I think it is really important when putting together a campaign, editorial, or portfolio to create a strong individual image. Now there are many times when the "whole" is greater than the sum of its parts, or when an idea and concept behind a group of images is more important than each image on its own, but the presentation is something that always needs to be kept in mind. Campaigns, for instance, are important as a collection to represent the overall tone of the image of the company, but the campaign images are rarely displayed as a whole collection. Instead you will see them blown up and dispersed around a store in various sizes, frames, and other ways the images can fit or enhance a specific store.
I try to post examples only of things I like, however I think the new Summer 2010 Campaign for American Eagle Outfitters is an example of a collection of images that (I think) aren't too strong on their own. My favorite image would have to be the second one down of the close-up of the model Aline Weber, but I still don't think it carries the campaign. I don't think each image that every clothing company puts out in a campaign needs to be incredible either, especially considering the teen demographic for American Eagle I don't think the consumers are expecting something photographically amazing, but from the standpoint of the marketing executives who ARE aware of photographic trends, I think they could be doing something a little bit different. The small flash on the beach seems unnecessary and although I know it is a stylistic thing, I think it feels a little too artificial for a company that tries to present a "natural", fun, playful, stylish and flirty feel both through their advertisements, and their product. None of these images are going to stick in my mind and the model and feel of the images are a little too serious to really be consistent with their other campaigns. (Here are some examples of campaigns from past years.)
Here is an editorial of Wiktor Hansson photographed by Shiro Katigiri for Pen Magazine May 2010. I think there are two editorials here coming together as one (the black and white location shots and the color studio shots). The black and white images are extremely strong both in part because of the lines and structural elements that they incorporate in the architecture and the lines of the model, and the spatial relationship of the model in relation to his surrounding. The poses are really strong and compliment the location. In the first image, the model is slightly curved like the lines in the building behind him. The black and white image with the model sitting down and the studio one below it are unique interpretations of a simple pose (sitting and standing) and really highlight the impressive facial structure of the model.
In the future I think it would be great to see innovative campaigns (more like the shoots that are coming out of more obscure art-fashion magazines like Pen) being produced by major retailers like American Eagle regardless of their demographic.