Alex Xiaojun Tian: Flashback in Dresses


Posted on November 7, 2016 by Alex Xiaojun Tian, Copyright 2016


This editorial is about dresses in different colors. I picked 6 dresses including red, green, baby blue, royal blue, black and white. I originally thought that I could pick a rainbow series but I do not have enough colors in my wardrobe. The dresses are all with different materials and cut so each one of them has its own distinctive style. The only place I can think about that can cater to 6 different styles is the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Built in 1928, the museum administers collections containing over 227,000 objects including major holdings of European, American and Asian origin.


The various classes of artwork include; sculpture, paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, armor and decorative arts. I looked for specific paintings, sculptures or settings in the museum that echo with the style of the dresses.

Flashback in Dresses

I started with the black dress. It is a simple A-line dress with one single color. On the ground floor of the museum there is a painting of a black windmill. The trapezoid base of the windmill shares a similar shape with the dress. When the model stood in front of the painting, it looked like she was blending into the windmill. Then I looked at the hallway the model was facing, I found that the walls and ceiling were all white. Then I asked the model to change to her white dress and stand at the entrance of the hallway.


In the picture, the model is surrounded by the whiteness and her white dress contrasts with the brown carpet. At the other side of the hallway, there is a painting with a  lively nature background with trees and grass that went along with the green dress. The figure in the painting rests her one hand on the wall and one on her waist. There is an arch in front of the painting, so I asked the model to imitate the figure in the painting.


Then we went to the grand stairs of the museum with her red dress. That red dress has a light texture and reveals the model’s legs while walking. I asked the model to walk from upstairs to downstairs and capture the floating of the dress. There is a golden statue behind so the red and gold create a luxurious feeling in the picture.


The lighting in the museum is pretty dark and flash and tripod are not allowed, so the pictures are not as clear as the one in the studio. It can be compensated in Photoshop with higher exposure and clarity.


About The Author: Alex Xiaojun Tian is a Senior enrolled in the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2017.

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