Freja's Purple Magazine editorial is up, thanks to candlebougie at tFS. And depending on your sex, your opinion about the exploitative tendencies of the fashion industry, and your views on sexual politics, you're either going to love it or hate it.
Best of the Season
Purple Magazine FW0910
Ph: Terry Richardson
(note: this is not the complete editorial, only pictures with Freja)
Look, I've taken my share of feminist theory classes but it's not my place to tell you how you should feel about this editorial. You're initial, gut reaction to the images is what you should use to gauge how you feel about Terry Richardson, his work and his "artistic" approach. Not what other people say, not what you think you should feel, not what you think is politically correct, not how you feel about the models.
As much as I want to go off right now, this blog isn't the place for me to pass judgment on Terry, the fashion industry that's embraced his approach, or the agents and models who are permissive and complicit in his image making. As much as I want to, I'm going to refrain and hold my tongue. (And I know that most of you, scratch that, all of you don't want to read a rant about patriarchy, the male gaze, the marginalization of lesbianism, yadda, yadda, yadda.)
However, I do want to do an interesting comparison. On the one hand, you have this editorial above that was photographed by a heterosexual male. On the other hand, you have this editorial below that was photographed by a homosexual female.
i-D Magazine February 2009
Ph: Collier Schorr
It's interesting to note the similar subject matter (in that there is nudity and Freja), yet completely differing end results. In fact, it's striking to me how different the images feel, how different Freja is portrayed, and how different I feel in response. Perhaps the differences are so stark to me because I know about both photographers and their histories. This hits home the point that photography absolutely depends on the gaze behind the lens and the gaze of the consumer as much as, if not more than what is captured within the frame.
There are different narratives and hierarchies behind all photographs that we see, separate from the ones contained within the actual images. They color our perceptions, perhaps without our knowing it. I guess what I'm trying to say is that there is no such thing as objectivity, for nothing exists in a vacuum. This is what makes photography such an interesting medium. It exists under a guise of objectivity because it purports to capture the "real." However, photography is just as constructed and affected as any other medium of art. The fact that it is so entrenched and intertwined with the production of fashion says something...I just don't really know what yet.
The more you know about social issues and politics and the more you experience those things first hand, the harder it will be to divorce certain ideas from your mind when you view these images...any images. So despite any enjoyment I may have from seeing two of my favorite models together in this editorial and seeing Freja's beautiful smile once again, Terry's reputation precedes itself and that's just something I can't overlook right now.
I'd love to hear what you feel and why because other opinions are always appreciated, no matter how different from my own they may be.
Image Credits: fashionista.com, scans by tFS member candlebougie