Wiernicki disregarded the conventions of the time, becoming more liberated when shooting models from new angles and almost voyeuristic perspective
Low Angle High Fashion
Andrzej Wiernicki’s unique style, his attention to detail and his meticulous staging of shots sets him apart as one of Poland’s foremost fashion photographers.
Born in Warsaw in 1931, Wiernicki began working for the the Express Wieczorny newspaper. Better known for his reportage photography, he landed his first big break when he was commissioned to shoot Jadwiga Grabowska’a Feniks boutique. Throughout the sixties his work graced the pages and covers of women’s magazines, including the weekly magazine Świat.
His work was eye-catching for a number of reasons. He had a novel technique of photographing models from a low angle, which made them appear slimmer and taller. Though his peers initially joked that the models made Wiernicki kneel down before them; they would later copy the technique. Wiernicki’s photographs lacked the characteristic haughtiness, overblown sophistication and elegant pomposity of other fashion shoots. Wiernicki disregarded the conventions of the time, becoming more liberated when shooting models from new angles and almost voyeuristic perspective.
In his photographs, models are besieged by paparazzi, often with their backs to the camera. These voyeuristic scenes were frequently staged, including the behind-the-scenes-style fashion shoots.
What flows throughout his work is an informal atmosphere, whether that subject is models cheerfully striking a pose on the catwalk, dancing at a party, smiling in cafés, or in the studio at the Academy of Fine Arts.
Wiernicki’s photographs serve as a portrait of this era and his work bears historical, cultural and aesthetic importance, which much of his work often revealed a less-than-elegant truth about the world. In a shoot for Moda Polska, we see a model posing next to a plush car outside a swish, modern office building, yet in the background lie the ruins of an old tenement building, the sad casualty of a devastating war. In the other catwalk shoot his unflinching lens sees beyond catwalk models to the tired, bored expressions on the moustachioed faces of the buyers and sellers.
Andrzej Wiernicki also took packshots, photographs of accessories and boutique interiors for promotional purposes. He extensively documented the window displays of now-defunct department stores in the modern glass edifices of Warsaw. These buildings and their displays, symbolised the “big city”, and specialist trade magazines would carry articles about the principles of window-dressing.