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Melvin Grier: Clothes Encounter

September 28, 2018November 4, 2018

As a Cincinnati Post photographer for 33 years, Melvin Grier traveled the world shooting award-winning photos of news, events, sports, and personalities. What many people don’t know is that Grier has a secret passion for fashion photography.

Cincinnati’s style scene during the 1980s and 1990s is the subject of Clothes Encounter, a retrospective of Grier’s personal fashion photos. His interest in fashion was spurred by magazines like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. “I started looking at the photos, then at the photographers—David Bailey, Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton,” says Grier.

Inspired by these icons, Grier worked with Post reporter Mary Linn White to create fashion layouts, often in unconventional locations like the roof of Union Terminal or the middle of Cincinnati’s Fourth Street. Grier explains: “It was a simple process. We never had an art director, thank God. We never asked permission to shoot somewhere—we just did it.”

The opportunity to create a photo, versus taking a photo, is the reason Grier loves fashion. “It’s not like shooting a baseball game or a fire, where you take it as it comes. With fashion, you can control what you want to show to the public.”

Grier’s photos have been featured in national magazines and have won ten awards from the Society for Professional Journalists, as well as accolades from Cincinnati Magazine and numerous press associations. His work has appeared in dozens of exhibitions and he was named Duncanson Artist-in-Residence at the Taft Museum of Art in 2004.

  • Melvin Grier, Clothes Encounter, Unknown Year. Black and white inkjet print from scanned 35mm negative, 18 x 10 inches. Courtesy of the artist

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