How to Create Avant Garde Fashion Photography

Avant-garde fashion photography is among the most challenging styles because it represents a journey to the edge of what is regarded normal in today's culture. Some avant-garde photographers have been regarded as pioneers and architects of modernism and celebrities within both the Dada and Surrealist movements of the 1920s, '30s and '40s. Constructing a good avant-garde shoot is to push the envelope, walk on the edge, and take bold liberties with creativity and attitude. There are a few basic components to consider when conceptualizing an avant-garde project.

Environment and Props

Many photographers choose to set the tone of the avant-garde by designing the shoot from the ground up. The environment or background is very important when establishing mood and style. Using shocking color schemes, textures, and patterns can not only help the photographer build upon the model's look, mood, and attitude, but possibly meld one into the other. Urban decay, post apocalyptic imagery and surreal visuals have always been themes incorporated into this genre of photography. Outrageous props can also serve as excellent tools for inspiration. Distressed metals, obscure furniture, and controversial objects in society have contributed to some of the world's most interesting and provocative works of photography.

Face, Body, Hair and Clothing

In fashion, face, hair style and clothing are primary focal points within each photograph. In avant-garde, these factors are not only important, but essential. Toppling barriers with make-up, face paint, tattoos or body paints can take a model from stunning to shocking within one creative snap of the stylist's fingers. In the history of fashion, the avant-garde has influenced hair styles, color and shape on multiple levels. A willing model, supported by a highly creative photographer, can inspire a talented stylist to use hair like clay and create the bizarre and shocking.

Many fashion shoots are built to feature the work of specific clothing designers, so it is important to allow all these components to work in concert. When modeling a specific line, the clothing should always agree with the theme. When outside those boarders, the avant-garde photographer, stylist and model can redefine the meaning of clothing depending on the level of creativity within the team. Stepping to the edge should not be avoided.

Drama, Attitude and Impact

Finally, the use of all these components are only the bricks and mortar of a successful avant-garde photography shoot. The photographer, model and stylist must create levels of drama to draw the viewers eye closer and make them think and question. The model must exhibit an accurate attitude which will compliment both the dramatic theme and the overall landscape of the photograph. With these now working in unison, the photograph must make a permanent mark which will impact the viewers eye and mind at first glance. 

The photographer's challenge is to successfully create an image that will live on the edge of normal, dramatically shake the ground of what is acceptable, and truly capture the avant-garde spirit. 

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