Unveiling ‘Issues’: A Journey Through Fashion Photography

Issues: A History of Photography in Fashion Magazines” is more than just a book, it is a portal to a captivating realm where artistry, style, and storytelling intersect. This book showcases the timeless charm and cultural importance of fashion photography.

The book, a luxurious and oversized masterpiece, is not just a publication but a work of art itself. It is encased in an elegant archival-style magazine-file box and presents a visual feast of brilliant reproductions of photography from 1925 to 2018. This book, titled “Issues,” features images by photographers who have rarely been seen outside their original context, unveiling hidden treasures and offering a fresh perspective on the history of photography. As readers embark on the mesmerizing journey through its pages, they explore the inextricable relationship between fashion and photography.

Uniqueness of ‘Issues’: A Pioneering Perspective

The uniqueness of “Issues” lies in its pioneering approach to the history of photography. While other publications have examined this art form in isolation, Aletti’s work goes beyond by examining its interplay with fashion magazines. These magazines, including American, British, and French Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and more, have not only served as platforms for showcasing photography but have also influenced and mirrored societal changes and ideals.

Meet Vince Aletti: The Visionary Curator

Vince Aletti, the visionary behind this remarkable endeavor, is a renowned figure in the world of photography and criticism. His insightful essays and contributions have been featured in prominent publications, including Artforum, photograph, and Aperture. Aletti’s extensive experience as the art editor and photography critic of the Village Voice, as well as his tenure as a reviewer of photography exhibitions for the New Yorker’s “Goings On About Town” section, have established him as a respected voice in the industry. His expertise is further demonstrated by his previous works, such as “The Disco Files 1973-78: New York’s Underground, Week by Week” and “Avedon Fashion 1994-2000.”

Aletti was given the International Center of Photography Infinity Award for Writing in 2005 due to his exceptional contributions to the field. Currently, he resides and works in the lively East Village of New York City and continues to hold significant influence in the world of photography.

Issues: A History of Photography in Fashion Magazines
Issues: A History of Photography in Fashion Magazines


“Vince’s obsession with print has seen him amass what is likely the largest personal collection of magazines in the world. His sprawling knowledge of photographers, art directors, and celebrities is legendary. Vince’s fascination with the history of magazine publishing might have led him to go to extreme lengths in securing issues that fill the gaps, but the resulting book has made it something accessible to everyone: the first magazine in Issues is a 1925 issue of Harper’s Bazaar, and many of the spreads from these historic issues are being republished for the first time.” – iD.

“Issues is a testament to the abundance of marvelous photographs that haven’t been digitized.” – WSJ. Magazine.

“Critic Vince Aletti tours the reader through the vibrant history of fashion editorial, shuttling through visual movements, leading photographers, and unforgettable images curated from all eras of the medium with sharp grace. Filled with rare examples sourced from his own expansive collection, it’s an engrossing look at a visual art we often take for granted.” – Surface Magazine.

“Catalogues the seminal work of photographers like Irving Penn, Steven Meisel, and others, splashed across the pages of magazines like Vogue Italia, V, and Dutch. It highlights certain issues of these magazines, with notes from Aletti on why they are both personal and widely significant.” – The Face.

“This gorgeous and glossy big black book. A serious fashion photography book, Issues is a corrective to the genre’s presumed superficiality. In the pages… a visual history of the evolution of image-making unfolds. A feast for the eyes: moon shots, Pop art, group shots, fashion art. As Issues shows, the art owes a great debt to fashion image-makers, who powerfully create fantasy, capture mood and constantly reinvent the possibilities of photography itself.” – The New York Times.

“Fall back in love with fashion editorials. Phaidon’s new tome, Issues, is a deep dive into the history of fashion photography.” – Grazia magazine.

Why You Should Read It

Issues is a valuable read for those interested in photography, fashion, or cultural history. It offers a distinctive perspective on the evolution of photography as depicted in fashion magazines.

Highlights of the Book

  • Over 400 stunning images from iconic fashion magazines.
  • A fresh and idiosyncratic look at the history of photography.
  • Essays by Vince Aletti on photography, fashion, and culture.
  • A luxurious and oversized book with a beautiful archival-style box.
Issues: A History of Photography in Fashion Magazines
Issues: A History of Photography in Fashion Magazines

Review: The Wall Street Journal

“Collector and critic Vince Aletti have been amassing heaps and piles of magazines for decades. Now he’s compiling his trove-particularly a photo-heavy look at the history of fashion in a new book.” – The Wall Street Journal.

“Issues: A History of Photography in Fashion Magazines is a 468-page compendium of magazines dating back to 1925, all but two sourced from Aletti’s archives (acquired through a combination of now-defunct vintage ephemera shows and flea markets, back-date magazine stores, subscriptions, and online scouring).” – The Wall Street Journal.

“In a world where seemingly any archival image is available online, on Instagram or Pinterest, Issue is a testament to the abundance of marvelous photographs that haven’t been digitized, that are out there in the yellowing-hard-copy form.” – The Wall Street Journal.

“Alongside titans like Helmut Newton and Horst P. Horst, lesser-known talents are featured- such as Toni Frissell, a female fashion photographer of the 1930s and ’40s who specialized in portraying women in active, adventuresome contexts.” – The Wall Street Journal.


Issues: A History of Photography in Fashion Magazines” by Vince Aletti is a remarkable and unparalleled exploration of the inseparable bond between fashion and photography. The book’s impeccable presentation, combined with Aletti’s insightful curation, offers a comprehensive survey of the history of fashion photography, encompassing both overlooked photography gems and the pivotal role of fashion magazines in shaping this art form’s trajectory over nearly a century.

This book is a precious asset to any library that specializes in photography, fashion, or graphic design. It is an inspiring reference for those who desire to gain deeper understanding of the alluring history of photography and its indispensable bond with the world of fashion. Journey through time with this book and you will uncover a lavish tapestry of history, art, and style that has been artfully crafted by Vince Aletti.

The book “Issues” showcases the artistry, aesthetic appeal, and cultural importance of fashion photography as it has developed through the pages of magazines. It is an essential read for those interested in fashion, photography, and the visual arts, delivering an engaging and informative story with stunning imagery.

Issues: A History of Photography in Fashion Magazines by Vince Aletti. Flexibound: 468 pages. Publisher: Phaidon Press (May 8, 2019).

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