Capture
“Focus is a cultural history of how photography shaped the rest of the fashion industry,” writes Anna Fitzpatrick in her review of Focus in today’s National Post of Canada. “It is also a salacious collection of stories, a fact it never tries to hide. Above all, Focus is a survey of men behaving badly…Gross captures so well the century-long rivalry between Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, chronicling the musical chairs of editorial staff and their shifting allegiances with photographers. But the most prominent women in the book are the muses….To his credit, [Gross] does make a concerted effort to include the voices and experiences of the muses themselves…Focus is a frequently frustrating book, but it’s also an important one. What Gross lacks in his willingness to editorialize on the actions of his subjects, he partially makes up for by so thoroughly and extensively capturing their actions, creating a clear and thorough account – much like a photographer himself….Gross is ultimately optimistic: he sees in fashion the potential for powerful art, subversion, truth, fantasy and, yes, beauty. It’s just time for the prevailing fashion photographers to catch up.”