Part of the Fashion Biz is knowing how to cast the right model for the shoot that you are doing. The question is, who is the right model? Of course one of the considerations in casting the appropriate model is dependent on the "Story Board" of your shoot. But before even commencing the casting, you must gain a vocabulary and understanding of "What is the Look" of the moment. If you are reading this article, I will make the assumption that you re not yet in the position to set a trend. I say that because, if you are not being published in trend setting media, what you do produce with the model you have chosen will not set a new precedent. Thus the "Politics of fashion" states that you will have to gain the vocabulary of knowing the "Look's" that are the flavor of the month.
The concept of beauty changes over time and is more often gradual than abrupt. However, in Fashion Biz those changes are more apparent. if you are "Watching" you will be able to observe those abrupt changes and adapt to what the scene expects of you when you do finally decide to take the plunge and do a photo series.
My brother often reminds me of the story of when he came to a party at a club in Paris that I frequented. It was during the collections and there were some incredibly attractive women there. He pointed out one that for all intent in purpose was classically gorgeous. I looked at her and was taken aback by my response. I said something like the following "yeah she is classically beautiful and could probably shoot catalogues, but she is just too predictable…"
His jaw dropped when I pointed out to him one of the Top Models of the moment. He said "I wouldn't look twice at her if I saw her on the street!!!" To that I replied, "yeah but she is unusual and photographs well because of her quirkiness."
The above story related to a certain time frame and every few seasons you may observe subtle changes or an abrupt one. But one thing you can be certain of is that it will. What was considered beautiful ten years ago would not cut it today and what cuts it today will not cut it tomorrow.
To gain this vocabulary, your obligation is to become oriented to what the "Look" is.
To do so you will have to commence swallowing magazines by the dozens until you are able to choose with knowledgeable eyes. Go to all of the major Model Agency sites and look at their tear sheets (published work) and see which magazines they have been published in. If it is "Redbook" (does that mag still exist?) that is definitely not the "Look". Avoid it like the plague.Go to sites like "Fashion Spot" or "Models.com" to gain a vocabulary. The Politics of Fashion demands this knowledge and without it your work will not be considered credible.