Who is the photographer for Gucci’s fall winter 2020–2021 campaign? Surprise! There is no photographer. Yes, that’s right: no photographer and no make-up artist, hairdresser, stylist, or assistant … only models, who received a parcel of clothes and photographed themselves. Selfies.
You’d think it was just an expedient to cope with the limitations of the current pandemic. The photos aren’t going to be very good, right?
Actually, they are quite good, the results are surprisingly professional. The photos are well composed, the styling is accurate, the images dynamic and fresh. The pictures in this campaign show remarkable stylistic consistency, both among themselves and with previous campaigns. Hmm.
Credit goes to art director Christopher Simmonds, who coordinated the shots and curated the campaign in concert with creative director Alessandro Michele. You may or may not like the final results, but they certainly cannot be dismissed as schlock.
We are talking about photographs that determine the image and turnover of a world fashion giant—shots normally entrusted to topflight photographers. What a bold move!
Let that sink in.
Even if the next Gucci campaign is shot by a professional, this sets a powerful precedent: photographers are dispensable, even in major campaigns. That feeling was already in the air. Is this the nail in our coffin? Can every brand get by with selfies or algorithm-generated photos? Has all the consummate image-crafting we have seen over the years and decades just been an illusion? What do you think?
And there is something else to keep in mind: are we so sure that those perfectly executed Gucci photos weren’t actually taken by a professional photographer? There would be every reason to present them as yet another homespun outburst of creativity during the pandemic…
About the author: Currently based in Milan, Enzo Dal Verme is a portrait photographer that has been working in the photography industry for over 15 years. His work has been published in Vanity Fair, l’Uomo Vogue, Marie Claire, Glamour, The Times, Grazia, Madame Figaro, Elle and many other magazines. He recently published the book Storytelling for Photojournalists. You can follow Enzo on Twitter and on Medium, where this article was also published.