Posts tagged “Just Write

Well Hello, Nurse: Sex and Cinema, Revisited

Anyone with a pulse knows that sex sells.

However recently, in the world of posters advertising mainstream films, that adage is hitting closer and closer to home. Earlier you may remember that I wrote about one of the theatrical posters for the American version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, with star Rooney Mara standing topless, embraced by co-star Daniel Craig. I thought that was a bold and daring shot, especially from a photography standpoint. Some of you agreed, while others thought it was pandering, with nudity for the sake of nudity.

So here we have an early theatrical poster for Nurse 3-D, a film scheduled for release in 2012 (principal photography doesn’t start until September). The star of the film, Paz De La Huerta – of Boardwalk Empire fame – is depicted as you see above, bloodied and sinister looking.

She’s also completely nude. So nude that if you take a closer look at the photo, you can see a light tuft of pubic hair.

This is a film that will be distributed wide by Lionsgate. Looking into it more, the shot, which first debuted in a recent issue of V Magazine, is the brainchild of Lionsgate Marketing Officer Tim Palen, who, I was not surprised to discover, designed some of the awesome posters for the annual blood drives sponsored by the Saw franchise, a few of which I’ll post here.


 

The images and design are all striking in their own right, and it is clear to see the level of influence that has carried over to the Nurse 3-D poster.

Now of course, it’s highly unlikely that this is the final poster that you’ll see in theaters, but it seems that there has been a shift in marketing where now sex must sell as all costs, and the mandate is clear that almost nothing is left to the imagination anymore.

Personally, the shot is amazing. It’s an instant souffle of sex and violence all wrapped in a pretty package. With the stark lighting and the off-white background, the look is almost saccharine in nature. With a start as strong as this, I’m very interested to see where they go next with the posters for this film. Nurse 3-D is certainly a horror film with a twist to it, and regardless as to the quality of the film itself, the ad campaign will be sure to turn more heads than stomachs.


Happy Birthday, Giorgio…

My first designer, and frankly, still the best.

Happy birthday, Maestro.


Busier than ever…

I’ve not forgotten you, I promise.

Life in DC has been a chore to set up, what with networking and learning my way around. Luckily for me, I’ve secured some future shoots, and even have an opportunity to get some work exhibited in a couple galleries…fingers crossed on that.

This truly is a beautiful place, full of even more beautiful people. It’s tempting to ape The Sartorialist and just go out and shoot random strangers just to show that fashion, in its many forms, is just as strong in our nation’s capital as it is up the coast in NYC.

I may just do that, actually. Not to copy so much as to share. The Metro area is remarkable on its own, and certainly deserves some praise for all the colors, the looks and the styles openly available, without being exceedingly pretentious on its own.

I hope this week, wherever you are, starts off wonderfully…

In the meantime, here’s an earlier shot of one of my favorite models to work with…


Happy Birthday, Val

As today is a big and busy day here for me in the DC Metro area, I decided to keep today’s post light and use the space to wish Happy Birthday to one of my favorite models, Val Renee.

May the coming year be everything you want it to be and more…

We’ll be back on track with the blog tomorrow, so whatever you do, make sure it’s amazing.


Reputation Management 101 (NSFW)

…And we’re back…For real this time.

The move to DC was painless, but absolutely exhausting. It’s an exciting time, to be sure, but enough about that, it’s time to get back on the horse and set up new shoots, even if I can’t help but feeling a bit like a fish out of water. Challenges can be exciting, you know…

As I sit here and parse through the last couple of weeks that were, all attention goes to model Amber Rose. Yet another victim of having her trust betrayed in some way or other, she has explicit pictures of her, pictures that were meant for someone she was seeing (while I love some gossip sites, I want to not make this site one of them) or interested in appear on the Web.

In this day and age, where “leaked” photos of celebrities regularly appear in places they shouldn’t, what would make Amber, with a profile as high as hers, think that pictures of herself masturbating wouldn’t make it online some way or some how?

But I suppose that isn’t something you think about in the moment. Some would argue that this could be an intentional “leak”, ala Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian, but I don’t think so. Amber is no stranger to public nudity on the internet, but these pictures certainly have a much more personal tinge to it.

While the concept of no news being bad news, this particular leak hasn’t been all that kind to Amber, with an unnamed company splitting ties with her.

To be sure, she is who she is, and frankly anyone who likes her look will continue to hire her, so in this day and age of luridness for the sake of luridness, her career is in no real danger. Regardless of that, it goes without saying that when you create a brand, even an organic brand as oneself, it’s beyond important to ensure that missteps are minimized on the outset.

While it’s certainly a joy to view Amber nude, the stream by which that happens has to be controlled (by her), and not as a result of grainy cellphone pictures. If she wants to pose in Playboy, I’m all for it, because like it or not, it extends her personal brand, and makes her money at the same time. All she gains by giving explicit pictures to people she thinks she can trust is just a ton of headaches.

When not working with photos, or commenting on various things here, I’m in my day-job as a public relations professional. If I’ve seen anyone in need of through PR, it would be Amber. As a brand, I think she’s still slightly undefined. Sure, she has done high profile modeling gigs, working for Louis Vuitton, amongst others, however, because of her voluptuous stature, she certainly doesn’t limit herself to just runway work.

But it seems these days, it’s more about who she’s dating than how her career as a model is progressing. For all we know, that could be how she wants it, with her legacy as being arm candy for the Hip-Hop star of the moment. If that makes her happy, then who in their right mind would begrudge her?

Having said that, however, if she does want to build and extend the brand beyond being known for who she’s dating, then the first step would be to save the sex shows for a more intimate, in-person situation.

Many models I’ve shot over the years, especially those who don’t wish to pursue a career in nude modeling, have always been more protective of their image than others, because even with professionally shot photos, no one wants to have that nude image haunt them going forward. It’s taking responsibility of a situation in hopes that it never comes back to bite them. So just imagine how less control one can have with taking photos on phones which have been proven to be easily hacked.

Sometimes, you just have to plan better.


As we proceed…

Pistol Series

Last couple days have been busy ones. Still busy, really.

I got the news that when I make the move to DC in just over a week, I’ll have a job to go to, which is nice. The process of settling in will have an effect on my photo work, to be sure. It’s going to take some time to get acclimated to the area, and even more time to find a new group of models to work with.

No big deal really.

Leaving Bloomington, I realize there were some amazing times with amazing models here. This is the place where my talent was developed, and where I helped to develop talents. I’ve loved, laughed and created beautiful images for some or all to see.

The crowning achievement would have to have been getting my work displayed in the Kinsey Institute Juried Art Show, and actually coming away with Gallery Viewer’s Choice. Honestly, for someone who does this for the sheer fun of it, there can be no better honor.

Now it’s a bit premature to write an elegy for my time here, but this is what has been on my mind, and it helps to remind me of the journey ahead and the good times to come. In the meantime, enjoy the above piece, shot a few years ago, during one of my earliest shoots.

Brings back memories.


The future will have you seeing RED.

Depending on who you ask, this is the future of photography.

The EPIC M, by RED, comes in a package one third the size of a RED ONE, carrying with it a 5K Mysterium-X™ sensor and a 27 layer ASIC, the most advanced processor of its type in the world, enabling EPIC to capture up to 120 frames per second, each frame at full 14MP resolution. EPIC both a Digital Still & Motion Camera, and that is what could be what changes everything…again.

Photography, over the years, has gone through a recent evolution. With digital becoming the standard that is wiping out the use of film, just about anyone with money and adequate desire can become a photographer. Now don’t get me wrong, this is an absolutely good thing. I have always been of the mind that photography should be something you do, as opposed to who you are. For far too long, photographers have tried to maintain this aura of superiority because they were this guild of magicians with their control of apertures, f-stops and light metering that regular people could never really understand.

Then came the advent of the digital camera.

All of a sudden everyone (including myself) were becoming camera enthusiasts, and while there was and still is push back from pro shooters, the walls were thinning and from it came a new cadre of photographers who were making images just as good because their cameras were doing much of the heavy lifting for them. All these shooters had to do was capture the same thing as the pros…the moment.

Capturing the “moment” is something that auto setting cannot compensate for. It’s the thing that truly separates the pro from the consumer. That one image, culled from shooting multiple images, and in the case of model photography, it’s achieved by knowing your subject, working with your subject to put together that one in a hundred shot that will grace portfolios, magazine covers or billboards.

Well, cameras like the EPIC M will change that.

Now to be sure, DSLRs have been moving towards more hybrid action between motion and still; even the most entry level of Canon Rebel series cameras have HD camcorder ability. But not like what you’re getting with the EPIC M on the professional end. Now the impetus doesn’t have to be on getting the “moment” shot, because technically, you can just take this camera and do a motion shoot on a set, and an EDITOR can go through the footage and pull out an extremely hi-res frame and there you go. Folks, this camera shoots at 128 fps, something that practically guarantees than any single frame will generate a shot just as good as anything that can be shot on a still camera.

(c) 2011 Vincent Laforet

Have a look at that shot.

This is a frame grab from a video shot at 96 fps on an EPIC M by photographer Vincent Laforet. Look at the depth and definition, something that would only seem to come from a still camera. Laforet wrote about his experience with the EPIC M, and he feels this has the potential to cause radical change within photography.

Now make no mistake, still photography certainly isn’t going away, not by a longshot, but think about the implications for commercial photography. Consider how this camera could be used at weddings, where a photographer would simply need to just take sweeping shots of the scenery and then go back over the video and pluck choice frame grabs later on.

What this also means is that now the relationship between photographer and editor will take an even more dramatic turn. Instead of using an editor to retouch photos, now you can use an editor to help you select the shot from the video footage. The possibilities are many, and once again, the paradigm is shifting.

Welcome to the future.

For more on the RED EPIC M, visit their Web site.

For an interview with Vincent Laforet on the convergence that will come with cameras like the EPIC M, visit APhotoEditor.


I stand corrected…

So, after going on about W Magazine not having any models of color on their covers, I open up my mailbox yesterday and see the above. Guess that’ll show me, huh?

But…it’s Beyonce. Beyonce is always on a cover of a magazine somewhere (end whining.)

Now I don’t have anything against the woman personally, but I don’t know if you can call it diversity for W when the last person of color on the cover was Rhianna in February 2010. Yes, yes, I know…it’s nitpicking in many ways, and as I had mentioned in the previous blog, there is an overall lack of supermodels on the cover of fashion magazines anymore, but still.

In moments like this, I wonder how Edward Enninful feels, that is, if he feels anything at all about the issue, but I certainly suspect he does.

I guess you have to pick your spots where you can find them, right?

Of course, it’s pointless then to mention that Beyonce didn’t have the sole distinction of making the cover of this month’s W Magazine alone. It was actually a split issue, with the other cover model being Christina Aguilera.

Yes, I suppose it is nitpicking indeed.

Next week, we will be shifting slightly away from fashion and talking about the coming advent of HDSLR photography. It could be that gone are the days when a photographer looks for “the moment”, because he will be preoccupied with shooting HD video instead of still images.

It’s an interesting, and potentially frightening concept. But then change and evolution have always been frightening to a certain extent.

Have a good weekend, everyone…


Is there a Golden Age for anything anymore?

Some thoughts as I wait to begin my day…

Soon, I’ll be uprooting from my friendly, yet bland Indiana confines to restart things in the D.C. Metro area. An exciting proposition, especially after seeing the vibrant arts community, and some of the local photo galleries.

While by day, my endeavors are in the realms of public relations and publicity, photography is my everything after, and following the events of the past year, is no longer just a pastime hobby for me. So to be able to go somewhere where I will be able to do what I love to do and have an audience for it will be exactly what I need, when I need it.

Going to Church

Going to Church by William Johnson

But it has me thinking: could we ever be heading towards another “golden age” of something? Something in this case being art, fashion or photography? Sure, those are broad, yet related categories, but the reason I mention this is because I think about Harlem in the early ’30’s, or even Tin Pan Alley where writers and artists all from different places came to one area and through either convenience or happenstance collaborated and made things that resonate to this day.

Now that creating images via a multitude of mediums is not only possible but easily shared, is there still a true value? In 40 years from now, will people be looking at the work we do and think, “I wish I could have been there; seen them do that”? Maybe it doesn’t work that way.

I can’t imagine that when great things were happening at a different time, that there was a thought that the time would be immortalized as a golden age, or anything of the sort. In the end, you just produce and then keep producing. Certainly an errant thought to have at 8:49 on a Thursday morning.

 


“If a girl is very dark, they say no…”

As if we needed a reminder, racism in fashion is still very much alive and well.

In an article printed in the Daily Mail yesterday, columnist Liz Jones exposes what many in the fashion industry already knew: Black models are, for the most part, considered undesirable for runway and print work. While this is not completely new information, it’s disappointing that in 2011, this still has to be an issue.

And it’s a glaring one.

Like searching for a raisin in a bowl of rice

Thinking critically, the idea that black models are having trouble finding work or are being deemed unacceptable really puts a shine on yesterday’s post where the subject was on transgendered and androgynous models finding success within the industry. To put it bluntly, a man who is masquerading as a woman seems to be getting more work than black women who are…well…women.

Certainly, that’s a broad take on the issue, and I’m not asserting that fashion houses and magazines would rather hire a man who passes for a woman over an actual woman, just because he’s white. That would make things too simplistic, and why do that when there are fashion insiders who will lay it on the table openly? Take for example, supermodel legend Naomi Campbell’s former agent Carole White who, when interviewed by Jones for the Daily Mail story, said:

“At the high end, it is slightly better now. But in the mid-range — the catalogues, the e-commerce websites — it is difficult. They want girls who are ethnic, but light-skinned girls. If a girl is very dark, they say no.” Carole says the problem stems from the influential fashion capitals of Milan and Paris. ‘There, they absolutely don’t want black girls. A black model has to be a real star before you can take her there. They only take a black girl when the biz is buzzing about her.”

A real star. Like Beyonce or Rhianna, who have appeared on the covers of magazines such as Vogue. But what about some of the other publications out there. Personally, I subscribe to three fashion magazines: Vogue US, W Magazine and V Magazine. After reading the Daily Mail story, I went over to my subscription pile and had a look for myself, because I wanted to be sure.

Of the three magazines, Vogue US featured two Black women on the cover over the course of the past year: Halle Berry on the cover of the vaunted September 2010 issue, and Rhianna, who made the cover in April 2011. Neither women are models, but rather, celebrities, which gibe with White’s account. Looking at V Magazine, only one woman of color graced the cover over the past year, hip-hop artist Nicki Minaj, who again, is a celebrity and not a model herself. What struck me as the mostpeculiar is W Magazine, who had no models or celebrities of color on their covers, and the reason that’s so peculiar to me is that the current Fashion Director of W is a Black man by the name of Edward Enninful. (Named in the Daily Mail article as one of the major Black players in the fashion scene along with make-up artist Pat McGrath and models Jourdan Dunn, Liya Kebede and Joan Smalls.)

Now in the interest of fairness, none of these magazines are currently featuring models of any color on their covers. This is mainly due to the fact that with the industry in such dire shape, it’s far more important to have celebrities grace the covers so that sales can be supported. I can’t argue much with that. However, upon opening the pages to some of the print advertisements, it is clear that there is a marked dearth of models of color in those ads.

In the Daily Mail article, White also pinpoints photographers, saying a lot of them “don’t know how to light a black girl.” While I’m not currently shooting fashion for any big agency, house or publication, I certainly know how to light a woman of color. And if that is the case, why is that photographer being given the opportunity to do such high-profile work?

What’s clear by reading that article, and others, such as one which appeared on Jezebel, talking about how the last Fashion Week in New York City was “the whitest Fashion Week in years.” From the article:

“New York fashion week featured 137 designer runway shows and presentations, and 5,269 different fall outfits were presented to the world’s retailers and press. Of those 5,269 looks, 4,468 — an overwhelming 84.8% — were modeled by white women. 801 of those looks were given to models who aren’t white. Black models were used 384 times. Asian models were used 323 times. Non-white Latina models were used 79 times. Models of other races only made it onto the runways of New York City — one of the most racially diverse places on this planet — 15 times.”

Staggering numbers. But then again, who are the purveyors of fashion, more specifically, Haute Couture? Affluent White people. If it is that the numbers skew in that direction, then one could argue that the models we see in the ads and on the runways are simply a reflection of the buying market. Someone would argue that, and they would do it in the hopes that it would make sense and subsequently make everything alright. But that’s lip service. Just like it’s lip service when a fashion magazine will put out an issue devoted to full-figured models. It’s all lip service.

I love all models. Fat Models, Thin Models, Black Models, White Models, Asian Models, Hispanic Models…you bring them, and I’ll shoot them. And I’ll also know that no matter how sexy, how well-lit and beautiful the shots are, in many corners of the fashion world…it wouldn’t even be close to good enough.

A pity.

Rachel