Yingxi Qian

"A Fashion Adventure"

Section MS8, Gabriella Hirst

Keywords: publishing, photography

My project, A Fashion Adventure considers aesthetic form and representation of Asian female fashion models within Western fashion photography. I have studied photography of female models of Asian decent as they are depicted in within Western fashion magazines (such as "Vogue") as a kind of media research, considering how cultural differences have informed certain culturally weighted definitions of "femininity".

Often, when Asian women appear in Western media, they are made to represent a kind of Oriental cultural symbol. In this formula, the photographed person appears not as an individual, but instead as a representative of a certain culture, and the "foreign" characteristics she represents are magnified. Certain stereotyped attributes (yellow skin, narrow round eyes, and a less skeletal face are enhanced) are magnified to emphasise a fetishised vision of 'Oriental femininity'.

For my project, A Fashion Adventure, I made a paper magazine mimicking an Asian fashion glossy magazine. My process involved collecting pictures of female models appearing in Western fashion magazines, and collating the contexts they appeared in. I collaged these images of the Western gaze upon the Asian female body into the specific media form of an Asian fashion magazine.

This magazine, with incongruous and complicated imagery, placed into a new visual context, will in future be placed in bookstores. I am interested to s see how readers would evaluate these photographs of Asian women differently and how their labels would change when viewed in this context.