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Kendall Jenner Is Now a 'Fashion Photographer' - Is This Where Our Industry Is Heading?

Kendall Jenner Is Now a 'Fashion Photographer' - Is This Where Our Industry Is Heading?

Following suit with the likes of the Brooklyn Beckhams of the world, it should come as no surprise that one of the Kardashians (technically) is taking a stab at the other side of the lens (that isn’t a well lit, angled, and photoshopped selfie). Kendall Jenner’s work photographing Kaia Gerber, daughter of Cindy Crawford, has been featured for the UK-based Love Magazine. But the question that underlies in Jenner’s debut as a "fashion photographer" is what direction the photography industry as we know it is heading?

While it is no secret that celebrities and public figures have endorsed and stood at the forefront for the biggest brands in the world, the direction is inevitably changing to celebrities becoming the actual content creators. Fortunate for brands and unfortunate for highly skilled creative including photographers and videographers, content could be slowly trending in the direction of valuing authenticity opposed to "perfection."

​Jenner has shown interest in photography in the past.

An example of this is the Brooklyn Beckham Burberry campaign; it only makes sense from a brand’s perspective to kill two birds with one stone by grabbing attention with trying something different. With Beckham’s giant following of 7.9 million followers, it’s hard to ignore that it’s a no-brainer from Burberry’s perspective to do something like this. Another example of content creators organically and authentically promoting products is Casey Neistat.

Before I make my point, I by no means am clumping Jenner and Beckham in the same realm as Neistat's creativity; his work is incredible and inspiring that I watch on a daily basis. Neistat publicly claims that he does not get paid by brands he uses on his daily Vlogs, it’s evident that his daily content is practically free-advertising for brands like DJI and push a strong impression on his audience and beyond. This may not be the case for Neistat, but may be a trend we see going forward with creators and public figures looking to cash-in in the future.

By no means am I saying the photographers are in a heap of trouble; it is just a UK-based magazine Jenner was published in, and I have no problem with Beckham or Jenner pursuing photography. In fact, I find Kendall to be a talented outlier in her notorious family. But this is something that should not be ignored as we possibly begin to see a trend in the future.  

[via Daily Mail UK]

Nick Pecori's picture

Nick Pecori is a Florida-based advertising photographer who has shot for clients Acer, Bealls, Shoe Carnival, the Florida Lottery, etc.

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This really is nothing new. Celebrities have made the transition to photographer throughout the years. Bunny Yeager from pin-up model to photographer, Ken Griffey Jr. and Randy Johnson from Sports Stars to photographers and of course F-Stoppers beloved headshot master Peter Hurley from male model to photographer. Their success in photography builds off their inside knowledge of the industries and the contacts they have made through their careers on the other side of the camera. You can't begrudge them their interest in pursuing photography as a second career. And you can't pout about not getting the same opportunities they get. Life doesn't work that way. Never has and never will.

While your points are not incorrect, the examples you used are for those after retirement and aren't being used to promote the campaigns themselves. Likely a big reason why Brooklyn was selected to shoot the Burberry campaign was because he is famous and extends reach even more. I don't necessarily see Ken Griffey shooting for big campaigns solely because he's Ken Griffey. My take is that brands may use celebrities to authentically create the content itself opposed large productions to extend reach even more.

Very easy to misunderstand your point or questioning in this article as it seems to jump around. "What direction is the photography industry as we know it is heading", "content could be slowly trending in the direction of valuing authenticity opposed to 'perfection.'" then you jump to content creators organically and authentically promoting products citing Casey Neistat as an example. How is that at all linked to Jenner and Beckham and them being young pseudo celebrities (kids or siblings of famous people that actually did something to become famous) pursuing photography? Not sure in the end where you are trying to go with this article at all after reading it over again and again to see where I may have misinterpreted it.

I'd like to say that she is just another talentless reality hack... But honestly, these are pretty good photographs. She seems to have captured the look and feel of the seventies, and isn't too preoccupied with "tack sharp" and "pixel peeping" so many people are today. Now if her "reality" brain can focus on it long enough, she could end up a great photographer.

How much of that was staged for her, or did she direct the shoot? Was it just a case of turn up and press the shutter release, endorse the campaign and off she goes or did she plan, organise and set up the set?

Depending on which happened determines if she's a simple hack or a talented photographer.

Incredibly biased and bitter writing here. "By no means am I saying the photographers are in a heap of trouble; it is just a UK-based magazine Jenner was published in..."

Celebrities have historically been used to harness their reach that's nothing new. Why don't you instead judge her skills? The images seem fairly solid and appropriate to the magazine, so I don't see any problem here.

If anything you sound quite insecure about the opportunity she'd been provided and perhaps believe she doesn't deserve it.

Why don't you write a positive article talking about celebrities who are skilled photographers etc?

Edit. Rather than arrogant I meant bitter.

Mark, I see the second half of the quote not mentioned. I go on to compliment Kendall's talent (referring to her modeling) and that I have no problem with Kendall or Beckham pursuing photography. The point is from a brands perspective that this is smart for brands to have these figures actually create the content to add another element to the campaign and authenticity. You're missing my point.

These kids take decent photos and considering their social capital, I'd hire them to shoot content for me too.

She is a celebrity first and photographer second. She has access to other celebs and thus the clients get attention they are paying for.

Talent is irrelevant. The fact that the images look like random phone shots adds to their authenticity. People are not looking at these images as photography but as a peek inside the lives of celebs. It is voyeurism plain and simple.

Exactly my point!

Agreed. And I'm not sure I understand where the "Fashion Photographer" label is applied beyond the writer of this article himself. The article on the Love site I saw just refers to the situation as "Kendall Jenner photographs her friend". I mean I've taken pictures that have been published in the newspaper but that doesn't make me a photojournalist.

Mr. Pecori,
If you think it’s bad when people like Beckham and Jenner get published for pretty much just being able to hold and point a camera, consider:
- Brides are actually requesting a Nine-Year-Old photographer, (Meet Regina Wyllie, the Nine Year-Old Wedding Photographer, https://fstoppers.com/other/meet-regina-wyllie-nine-year-old-wedding-pho...),
- Five-Year-Olds are covering the presidential campaign, (The 5-Year-Old Photographer on the US Presidential Campaign Trail, http://petapixel.com/2016/06/28/5-year-old-photographer-us-presidential-...), and
- Twelve-Year-Old paparazzi are the subject of documentary films, (Teenage Paparazzo, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teenage_Paparazzo).
And, if all of this isn’t enough, there are people combing Google Street-Views for images they say qualify as Art!

It isn’t just bad because editors and their publishers think they can make money this way, the problem is that almost none of the consumers can tell the difference between a professional shoot and the snapshots taken by some celebrity. It is the logical extension of ‘it-is-art-if-I-say-it-is’ and, apparently, if a celebrity was holding the camera, brush, or spray-can when the piece was produced then that merits its elevation to an artwork.

Hopefully it is just cyclical and, if we hold ourselves to higher standards, consumers will eventually demand better than they are getting. If it isn’t cyclical though we may just be another artifact of a bygone era and another pursuit that will one day be considered quaint.

I do not think this is bad, my main point is that it is smart that brands are using celebrity status to stretch their reach based on the simple fact that they created it themselves.

Mr. Pecorni,
OK, maybe I missed your point. I suppose there really is no difference between putting a celebrity in front of, or behind, the lens if it resonates with the audience that brand wants to connect with. For me, though, casting a celebrity as a creative carries greater risks than potential reward. Especially when using those who are famous for being [in]famous.


So, everyone who has a "name", doesn't matter the context, is a "photographer". Looks like '40-'60 Star System from movies. I'm curios if they know ANYTHING about photography, not just AUTO programm :)

So you're fine with Kendall Jenner being a photographer and really like what Casey Neistat is doing... Good.

And then there is some vague talk about a possible start of a trend in the future that should not be ingnored for some reason?
What trend are you talking about? Heck, is it even a trend? We don't seem to know yet. If it is indeed a trend, then what about this trend shouldn't be ignored? The possible fact that it might start to become a trend? What would be the difference between acknowledging or ignoring it?

Connections matter.

later.... the future of fashion photography workshop with Kendall Jenner on Fstoppers. :)

She's not shooting portraits or weddings any time soon. For the majority of photographers out there, who have zero chance of shooting an actual fashion campaign, she's no threat.

Just as you follow Casey Neistat and check it out daily, that no different than the fans of Beckham and Jenner. Eyeball looking at the wit and wisdom of the celeb. Which pays off in $$$ for the celeb or the brand they are promoting.
That Mercedes project Casey did a few years ago probably got tons of new views from people who wouldn't ordinarily see anything about MB. Is he a car shooter? No he isn't but he was chosen to shoot a large project because of his social media footprint. Same with Beckham and Jenner. And they all were good enough to make it work.
Did they have behind the scenes help so they don;t fail...probably...maybe. Much of this "real" stuff is a lot of theatre.

I'm pretty sure she has more "fashion" experience than everyone commenting here.

How much of this is done with the help of art directors and other production people? Chances are good she's not making the cut decisions.

haha as I always keep saying "you can be dumb as fuck and also be a great photographer"

The last 10 years I met some really amazing photographers and former models, who were really, really annoyingly anti-intellectual but with a wonderful taste and eye for composition. Especially the fashion industry is often even worse than their public image.

When you are really dumb you have to options to get wealthy, become a well known soccer/football/... player or do something in fashion.