Before he began photographing at fashion shows, Landon Nordeman spent time documenting the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. As Elisabeth Biondi writes in an essay in his new book Out of Fashion, published this month by Damiani, after seeing his approach to animals, “a smart picture editor at New York Magazine thought that Landon might have the same magic touch photographing fashion shows. Voilà, it was the beginning of a great body of work.” In Nordeman’s backstage and runway images, details and closely cropped compositions often stand in for the bigger picture, letting stylish hands and feet or truncated bodies fill the frame. Rather than documenting the chaos of fashion shows, Nordeman isolates subjects with flash or shows them in the bright, airless spaces where the shows take place. Nordeman’s eye is attracted to the gestures, postures and juxtapositions of the fashion world, finding equal interest in the spiderweb-lace back of a woman’s dress and the broad, pinstriped shoulders of a guy wearing a security earpiece.
As with his work at the Dog Show, Nordeman’s pictures find humor the absurdity of these pageants, whether they star humans or animals or both. “Coming full circle,” writes Biondi, “there is also a great dog picture in Out of Fashion. It is a wonderful image of a lissom model wearing a softly floating gown. A gorgeous Afghan hound, as stylish as his mistress for the evening, is leading her down the runway.”