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THROUGH MY LENS
by Penelope Bent-Lippincott
I have been photographing women professionally all of my adult life. This year marks my Fortieth year in this industry; and needless to say, I am so very grateful for all the amazing women that I have shared this exciting experience with, and for all that I have learned.
My camera lens has been a very intimate and private doorway into the lives and the emotions of the women I have photographed; and I thank them all for trusting in this most intimate and creative process.
I began shooting in the late seventies and early eighties as a Boudoir Photographer and then on to Fashion as the years passed. Being one of the very few female shooters at the time allowed for a much more honest narrative and collaboration with my clients.
Through those early years, I learned how to angle and adjust my subject for that "Perfect Picture;" but more then that, I learned "Visual Design." I also learned about a woman's spirit, illusion, and light.
I learned the Art of a Woman's Individual Style and how her Style Transitions with age.
Here is what I learned Through My Lens.
The NEW Me or The NEW You! Just how many times have we read that title in Fashion Magazines or Newspaper Articles, or in a piece of marketing material we receive in our In Box or our Mail Box? Just how many times are we encouraged to Become the NEW Me or The New You!
Drum Roll Please, you knew this was coming, out of my mouth to your ears . . . What the Hell is wrong with The OLD ME, or The NOW ME?
Don't get me wrong. — I Love Style, I Love Fashion, and I feel blessed to have worked in an industry, my whole life, that I was so passionate about. My real concern is how the Fashion and Entertainment industries are interpreted by their Viewers and their effect on the well-being of the women in our culture.
I think it is very important to understand that Media and Marketing Images are all about SELLING A PRODUCT! They are created to tell a story, capture ones imagination, evoke a feeling, and encourage you to need a specific product so that you too could share in the experience. The important piece here is that these stories, however dramatic, are fantasies, and for the most part are images that in Real Life are unattainable.
I spent years in the Modeling Business as a Talent Agent and one thing I learned, early on, was that the Modeling Industry is built on Stats.
Body measurements dictate your success or failure in this industry. I also learned for one to be 5'9" with a 34 inch hip was very rare in American women. It just is not a major factor in our DNA. And to even consider body
measurements of 34-24-34 after the age of fourteen, was almost an impossible task. Now Canadian women or Scandinavian women, on the other hand, are a whole different story. That's why you see these stunning beauties grace our Fashion Runways creating an illusion while communicating the message behind the Designers’ Art. Their job is to Express and share a body of work.
The more Dramatic & Daring the better. Runway shows are just that, they are shows. In reality, very few designs from each Collection are ever created for public consumption. They are created only for the Fashion Designers Public Image within the Marketplace.
Interestingly enough, I worked with Oscar De La Renta on a Fashion Show in California, featuring his NEW Ready to Wear Line. As we were chatting, I asked him why he had decided to create fashions for the mainstream woman and drift so far away from the Couture World where he was so well known. His answer was simple, Economics. The days of Jackie O and the Couture buyer were fading. The Real Woman was making her voice heard and he was listening.
I think it is so very important, as a modern woman, to understand Fashion and create ones own Style based on the NOW You . . . The Real You, the You that is in your mirror Today! Fashion is a Trend, but Style is a Choice!