Wednesday, June 11, 2008

As you see yourself

So the Topshop Helmut Newton Machine is already old news in the fashion blogosphere, but the real news about it is that its coming to Dublin from the 17th-22nd June! Its nice to see Ireland included in 'the tour'.

The 'machine' is based on an idea that Helmut Newton (fashion photographer) had in the 1970s to allow the model complete control over the photo shoot. Its simply a camera fitted with a timer, which the model controls, and a mirror behind so she can check her pose. Now Topshop are recreating the machine in some of their stores and allowing us to style, model and photograph our own fashion shoots. It looks like great fun!

But to be all philosophical and serious here for a moment - the original purpose of the machine was to 'capture the subject as they see themselves', yet I wonder if the machine takes on a completely different meaning in this day and age. Does the machine capture the subjects as they see themselves... or as they want themselves to be seen? I guess the fact that there is a rail of Topshop clothes available to people gives 'the subjects' the ability to enhance their outfits. I don't really believe that everyone walks around London in high heels and fancy hats!

The Newton machine maybe have been an interesting concept at a time when photography was more difficult and more exclusive than it is now, an idea ahead of its time. But in today's world it is simply a smoother version of what all of us have at home. Especially with the Internet and the many style websites such as Wardrobe Re_mix,, Chictopia and bloggers (like myself) who often style, model and photograph their outfits. So I asked myself the question...when I take outfit photos does it capture the way I see myself? I honestly don't think so. To start with I have a very complex view of myself, one photo could never capture it. I think that those photos have alot more to do with the way I would like myself to be seen...creative, pretty, stylish or whatever the mood of the shoot is... and of course in a nice outfit! So what about the rest of you more experienced self-photographers? Do your outfit photos capture you how you see yourself or how you would like yourself to be seen?

For the rest of you (especially my Dublin friends, you know who you are)... get your outfits ready girls and boys and get yourselves down to Stephen's Green Topshop* next week sometime between the 17th and 22nd. I expect to see some familiar faces in that style gallery!

(*Or to Topshop in Oxford Circus London 10th-15th
or in Arndale Manchester 17th-22nd June)


Gemma said...

I can't wait for this to come to Manchester :)

I added you to my blogroll too, hope you don't mind :)

Gemma x

The Clothes Horse said...

So awesome--I love the concept. Maegan said...

I agree with you ...I think it's more about how you/me/we want the world to see us rather than capturing reality. It's just a bit more glamorous than reality maybe.

nice post.