Pertinent or bluntly insensitive?

Friday, 13 August 2010

Magazine: Vogue Italia August 2010
Editorial: "Water and Oil"
Model: Kristen McMenamy
Photographer: Steven Meisel
Location: Los Angeles

Italian Vogue's latest issue raises question marks everywhere by presenting a spread inspired by the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Only weeks after the tragedy seems to have been stopped, fashion photographer Steven Meisel came up with the idea of this shoot intitled "Water and Oil"and transposed it in Los Angeles. The chosen model was 45 year old Kristen McMenamy, known for her unconventional appearance.

The importance of the photo shoot for August's issue is major - it's the cover story of the magazine. The pictures show the dirty and ragged model lying on rocks totally or partially covered in oil; in one of the pictures she is even wearing a dress out of feathers as if hinting to the birds that were affected by the oil spill.

A question arises: is the use of such an important environmental issue for a spread in a fashion magazine completely insensitive or does it show that the fashion world can get involved in real problems? Is it pertinent or not?

In my opinion, fashion photography doesn't necessarily have to show beautiful things and happiness, sometimes it must also be real and show pain or anger. One cannot deny that fashion itself is influenced by reality - then why couldn't it also portray it in magazine spreads? Fashion influences a lot of people and it surely can make a statement, so it should be let to do so. This oil spill had such a great impact on the world and was so inspiring for Steven Meisel, that he tried to raise worldwide awareness for the protection of the environment and I think it works. It targets other people than environmentalist magazines and it can help get the message through to other categories of people. The spread captures the reality of what happened in the Gulf of Mexico and the pictures can't leave you indifferent. Is is controversed? Yes. Shocking? Of course. Does it have the potential to raise people's awareness? Absolutely. Then it reached its goal. I say good job Vogue for taking sides in such an important matter.

What's your opinion on the shoot?

Country life

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

It feels like ages since I last wrote something, but my mind has been kind of taking a long vacation, a vacation at the countryside discovering hidden places in central Romania. I'm going to take you on a journey through small villages, lakes, wooden churches and into the wilderness of nature.

My journey begins in Rucar, a city on the hilltops near the border between the districts of Brasov and Arges. It's a pretty good place to stay and explore the surroundings. From here my first stop was a small wooden church in the nearby village of Dragoslavele. Despite the signs announcing a monastery, I wans't dissappointed when I just found this church. It was built in the middle of the 17th century and was originally located in Maramures, in Northern Romania, then moved to Predeal only to find its final place here, in Dragoslavele, in the 1950s. The church has beautiful wooden panels painted with the figure of St. George, its patron. Hint: walk up the stairs on the left of the entrance to get a glimpse of the bells inside the tower!

After the church, the journey took  me to an artificial lake with two dams, Satic and Pecineagu, approximately 10 km from Rucar. Unfortunately the road is so bad (much worsse than a few years ago if you happen to know it), that I didn't make it to the second dam this time, but if you do have the guts to overcome the holes in the street I can guarantee it's a magnificent sight.

I took the next set of pictures on the road that goes along the lake. You can see green pastures on the left and the lake and the forrest on the right. After the first part of the lake is over, along the road there is a stream - if you follow it you'll soon see cows and bulls crossing to get food. Don't be scared, they're really friendly! (I really don't like cables hanging around in my photographs, but it seems there's no way getting around them...)

Enjoy the wilderness of this journey untill I tell you all about the next things I'm about to visit!

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