Atlanta style: SCAD exhibitions and fashion JanTerm

From Jan. 22 through April 1, the SCAD Museum of Art will display exhibitions by Jonathan Becker and Daniel Lismore. SCAD FASH closed on Jan. 1 in order to prepare for the new showcases.

Portraitist and documentarian Jonathan Becker’s only museum exhibition in over three decades is a demonstration of his influence on modern photography. It shows the diversity and splendor of Becker’s work through more than 60 unique photographs, whose subjects range from the highest tiers of style and art to the Amazonian Yanomami tribe.

Mentored by the prodigious Hungarian artist Brassaï, who used portraiture to teach his student about the geography of the human spirit, Becker traveled the world in search of enrapturing subjects. Brassaï urged Becker to observe human character and use this inspiration in his work.

A native of New York and a resident of Paris during the 70s, Becker started his career as a portraitist for Interview magazine. After the massive success of several New York showcases, Becker increased his work as a documentarian at Town & Country magazine.

Becker started working for Vanity Fair under the guidance of Bea Feitler, the founding design director. Becker proceeded to photograph numerous celebrities and political figures such as the Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles. Becker has published four books documenting his work: Bright Young Things, Studios by the Sea: Artists of Long Island’s East End, Bright Young Things: London, and Jonathan Becker: 30 Years at Vanity Fair.

Becker’s new exhibit in the SCAD Museum of Art is open to the public with the cost of museum admission.

The second artist to be featured is Daniel Lismore, with his exhibition “Be Yourself; Everyone Else is Already Taken.” This is the London-based artist’s first American showcasing. The exhibition illustrates sustainable fashion, which is often the focus of his art.

Lismore’s outfits are famous for their contrast between haute couture pieces and thrift-shop finds, as well as found objects and retro accessories. Named London’s Most Outrageous Dresser by Vogue, Lismore uses a variety of tools in a unique manifestation of eclectic energy and interesting style. The SCAD exhibit includes 30 outfits selected by Lismore from his private closet for the showcase.

Before beginning a modeling career that landed him in Vogue UK, i-D magazine and L’Uomo Vogue, he was a student of photography and fashion design. Lismore inspired singer Iggy Azalea’s “Glory” EP cover, and has performed several times on television, including appearances on Made in Chelsea and Britain’s Next Top Model.

In 2012, Lismore was appointed creative director of Sorapol, a luxury womenswear label, and currently resides in East London.

However, it’s not only professional artists and magazine-featured models who are interested in fashion. The “Ethics and Aesthetics of Fashion” JanTerm gives students an opportunity to indulge their passions for fashion, art, or business, or even just get a taste of the industry in general.

“We are learning more about the industry than we would have otherwise,” said senior Sarah Gabriel. “We are talking about ethical dilemmas, how a product is made, and what goes into creating a brand and its image.”

The JanTerm investigates both the aesthetics and ethics of fashion. During the first week, students looked primarily at the aesthetics and design.

“We learned how to sew and make clothes and bags,” said freshman Evie Rearden, “We’ve been focusing on the fashion shows and different concepts of experienced designers.”

The second week focused on companies that incorporate the ethics side in their brand.

“I took an ethics class last semester and we talked about a lot of issues [that] I wanted to expand on,” said Gabriel. “I saw that this JanTerm had an ethical aspect to it and that drew me [in].”

As part of the course, the students conducted daily interviews with people in the fashion industry to learn more about the industry.

“We get to talk with all sorts of people in the business,” said sophomore Meredith Ficery, “From executives to designers to stylists to models.”

Some subjects of interviews included designers such as the president of Tory Burch, and the founder of Toms.

“I was really excited to interview the president of Tory Burch, because that’s a really famous company and I love their clothes,” said Rearden. “She talked about how the company was started and how the business side of the corporation works.”

These fashion executives explained the progression of their career and how they succeeded, inspiring students while also teaching them about the more serious areas of the fashion industry.

“At first I thought it was a ‘make it or break it’ industry, but now I know that there are so many more aspects to it,” said Gabriel. “It’s not just the designing; it’s also merchandising, advertising, and business. It’s cool how there are so many different things you can do in the industry even if you’re not artistic.”