4 Tips on Collecting Fashion Photography, according to Nicola Erni Collection CEO Stefan Puttaert

Gerard Ortiz

Due to the fact its origins in the late 1990s, the trader Nicola Erni has crafted one particular of the world’s most popular collections of style pictures. Populated by iconic looks from just about every decade starting with the 1930s, the assortment options notable functions from the likes of Richard Avedon, Paolo Roversi, and much more.

“Fashion and images have normally been a enthusiasm to Nicola,” said Stefan Puttaert, CEO of the Erni Selection. Erni’s collection started from a series of images from the 1960s and 1970s that reflected a time of cultural adjust in the worlds of artwork, filmmaking, fashion, and music.

The selection carries on to mature right now, and in 2013, Erni opened a personal museum in Steinhausen, Switzerland, to household the operates. The selection showcases a heritage of style pictures as a medium, but also displays Erni’s personalized design and style. “Not only did she enjoy flipping by style publications in her teenage years, she started out to layout her really first clothes,” Puttaert added.

So, what advice does he have for aspiring collectors of trend photography? Artsy spoke to Puttaert for his best strategies.

A golden rule of amassing any medium continues to be genuine for vogue pictures: Abide by your individual eye and intuition. “Nicola Erni acquires performs in accordance to what speaks to her heart and presents her goosebumps,” Puttaert told Artsy. “Collect according to what speaks to your heart and retain your eyes huge open, go with the move.”

Erni, for occasion, is specially fascinated in how trend pictures is a item of each artwork and commerciality—representing a collaboration of essential figures, Puttaert explained, from designers and types to makeup artists and hairstylists, to set designers and, of system, photographers. It’s a method that Erni finds interesting.

Soon after much more than two decades of accumulating manner pictures, Erni’s enthusiasm for the medium continues to be undimmed. She is generally on the lookout for up-and-coming names to increase to her selection and discovers them in all places from publications to museums.

For instance, Erni identified the get the job done of Australian photographer Emma Summerton in Vogue a handful of years ago. They turned very good close friends, and Erni ordered a number of of her works. A single of the key strengths of the Erni Assortment is that it is consistently hunting toward the future. In addition to heavyweight names like Irving Penn and Mario Testino, it also characteristics newer artists like Summerton, Hassan Hajjaj, Erik Madigan Heck, Nadine Ijewere, Tyler Mitchell, and Harley Weir.

Puttaert observed that some museums have performed exceptionally excellent perform sharing style pictures in the past several a long time as properly, highlighting “Icons of Design: A Century of Fashion Photography” at the Getty in 2018 “Vogue Paris 1920–2020” at Palais Galliera in Paris in 2021 and monographic exhibitions such as “Steven Meisel 1993 A Yr in Photographs” in A Coruña, Spain, correct now.

Fashion heritage exhibitions can also be a fantastic resource of inspiration, as well. “Shocking! The Surreal Entire world of Elsa Schiaparelli” at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, and La Galerie Dior, which handles Dior’s heritage, are other current noteworthy examples, Puttaert stated.

When a function speaks to Erni, she finds it fulfilling to get insight from artists about their inspiration, philosophy, supplies, and technique, mentioned Puttaert. He advises other collectors to do the exact same.

“When possible, it is crucial to her to meet up with the photographers and discover their art before obtaining performs by them,” Puttaert mentioned. “The identical treatment transpires with contemporary art, exactly where Nicola loves to check out artists in their studios, [and] look at their operate in unique institutional exhibitions, galleries, and auctions just before selecting no matter whether to get a piece or not.”

No matter whether you are interested in Monthly bill Cunningham’s iconic road-design and style pictures or a traditional Richard Avedon or Irving Penn editorial, there is a current market for you. Erni’s assortment attributes functions from substantial-style editorials and paparazzi pictures to portrait photography and road model. Making a assortment that encompasses a number of genres involves knowledge them individually, as effectively as the sum of their areas.

“It is up to every collector irrespective of whether [they decide] to diversify and go past one particular particular style,” Puttaert mentioned. A present-day exhibition of Erni’s assortment at the Norton Museum in Palm Seaside, Florida, incorporates perform from across distinct time periods and genres. “Expanding a selection in that optic can provide interesting relations amongst different style fields.”

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