Exploring fashion through art and photography since 2008, Contributor represents a world of creativity, emotion and inspiration. Always showcasing work that challenges the expectations of fashion as a form of artistic expression, the print issue of Contributor (published twice a year) brings together an exciting wave of talent in the same aesthetic spirit as the website. As the fashion industry begins to change for the better, Contributor is a space for novelty with a sustainable approach to clothing. With a passion for thoughtful craftmanship, upcycling and designers who search for new ways to create unique, inclusive and smart collections, Contributor speaks to a generation of fashion lovers who craves meaning and values.
Contributor is available at selected stores worldwide, distributed by KD Presse. The production team behind Contributor consists of Editor-in-Chief Magnus Magnusson, Creative Director Martin Sandberg, Publishing Editor Antonia Nessen and Fashion Director Sarah Gore Reeves, working alongside editorial partners.
Contributor was founded more than a decade ago by a group of creatives in Stockholm, New York and Paris as an extension of the atelier work that is essential to image-making. From our experience we knew that in order to reinvent itself for a brighter future, fashion is all about engaging in new conversations, and involving many different people that bring their respective knowledge, network and ideas together to make magic happen.
Contributor® is a registered trademark and a nonprofit publication. All proceeds are reinvested in the website and magazine. Publisher is Contributor Studio, based in Berlin.
Fashion rely on visual images that can lend clothing meaning and a timeless modernity – sought-after qualities that simultaneously contradict the constant cycle of change that is emblematic of fashion. Photography can recreate reality according to the escapist and imaginative conditions of fashion, provoking thought and feelings that move beyond the realm of what’s visible in the image.
By the Editorial Team
When we started Contributor in 2008, the industry already cut corners to move forward as fast as possible, leaving behind the true interaction between people. We believed in the importance of the basics of atelier work, of how sharing your creativity with others can lead to overturning your world and pointing you in new directions.
Photography is no longer fixated in time, as it was during most of the 20th century when snapshots and portraits would be memories in a frame or an album. In “On Photography” (1977), Susan Sontag wrote that people strive to be photographed. We feel that it validates us, that we become real. At the same time, the camera always captures a moment that is forever lost, and Roland Barthes emphasized the link between the analogue, chemically developed photograph and death. When Barthes wrote his autobiography “Camera Lucida”, the starting point was a photograph of his mother as a young girl in a winter garden. “She is dead and she’s going to die,” was Barthes’ description of the feeling of looking at a photograph of someone who has since died but in the image is frozen in time, very much alive.
These days fashion photography per definition lies. It’s a mirror that distort reality and raises questions of authenticity and truth. With digitally-generated imagery you can create something really extraordinary that challenges conceptions of time and nature. But despite the infinite possibilities, looking at fashion photography is still often a process of identification with images of fetishized femininity and masculinity.
Too much editorial work is driven by this kind of regime of clarity; it’s all centered on straightforwardness, control and a focus on specific garments. The boundary between the fashion establishment and the experimental seems to become more and more defined. At Contributor, antitheses to the stripped and rational are very important and offer greater possibilities to subjectively express individuality.
Fashion is inherently trivial, but there are plenty of examples when artists have used clothing as a medium to subvert expectations. The connection between art and fashion took on a whole new meaning at the dawn of modernism, when artists turned their attention to the elements of everyday life. The 1930s was an especially fruitful period. Dorothea Tanning, Salvador Dalì, Meret Oppenheim and Leonor Fini, all commented on fashion, as they turned their attention to their inner worlds, fantasies, dreams and the unconscious.
Fashion photography continues its pursuit of the right feeling, in a borderland between true and false; reality and fantasy. Sometimes with a statement that “youth is wasted on the young,” as a rendering of a certain symptom of nostalgia for a short period in life when everything is lived with an intensity and energy which we are unable to ever experience again. Fashion photography is an ongoing process. It’s about exploration and continuous questioning of boundaries, norms and established truths. In the documentary style that we love at Contributor, artists can create stories that continue outside the picture through styling and settings. You never know what’s going to happen next. Soon you’re already on your way to another adventure.