GIFTING: Who is Vince Aletti giving his book to this Christmas?

The author of Issues: A History of Photography in Fashion Magazines tells us who is on his Christmas list
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Vince Aletti photographed by Steven Haas
Vince Aletti photographed by Steven Haas

You might be forgiven for thinking that the librarian at New York’s newly reopened Museum of Modern Art has enough reading material for the holiday season. However, Vince Aletti’s proposed Christmas gift isn’t intended to serve as simple winter entertainment.

For years, Aletti, a New York-based writer and critic, has worked to rescue fashion photography – especially fashion photography published in magazines – from the recycling pile, and elevate it to a higher cultural plane.

 

A spread from Harper’s Bazaar, Harry Emerson 1934. Collection Vince Aletti. As reproduced in Issues: A History of Photography in Fashion Magazines by Vince Aletti
A spread from Harper’s Bazaar, Harry Emerson 1934. Collection Vince Aletti. As reproduced in Issues: A History of Photography in Fashion Magazines by Vince Aletti

The high point of Aletti’s year came back in the spring, when Phaidon published his book, Issues: A History of Photography in Fashion Magazines. In the book, he selected 100 significant magazine issues from his expansive personal archive, revealing images by photographers rarely seen outside their original context, throwing light on a fresh, idiosyncratic, and previously unexplored angle on the history of photography. It really is a wonderfully curated collection of the images that helped shape fashion. Read on to find out his take on 2019, why MoMA might be getting a copy of Issues and what he'll be up to in 2020.

 

Harper’s Bazaar, Special Edition, Fall 1962, Gleb Derujinsky. Collection Vince Aletti. As reproduced in Issues: A History of Photography in Fashion Magazines by Vince Aletti
Harper’s Bazaar, Special Edition, Fall 1962, Gleb Derujinsky. Collection Vince Aletti. As reproduced in Issues: A History of Photography in Fashion Magazines by Vince Aletti

What inspired you most this year? The many activist and resistance movements in the US and abroad, standing up for immigrants, refugees, climate control, and gun control, demonstrating against corrupt systems, repressive laws, and authoritarian politicians.

What annoyed you most? The current, dangerous, and clearly unbalanced President of the United States. But annoyance is too mild a word in this case.

What was your personal highlight? The publication of Issues: A History of Photography in Fashion Magazines, a book I've been imagining for years, and the enthusiastic reception it received in the international press.

 

A spread from Vogue, Clifford Coffin 1949. Collection Vince Aletti. As reproduced in Issues: A History of Photography in Fashion Magazines by Vince Aletti
A spread from Vogue, Clifford Coffin 1949. Collection Vince Aletti. As reproduced in Issues: A History of Photography in Fashion Magazines by Vince Aletti

What can we expect from you in 2020? I'm hoping to turn 'This Is Not a Fashion Photograph', my monthly column for Vogue Italia, into a book this coming year. 

Who will you give your Phaidon book to for Christmas? The librarian at New York's remodeled and newly energized Museum of Modern Art, because I'd love to see MoMA pay more attention to the history of photography in printed matter, especially fashion magazines.

 

A spread from Junior Bazaar, November 1945, by Hermann Landsoff. Collection Vince Aletti. As reproduced in Issues: A History of Photography in Fashion Magazines by Vince Aletti
A spread from Junior Bazaar, November 1945, by Hermann Landsoff. Collection Vince Aletti. As reproduced in Issues: A History of Photography in Fashion Magazines by Vince Aletti

Know someone who'd love this season's most fashionable gift? Then buy them a copy of Issues here. This luxury, oversized edition, richly illustrated with brilliant reproductions, and enclosed in an elegant archival-style magazine-file box, is the essential addition to any book collection on photography, fashion, and graphic design. Get their gift here.

 

Issues: A History of Photography in Fashion Magazines by Vince Aletti


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Phaidon is the premier global publisher of the creative arts with over 1,500 titles in print. We work with the world's most influential artists, chefs, writers and thinkers to produce innovative books on art, photography, design, architecture, fashion, food and travel, and illustrated books for children. Phaidon is headquartered in London and New York City.
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