOGUE UK, p. 122.
  5. Advertising for FRENCHCONNECTION. (2013, October). VOGUE UK, p. 278.
  6. Advertising for jcrew. (2010, December). VOGUE USA, p. 76.
  7. Advertising for kate spade. (2014, December). VOGUE USA, p. 73.
  8. Advertising for KENZO. (2013, September). VOGUE USA, p. 287.
  9. Advertising for KENZO. (2014, September). VOGUE UK, p. 89.
  10. Advertising for LOUIS VUITTON. (2013, May). VOGUE USA, p. 230.
  11. Advertising for Marc Jacobs. (2010, April). VOGUE USA, p. 21.
  12. Advertising for Stella McCartney. (2013, May). VOGUE UK, p. 98.
  13. Advertising for TARGET. (2010, April). VOGUE USA, p. 32.
  14. Advertising for Vertu. (2013, December). VOGUE UK, p. 121.
  15. Already Way Ahead by Steven Klein. (2010, April). VOGUE USA, p. 235.
  16. An, G. J. (2012). A study on the aesthetics of black humor in contemporary fashion design. Unpublished master's thesis, Hongik University, Seoul.
  17. Cho, H. J., & Kim, U. Y. (2005). A study on difference of humor preferences and uses. Korean Journal of Communication & Information, 31, 355-378.
  18. Dancing days by Annie Leibovitz. (2014, December). VOGUE USA, p. 277.
  19. Final Gestures by Annie Leibovitz. (2010, July). VOGUE USA, p. 144.
  20. Friedrich, S. (2012). Briefe uber die asthetosche erziehung des menschen [On the aesthetic education of man] (I. H. Ahn, Trans.). Seoul: Human Art. (Original work published 1923)
  21. Honey-Do by Tim Walker. (2013, May). VOGUE USA, p. 587.
  22. Jang, J. I. (2008). Playful express in contemporary fashion illustration. The Research Journal of the Costume Culture, 16(6), 1142-1155.
  23. Jang, J. I. (2013). Visual humor expressed in contemporary men's fashion. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Hanyang University, Seoul.
  24. Johan, H. (2010). Homo ludens: A study of the play elements in culture (J. I. Lee, Trans.). Seoul: Yeonamseoga. (Original work published 1938)
  25. Jung, S. I. (2006). Framing photographs. Seoul: Hanbit.
  26. Kang, T. H. (2007, July). I'll be your mirror - Art & fashion photography. Art Forum, pp. 160-167.
  27. Karate Kid by Mario Testino. (2013, May). VOGUE USA, p. 515.
  28. Kim, H. J. (2006). A study on the playing characteristics found on the fashion show window displays. Unpublished master's thesis, Sookmyung Women's University, Seoul.
  29. Kim, Y. P. (2011). How to read photography: The world of photography. Seoul: Noonbit.
  30. Kong, B. H. (2007). Problems and methods of aesthetics play. In the editorial committee for the Korean companion to aesthetics (Eds.), Play. (pp. 469-485). Seoul: Seoul National University Press.
  31. Lee, C. Y., & Ha, J. S. (2014). Madness images shown in editorial fashion photographs in Vogue Italia since 2000. The Research Journal of the Costume Culture, 22(3), 450-467. doi:10.7741/rjcc.2014.22.3.450
  32. Lee, Y. H. (2013). The women's bodies in fashion photography -On theory of feminism and gaze-. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul.
  33. Mary Walis and her light line by Linsey adelman studio. (2014, December). VOGUE USA, p. 166.
  34. Passion play by Steven Klein. (2013, July). VOGUE USA, p. 139.
  35. Power Trip by Annie Leibovitz. (2013, February). VOGUE USA, p. 214.
  36. The Futures So Bright by Theo Wenne. (2014, May). VOGUE UK, p. 287.
  37. Seo, Y. S. (2004). A study on visual expression effect of editorial fashion photography. Design Forum, 9, 253-265.
  38. Susan, S. (2011). Photography & text. In Kim W. R. (Eds.), Photography within the humanities (pp. 173-185). Seoul: Noonbit. (Original work published 1975).
  39. Whole In One by Rachel Perry Welty. (2011, December). VOGUE USA, p. 303.
  40. Yu, Y. B. (2002). Research about photographic expression in magazine advertisement -Concentrate upon fashion magazine-. Unpublished master's thesis, Daegu University, Gyeongsan.


Grant : BK21플러스

Supported by : 서울대학교