The Constructed Moment

This blog discusses the way in which we design, make, select, evaluate and publish fashion and advertisement photographies as a sub-genre. This is a place of reflection. We have no unveiled truths, yet we are seeking answers.

sábado, 26 de abril de 2014

A happy horror story.

Texto en español, aqui.

 “Blondes make the best victims. They're like virgin snow that shows up the bloody footprints.”
— Alfred Hitchcook —

Always make the audience suffer as much as possible.
— Alfred Hitchcook —

There are photographers who know exactly what they are doing and without a doubt, Steven Meisel is one of them. In the April issue of Vogue Italy, which we can call his home, he presents us with an extraordinary editorial called horror movie. However, when I started checking it out in websites like, I noticed he has the most difference in qualification between the pubic and the editors of the site, by the time I wrote this: 57% and 90% respectively.

Beyond a shadow of doubt, we’re not looking at the same thing, and yet, I’m not really surprised; I even found the result of this qualification after making the decision of writing about this editorial in particular. It only confirms my first thought about it needing to be commented on.

This editorial isn’t traditional; and although it is on the same line of Water and Oil, or State of Emergency, it isn’t Meisel’s most revolutionary work. It doesn’t apply to the traditional solutions for a fashion editorial; however, for the visual solution of the image, it borrows from another genre, in this case, from the horror and thriller movie genre. Here is where Meisel shines again. It isn’t in the impeccable making, but in understanding that if you have your theme clear in your mind, the visual solution can come from anywhere.

Throughout the history of photography, we have been witness to the enriching of the genre[i] starting from other photographic genres themselves: journalism, erotic photography, nude photography and family photography, which have provided fashion photography with a language to the point that for many, it is hard to determine where one genre ends and the other begins.

In this case, the photographs as horror images are perfectly achieved, they do look as photograms from a horror movie. It only lacked the black and white and the blonde gal (something I would’ve loved to see) for it to have been part of a Hitchcock film. The whole idea of literally copying from the classical images of the genre is not necessary. The similarity to The Shining (Kubrick, 1980) is clear and though I can’t remember the other examples, I know I have seen them before.

This is fundamental when we create images within a specific genre: they have to look similar to something we have already seen, in that way we make it easier for the spectator to understand it. That’s how fashion photos are similar among them and only those who know the genre to perfection can change the rules and present us with something new, even at the risk of not being understood by the public.

Just the way Meisel did with his horror story.

P.S: Right before publishing this entry, I found a couple of articles about the editorial (link), in which it is seen as a minimal view of domestic violence. If we are to go on following this line of thought, then we'd have to say about the horror genre that it inspires the editorial, but it's not the editorial itself. I believe, and I put my foot down here, that the editorial was misunderstood. I also don't think that this is the genre to talk about domestic violence. 

[i] Talking about classifying images in terms of genres seems obsolete to many, still, I consider that it is still fundamental when we talk about constructing an image more so at times when a lot of the aesthetic proposal has a strong component coming from crossing limits and re-contextualizing its use.


0 comentarios :

Publicar un comentario