' THE DECEMBER ISSUE ' / NOTES (on picturing ourselves)



Frequently fashion photography has been taken to task for perpetuating stereotypes, which when unsettling to the general public's perception of themselves, has generated plenty of backlash from talking-heads, the press, government-appointed advisory groups, and so forth.  Historically, the two areas of contention where much criticism has been directed are: sex and the manner in which magazines, editors, art-directors and photographers have choose to present accepted/forbidden/questionable states of sensuality, human interaction, love and affection; also on the watch-list is the issue of religion, where anything other than devout reverence is largely avoided for fear of censure, the loss of revenue by advertisers' sponsorship, or on occasion, the cancellation of subscriptions.  Violence rarely bodes well with the fashion crowd, and is best left for speciality publications which cater to the 'tastes' of another audience, such as the hordes who flock to slasher movies and purchase electronic games, where fueled by testosterone (and substances best left unsaid), the end of civilization and a free-form anarchy is manipulated by one touch of a gloved-finger.  To its credit, fashion photography has been on the forefront of advocating changes in societal mores by reflecting the continuous shift in our culture's tastes, values, and expectations of ourselves vis-a-vis our civilization's recorded history.  Where fashion photography excels is in the selling of fantasy through imaginative layouts where art, design, and lust intertwine, and the story is personified by gorgeous models who capture our interest, hold us captive, and ever so delicately (and deliberately) manipulate our fears and desires.

Richard Avedon, Victor Skrebneski, Herb Ritts, Bruce Weber, and Steve Miesel are masters of their craft, almost effortlessly conjuring heavenly worlds where beautiful creatures pose/frolic/cavort without hesitancy or guile; and readers such as ourselves, swoon.  In my mind, these images are forever imprinted, and truthfully, if I stumbled upon China Machado or Christy Turlington sipping tea in my galley kitchen, for a second or two (or three), nothing would strike me as strange or unusual.  I believe that this is the seductive power of Art, to blur the divisions between the real and imagined, the mundane and the celebratory (when the mechanics of technology merges with the depth of human emotions) and the mind follows the murmurs of the heart into believing the impossible.  That we, with just a drop of scent will be insatiable seducers, or that, slipping on that little tweed jacket, can embody the spirit (and look) of civilized gentility in that much-copied (and easily recognizable) WASP via RL sensibility, is precisely the the name of the game (of the fashion magazines).  Members of the sterner sex are not immune to the promised fantasies of smart advertising, evidenced by the success of top-shelf liquors, Saville Row tailors, and foreign sports-car capable of sudden flight (and sensuous victory?).  

The words of an astute gentleman whose name slips me, are:  There are no ugly women {or men}, only lazy ones.  Besides pure indulgence in the creativity presented on the printed page, the motivated among us can push ourselves to be more attractive both to ourselves and others by dressing and grooming ourselves to present our best possible selves; letting that inner light within all of us shine every more clear.  As well as disarming the complacent, detractors and whiners among us with our inner confidence and good looks.  That, combined with charm and politeness can get anyone immediately beyond the VIP rope, or the best table and complimentary drinks, or a promotion at work.  Honestly, who amongst us would choose to be stuck with the drudge or wall-flower, while the rest of the gang whoops it up on the dance-floor/in the board-room/at the chef's table.  Fashionistas (and fashionistos) work at it, and then some; and for this they must be applauded.  Never a stray lock, an extra inch, an unwanted pound, or scuffed heels.  Sure, it takes work; but consider the alternatives, and then slowly put down the gravy-boat/turn off the TV, and get fully involved in your own life.  Really!

 Please enjoy today's visual treat (of super-model/athlete Jeff Aquilon), and thanks for all your comments and suggestions.


PS:  Tonight's soundtrack is Breathe by Telepopmusic.  Languid/dreamy/seductive, like a Chanel No 5 ad, as I discovered on their you-tube video.


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