Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Dark and Stormy

Perhaps it was all the blustery walks on the Oregon coast growing up, because I love my beaches dark and stormy. Sunbathing is too static for me, I feel like a roasting chicken rotating on a spit. Sure I love reading US Magazine while simultaneously drinking a Diet Coke and eating Cape Cod potato chips (epic combination), but the damn sand gets everywhere.

So I opt for the Veni, Vidi, Vici approach, I come, I surf, I conquer. That was how it went on Friday at my new favorite place in New York City, Far Rockaway. And thanks to my friend Billie and a truly excellent boardwalk, my feelings about stormy beaches have remained unchanged.

----------------More Rockaway after The Jump-------------
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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Secret Life of the American Teenager

No one subscribes to the mantra "Sex sells" quite like Abercrombie & Fitch. Only in America would you have an American pastoral design aesthetic marketed with pornography. But is it really porn? 

Yes it is selling sex, but the ultimate products are clothing not orgasms. And there is some redeeming artistic and production value, check out the Game of Throne guys lined up in the desert. Maybe a bad example. Okay okay I went too far, a bow over a dick does not fine art make. But the question remains, what are we looking at?

All photos A&F quarterly via Vfiles

--------------More booties, bows, and blondes after The Jump-----------
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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Who wore it better?

You buy a dress, it looks great, you wear it to a party. But wait, another bitch is wearing the same mo-tha- fuck-ing thing. That ain't right. But apparently, it happens to boys too. Hence the nearly coordinated arrival of Nick and Dave in the same spectacular J Crew shirt. Obvs, these guys got style.

But who wore it better? I guess Dave wins purely because he had the cutest little puppy in tow. But Nick's Met's hat put up a good fight.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Friday Night Lights

Sorry for the lack of posting this week. In between a new job, finals, and a photoshoot I had no time to function. But next week holds lots of riches so keep an eye out. In the meantime, enjoy my Friday Night Lights.

Last night, I had one of those amazing New York nights that turned into one of those amazing New York days. I had planned on going home and study but instead found myself on a rooftop in the shadow of the Empire State building dancing to techno music. My solo walk home turned out to be a blast when I spent a joyous half hour playing with bubbles provided by a union square busker. And the reggae singer covering Ace of Base's 'I saw the sign' on the L train platform pretty much just topped it off.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Big Rock Candy Mountain

Are Shelby Lee Adams images fine art or are they another example of white trash photography? 

Adams' photographs of Appalachia are simultaneously reminiscent of the WPA photographers and Diane Arbus. He studies a place were extreme poverty is rampant and strangeness is endemic. While all the photographs were taken between 1989 and 2008, there is the feeling that the depression never left this place and neither did the people. 

Adams devoted an entire book to the Napier family, residents of Beehive, Kentucky. The family live at the end of a holler, the local name for an Appalachian valley, giving rise to strong family ties and an even stronger Kentucky accent. So when the mama of the house talks about splitting firewood in the winter with bare feet, you know that she isn't lying or exaggerating. And best of all, I don't think the family could come up with a full set of teeth between them

But while the family is real, the photographs are debatable. They are not candid, but are in fact, staged productions. The extent of the production is really at heart of the question. That pig on a stick in the picture below, was bought by Adams but prepared by the Napiers. Did he coax them into performing or was he simply helping the documentary process along?

For a much better analysis on this question, check out the documentary on his work, The True Meaning of Pictures 

All photographys by Shelby Lee Adams
Thanks to LPV Magazine for some inspiration

----------------- More Appalachia after The Jump-------------
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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Toddlers and Tiaras

This spread caused quite a stir when it was published in January of 2011. For a country still haunted by photographs of Jon Benet Ramsey, these images created a knee jerk reaction of revulsion. But this editorial has a self awareness not seen in Toddlers and Tiaras. It exaggerates what is already present in media and advertising to the point where one has to confront it head on. Its publication began a national conversation on age, beauty, and sex that more subversive advertising failed to ignite.

Cadeaux by Sharif Hamza for Vogue Paris

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Weighty Issues

American Vogue is notorious for being blah. But somehow Grace Coddington snuck this little gem into the April Issue as the title photo of the "Can you Raise your Metabolism?" story. I'm not sure what conclusion the article came to, but the photo is amazing. It brings fat suits to a whole new level.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

White Trash: Don't it Look Fun?

White trash. Would a rose by any other name smell as sweet? Let's try. Hillbilly, Redneck, Cracker?

Trash. The others don't quite work. This is the name for the discarded, or for those who simply got passed on by. It's a mean slur but a slur that our society doesn't seem to mind and in fact perpetuates as a running joke.

And I'm not immune because when I think of white trash I think NRA. Rick Santorum. Pleather Coaches. Methamphetamine. I think of awkward encounters in rest stops and confederate flags. So I am trying to understand why the idea of 'white trash' fascinates the fashion world, and more importantly why it is a legitimate source of inspiration.

White trash fashion is essentially the glamorization of poverty, where trailers suddenly become home to La Vie Boheme, a life of smoking cigarettes on plastic patio furniture in a tube top and push up bra. The girls are blonde, skinny, with big boobs and a look like they just got felt up. And they always always look like they got stuck in the 80s.

The truth of it is, most girls don't look so good in tube tops, that push up bra isn't doing nearly enough, and the cigarette she's smoking is starting to look more sad more than sexy. But by making white trash look good we can brush over what it means to be poor. Because being poor in America, no matter what color you are, now that ain't sexy. And maybe we need to start to think about what that actually means.

Photographs by
Mark Kean for Wonderland Magazine
Jason Lee Parry for Oyster Magazine
Angelo Pannetta for Doing Bird
Hugh Lippe for Russh #42

----------------More Trashy Girls after The Jump----------------