“I’m not a fashionista, though I’ve played one on TV.”
I love photography and I love fashion photography. My SO recently gave me a subscription to Vogue, starting with the October, 2012 historical Anniversary edition. This is truly a great edition and document, not to mention huge at 1,000,000,001 pages. The historical articles and pictures were wonderful. I learned a lot, and found a lot to be nostalgic about, too.
As an extra bonus – this wasn’t a bonus, as I now have a subscription, but getting a new edition of Vogue in the mail every month still feels like a present – I received the November, 2012 edition the other day. Between reading the articles (“I get Playboy for the articles”), I let the gloss and shock of the advertising photography wash over my eyeballs.
The idea of using the most beautiful of those among us to attract us to a product – well, why not? As we look longingly at beauty, wishing it were ours, from there, it is only small step to use their beauty to sell us anything a producer pleases.
At the same time, there is a continuing movement among designers, photographers, and editors alike to make a unique statement, a vision that differentiates your vision from other, lesser lights. Fair enough. Who doesn’t want to create something no one has ever seen before, while at the same time, becoming an “instant classic.” (More about “instant classic” at another time.) Who doesn’t want the fame of being recognized as a true “original,” a trail blazer, an explorer in the cartography of beauty and aesthetics?
Why then ugliness? Why objectification through transformation into “something else”?
My only answer is it again comes from that thirst to be unique and creative, when beauty itself can not be a creative enough statement.
So, here’s what I saw in the November, 2012 Vogue:
Beauty as an Ancient Alien.
Mannequin or mannequinized beauty? If the artist used a mannequin instead of a model, is the artist making a statement that a breathing beauty is absolutely unnecessary to the artist’s aesthetic? If the artist is making a living beauty look like a perfect (or not) mannequin, what statement is the artist making about life? Are mannequins a truer vision of perfection? Troubling, not clever.
I could not stop laughing. This is an advert for the cashmere sweater. Why then is the model listening to her purse? She seems in love-joy with whatever she is hearing. That purse is nearly large enough to hold a boombox, so this is not as farfetched as at first blush. Apparently, cashmere is for models with hip glasses and leather boomboxes.
This just made me sad. Poor Kristen. This advert is for a designer scent preporting to be flowery. But this dress? Grotesquely unattractive. Looks like a paper-doll dress stuck onto a Kristen doll figure. What human on earth could actually wear that dress outside of their home and feel well-dressed? The pattern is bad enough, but what’s with that backwards-looking lower hourglass part of the dress? And just so we don’t think Kristen is making that dress LOOK FAT, let’s Photoshop ™ her already skinny legs to anorexic thinness. No wonder she looks like all her hopes have been dashed. And what is she doing with her hands in those pockets?
No normal person can measure up to the beauty and stature of a model. The model is already a zenith, an apex of our type and desires. Why then do fashion editors need to “perfect” them even more? The rarified professional model already starves herself to maintain an unnatural leaness, even unto ill health. But apparently that isn’t enough. Cheeks smoothed, noses leaned and sharpened, thighs and arms narrowed to frighteningly diminished proportions, behold, Beauty.
More about “air-brushing,” Photoshop ™, “Instant Classics” and beauty soon. Thanks for reading.