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?