There is a trend in knitting photoshoots these days –  dark sweaters on very dark backgrounds.  This popped up on my sweater pattern feed today:


© Amy Gunderson

It is called Alexandrite, designed by Amy Gunderson, and appears in a collection called Jewels from Making Stories.  The collection contains a number of designs using mostly dark colours photographed against the dark.  Here is another one, Topaz by Katrine Birkenwasser:


© Katrine Birkenwasser

I think these are lovely sweaters – in fact, I suspect they are gorgeous sweaters, but alas I can’t really tell.  The second one: is it a dress, a tunic, or a sweater?  Can you tell?  I recently spent time hiking in a massive cave in Crete, so I can guess at the effect they are trying to create here. (Jewels, cave, get it?) And they capture it really well.  I am not trying to pick on this collection, either – this is a trend which has become pretty ubiquitous.  Witness Brooklyn Tweed’s latest collection, BT Winter 18.  Maybe I am just getting old and grumpy and need new glasses, so forgive me a little grumbling.

This has been a very dark week and I am feeling dark – angry, sad, depressed.  This is a week when I could use some light.

27 thoughts on “Dark

  1. Agree totally. I took one look at that collection and immediately dismissed it as a waste of time. The BT isn’t so bad – at least some of the garments are in lighter coloured yarns. It’s all very well getting artistic with the photos, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of obscuring the entire point of the exercise i.e. being able to see the garments clearly.

    Another bugbear of mine is models with long hair hiding the neckline of a garment…

    • I know what you mean about the long hair and the necklines. They often drape shawls over necklines too – when it is the sweater you are trying to look at. But I don’t think this collection is a waste of time – I am just going to wait till some other finished photos start being posted before I come to any conclusions.

  2. At least you can tell the shape of the purple one…the black bottom almost looks like a dress it just blurs into black too high up the model. I agree with Wendy too re: long hair hiding necklines. Photographs by photographers who don’t knit I suspect ;o)

  3. I’ve also noticed a number of items where there are only close up shots, so again, you have no idea what the piece as a whole looks like. This is more often with shawls, I find, so you can see three different motifs and no idea how they connect. At this point there are so many designs available and easily accessible, I do like Wendy and just move on if I can’t see the sweater. Although I will admit to always thinking I should post nice overall shots on Ravelry, I often forget, so I’m certainly part of the problem.

    • I’ve started avoiding patterns on Ravlery that don’t have a picture of the finished garment as one whole piece. Shawls especially have mainly close-ups, or more “artsy” photographs, and that’ll cause me to skip right by it if those are the only pictures.

      • Although, I have often thought that sometimes designers don’t put a photo of the whole shawl to avoid people being able to re-create it without the pattern. That said, when I put up my Cool Boots Shawl pattern someone had to ask me to include a flat shot. (Which I did.)

  4. Oh, these fashion people.. they only think of doing art photography.. I like the photos as such, they bring this little sad november feeling- it is getting darker and colder.. BUT- that has nothing to do with knitting:( I guess the editors also forgot who the audience is.. Such a pity! These patterns promise to be interesting ( from as much one can see)..

    PS I am a enthusiastic follower of you and I felt a little sad after this post.. It is a beautiful sunny autumn now (where I live), but grey weather depresses me a lot too.. I guess a warm color new project could help ( I liked very much the yoke sweaters in the latest Designer Knitting issue) 😉

    • Christina, thanks so much for commenting! I am glad that you are enjoying the blog, and it is nice to hear from you. After writing that post yesterday, I cast on a new project – a hat with nice warm colours. And it did help! I will go check out that issue next.

  5. Agreed! There’s a sweater in the latest PomPom that I _think_ I would really love (the one with the golden crescent in the back) – but the photographs are so dark that I cannot tell what the actual shape of the sweater is. And I’m not yet at a level where I can treat a pattern as a loose inspiration and modify the shape to suit my needs.

    The BT is actually done quite well: the models do actually stand out against the background and – more importantly – there are also photographs of the garments lying flat on a white background. That looks like a good compromise between the artsy and the practical.

    (Btw, first time commenter here; I’ve been loving your blog since I discovered it in January.)

    • I know the sweater you mean! (It’s called Artemis.) And yes, it is lovely but also shot against a dark background. I think the best solution, as you say, is a compromise: some beautiful artsy photos, and a clear shot or two to accompany them. Thanks for replying! The conversations are the best part of the blog.

  6. This has been an awful week and I’m VERY ANGRY with the current state of the world, especially of some parts of it and how women are handled (BAD)…. sorry for digressing from the main topic!

    • Actually, Judith, that was the main topic, at least to start with. I am so very angry that I couldn’t post on the weekend as I usually do. Then, I think the dark photos triggered a post. I normally try not to post about things I don’t like; I try to put an optimistic twist on things. And I really don’t want the designers in this collection to feel bad – these designs are lovely. But it exacerbated that dark feeling I was having.

  7. So sorry you are having a bad week – hope it brightens up for you soon! I agree with the assessment of the dark sweaters in the dark. I’m not buying a pattern if I can’t tell what it’s for. By all means, have your arty little photo shoot. But then get the models in the light so we can tell what in the heck they are wearing! I’ve been burned too many times by assuming the pattern wouldn’t be for anything unflattering or unwearable, but then it was one or both of those things.

  8. Thank you for an especially timely post regarding the mood of the day. You did raise the question for me of considering carefully what little things will help me feel better; what fibers, colors, and textures make me feel good…reminding me to direct my intention in my knitting so that it benefits my mood — during the knitting and when the finished item takes its place in my wardrobe. As for the photographs–I was told long ago (by a professional retail fashion buyer for a large department store) whenever you see photos with distracting effects (sweeping gestures, movement of fabrics which obscures design lines, inadequate light, partial images, etc) you can bet the garment/style has flaws either in its design or execution. Not really convinced that’s the problem here, but it does give me pause. (And like many, I do not buy any pattern for which I don’t have a clear picture and a good complete schematic.) Thanks again for your thoughtful post. Here’s to knitting (and working) for better times. Soon. Cheers.

    • Thanks for this very thoughtful comment, Linda. I really like your point about directing one’s intention in knitting so that it benefits one’s mood. I think that sometimes I get focused on finishing a project and lose some of the joy of the process. I need to knit what makes me happy at the time and not worry about completion or timelines. I am a process knitter at heart but the blog sometimes pushes me towards product knitting. As to the photos, I always get distracted by photos where the model’s arms are crossed in every photo – I think that something is being artfully hidden.

  9. But I completely agree! Fashion photo shoots are fine for knitwear, but include at least one, standing straight in decent lighting against a lighter background. Looking at these and the latest BT photos, I’m not interested in making any of them.

  10. We are just back from a lovely weeks holiday in the peak district and I’m catching up on emails (I refuse to allow them to follow me on holidays) and found your blog post (Yes, I get the email notification so I don’t miss ANYTHING) and I’m sorry to hear you felt a bit down and sad. I wonder though if you’ve gone back and looked at the photos again after some brighter warmer cheerier weather? The Alexandrite looks stunning! Clear colour pop and hints of warmth (even when it’s dull) The Topaz looks amazing! Jewels in the dark as you said! I have no idea how long/short/tailered/not/etc it is – but it makes me want to find out! I know I will never knit either of these things (just not my style!) But, (and I feel this will be a big, expensive, hide more yarn from the husband but) the BT collection has just shown me my next (okay not next as that is sitting in the cupboard) project! Kirigami looks amazing! And thanks to you – I’ve found it!! Thanks!!

    • Hi! I think I was sad and depressed about politics – about the US in particular with the Kavanaugh hearings (made me want to rage) but also the state of the UK with Brexit. So, the dark photos just exacerbated an already dark mood. And I do think that you are right that these garments are really lovely (I tried to make that clear). However, I do think that a compromise between attracting attention to your knitwear designs so that they stand out from all of the rest and letting knitters evaluate pattern details before buying would be great. As to Kirigami – Love! I am definitely going to knit this; I am just waiting for the right yarn. I’m going to Yarnporium in London at the end of the month and maybe I will find some there.

      • As a Brit – I took an unusual interest in the hearings – really struggled to see the positive in any of it! However, I watched an articulate honest woman show exactly what democracy should be about! Brexit has me beat! I tired to encourage my Husband to move to NZ with no luck! Sadly there are few really good yarn shops in my neck of the woods, so I rely on online shops – which is really unsatisfactory – yarn needs a good old squish before you can tell its it’s good for a project! Happy hunting!
        More photos for each pattern can only be a good thing – I need to see how it can be worn as well as the technical details – very much a visual learner!

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