Monday, January 24, 2011

Fashion Shoot Backside













In this Richard Avedon photo, we don't see backsides, not the elephants', not the model's. She's svelte, sylph-like. What was she thinking? Was she allowed to speak? These questions may sound trite to those who know more about fashion photography than I do--I don't know much. When I saw a fashion shoot on Ocean Drive I was shocked: the model was almost completely mute, though I heard her murmur a few words just before she and the crew changed location, crossing the street to the Versace house.






































There, near the steps where the designer was murdered, the model relaxed a little, shifting her weight before the shoot continued. She was silent. The tag shows at the striped sweater's back neckline.






































While the photographers conferred, she did not speak. Mid-day in hot Florida, dressed for fall in long sleeves, she waited, alone. Plump, scruffy, in short sleeves, clothes rumpled, the photographers worked to get the best shots.






































She worked too, obeying, keeping her cool. I wondered about the final shots: would she look powerful and perfect? The goal is to sell a product. I'll take for free the backside tag, hair-shifting breeze, plump belly. Will I be open enough to let my subjects speak? Photographers whose work I admire often record their subjects' words. Others I also admire, shoot living subjects with such empathy that I don't miss the words. Empathy and also the shock of recognition: Arbus shows us herself in her subjects. Do you worry about such things? Do you let your subjects speak?

14 comments:

  1. The shot of the elephants and model is outstanding.
    xo

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  2. oh, mim, darling, they're chosen for their silence, not their beauty...didn't you know that?

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  3. No, dear Melissa, I didn't know. Not one word did she utter between shots, except once, just before they changed locations. I'm still shocked--naive me. You on the other hand encourage your subjects to speak, and speak they do!

    Radish, dear: I think the Avedon shot is silly, the model starved. Should I think of it as Avendon's attempt at surrealism?

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  4. What an impressive reminder, that it is the inside that counts, gives voice, noise; eventhough not heard. Slowly reaching the thought, that maybe way too many are already unable to hear, anymore.

    Please have a good Tuesday.

    daily athens

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  6. Mim, I am just thinking how bad those shoes are for her back! Love this post and love the flaming red bush in your header - what is that?

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  7. nmj--higher and higher high heels here on the beach! Feet-maimers, for sure. The tree in the header is flame tree, also called flamboyant and Poinciana. I call it royal flush. It was in full bloom when I took the picture last year. These trees are leafing out now and will soon do what they are meant to do: bloom!

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