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featured by Tim Petersen : TIM PETERSEN presents the exhibition ‘Couture Transfer - one-off shots of unique pieces’ on display from 24 January at luxury hotel Sofitel Frankfurt Opera

Sofitel Frankfurt Opera has been transformed into an art gallery and presents impressive photographs by fashion and fine art photographer TIM PETERSEN. From 24 January through 24 July, 2023, visitors and guests of the five-star superior hotel on Opernplatz are invited to see the exhibition in the hotel lobby.

The Couture Transfer Polaroids series of staged designs by fashion icons the likes of Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino and Jean Paul Gaultier at the end of the 1990s are a collection of strictly limited photos. The production method is elaborate, complicated, and due to the size of the Polaroids, also quite expensive. Which is why the photographer only took a few photos of each outfit, and has thus not only depicted fashion history, but also made photography history thanks to the production technique and limited edition of the images.

Tim tells GoSee: “Polaroid Transfer is a highly complicated photographic method. A few seconds after I took the picture, I tore the positive and negative with the color emulsion apart and transferred the positive image to a sheet of watercolor paper by rolling the pigments onto it while they were not completely developed. I used this technique because of the beautiful painterly effect. Although, it was highly unpredictable. Only one out of four attempts worked.

To blow up the photos as large as I could, I used an 8 x 10 large-format camera, which was even historic at the time – with extended bellows, an upside-down focusing screen and black cloth that had to be pulled over the photographer’s head.

The amount of time it took was enormous and demanded extraordinary patience from the entire team, especially the models, who sometimes had to stand still for hours until we finally got the perfect shot. Each picture is unique. And that’s precisely the reason why I decided to use this technique for couture shoots back then. I wanted the images to be as unique as the outfits. After all, according to haute couture tradition too, only one unique piece is elaborately handcrafted by the designer. Haute couture is produced exclusively in Paris and must be photographed there as well because the clothes are far too valuable to be shipped. During Couture Fashion Week, selected magazines are given the opportunity to photograph the pieces. Since the most beautiful and interesting outfits were often reserved for Italian or French VOGUE, we worked for French ICON at night. This gave us access to priceless gems of fashion history. Pieces such as Jean Paul Gaultier’s famous chainmail shirt, Givenchy’s tulle skirt, the feather coat by Christian Lacroix or some of the first designs by Elie Saab, who would go on to become a star.

Today, fewer and fewer fashion houses afford an expensive haute couture division, and 8 x 10 inch Polaroids were discontinued in 2008. These photos have therefore become a part of both photography and fashion history.

The exhibited originals are reserved for collections and museums and can be requested accordingly. An exclusive and strictly limited edition (7 each) of fine art prints (enlarged) is available for purchase. The exhibition is on display from 24 January through 24 July, 2023, in Frankfurt.

Born and raised in Germany, Tim Petersen learned about photography in the studio of his father, who was part of the young, emerging German fashion photography scene of the 1960s and 1970s. In 1994, Petersen moved to New York City where he became deeply involved in the underground fashion magazine industry of the 1990s. Since then, Tim Petersen has photographed for numerous renowned fashion magazines such as Vogue, Vanity Fair or designer brands such as Bottega Veneta and Tiffany’s. Even throughout this commercial work, he has unequivocally used photography as an art form – long before major fashion labels began to employ art photographers for their campaigns. Which has ultimately made him part of the movement. He still lives in his adopted home of New York. Since 2022, his work has been part of the prestigious Kelterborn Collection.

19.01.2023 show complete article