John French, fashion photographer

John French, (1 March 1907–21 July 1966), was an amazing British portrait and fashion photographer who became famous after convincing the editors of the national press to use his photographs in the newspaper. The women he shot were usually high society people, but what made his work really stand out was his lighting and his positioning of his models. His specialized use of natural lighting aided by the use of reflectors or continuous lighting in studio created not only flawlessly lit photographs but also made them perfect for newsprint, resulting in his pictures being displayed in numerous magazines and newspapers.

One thing that is most interesting about his photographs is the positioning of the hands of his models. Hands speak a lot about a person’s mood and emotion, and French’s models all have hands that exude confidence and comfort. He usually left the triggering of the shutter to one of his two assistants, and focused most on the models’ positioning. His pictures really stood out because they broke away from the norm of the time in fashion photography, which was very stiff and formal, and instead captured each model’s personality, and that coupled with photographing women in a more comfortable, natural setting, allowed for a more inviting picture with more depth and contrast than any extensive lighting or complex studio setup. His pictures show women in control of and comfortable with themselves, something you didn’t see in the 50’s and 60’s, and his style of photography prefaced the coming Newtons and Avedons of fashion photography, setting women in a new, refreshing, and beautiful light.

French photographed on medium format cameras, usually preferring his Hasselblad or Rolleiflex cameras. He is often overlooked in the search of inspirational photographers, but his contribution shows that you don’t have to use much to get what you want, and it’s the photographer and his use of the light, not how much or how expensive his equipment is, that gets the perfect shot.

Fuente: Beautiful Struggle Productions

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