August 26, 2017

Molly Dickson: The Female Gaze

Part one of our latest feature, “The Image Makers”

Dallas’ reputation as a fashion center stretches back to 1907 and the founding of Neiman Marcus. In the intervening century, the city has witnessed the rise of a thriving creative class of photographers, models, makeup artists, stylists, art directors, and others working to craft fashion magic.

In our August-September print issue we spoke with four visionaries who’ve made names for themselves on the other side of the camera. Here in part one of the piece, meet Molly Dickson

If you’re not familiar with Molly Dickson’s work—seasonal campaigns for Forty Five Ten, fashion editorials in PaperCity and Flaunt, animations for clients from Bumble to Veuve Cliquot—go directly to Instagram and check out @savemolly. Moving or still, the images not only offer a primer on Dickson’s quirky aesthetic, but will also likely lift your mood. Dickson brings something rare to fashion photography: a dash of whimsy, a shot of subversion, an empowering embrace of female sexuality, and a whole lot of fun.

“It’s hard to describe when something’s cheesy and when it’s cool. It’s a fine line, and a lot of people don’t see it.” —Molly Dickson

Ironically, Dickson has never cared much about fashion. The Dallas native spent much of her horse-centered youth in boots and riding britches. Today she’s seldom out of utilitarian denim and flannel, even if the labels are thoroughbred (R13, Acne, Balenciaga). After earning a BFA from the University of North Texas, Dickson initially focused on abstract still lifes and graphic design. “I didn’t even shoot people until 2007 or 2008. And then it was just friends and my sister.” An assistant position with esteemed Dallas-based photographer Thom Jackson opened a new window.

Early jobs shooting tests for model portfolios soon gave way to larger assignments, including a Ferragamo job booked through a French agency and shot in L.A. For the past two years, Dickson’s studio in The Cedars area south of downtown has seen a steady parade of models, makeup artists, stylists, and art directors. “The ease of Dallas gives you a good platform,” says Dickson. “I don’t think I’d be any further along if I’d moved to New York five years ago.” —Tracy Achor Hayes 

Photos | Molly Dickson