Viviane Sassen: In and Out of Fashion

Charlotte Cotton, Nanda Van Den Berg

Infinity Award winner Viviane Sassen’s visual language is nothing if not intriguing. Her new book chronicles her career in fashion photography through 250 colour prints.

Frequently blurring the boundary between fashion and fine art photography, the selection of works in this volume are imbued with Sassen’s signature mix of mystery and surrealism. Models appear in poses tending towards contortion, with faces hidden; frequently, unaccounted for appendages appear inexplicably in the composition – a hand here, an arm there – as though parts of the model were proliferating through a will of their own. Interspersed among these striking images are photographs capturing moments of painful intimacy and vulnerability, exemplified in candid nudes or through haunting use of models’ shadows.

Sassen’s work frees fashion photography from static precision, focusing instead on the performative, almost theatrical element that the photographer is lauded for, creating an exaggerated sense of hyper-real.

Regina Papachlimitzou