Fred Maroon’s ‘Far Out Fashions’ at Artist’s Proof
Fred Maroon might be famous in D.C. for his notable photographs around the Capitol and Georgetown, but how many know that he traveled the work to produce spectacular fashion editorial spreads?
Peggy Sparks, owner of Artist’s Proof, is currently working with her team on an exhibition of Maroon’s editorial work at the intimate gallery, located just off M Street in Cady’s Alley. The show, “Far Out Fashions: An Exhibition of Fashion Photography by the Late Fred J. Maroon,” will be open to the public from May 16 to June 1. “We try to create a space for artists from around the world to come and share the stories they so very strongly put into their art,” said Sparks. She believes that Artist’s Proof is a place where the public can step into these stories.
Maroon’s story began when he was sweet-talked by the editor of London’s Weekend Telegraph Magazine in 1966. This first series was meant to highlight the cashmere wool made from the underbelly of Mongolian goats. Maroon traveled to the outskirts of Mongolia for the shoot. Look magazine (which stopped publishing in 1971) also bought the photos. The New York Times even dedicated half a page to displaying these ambitious photos of models in elaborate wool outfits in snowy landscapes. Maroon’s next destination was Leningrad. However, the clothes the group had brought with them could not be used. Maroon was only allowed to take the photos with a Soviet woman as the model and clothes from a Moscow designer. He agreed, and produced the series “Furs in Russia.”
Afghanistan was next, with a feature on the native silks of the region. A local prince who took a liking to a model granted them access to temples and religious locations where the group would not ordinarily be allowed to photograph. The photos from this trip are also important because they document locations that no longer exist, a result of the country’s war-torn recent history. Several feature models walking in lush green fields, an image of Afghanistan unfamiliar to most Americans.
One of Maroon’s final international stops was Japan, when he shot in several different temples and more remote regions. Maroon worked to record contemporary Japan and its natural features, avoiding the stereotyped, “Madama Butterfly” conceptions of the country.
Fred’s wife, Suzy, and his son, Mark, both Georgetown residents, were the ones who approached Artist’s Proof with the idea of displaying his unpublished editorial work. The current plan is to display different series of Maroon’s photographs, according to Sparks.
Old Town Editions of Alexandria is printing the enlarged prints. Patrick McMahon, co-owner of the studios, said that he is excited about the project and aims to create prints with colors as close as possible to the original slides. Since the photos were originally published in magazines and newspapers, the work is being displayed as it has never been before. The larger-than-life prints will allow the public to see the world through Maroon’s lens with a fresh perspective, said Sparks.
Look for the opening of the Maroon exhibit on May 16 and check out the other works, events and artists displayed at Artist’s Proof at www.aproof.net.