Arthur Elgort: The Big Picture

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Kate Moss in Nepal, British Vogue, 1993
Kate Moss in Nepal, British Vogue, 1993© Arthur Elgort, courtesy of Galleria Carla Sozzani, Milano

Fresh-faced, free spirited, tousle-haired – we consider the work of lauded fashion photographer, Arthur Elgort

Who? Celebrated photographer Arthur Elgort has been capturing fashion's biggest faces in his groundbreakingly spontaneous style since his 1971 shoot for British Vogue, the catalyst for a remarkable, ongoing career. Father of the now iconic "snapshot", Elgort's focus on movement and natural light brought a photojournalistic air to fashion photography, liberating the medium from the formal conventions that historically defined it.

What? Offering visitors the chance to see many of Elgort's most captivating images, an upcoming show at Milan's Galleria Carla Sozzani will encompass five decades of the New-York-born photographer's work, including an array of personal photographs as well as a select grouping of some of his most famous fashion portraits of the young women who would go on to become the first generation of supermodels. A radiant Kate Moss enjoys in a game of Trivial Pursuit in Nepal; a braided, sultry Naomi Campbell is swiftly wrapped by Azzedine Alaïa in one of his more revealing dresses; a smouldering, slick-haired Linda Evangelista gazes into the distance.

Why? Casual, lively and delightfully natural, the pictures leave one in no doubt as to the reasons why Elgort is one of the most emulated fashion photographers of the past half-century. But what was it that inspired his pioneering approach? Apparently a lifelong love of music and dance – in particular jazz and ballet from the 30s and 40s – coupled with a natural instinct for what makes a great shot. As he once explained, "Some of my best pictures were taken when I wasn't "working" ­– models getting ready, people on the street, the little moments in between shots. That's when you can really capture people as they truly are and see what's underneath. It's those real moments that just can't be faked."

Arthur Elgort: The Big Picture opens at Galleria Carla Sozzani on February 5 and runs until April 6.

Words by Daisy Woodward