Business, Politics & Society

The Power of an Image: Photographers and Models

Anna Wintour

Lesson time 15:52 min

Photography is critical for communicating your message and your brand. Anna looks at a few of the greatest photographers and models of our time, and she offers tips for aspiring creative leaders on the power of the image.

Anna Wintour
Teaches Creativity and Leadership
Anna Wintour gives unprecedented access to her world, teaching you how to lead with vision and creativity—and without apology.
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[MUSIC PLAYING] ANNA WINTOUR (VOICEOVER): As a creative leader, the visual medium is so powerful. And photographs are often the most powerful tool to express your creativity, to help define your title, and reflect a moment in time. One looks to the great photographers and to the great models who work with them to give even more impact to the art of the fashion photograph, whether it's through a narrative, or through a studio, or through a still life, or through a portrait. Because we need that eye, that taste, that culture, and that study to give meaning. In this chapter I'm going to give advice to both creators and those who work with them about making work that is thoughtful and gives meaning. And we are going to look at some of the great photographers and models who have helped to define "Vogue" over the years, and also those who are helping to shape it for the future. Fashion photography can work on lots of different levels. You can have a simple, clean, good fashion image that is a gorgeous woman in the studio, wearing an extraordinary designer creation. And it is very simple, very dignified, very impactful in its simplicity. So there is a great argument to be made for that point of view. And there are masters of photography who do that or have done that better than anyone. Obviously Irving Penn is the one that always comes to mind, or Richard Avedon, or working in today's world, Innez and Vinoodh. Or Mikael Jansson. Or Steven Meisel. Because creating an issue is about creating a mix, the way you might create a fashion show or a collection. It's a series. It's many different studies. Then we're always very inspired by telling a story, whether it's telling a little love story, or telling a story, and taking personalities out of their comfort zone and sending them to a faraway place. Or taking a larger than life personality, then Sean Combs, and sending him to Paris with Kate Moss at a time when hip hop was busting on the world, and throwing open the idea of what a couture shoot could be. It'd always been these remarkably beautiful images. And this was just an extraordinary shock to the world. When we took Naomi and Nadja Auermann into a field and created the grunge look-- and people were so shocked by that. But it was so impactful, and more impactful I feel the way that Grace and Steven created it. It was telling much more of a story than it would have been that it was in a studio. Because to me a narrative takes a reader on a little voyage. And it takes them on an imaginary trip. In a dream I remember a story that Arthur Elgort and Grace Coddington did when they took Linda Evangelista to China. And we hadn't, I think, shot in China since we went with Nancy Kissinger when her husband was secretary of state. So it was a breakthrough moment for "Vogue" to take a fashion shoot to China. And it was so poetic and so romantic. It showed a China to our readers that I don't think that they had seen in the ...

How to be a boss

A fashion and media icon, Anna Wintour has been driving our cultural conversation for more than 30 years. The Vogue Editor-in-Chief and Artistic Director of Condé Nast takes off her signature sunglasses and gives you unprecedented access to her world. See how Anna nurtures talent, makes bold decisions, and evolves a brand. Learn how to lead with impact from a visionary creative leader.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Amazing tips from a successful leader. Gave me direction poise and confidence.

I have learned so much. This was a great masterclass and it is not just for people in the creative field. She has so much advice as a leader. What I learned is not to be afirad to take risks, take people's suggestions, but don't be afraid to go with your idea. Be different, mix things up. Give credit to the people who help you. When having meetings be focused and have purpose.

This was RIVETING! Anna is such an inspiration and finds such JOY in all that she touches. It is a must for ANY one who wants to create, lead and inspire! Can't wait to watch it again!

An absolutely interesting and helpful master class for me mostly in terms of the importance of thinking out of the box, be fearless and don't be afraid to make mistakes. Such inspiring messages, on both theoritical and practical level, brought out in these series of seminars by such an incredible woman! Truly excited and thankfull!


Wendy O.

Wow! I would love to work with you, what a great lesson.

Victoria M.

Since I visit practically every costume exhibit in Los Angeles that I can, and they help me immensely with both school and writing, I really got a lot out of this class. It further helped to know how a costume-oriented event is organized and carried out.

Veronica L.

Anna’s class is simply superb. It’s absolutely relatable to any industry when applying her leadership principles. I have watched it her class over ten times, and every time I get more in depth of her direct creative management style. I love Anna! When it comes to global expansion, branding, image and leadership, Anna brings it into prospective with her simplistic approach to high standards and passion for the trade.

Eve G.

Dear Anna, thank you for the excellent lesson on the power of an image !! love! - might it be possible for you to talk a little bit more on fashion illustration and its role in advertising, branding and contemporary publishing? :)

Brett G.

Okay MasterClass. Seven lessons in and I got some decent soundbites and inspiration in three of them. Nada in the other four. This is really a documentary / behind the scenes look at Vogue and Anna. This is not a class on creativity and leadership. I'm going to stick it out because I like documentaries and don't know much about the fashion world (I mean, look at my profile picture).


One thing I have NEVER seen is a short person on a page in Vogue! Now that would be something :)

afsaneh J.

Everything about Anna Wintour inspires me. From her outfit, chunky necklace, hairstyle, her attention to detail, her elegance, clarity of speech, energy, style, work ethics, her view about world of fashion, her composure and her contribution to the world ... I’m a designer, an artist and truly enjoying her MasterClass.... well done!

Melpo W.

Images. Images. I spent a lot of time selecting images for marketing campaigns to ensure they can tell the story and trigger actions at the same time. Had received criticism but also compliments. Results: a lot of people talked about it and remembered our ads. - "Own my decision. Own who I am without apology." Not sure diverse... not seeing any Asian? May be in other versions?

Sarah B.

Diverse in front of the camera, but what about behind it? How diverse is the staff and crew?

Suze Yalof S.

So smart to take a stand on the age of models after the #metoo movement . Irving Penn was such a creative genius and I think it was Phylis Posnick (so?) who was one of few editors he would shoot with in the early 90’s . Could watch this over and over again!