Welcome to this fifth episode of the new Dior Talks series ‘The Female Gaze’. With the term developed in response to the writings of feminist film theorist Laura Mulvey, this podcast series will explore how the work of the female photographers and creatives collaborating with Dior offers a radically new and progressive image of women.
In this episode, series host Charlotte Jansen, a British journalist and author, chats with Brigitte Niedermair, a fashion photographer who, over twenty five years, has developed and honed a highly individual approach to creating the fashion image, upending stereotypes about the genre, and expanding the parameters through which we understand the portrayal of women, and also how we view the female gaze.
Brigitte Niedermair was born in the South Tyrol region of Italy in 1971. After dropping out of a photography course, she eventually ended up in the U.S. She worked as a casting director and photographer’s assistant, before taking up the camera herself. She spent ten years constantly on the road, shooting at the highest levels of the industry, using her self-belief and determination to push boundaries and succeed in a stultifyingly male-dominated world. She moved back to her home region in the 2000s, where she has since been based and has always considered her style and creative force to be deeply influenced by her origins. Her editorial work has been published widely and she has staged monographic exhibitions of her patiently composed images worldwide, including a major solo show at the Palazzo Mocenigo as part of the Venice Biennale in 2019. In 2017, she shot Maria Grazia Chiuri’s first collection for the House for Dior Magazine, returning to shoot the autumn-winter 2019 and spring-summer 2020 campaigns, as well as the new fall 2020 campaign, which she also art directed, starring Jennifer Lawrence.
In this week’s episode, Charlotte meets with Niedermair virtually at her mountain home and they talk about her experience of lockdown, her thoughts on her own journey as a woman photographer, both in Italy and the wider world, and the profound and varied ideas behind her starkly elegant work. Originally fascinated by painting, Niedermair was eventually drawn to the sense of reality required by photography and its relative newness as a means of image creation. She reflects on this combination of the concrete, the modern and the immediate, which has long drawn her to the camera.